Trimble Positions Desktop add-in and Session Processor utility Re-release

We are grateful to our diligent user community for spotting a couple issues in the November release of the Trimble Positions Desktop add-in and the Session Processor utility. While investigating these issues, we also found a couple other things that we felt warranted fixing. Updated installers for both applications are now available on the Trimble website. The version number remains so you will need to check file revision dates to determine if a machine has the original or the re-release.

Issues addressed

  • TerraFlex publish/harvest workflows were broken after the TerraFlex Advanced upgrade. This functionality has been restored although the new data update workflows are not supported in this release.
  • Session Processor installer did not include all files necessary for ArcPad project support. These files are now included and ArcPad projects can now be used in the Session Processor when ArcPad 10.2.2 is installed on the desktop.
  • Session Processor installer did not write a .config file to the installation folder in all cases. The configuration file is specific to the ArcGIS for Desktop version (assembly binding) and should now be written to the installation folder for all supported ArcGIS versions (10.1, 10.2, 10.2.x, 10.3).
  • Photo handling was not correct in certain TerraSync workflows. In certain cases, photos may have been missing the full path information or may have received duplicate names on check-in. This has been resolved.
  • Change made to ArcMap.exe.config file during installation caused Version Manager toolbar to stop working. The Trimble Positions Desktop add-in installer will no longer make a change to the <startup> tag in the ArcMap.exe.config file. It will only add a supported .NET runtime version. For more information, refer to this earlier blog post.
  • Project wizard should not include hidden fields in TerraSync/TerraFlex project layers. If fields are hidden at the time the project is created, they will not be included in the project layers. If changes are made to the geodatabase schema or ArcMap layer definition after the project was created, a new project should be created. The OBJECTID and SHAPE fields should never be hidden in TerraSync project workflows.
  • Dockable window should remember last check-out/check-in folder for TerraSync SSF files. This is now functional.
  • Layer names > 20 characters were improperly handled in TerraSync workflows preventing check-in. Long layer names are now truncated properly for use in the Data Dictionary Editor. Original layer names in ArcMap should not need to be changed.
  • Layer names should have ‘.’ character stripped before being used in TerraSync workflows. Layers added from an enterprise geodatabase will by default contain one or more ‘dots’ in the name. These will be removed automatically for internal layer name storage in TerraSync workflows. Original layer names in ArcMap should not need to be changed.
  • Checked-out features (in TerraSync SSF files) that weren’t updated were incorrectly included in a new session on check-in. Unmodified features will now always be excluded from sessions on check-in.
  • Feature accuracy values were not populated on check-ins from TerraSync SSF files. In some cases, feature accuracy values were not always populated on check-in. This has been resolved.

Note that because of the changes in TerraSync support, you should check-in any in-progress data before upgrading. Although in most cases, existing check-outs can still be checked-in with this version, there are some workflows (namely those with long layer names) where it likely won’t work.

Known issues

Non-ASCII characters are unsupported in TerraSync workflows. Currently, the use of non-ASCII characters in layer names/aliases, field names/aliases, and string attributes may cause problems in TerraSync workflows using the Trimble Positions Desktop add-in. This will be fixed in the next release.

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Missing Configuration Files for the Session Processor

In the November 2014 release, we introduced the Trimble Positions Session Processor, a stand-alone utility for processing collected GNSS data (check-in, post processing, feature updating, etc.) based on Trimble Positions project settings. During installation, a proper configuration file is supposed to be stored in the main application folder based on the version of ArcGIS for Desktop (or Engine) components that are installed. However, some customers have reported that this is not always the case and it seems that the installer may not handle all ArcGIS versions properly. The absence of a SessionProcessor.exe.config file prevents the Session Processor from running.  Although this will be fixed in a future update, a zip of all the proper configuration files can be downloaded here:


Extract the appropriate SessionProcessor.exe.config for your ArcGIS version and place it in the main application folder where Session Processor was installed. Note that these configuration files do specify a default log file and path (C:\Temp\mylog.log) that you may want to change prior to running the application.

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Using a Geoid GGF File in ArcPad

In the latest release of the Trimble Positions ArcPad extension for Windows Mobile, we introduced the ability to calculate mean sea level (MSL) elevations in the field. This was in addition to the functionality that already existed to calculate MSL in the office using the Trimble Positions Desktop add-in. As the release notes indicate, there is no user interface exposed within the extension for specifying the GGF file and it must be done through a registry entry. The way to go about this is by first copying the appropriate Trimble-format geoid file (GGF) to the device and then adding a registry entry that points to it:

FullFilePath=<path to the GGF file>

Creating (or editing) a registry entry on Windows Mobile requires some hoop jumping, namely the use of a remote registry editor or a RegEdit-like freeware application. To aid in this configuration step, we have created a very simple application (single .exe file) that can be copied to your mobile device and run locally. Functionality should be self-explanatory:

GGF Configuration Utility    GGF Configuration Utility


When you have a geoid file specified, ArcPad will receive only the MSL elevations from the extension.  If you want to confirm the difference between HAE and MSL, you can navigate to the Skyplot screen in the extension and note the HAE value and compare this with what you see on the GNSS overlay in ArcPad. Although you can certainly share the deployed GGF file between the Trimble Positions ArcPad extension and the Trimble Positions Mobile extension, the configuration for the latter must be done through Mobile Project Center as described in the documentation for the ArcGIS for Windows Mobile workflows.

