Just over a decade ago, survey teams had to deal with many challenges when collecting point data on a construction site. GNSS rovers still used memory cards to store data and you had to download the information onto an onsite PC. Fast forward to today and everything from the rover’s display, interface, and the antenna is packed with modern technology.
One feature that maximizes efficiency when collecting site data is the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) that automatically compensates when you tilt the antenna. These advanced GNSS rovers outperform older technologies by making it easier for surveyors when collecting data points from the entire site.
Let’s look at the latest IMU and tilt function technology and why it’s become a game-changer in the industry.
How Does the IMU and Tilt Function Work?
Traditional rovers didn’t compensate for the tilt, meaning operators had to level the pole before taking a measurement. The inclusion of an IMU allows you to measure and report the gravity and angular rate of the rover, automatically compensating the measurement accordingly.
IMUs usually consist of:
- Gyroscopes that measure the angular rate
- Accelerometers to record force and acceleration
- Magnetometers that measure the yaw of the antenna
Using these measurements, the system can record the tilt of the pole and calculate the data point just like when holding it level.
How Tilt Compensation Evolved over the Last Ten Years
We are now in the 3rd generation of tilt compensation for GNSS rovers. The first wave of technology increased site and quality control but had some drawbacks. As this generation of tilt compensators relied on magnetometers, the system was prone to inconsistencies and required site-specific calibration to work properly.
The next generation of rovers with tilt compensators uses additional constellations and has more processing power that supports updated Real-Time Kinetic (RTK) engines. By fusing the GNSS measurement with the IMU, teams can increase their productivity and accuracy at the same time.
The system uses an advanced base algorithm to calculate the shake measurement while reducing the interference of magnetic signals with Micro-Electro-Mechanical-System (MEMS) for increased tilt accuracy. Using MEMS to measure the yaw of the pole, these rovers can compensate for any tilt quickly and accurately.
The latest generation can increase the tilt, yaw, and roll measurement accuracy by changing the way the IMU integrates with the magnetometer of the system. Instead of outputting the yaw data from the magnetometer in an IMU, there is no longer a risk of electronic interference and the system can calculate the yaw coordinate compensation without requiring calibration.
To initiate the IMU module, you just have to shake the instrument in one position and it will take a few seconds for the system to be ready to go.
The Benefits of IMU with Tilt Functions for RTK Rovers
Modern RTK-enabled rovers with tilt compensation do not require calibration as the IMU and GNSS data automatically harmonize the pole’s angle and direction data. The system also retains a record of the IMU data for operators to investigate any issues with their measurements.
This increases productivity when measuring any point at the site but also makes it safer for operators who regularly work next to busy roadways. Additionally, the latest antennas access additional constellations using multi-frequency GPS signals. With these updated construction technologies, your surveyors can increase the number of shots you take by as much as 30% compared to previous tilt compensation solutions.
Features to Look for in an IMU Tilt Compensation Solution
When deciding on which IMU tilt compensation rover to use on your project, it’s important to look at the unit’s exact specifications. The robustness of the design, the need to calibrate for magnetic fields, and the processing memory available for the RTK engine will all influence the performance.
Naturally, you’ll also need to validate that the unit can correct point coordinates to the smallest accuracy depending on the specific application. The range for RTK baseline and acquisition time will be just as important if you’re aiming to improve both speed, accuracy, and auto-correct processing.
However, if you want to see how these tilt compensating rovers operate, it’s best to get in touch with construction technology experts.
Increase Speed and Accuracy with an IMU Tilt Compensator GPS Rover from Construction Technology Partners
At Construction Technology Partners, we work with customers that want to leverage the latest systems for improved productivity. To maintain your project schedules without sacrificing accuracy, we provide the entire product range from a host of OEMs including IDig, Futtarra, and Hemisphere.
We also distribute the products from Inteq Distributors and can assist with technology selection, training, and dedicated support for your construction instruments. With UAVs, advanced GPS rovers, and rentals available, you can trust us to assist with any size project from end to end.
If you want to increase your shot-taking productivity, get in touch to discuss our range of IMU tilt compensating rovers.