Robotic Riverbed Survey Vessel Tracked with FOCUS 35 Total Station

Preston, Lancashire, UK (November 28, 2016) To increase public interest and involvement in protecting and improving the Ribble River, the Ribble Rivers Trust recently commissioned a bathymetry survey of a notable section of the riverbed. A robotically controlled 1.2-meter twin-hull shallow draft vessel powered by a twin jet system was used to survey approximately a hectare of the river’s bed. Aboard the vessel was a depth recording sonar and a tracking prism that enabled a Spectra Precision FOCUS 35 total station to lock onto and robotically follow and record the location of the vessel.

Echo soundings from the sonar were transmitted back to a tablet PC ashore via long-range Bluetooth and time stamped, while the boat’s position was continuously recorded by a FOCUS 35 total station and sent back to a tablet PC also using long-range Bluetooth and time stamped.
The tablet PC ran, 4Site, a program that formatted and processed the data from the sonar and the total station into a DWG drawing. Each point was positioned in real-time on the screen of the tablet to permit the operator of the vessel to see gaps in the data in real-time and navigate the boat back to them to ensure complete coverage.

A mesh of the survey area, a 200-meter section of the 50-meter wide river with depths to 3.5 meters, was created and combined with aerial Lidar information to produce a topographic survey that was provided to the Ribble Rivers Trust for its education outreach efforts as part of its Heritage Lottery Funded “Ribble Life Together” project.

According to Jack Spees, CEO of the Ribble Rivers Trust: “The challenge with rivers is that much of the beauty and interest is hidden from view beneath the surface of the water. To reveal this beauty, we undertook a bathymetric survey of a section with particularly interesting features that is adjacent to a heavily used public footpath. The location is a pool at the confluence of the Rivers Hodder and Ribble, known as Hodder Foot. A famous angler (Hugh Falkus) is said to have declared, ‘If god was an angler he would fish at Hodder Foot’. The confluence of these two large rivers creates interesting hydraulic processes that produce notable features, including some surprising depths. It is also home to a range of river species, such as otter, salmon, trout, eel and lamprey. We are using the survey to reveal these hidden depths on interpretation boards, including digitally-augmented reality and video media that will permit visitors to explore the underwater world.”
About the Focus 35
The Spectra Precision FOCUS 35 is a motorized total station providing high speed, accuracy and precise measurement. The speed of observation and precise positioning of the FOCUS 35 Robotic Total Station is provided by patented StepDrive™ motion technology, which controls the horizontal and vertical motion of the motors, eliminating the need for traditional motion locks. The FOCUS 35 includes a tracking sensor that uses LockNGo™ FastTrack tracking technology, enabling the instrument to constantly lock onto the prism.

About Ribble River Trust
The Ribble River Trust was formed in 1997 to restore flora and wildlife of the Ribble River to its former glory. Today the mission of the Ribble River Trust is to protect and enhance the water environments of the river’s 564 square mile catchment for the benefit of current and future generations.

About 4Site
4Site is data capture product based on an AutoCAD DWG engine designed and marketed by Application in CADD Ltd. 4Site removes the tedium of dealing with surveying data captured using total stations and GNNS receivers. In its simplest form 4Site Office allows downloading, formatting and processing of survey data into a drawing.

About the Spectra Precision Brand
Spectra Precision is an established brand known for delivering quality products to the construction market. Focusing on the specific needs of the conventional surveying market, the Spectra Precision brand offers a complete product portfolio including Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), Geographical Information Systems (GIS), optical total stations, data collection hardware, field and office software, as well as a wide range of construction tools. Spectra Precision surveying equipment is an economical choice that utilizes technologies for optimal efficiency. With convenience and reliability as the foundation of the Spectra Precision brand, it is an ideal choice for value. The Spectra Precision brand is backed with the strong technical support that users have come to expect from a quality name in surveying and construction.