Wild-Magnavox WM102

Zeno 20 - Not Your Father's GIS Data Collector

Written by hugh.baertlein on July 9th, 2015

 I was first introduced to “GPS” in 1985 walking across the campus of Rockwell International’s Anaheim, California facility. I met a guy wearing a giant backpack with a “handheld” display unit the size of a shoe. This was a prototype to the GPS “Manpack”.  I was amazed when the backpacker informed me, between gasps for breath from the crushing weight of his gear, that this Global Positioning System receiver could calculate my location anywhere on earth with 35 foot accuracy and someday would be built-into a wrist watch. "Yeah right," I thought.  In the early GPS era we planned our work around the availability of the 7 satellite constellation (yes 7 satellites). A moving constellation window meant GPS surveys at 3AM were not unusual.

This was the GPS Stone Age.  Android was a robot, Google didn’t exist and Apple made computers, not watches.


Even in the GPS Stone age, the drive was to improve location accuracy, save time and improve efficiency. Times may have changed, but some things haven’t.

People that measure always want more accurate measurements. In the technology areas where Hexagon operates (surveying, GIS, industrial measurement, remote sensing) users I interface with have, over time, consistently demanded higher accuracy. Think about it. During my first GIS experience with a Trimble Pathfinder in 1988 we were excited about getting post-processed 2-5 meter accuracy. Now GIS departments look for real-time centimeter accuracy. Attach an external antenna to your GPS data collector, connect to the local CORS network and within minutes (seconds) you are collecting culvert elevations with centimeter accuracy. The customer always wants the best data accuracy possible at the lowest price-per-point. If they don’t want it today, they will want it tomorrow.

The learnings: 
1. Make sure your GIS data collector is capable of delivering the highest accuracy without some proprietary add-ons that restrict your workflow
2. Make sure your data collector doesn't skimp on speed.

Business owners hate wasted time and money. Does the following scenario sound familiar? Your company just won a big field data collection job. Your best field technician just walked out the door because his new company gave him a salary bump AND they have a ping-pong table.  A ping-pong table at work? Really? Now you are missing a field tech and you’ve got a customer on your back about a deadline. You need to get someone trained and in the field quickly.

Save training time with an Android platform; more than half the people in the US use an android phone so the interface is immediately familiar. Save more time with a standard Android user interface and apps . Activate your data connection and Skype the office, no problem. Send files from the field with Dropbox. Our engineers have found another way to save time. They combined a TI dual-core OMAP 1.5GHz processor with Android 4.2 – reducing  file load times by 70%  compared to the leading GIS data collector. Using Windows Embedded Handheld OS? Don’t worry, the Zeno 20 runs on either. Start out with WEH 6.5.3 and if necessary, you can cross-grade to Android 4.2 in a service center. Because no one has time (or money) to waste.

Zeno 20 + GAMTEC - GIS efficiency game changer

Since the invention of the abacus business owners have tracked efficiency. Do more with less. More points per hour. You know there is time wasted walking around collecting assets. GPS offsets allow you to measure multiple remote points from one location, as long as they don’t need to be very accurate. That will change with a new technology bundle called GAMTEC (GIS Angular Measurement TEChnology). Using a very accurate laser distance meter (Leica DISTO S910) together with survey techniques and onboard software, sub-foot 3D point accuracay at distances up to 300 feet is possible.  Points that you had to walk to in the past to get acceptable accuracy can be shot as offset points. GAMTEC is 10X more accurate than the technology available today. More accuracy means more efficiency; 10X more accuracy is a game changer.

One last thing.

Like all Leica products, our Zeno 20 is ready to work in the field. IP67 waterproof, drop-tested and all-day operation with REAL hot-swappable batteries. The 4.7” touch display is covered with Asahi DragonTail glass – surprisingly tough. In fact the entire Zeno 20 can take its share of knocks. Have a look at this 6-sides drop test. 

Be informed: Don't try this at home! Zeno 20 isn't a hammer, it is a precision GIS GNSS Data Collector. As tough as the Zeno 20 is, broken displays and cracked housings  are normally NOT covered under warranty.