Problems Downloading CORS Base Station Data – RESOLVED

As of Friday (April 11) afternoon, all issues should be resolved.

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Problems Downloading CORS Base Station Data

Earlier today we became aware of a problem downloading CORS base station data from the NGS/NOAA servers through Trimble Positions Desktop add-in.  At the beginning of post processing, you will see error messages for the failed downloads.  We are currently investigating the issue but it appears to affect Pathfinder Office and Field Inspector in addition to Trimble Positions.  One workaround would be to note the URLs for the attempted downloads and then download the files manually through a browser.  You can then setup a new post processing profile for those specific files.

We’ll share additional information as we have it.

UPDATE: As of Friday (April 11) afternoon, all issues should be resolved.

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Support for ArcGIS for Desktop 10.2.1

By now you’ve probably seen the announcements from Esri about the availability of ArcGIS 10.2.1. Although the “major.minor.revision” numbering has been used for a few years in some of the mobile and runtime products, it’s somewhat new to the core ArcGIS releases. In the past, it’s usually been service packs between the “minor” releases of Desktop, Server, and Engine (even though at the DLL level, the service pack number was typically reflected in the “revision” position of the version string). Moving forward, these intermediate releases will likely follow this new convention. One big advantage is that they come with a full installer so that you can install the latest version directly and not have to do the main release and then apply the service pack. You can also upgrade an installation in-place.

Given these new options, there are a few different paths you can take to get to 10.2.1. Although the Trimble Positions Desktop add-in is supported with ArcGIS for Desktop 10.2.1, there are a few things to consider depending on your upgrade path. Here are several of the most common scenarios and the steps you will need to take to get everything working:

  1. You’re running ArcGIS for Desktop 10.1, ArcPad 10.2, ArcGIS for Windows Mobile 10.2, and Trimble Positions Desktop add-in 10.2 and you do an in-place upgrade to ArcGIS for Desktop 10.2.1.
    Trimble Positions Desktop add-in will no longer be registered with ArcMap. You’ll need to perform 3 manual steps: edit the ArcMap.exe.config as described in the release notes (can also be accomplished by uninstalling and re-installing), double-click the PositionsDesktopAddIn.esriAddIn file in “C:\Program Files (x86)\Trimble\Trimble Positions Desktop add-In\AddIns”, and once back in ArcMap, enable the “Trimble Positions Desktop” extension under the Customize…Extensions menu.
  2. You’re running ArcGIS for Desktop 10.1, ArcPad 10.2, and ArcGIS for Windows Mobile 10.2 and you do an in-place upgrade to ArcGIS for Desktop 10.2.1 before installing Trimble Positions Desktop add-in 10.2.
    Trimble Positions Desktop add-in may not be properly registered with ArcMap. If the toolbar is not available, you will need to perform 2 manual steps: double-click the PositionsDesktopAddIn.esriAddIn file in “C:\Program Files (x86)\Trimble\Trimble Positions Desktop add-In\AddIns”, and once back in ArcMap, enable the “Trimble Positions Desktop” extension under the Customize…Extensions menu.
  3. You’re running ArcGIS for Desktop 10.2, ArcPad 10.2, ArcGIS for Windows Mobile 10.2, and Trimble Positions Desktop add-in 10.2 and you do an in-place upgrade to ArcGIS for Desktop 10.2.1.
    Trimble Positions Desktop add-in should remain properly registered with ArcMap. You will only have to do the manual step of editing the ArcMap.exe.config as described in the release notes (can also be accomplished by uninstalling and re-installing).
  4. You do a fresh installation of ArcGIS for Desktop 10.2.1, ArcPad 10.2, and ArcGIS for Windows Mobile 10.2 and then install Trimble Positions Desktop add-in 10.2.
    Trimble Positions Desktop add-in may not be properly registered with ArcMap. If the toolbar is not available, you will need to perform 2 manual steps: double-click the PositionsDesktopAddIn.esriAddIn file in “C:\Program Files (x86)\Trimble\Trimble Positions Desktop add-In\AddIns”, and once back in ArcMap, enable the “Trimble Positions Desktop” extension under the Customize…Extensions menu.

Hope that helps.

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Trimble Positions 10.2

The Trimble Positions Development Team is pleased to announce the release of Trimble Positions 10.2.0.1 for all products. As the name implies, this release supports ArcGIS for Desktop 10.2, ArcGIS for Windows Mobile 10.2, and ArcPad 10.2, in addition to supporting Trimble’s latest GNSS handheld, the Geo 7 Series.

