Cost-effective, high accuracy system for GPS location

Queensland Drones is proud to supply and use the BAAM.Tech PPK Base and Rover System, designed by mapping experts as a low cost, streamlined package for the placement of ground control points for aerial surveys and for the execution of point-based ground surveys.

We chose this system for our own mapping operations because it offers one of the simplest and most streamlined workflows we’ve seen in PPK or RTK options currently available. It also allows us to use the same PPK rover module for ground-based GPS locating and in our drones for aerial PPK image location.

The BAAM.Tech PPK system using GPS L1/L2, GLONASS G1/G2, BeiDou B1/B2, Galileo E1/E5b and SBAS satellite systems to create super-fast data acquisition times, along with OPUS to and from the correct location of the base unit. This allows the base to be set up anywhere and its precise position to be identified in post-processing.

The workflow we use with this system is very simple. When we arrive on site we set up and power up the PPK Base unit on a standard photographic tripod (not included) in a convenient location inside the mapping perimeter but out of the way of vehicle traffic and other possible interference. We then power up the PPK Rover unit and give it about 1-2 minutes to obtain a satellite fix. We drop our GCP targets in each required location, place the PPK Rover in the centre of the target, centre the pole (not included) using the inbuilt level bubble and click the capture button. A white light confirms the location has been captured. We then move on and set the remaining points in the same way.

When GCPs have been placed, we remove the PPK module from the rover and place it in the UAV, place the UAV in the centre of the supplied calibration mat, take one calibration photo and then execute our mission as normal.

The PPK Base and Rover come with rechargeable batteries that will power the units for up to 8 hours and can be swapped in the field. The system also comes with two battery charging units and with its own Windows-based post-processing software.

When the mapping mission is complete, we remove the USB thumb drives from the PPK Base and Rover units and copy the files to our Windows laptop or PC along with the UAV images. We load the PPK processing software, point it to the base and rover files and it converts them to GPS locations. We then tell the software the location of the UAV images and it updates the EXIF data with the PPK-corrected image positions. It’s that simple.

If you would like to discuss purchasing the BAAM.Tech PPK Base and Rover either as a ground GPS kit or as a ground-air PPK system, please call Tony on 0439 383202 or email [email protected] If you would like more detail, please read on.

What’s “under the hood”

The Process

The BAAM Tech PPK Base will attached to any standard tribrach or 5/8″ survey rod or tripod. With the addition of a 1/4″ to 5/8″ tripod adaptor, it will attach to any photographic tripod.

As soon as you turn on the PPK Base it will begin to record data, you don’t need to do anything else. The longer you leave the PPK Base in one location undisturbed, the better the precision will become. 45 minutes is usually a good length of time if possible for maximum precision.

The Base and Rover do not need to communicate, so there is no complicated radio system to set up or worry about and you don’t need long range radios to use the BAAM.Tech PPK system. This means you can travel or fly as far as you need to go to collect all your mapping and survey data without having to worry about stretching radio links.

Accuracy

The BAAM.Tech PPK Rover is identical to the PPK Base except it is fitted with a trigger button and a velcro strap to lock it to a survey pole. Again, any survey pole or rod with a tribrach or 5/8″ thread can be used. It is recommended to use a survey pole with a built-in level bubble to ensure the antenna is positioned directly over the survey point.

Every time the PPK Rover trigger button is clicked, it lights up to confirm that it has recorded the GPS location. Once finished, simply process the data using the BAAM.Tech PPK post-processing software. There are no subscriptions or annual fees required.

BAAM.Tech PPK Accuracy

Unlike RTK systems which typically use only GPS L1 satellite connections, or other PPK systems using only L1/L2 satellite connections, the BAAM.Tech PPK system uses multi-constellation satellites – GPS L1/L2 and GLONASS G1/G2, BeiDou B1/B2, Galileo E1/E5b and SBAS constellations. This significantly increases the quality of the signal and maintains more stable and reliable satellite links.

The use of multi-constellation satellites means the BAAM.Tech PPK system is not so easily affected by heavy tree cover like other PPK systems. The BAAM.Tech system achieves centimetre level accuracy even in the most demanding of conditions.

Queensland Drones can equip you with a complete BAAM.Tech Base and Rover PPK configuration, complete with rechargeable batteries, battery chargers and post-processing software, for around AUD$8150 (USD$5150) plus import charges and GST. We can also equip you to use the PPK Rover module in your UAV for around AUD$900 (USD$750) more. Please give us a call on 0439 383202 or email us at [email protected] to discuss integration with your mapping drones and to get a firm quotation.