Real-time, accurate, xyz positioning is crucial to most all aspects of surveying, and none more so than bathymetric surveying utilizing the state-of-the-art, remotely controlled, bathymetric survey boat technology, known as the unmanned surface vessel (USV) “Kingfisher.”
Kingfisher is loaded with survey-grade sonar, an inertial measurement unit, a remote controller Wi-Fi system, and survey-grade RTK GPS. On shore, the survey data is received by the remote control operator in real time with the map and data view screens on a laptop.
Hunt Surveys Inc., an Ontario land surveyor firm, acquired Kingfisher from Clearpath Robotics in 2014, in order to expand into the growing bathymetric survey marketplace. At the time of the Kingfisher build-out for Hunt Surveys, the selected Topcon and Sokkia GNSS hardware was chosen for the ease of integration into the custom Clearpath controller software, and with the bathymetry software by Hypack. The TopNETlive network was also chosen for the extensive coverage in Ontario, including many remote locations of the bathymetric surveys.
The real-time xyz GPS data from the TopNETlive network makes Kingfisher “live” to the on-shore, remote controller operator. The Hypack bathymetry software on the operator’s laptop allows for pre-planning routes, density of coverages, and instant monitoring of the readings and their quality. Real-time xyz GPS map data allows the remote operator to drive Kingfisher exactly along the pre-planned routes, and to make the coverages required instantly. Areas of weak data coverage can be identified and re-measured at a time when it is easy to do so.