This release addresses usability, bug fixes, and a handful of noteworthy new features:

  • Real-time only workflow. For Positions Mobile extension users, this release introduces the concept of ‘workflow type’ and you can select between Real-Time Corrections + Postprocessing (previously the only option) and Real-Time Corrections Only. In this new workflow type, sessions are not created, metadata is populated in the field, and some out-of-box functionality in the mobile application (copy feature, new feature at same location) is restored.
  • Field-to-office session notes. Positions Mobile extension (and Positions Toolkit) users can now enter descriptive text about the session and this text will be visible to the Positions Desktop add-in user. The columns visible in the sessions grid of the dockable window have been adjusted to display start time, end time, and these notes. Sessions notes can be created and edited for the current session and also for previously saved (unsynchronized) sessions by clicking the appropriate entry in the New Sessions in Cache list in the GNSS Sessions task.
  • Nested point feature collection. In this version of the Positions Mobile extension (and Positions Toolkit), you can pause streamed line collection to collect nested point features. This feature is available as a menu option in the Form View geometry page. You can select from any of the point layers in the current project.
  • List of satellites used. Clicking on the Satellites: text on the GNSS Status page of the Positions Mobile extension will expand the area to show a list of satellites used in the solution. Satellites are listed by constellation.
  • Legacy workflow support. This version adds basic support for a few legacy workflows that have been requested: create data dictionary (DDF) from the layers in the current map document (for the TerraSync™ software), and create a projection file (PRJ) from the coordinate system used in the current map document (for the GPS Pathfinder® Office software).

The release notes contain the full listing of new functionality and bug fixes and should be consulted for further detail. Check back here in the next couple of weeks for demonstration videos highlighting some of the new functionality in the context of different workflows.

Before we go, an important note: This release includes an upgrade to the schema of the Trimble Positions Desktop database. As a reminder, this is the Jet/MDB or ODBC data source that you configured during installation using the Trimble Positions Desktop Configuration application available in the Start Menu. After installing Trimble Positions Desktop add-in 10.2.0.1, run the Configuration application, and click the ‘Test current configuration‘ link. This will alert you that the schema needs to be upgraded and that all existing data (projects, processing profiles, field configurations, etc.) will be preserved. Click the ‘Yes‘ button, wait a few seconds, and then re-click the ‘Test current configuration‘ link to verify that the schema was upgraded.

UpgradeSchema

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Positions ArcPad Extension for Windows – Installation Problems

In August of this year, we released the long-awaited Positions ArcPad extension for Windows.  The 10.0.0.2 installation package includes installers for both Windows and Windows Mobile.  For those of you who have installed the Positions ArcPad extension on Windows, you likely have come across some errors either during installation or when trying to run ArcPad.  Unfortunately, the installer for Windows is missing a required Microsoft Visual C++ runtime redistributable.

To rectify this:

  1. Download the Visual C++ 2008 SP1 Redistributable Package ATL Security Update from Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=11895. As ArcPad is a 32-bit application, you will only need the x86 version (vcredist_x86.exe).
  2. Uninstall Positions ArcPad extension.
  3. Uninstall ArcPad.
  4. Install the runtime redistributable.
  5. Re-install ArcPad.
  6. Re-install Positions ArcPad extension.

That should resolve the problem.  We’ve heard reports of it working without steps 3 and 5 but included them here regardless.

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US Government Shutdown & CORS Data

Due to the US government shutdown all NGS/CORS services are unavailable (UFCORS, CORS ftp). This means that data cannot be post-processed against CORS base stations or services unless the data has previously been downloaded. If this affects you, please contact your Trimble dealer as they may be able to suggest other sources of base station data for your area.

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Setting Up a Shared Trimble Positions Desktop Database on SQL Server

The goal is to setup a shared SQL Server database called TPDatabase1 on SQLServer1 that will allow User1 on PC1 and User2 on PC2 to share their Trimble Positions projects, post-processing profiles, and field configurations.  This will be done by using Windows Authentication.  Let’s assume that User1 and User2 are Windows domain users and at least User1 is a member of the administrators group for the SQL Server installation on SQLServer1.  Also, User1 has SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) installed on either PC1 or SQLServer1 so that he/she can connect to SQLServer1.  Finally, PC1 and PC2 have installed the SQL Server Native Client (at or above the SQL Server version), Esri ArcGIS for Desktop, and the Trimble Positions Desktop (TPD) add-in.