The application is available for download here:

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Troubleshooting with Log Files

In typical workflows, it shouldn’t be necessary to look at the Trimble Positions log files. However, when trying to diagnose problems or understand what’s going on in more detail, consulting the log files is a necessary step.  In addition, you will almost always be asked to include the log files when submitting a support issue to your dealer or Trimble Support.

The log file for the Trimble Positions Desktop add-in is easy enough to find (note: all paths in this post follow the Windows 7 format):


As with other applications, the logging ‘level’ can be set to control how much detail gets included in these log files. By default, we use the ‘INFO’ level but it sometimes can be useful to change this to ‘DEBUG’, particularly when trying to reproduce a problem for support.

The tricky part, particularly for the Trimble Positions Desktop add-in, is figuring out where to make this change. When ArcMap first encounters a newly registered add-in, it will unpack the .esriAddIn file to a temporary (hidden) storage location called the AssemblyCache:


It is from here that the add-in actually executes. So one option for changing the debug level is to edit the PositionsDesktopAddIn.dll.config file in the AssemblyCache subfolder named {53B8FB5F-6061-4667-84B8-ADE5C76D6BE3}. Open the file in a text editor and look for the <log4net>…</log4net> section. You only need to make one change for the <level>:

<logger name="Trimble.Positions">
  <level value="DEBUG"/>

In some cases, this change will stick and you will see additional messages in the log. However, ArcMap has its own logic for refreshing the files in the AssemblyCache and your changes may get overwritten (e.g., the next time ArcMap loads) with a fresh copy of the .config file. To work around this, you can copy/paste the entire <log4net>…</log4net> section into a new file called log.config that should be placed in the folder that corresponds to the single-user or all-user configuration.

For single-user configurations (also, where the log files themselves are stored as described above):


For all-user configurations:


The <log4net>…</log4net> text that you copied into this file is not specific to the machine and thus the log.config file can be shared with other users as necessary. It will also persist across version upgrades along with the rest of the settings.

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A new Trimble Positions ArcPad extension release for the new year

We are pleased to announce the availability of the Trimble Positions ArcPad extension version…the last piece of the November 2014 release. This release is for Windows Mobile only and adds a few things that relate directly to customer requests:

  • Support for Trimble RTX™ technology. This version supports the forthcoming Trimble RTX technology in the Trimble Geo7X handheld firmware as a primary source of real-time corrections.
  • Support for precise feature heights. This version adds support for Mean Sea Level (MSL) calculation in the field by specifying a geoid grid file (GGF) downloaded from the Trimble website and deployed manually to the field device. This setting is via registry entry and augments the functionality to calculate MSL in the office, added to the Trimble Positions Desktop add-in in a previous release.
    To enable conversion from height-above-ellipsoid to MSL in the field, a new registry key should be created on the Windows Mobile device:
    In it, a new string value named “FullFilePath” should be created and populated with the full file name (including folder name) for the required GGF file.  When set correctly, positional data sent to ArcPad will have elevation expressed as MSL, or orthometric height.
  • Additional hardware support. The Trimble Positions ArcPad extension can now run on the following field devices: Trimble Juno® 5 Enhanced GPS, Trimble Juno T41™, and Trimble Juno T41 Enhanced GPS.

Updated documentation is still being worked on and will be available shortly.  Additional information is available in the release notes:

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Problems using Version Manager when Trimble Positions Desktop is installed

Some enterprise geodatabase users have reported a problem trying to launch Version Manager from ArcMap’s Versioning toolbar with the Trimble Positions Desktop add-in installed. We can confirm this is a problem in the current (and last several) releases.  During installation of the Trimble Positions Desktop add-in, the installer makes a few changes to the ArcMap.exe.config file.  One of these changes is to add the “useLegacyV2RuntimeActivationPolicy” property to the <startup> tag:

<startup useLegacyV2RuntimeActivationPolicy="true">

This was originally necessary to support one of the components used to unpack downloaded base station files during post processing.  However, subsequent investigation has indicated that the component has been upgraded and no longer requires this particular change in the configuration file (.NET environment).  Although removing the text entirely would seem to be an option, there is a check prior to post processing that looks for the “useLegacyV2RuntimeActivationPolicy” text in the .config file to make sure that the Trimble Positions changes were made.  But, what can be done is setting the value to “false“:

<startup useLegacyV2RuntimeActivationPolicy="false">

We believe this should fix the issue with Version Manager not launching and all existing Trimble Positions Desktop add-in functionality should be unaffected.  After making the change, we encourage you to test post processing (specify the Delete previous downloads option) with the base stations you typically use. This will be permanently fixed in a future release.

