Topcon opens G3 door to the future


Simple name.

Revolutionary technology.  

Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS) announces the Paradigm G3 chip, a new technology that sets the standard for the future of satellite positioning. Satellite positioning systems are widely used for land surveying and machine control tasks. To operate, these systems need to receive a minimum of five satellites at all times. When the minimum number of satellites is not available due to obstructions – trees, buildings, or steep slopes — reception is interrupted, creating costly downtime on the job site.  

Topcon’s GPS+ GLONASS technology virtually eliminated satellite access problems.  The new Topcon G3 technology takes it a step further by adding the soon-to-be-available European Union Galileo satellite constellation, which will eventually have a total of more than 30 satellites. The G3 chip with its patented Universal Signal Tracking capabilities has 72 universal channels that can receive signals from up to 36 satellites simultaneously.

The advantages of Topcon’s Paradigm G3 are numerous and include:
• Tracks all signals from all available satellite positioning systems now and in the future to provide seamless positioning information.
• Patented new generation firmware is designed to dynamically adjust to satellites with best signal strength.
• High rate signal sampling delivers industry leading performance and accuracy.
• Streamlined chip profile – 75 percent smaller than current chips, enabling small, lighter receiver design.
• Unmatched tracking capabilities in difficult environments reduce signal degradation.
• G3 incorporates more channels and uses less power, guaranteeing full workdays on a single charge.

The first Galileo satellite, a demonstration and testing model launched December 28, sets the stage for additional satellite launches in 2006 and beyond. In a related development, users of Topcon Positioning Systems GPS+ technology and equipment can now access three additional navigational satellites in the GLONASS system following a Christmas Day launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The launch, which increased the number of GLONASS satellites to 17 (with GPS, the total number of satellites available to Topcon customers to 41), is the first of a series of satellite placements the Russian Federal Space Agency has scheduled in the next two years to bring the GLONASS satellite system to full deployment.

Two of the satellites are the new M-series, which has a longer orbit-life – seven to eight years – compared to about three years for older models. Future launches will include GLONASS satellites that are designed to orbit for up to 10 years.    

How does “more satellites” relate to assisting Topcon customers on the job site? Having access to all satellites available virtually eliminates job site downtime, making workdays more productive, and adding to a company’s bottom line.

The development of the G3 technology and Paradigm chip further solidifies Topcon’s reputation as the global leader in designing and manufacturing the most innovative satellite positioning technologies to meet the constantly changing demands facing the civil engineering and construction industry.

G3 overcomes jobs’ challenges
When faced with environmental challenges – narrow streets with tall buildings, dense forests, and mountainous terrain – Topcon’s G3 system can provide from two to three times better satellite coverage than competing products. G3’s universal signal tracking capabilities guarantees access to all existing and planned satellite systems, plus access to all new signals from existing constellations.

Ray O’Connor, TPS chief executive officer (right), said, “The G3 chip raises the technology bar by creating an entirely new category of satellite positioning performance. Our G3 technology utilizes three satellite constellations to ensure Topcon customers have maximum satellite performance regardless of terrain, regardless of obstacles.”

O’Connor said, “It is a fact of business that customer demand drives development. That’s the strength of Topcon: We listen to our customers. They demand advances in technology that will save them time. We listen and know what products and software they want, and we have the engineers, scientists and programmers that can deliver the products the market demands.

“What you have with the G3,” O’Connor said, “is a precise, productive, rugged powerhouse that will be a workhorse for years and years to come.

New technology sets new standard
“The industry standard for satellite tracking has been set by G3 and it will be the standard for years to come.” O’Connor said, “If you invest in G3 technology now, you are investing in the long term, you are investing in your future. If you buy some other product, you will have a short window before it is time to replace it.”

The word on G3 technology: What experts are saying

Joe Brabec (right)
TPS chief technology officer
“G3 is simply a faster chip. Its high-level integration devices are small, will consume less power, and run longer off a battery. The technologies are designed to deal with the environmental issues of signal degradation that occur in a normal urban/surburban environment. Issues like multi-path and fast-satellite lock are addressed.
“At a time when machines are moving faster and faster, it’s a real challenge in a dynamic moving environment for a receiver to maintain signal lock with satellites. It improves your overall tracking ability and the uptime for the user.”

Dr. James P. Reilly, PLS (left)
Dept. Head, Surveying, New Mexico State; Owner, Geodetic Enterprises, Inc.
“It (G3) had to come. I mean everything that had been done so far, all the improvements that have been done by manufacturers, all the same old signals coming from the GPS (satellites), nothing has changed. Then (Topcon) has the advantage of working with the improved signals from GLONASS. And so you have experience and you’ve developed software … to pick up both signals.
“Now, Galileo is coming up, and … every bird in the sky that is broadcasting a signal … can be picked up. … That’s marvelous!”

Eduardo Falcon (right)
TPS senior vice president-product development
“ If you have more than the minimum signals, you want to be able to select the right combination of signals to be able to produce the most accurate solution. In the real world environment, what’s going to happen is the number of signals will be limited by obstructions or conditions by the normal physics of a location.
“So, that is where G3 really will show its teeth. It’s going to change the way satellite signals are harnessed and used. It gets us closer to Topcon’s ultimate goal of having 24/7 in any conditions.”

Dr. Clyde Goad (left)
TPS vice president-software
(1990 winner of the Burka Award, given by the Institute of Navigation to recognize outstanding achievement in the preparation of papers contributing to the advancement and navigation and space guidance.)
“Precision and accuracy are addictive. So many applications in the past required, maybe, meter level differential positions. In the future, (the demand will be for) centimeter level or, perhaps, decimeter level precisions.
“This new G3 chip is very clever. You specify a frequency, you specify a code and the receiver does the rest. It looks for satellites carrying those frequencies and codes and that enables the tracking of GPS, GLONASS and Galileo or any other future satellite, for that matter.”

Ray O’Connor
“The G3 specifically will open up many
, many doors. People who are buying boards from other manufacturers will start looking to Topcon because of the technology we have developed. And dealers want to be able to sell to their customers the technology that is going to bring them into the next 10-15 years.
“Why would somebody buy something today that has just been made obsolete?
“It just doesn’t make sense.”

About Topcon
Topcon Positioning Systems, a developer and manufacturer of innovative positioning equipment, offers the world’s leading selection of innovative precision GPS, laser, optical surveying, and machine control products, software, and applications.