  1. Launch SSMS on PC1 or SQLServer1, connect to SQLServer1 as User1, find the ‘Databases’ node in the Object Explorer panel and right-click to create a ‘New Database’.
  2. In the SSMS dialog that opens, specify the name (TPDatabase1) and click ‘OK’.
  3. In the SSMS Object Explorer panel, find the ‘Logins’ node within the ‘Security’ node and right-click to create a ‘New login’.
  4. In the SSMS dialog that opens, specify the login name (User2).
  5. In the same SSMS dialog, click the ‘User Mapping’ link at left and note the list of databases displayed.  Click the checkbox next to TPDatabase1 and when the ‘Database role membership’ area is enabled below, click the checkbox next to ‘db_owner’. [Note: the combination of ‘db_datareader’ and ‘db_datawriter’ would likely be sufficient but this has not been explicitly tested.]  Click ‘OK’ to complete this.  SSMS can now be closed.
  6. Launch the TPD Configuration tool on PC1 and select the option to ‘Add/Edit a new configuration’.
  7. In the TPD Configuration screen, select ‘Single user’ or ‘All users on this PC’ as appropriate.
  8. In the same screen, select the radio button for ‘I will setup a database connection myself (Advanced)’.
  9. In the same screen, select the option to ‘Manage ODBC data sources’.
  10. In the ODBC Data Source Administrator window that opens, select the ‘System DSN’ tab.
  11. From the ‘System DSN’ tab, click ‘Add…’ and select an appropriate driver from the list (e.g., SQL Server Native Client 10.0), and click ‘Finish’.
  12. In the ‘Create a New Data Source’ (DSN) wizard, provide a name for the data source (we’ll call it TPonSQL), specify the server instance name (SQLServer1), and click ‘Next’.
  13. In the authentication page of the DSN wizard, leave the radio button for ‘With Integrated Windows authentication’ checked and click ‘Next’.
  14. In the next page of the DSN wizard, click the checkbox next to ‘Change the default database to’, select TPDatabase1 from the list, and click ‘Next’.
  15. In the final page of the DSN wizard, click ‘Finish’.  In the confirmation dialog that opens, click ‘Test Data Source…’ to confirm a proper connection.  Click ‘OK’ twice to get back to the ODBC Data Source Administrator screen.
  16. From the ODBC Data Source Administrator screen, click ‘OK’ to get back to the TPD Configuration screen.
  17. In the TPD Configuration screen, open the ‘ODBC data source’ select list and choose the TPonSQL entry that you just created.
  18. In the same screen, click the ‘Test data source’ link and at the prompt to create schema, click ‘Yes’.  Wait for the confirmation dialog and click ‘OK’.
  19. In the same screen, click the ‘Apply’ button.
  20. In the original TPD Configuration screen, click ‘Exit’.  This completes the configuration of PC1.
  21. As User2 logged in on PC2, repeat steps 6 through 20 and note that in step 18, you will not be prompted to create schema as the schema already exists and you have access to it.

Notes:

  • The SQL Server instance name has been simplified for this example.  It may take on the form SERVER\INSTANCE,PORT.
  • The usernames have also been simplified for this example.  In a domain (Active Directory) environment, they would take on the form DOMAIN\USER.
  • This example makes use of ‘System DSN’ entries which are specific to the machine.  For Citrix-type environments where users may login to different physical computers, the use of ‘User DSN’ entries should be considered in conjunction with the ‘Single user’ configuration type.
  • This procedure should work equally well with SQL Server Express provided the user also downloads and installs SQL Server Management Studio Express.
  • Although this example was given for SQL Server, it could also be done with Oracle, PostgreSQL, etc. assuming the user has the requisite drivers and management tools installed.
  • If SQL Server has been installed with ‘Mixed Mode Authentication’, it may be easier to create a SQL login with full access to the TPD database and then use this SQL login in the DSN entries on both computers.  SQL Server security best practices (and perhaps your IT department) should be consulted.
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Trimble Positions ArcPad Extension Now Supports Windows!

We’re excited to announce that the Trimble Positions ArcPad extension now includes support for Esri ArcPad on Windows.  This provides GIS customers looking to couple ArcPad with powerful tablet PCs, such as the Trimble Yuma 2, with the ability to post-process and analyze field data collected on a tablet.  Available for download now, the installation package for the Trimble Positions ArcPad extension v10.0.0.2 includes installers for both Windows and Windows Mobile.  The Windows version has the same language support that the Windows Mobile version does.