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Specific TerraSync version support

Since our release yesterday, we’ve already had some questions about the specific versions of TerraSync supported in the new Trimble Positions workflow. It’s a great question and the answer depends on a combination of SSF version, data dictionary version, and GNSS receiver.  In the release notes we indicated that it had been tested for versions 5.60 and above.  Since our release testing we’ve done a bit more investigation and believe that Trimble Positions Desktop add-in version should work with TerraSync version 5.xx in both data collection and data update workflows, except that SiRF data (Juno S, Juno 3, Nomad, Yuma) may not be differentially corrected well for data collection workflows using TerraSync versions older than 5.60.

As usual, testing with your workflow is highly recommended. Please let us know if you experience something different.

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Announcing the November 2014 release of Trimble Positions

We are extremely pleased to announce the November 2014 release of Trimble Positions. This release contains some new functionality that we’re excited to share with the user community. At the high level, we’ve made significant changes in the Trimble Positions Desktop add-in to not only provide better support for ArcGIS for Windows Mobile and ArcPad workflows by addressing user feedback, but also to provide a much stronger Esri integration story for Trimble TerraSync™ and Trimble TerraFlex™ users.

Multiple Field Application Workflows

  • Support for TerraSync workflows. This version significantly expands support for TerraSync software workflows. You can create projects which contain a dictionary and information required for mapping between SSF and geodatabase data. A dictionary will be used when checking out features to an SSF file, and can also be updated from a dictionary edited in the Data Dictionary Editor. Data (including photos) can be checked in from the SSF using the Trimble Positions Desktop add-in; sessions can be managed in the same way as other workflows.
  • Support for TerraFlex workflows. Trimble Positions Desktop add-in users can now publish projects and form templates to InSphere without having to use a separate add-in. Completed forms (including photos) can be downloaded directly into geodatabase feature classes. The TerraFlex Desktop add-in will continue to be a supported option for non-Trimble Positions users.
  • New wizard for project creation and editing. A new project wizard significantly improves the user experience when creating and editing projects. Project wizard steps are hidden or shown depending on whether or not they are required for a given project type. Map document validation and GNSS-enabling are now part of this new wizard. Other benefits include:
    • New layers (from the same workspace) can be added to existing projects
    • New feature class fields for metadata transfer can be created through the wizard (file/personal gdb only)
    • Accuracy thresholds can be set for multiple layers at once
    • Unused project types can be turned off through the Configuration tool
    • Simpler administration screens (project-type specific items are largely constrained to the wizard)
    • Additional metadata transfer attribute – vertical estimated accuracy
  • Session Processor utility for automation. This new stand-alone ArcObjects application enables you to automate day-to-day postprocessing workflow tasks in the Trimble Positions software suite; once proper data collection standards are established and the process set, most of the tasks are executed without exceptions and, if accuracy-based logging is used, in most cases there is no need for human intervention.
    The following tasks can be automated:

    • Importing data collected in a mobile application
    • Differentially correcting GNSS data to improve positional accuracy
    • Updating GIS features with improved geometry and metadata if correction is successful
    • Removing sessions which are no longer required

Additional information is available in the release notes:

Note: If you have issues upgrading the Trimble Positions Desktop add-in and the old version still appears, it may be worth manually cleaning the entry in ArcMap’s AssemblyCache after uninstalling the old version and before installing the new version.  It’s generally in the following location on Windows 7 (AssemblyCache is a hidden folder):

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New downloads for August 2014 release

After the initial release on August 8th, we found some minor issues in a couple of the products. We have fixed these issues and updated the downloads accordingly. There is no change in version number or documentation.

If you had already installed the initial August 2014 release for any of the products prior to August 22nd, it is highly recommended to uninstall the products, download the updated installers, and re-install the products.

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Trimble TerraFlex Desktop add-in

Those of you who are using (or considering using) Trimble TerraFlex are most likely aware of the new release earlier this week. Included in this release is the Trimble TerraFlex Desktop add-in, an ArcMap add-in that can be used to publish projects from and download completed forms into your existing geodatabase. If you’ve already downloaded and installed it, you’ve probably noticed a number of similarities to the Trimble Positions Desktop add-in.  In fact, they share the same underlying components and quite a bit of source code.  A few things to note:

  • Both products can be installed and enabled at the same time within ArcMap. It is highly recommended to run Positions Desktop add-in version if you intend to run TerraFlex Desktop add-in version 2.0. Trimble does not guarantee compatibility with older versions of Positions Desktop add-in.
  • The TerraFlex Desktop add-in inherits the same ArcMap version support (10.1, 10.2, 10.2.1, 10.2.2) and geodatabase support (file, personal, enterprise) as the Positions Desktop add-in.
  • The ‘default’ TerraFlex Desktop add-in configuration (single-user, built-in Jet database) will not be used if a Positions Desktop add-in configuration (single-user or all-users) is found on the machine. In this case, both add-ins will use the same database connection settings. Although projects and project settings will be stored in the same physical database, they are only visible from the add-in where they were created.
  • When running both add-ins at the same time, only one log file will be used and it will receive messages from both add-ins. Depending on the (internal) order in which the add-ins load within ArcMap, this will either be PositionsDesktopAddIn.log or TerraFlexDesktopAddIn.log in the folder:
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