Trimble Mapping: Case Study Print

This excerpt from the technical note in the Burning Man Monitoring Report demonstrates how Trimble GeoXT units were used with TerraSync data collection software to map city infrastructure and areas of concern such as art burn platforms.  The units were also used data loggers to record responses in the visitor use and greywater surveys.

Trimble units offered the abilities to:

1. GPS-record locations with a high level of accuracy
Locations were GPS-recorded as distinct points, lines or polygon features with sub-meter level accuracy.  These accurate datasets allowed for calculation of area and perimeter values and for the navigation back to selected locations with high levels of confidence.

2. Record information for each location
Most locations captured by GPS simply required only a comment field in which the Team could enter free-form text describing the location being recorded. For example, ‘Burn platform at the Man.’  Date and time of collection are automatically appended by the software.
For the visitor use and greywater surveys, data dictionaries were created to ensure standardized entries via drop-down menus. The location at which the survey was taken was also recorded by GPS.  This could be used to ensure a random sampling of all areas of the city was achieved.

3. Transfer data to ArcGIS
Trimble Pathfinder Office was used to post-process data to ensure sub-meter accuracy of each location.  This software was also used to export the data to an ESRI shapefiles (a common ArcGIS format).

4. Navigate to collected features
Long after Black Rock City had been dismantled, the Team was able to navigate the empty desert directly back to sites within the former city.  Art burn platforms and other areas of potential concern, the perimeter fence, and other infrastructure were areas subject to for post-event inspections.  Shapefiles for either GPS collected data or the photo locations from the camera could be copied back to the unit for navigation.  Coordinates from the watermarked photos could also be manually entered into the Trimble units.

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