Look for the new “Trimble Positions Software Suite – August 2013 (current)” section of the Technical Support – Downloads area at www.trimble.com/positions.  Note that all version numbers remain the same as the previous release as there have been no other changes in the software; all other installation packages are identical to the previous release.  Esri pre-requisites and version support also remain the same.

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ArcGIS 10.2

As you’re probably aware, Esri recently released ArcGIS 10.2 (Server, Desktop, Engine) and ArcPad 10.2, with ArcGIS for Windows Mobile 10.2 to follow.  Trimble remains committed to the Esri technology stack and intends to support these new versions in a future release of Trimble Positions.

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Synchronizing Attachments in the Server Workflow

Since the release of Trimble Positions, we have seen an increasing number of customers looking at the “server” workflow in ArcGIS for Windows Mobile.  In this workflow, the mobile device (running ArcGIS for Windows Mobile + Trimble Positions Mobile extension) synchronizes data changes directly to the enterprise geodatabase through a mobile service on ArcGIS for Server.  All feature and feature attachment data synchronizes through the service.  The mobile service will synchronize the feature (shape and attributes) and each attachment as separate transactions to minimize the packet size as much as possible.  As a reminder, the binary GNSS “session” data that gets recorded in the background during data collection, as required for post processing, is stored as an attachment to a feature in the TrimbleSessions layer.  This data accumulates at the rate of roughly 1MB per hour and so a typical data collection work session might yield an attachment of 2~3MB.  This is likely among the larger attachment sizes a customer may deal with in typical workflows.

Due mainly to the very restrictive application memory space for Windows Mobile applications (32MB; into which both Esri’s application and our extension have to fit), and the fact that Esri has to support different types of secured mobile services (token, web auth, Windows auth, etc.), synchronizing large attachments (say >= 4MB) may be problematic in certain scenarios.  Logic in the existing ArcGIS for Windows Mobile 10.1.1 application may not notify the user that one or more attachments has failed to synchronize and may also prevent any retries of failed attachment synchronizations.  It’s not until the Trimble Positions office user gets failure messages when trying to “check for new sessions” that there is any indication of a problem.  In such cases, a message about “no GNSS measurements” will be logged to the Trimble Positions Desktop add-in log file.  This indicates that a feature in the TrimbleSessions feature class is missing the binary attachment and thus it cannot be imported into the Trimble Positions office database.  In these scenarios, there is no data loss as the unsynchronized session attachments will continue to sit in the device’s mobile cache folder.

We are working closely with Esri on these limitations and Esri is improving both the underlying attachment synchronization logic and error notification within the 10.2 release to accommodate larger attachments.  For customers that may encounter problems now, there are several workarounds available:

  1. Copy the mobile project from the device onto a Windows computer that has the ArcGIS for Windows Mobile tablet application installed.  This application gets installed by default when you install Mobile Project Center.  Open the project in the tablet application and use the ‘Synchronize’ task to push data changes up to the mobile service.  This may require you to create a new session to make sure that TrimbleSessions is available in the list of layers to synchronize.  The initial warning message about a ‘Missing Extension PositionsProjectExtension.dll’ can be ignored as it just indicates that the project is referencing an extension that does not exist on the Windows machine.
  2. Utilize the stand-alone ‘SessionUploader’ synchronization application that Trimble has created and made available through the dealer support channel.  This allows the user to perform synchronization outside of the ArcGIS for Windows Mobile application and thus avoid most memory-related problems.  Provided as a simple zip file, it should be unzipped and copied to the \Program Files\ folder on the device.  From there it can be run manually.  The user simply selects the project from a list and clicks a button to perform a full, upload-only synchronization.  This will synchronize all new or changed features and attachments in all layers.  The desired project should be closed first in the ArcGIS for Windows Mobile application before selecting it for synchronization in this application.

Unfortunately, workarounds are never perfect and even the work that Esri is doing for 10.2 will have its limits.  It is always recommended that adequate testing be performed in an environment as close as possible to what is expected in production.  This would include network topology (DMZ, WiFi/cellular, LAN/WAN), software versions, mobile hardware, attachment workflows (number and size), synchronization workflows, etc.

For the Trimble Positions Mobile extension workflow, it is best to keep session attachments to a reasonable size (1~3MB) by closing the project (or application) in between work activities (e.g., when taking a break or meal).  This will close the session and store it as an attachment.  If the user simply hits the power button on the device (suspend), the session will be resumed upon start-up and will continue to grow in size.  Disconnecting from the GNSS receiver does not stop the session.  Advanced users can also use the ‘GNSS Sessions’ task to manually start and stop sessions.

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