Might have to take the plunge and get into GPS Station Surveys
It has been a while, apologies for that, but hopefully a few of my contributions have counteracted that 🙂
My one man band 'company' is having difficulty with finding reliable topo surveyors lately, in turn making me look bad. Of course they're only human and occasionally bad things happen and you can't perform your profession as much as is desired.
So I've been looking at the prices and as you all know, they are quite high. It seems £20k would do the job, however I'm looking at an entry model called the "Leica AX1202 Base and Rover GPS System with RX1210T Controller", advertised on eBay.
I've got a sneaking suspicion that as this forum is generally based in the good old US of A, perhaps it's not a good place to speak of this model. However, if anyone has some advice or tips, I would gladly welcome them.
I have used GPS Stations before and was very comfortable with them, this gives me confidence that I could offer my clients a well priced service. In some ways I'm being slightly pushed into this as I do a great deal of Measured Surveys, New Build and Extension Design as wells as slowly offering Building Regulation drawing services (not inc. structural). It's mainly builders that often want topographical surveys, sometimes for sites as little as a few hundred square metres.
Anyway, possible talking point. And just for the record, I fully respect and appreciate that land surveying isn't something you can just pick up, it no doubt takes years to perfect, like other unique skills. But I'm hoping for any contributions you all might be able to make.
All the very best,
Where are you? England?
And "£20k" is that euro pounds?
What kind of surveying do you do? Boundary? What kind of title do you have over there?
I'm on my phone typing here.
For the purpose of discussing round number thinking from the other side of the world, English pounds, Euros, and American dollars are close enough to a 1 for 1 exchange.
I once worked for a mid sized engineering firm which had added a survey department several years prior. The principle of that firm told me straight out that they added survey in order to have better control of the product, and not to add profit. In other words, they were at peace with the survey department having a much lower profitability than the engineering.
The small engineering/surveying firm I had been working for was bought out over the summer by another engineer, in large part to add surveying to their service package. The old owner had added a survey license to his PE, gone into the survey biz, and soon found himself in over his head. That is why he hired me. The new owner, who had been accustomed to spending quite a lot of money on surveying, recently commented to me that surveying was rather expensive to operate. I'm sure you have thought about this a great deal already, but I'd encourage you to go over this one more time. Maybe you've been cutting big checks to surveyors and thinking that those are profits that are getting away. You might want to check out the surveyors office, parking lot, and home to see were all those obscene profits are going, or if they exist at all.
£20000 isn't quite enough to buy a new and modern GNSS RTK setup (I was recently quoted $13k per receiver for Trimble R8s's and told it was a special limited time deal). I'm not totally familiar with the Leica 1200 series but I think you are looking at something around 10 years old here. If so, £20k seems a little high. Don't forget - if you are going to do this kind of work you will need a Total Station as well. GPS doesn't work in every situation. Does the data logger that runs the 1200 GPS also run a total station? I think not. Then you will then need tripods, tribrachs, rods, and various accoutrements to the tune of a few more thousand. And a vehicle to haul it all around in. So your full investment to do this up properly will easily run into 50k to much more, even if you do it on a shoestring.
Actually, folks in the USA probably don't realize that prices in Europe are substantially less than they are in the USA.
It is hard to quantify because there are huge differences in prices in the USA and there are huge differences in prices in Europe. The sales models are significantly different too, the USA has some big players who crazy discount and there is not a direct comparison in GB or EU. Plus the pound and euro vary (£: 0.7 to 0.8 over the last year.)
Additionally, the CE regulatory environment makes it possible to utilize UHF and cellular radios that cost significantly less than those that are approved by FCC and Verizon.
Are you sure that you need a base and rover? There is fantastic RTN coverage pretty much everywhere in UK and EU. (I guess we can treat them separately now?)
I have a really good idea what prices in the USA are, and I have some good friends in the business in Europe. We compare notes all the time. If pressed, I might claim that EU prices are 30% less than in the USA! And it is not just GNSS. Robots enjoy a similar differential too.
Give my buddy PJ a call (I will Direct Message you with his phone number). He can set you up , plus he is a great guy. And say howdy for me. (We both ride Boosted Boards to work, so instant best friends.)
You can get a network RTK rover for about £5000-£15000 (euro pounds!) depending on model and newness.
I sold a GS08plus with CS10 for £4500 this summer just gone.
Subscription for network corrections (eg Smarnet) is about £1500-£2000 pa.
For buying new you might want to have a look at the Spectra products being marketed by SEP or South Survey. Good prices and support.
The AX1200 is quite an old Leica model. Definitely don't get one without ability to track GLONASS satellites. An advantage of buying a new Spectra (or other new antenna) is that Galileo should work when it's fully available. Double check that this is included. Leica and Trimble generally charge extra for these "future" options