The Joys of New Toys

Sweet, merciful satellites, I beseech your signal!
Sweet, merciful satellites, I beseech your signal!

Evidently, there are Trimble GeoXTs and then there are Trimble GeoXTs. The Survey has had a GeoXT, and older version, for about 5 or 6 years now, and it worked well, and we got a lot of mileage out of it. I used it a lot out at Dooley’s Ferry back in the Spring of 2008 to map some of the trenchlines, though satellite acquisition could sometimes be problematic (see picture, right).
When I started working for the Army, we got a GeoXH, roughly the same unit, but a little nicer and with an integral stylus (I think the stylus for the Survey’s GeoXT spent some years rolling around in the cab of my truck… shhhh). Both nice improvements. Plus, it used ArcPad instead of TerraSync, which was just flat out easier to use and made transitioning data into ArcGIS much, much easier.

This morning, I went out to Dooley’s Ferry to check on something, and took along the NEW GeoXT. Wow. What an upgrade over the previous units I’ve known. The integrated camera, which takes both stills and video, which would be very useful for documenting trenchlines, as it could record the views the archaeologist takes while walking along them, catching their topographic subtleties in ways stills probably cannot. Of course, I had the station camera with, which I used as the primary, but the added functionality in the new GeoXT is something to explore.

The other nice bit was the number of satellites it acquired. Minimum 12 the entire time, even though I was walking around in coniferous forest (sort of, it had been logged a bit). Really nice, that. In a few hours, I was able to sketch in the final section of trenches at the ferry crossing, which we’ll probably need to do in greater detail this fall.