Carlson's 30th Anniversary

A 156Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

Downtown Cincinnati was the site for the recent Carlson User Conference and 30th Anniversary celebration. Held in the Netherlands Plaza, a gorgeous art deco building built during the Depression, the conference was another success. I found it interesting that the developer of the Netherlands Plaza had difficulty obtaining financing, and against advice from his financial advisors, sold all of his stocks and securities just prior to crash of Wall Street in 1929. Because he did, he was able to become one of Cincinnati’s largest employers during the dark era after the market’s crash.

Announced at the conference was the release of the newest version of Carlson Software’s popular data collection software–Carlson SurvCE 3.0. According to the company, the new release features hundreds of additions and improvements, and support for the widest range of RTK GNSS and conventional/robotic total stations of any data collection software on the market. As Bruce Carlson, the company founder, says, "The main and universal advantages of SurvCE are retained–a simple interface, quick learning curve, now even stronger graphics, and a rich set of features to complete any work from building and highway stakeout, to property surveying, topo, control, and GIS data collection."

I continue to be impressed by the availability of Bruce. Bruce’s mission is extreme customer support, even to the point of–early in the company’s history–spending the night in user’s homes while he tried to solve their particular need. And if you check out Shawn Billings’ review of the Carlson Supervisor and SurvPC in this issue, you’ll find that Shawn’s Dad began using Carlson software in 1983 and still has the user manual upon which is written Bruce’s home phone number. Continuing with this philosophy, during each session of the user conference hosted by a product manager, an instance of Notepad was kept open. As each question or suggestion came in from the audience, the manager decided if something is do-able. If it is, it is added to the Notepad text file for future updates. Do other companies do this?

The keynote during the banquet was provided by Jon Ladd, a long-time industry vet whom I first met when he was with Ashtech back in the 90s. After leaving Ashtech, Jon moved to NovAtel, and finally to the board at Hemisphere GPS. With the recent acquisition of the company by China’s Unistrong, and subsequent renaming to Hemisphere GNSS, Jon now assumes the role of chairman of the board of directors at the new company.

His upbeat, positive outlook on the measurement and positioning industry was refreshing. In addition to reminding the audience of the coming explosion of the number of available satellites, and the exploding China market for GNSS, he discussed Hemisphere’s partnership with Carlson, particularly in machine control. Headed up by Randy Noland, who is also the editor of our Machine Control Magazine, Carlson has had great success in this field. Hemisphere has also had great success in agricultural automated guidance, and together, these two companies have a very bright future. As Jon put it, Carlson + Hemisphere = software solutions for many vertical markets + intelligent GNSS hardware. As all of you know, without software nothing works, so it’s interesting to watch the power and success of deep collaboration between the machine control hardware providers and the software providers such as Carlson.

Marc Cheves is editor of the magazine.

A 156Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE