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Trimble GeoExplorer

Rugged handhelds for high-accuracy GIS data collection and maintenance
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

Trimble considers the GeoXT handheld from the GeoExplorer 3000 series to be the essential tool for maintaining your GIS. The device essentially combines a veru high performance GPS receiver with a rugged handheld computer.

In May of 2008, Trimble introduced a significant upgrade to its Trimble Geo lineup of rugged GPS handhelds. As before, there are three models that are identical except for the performance and accuracy of their internal GPS circuitry. The GeoXM is an affordable solution that delivers 1 to 3 meter accuracy. The GeoXT is geared towards maintaining precise GIS databases by delivering sub-meter accuracy. The GeoXH, finally, is Trimble's top-of-the-line solution for high accuracy GIS data collection. By using Trimble's trademarked H-Star technology, the GeoXH delivers sub-foot accuracy. Add an optional Zephyr antenna, and the GeoXH becomes accurate to an amazing four inches.

The Trimble GeoExplorer 2008 Series handhelds are affordable, all-in-one mobile GIS solutions running Windows Mobile 6.0 Classic Edition on a 520 MHz version of Marvell's PXA270 processor. They now have twice the RAM and Flash of their predecessors, offering 128MB of RAM and 1GB of onboard Flash storage which can be supplemented via SD or SDHC cards in the sealed SD slot. With a footprint of 3.9 x 8.5 inches and being about 3 inches thick, the 1.75 pound Geos are relatively large and heavy for handhelds. That's because they are not only rugged, but pack a large full-shift battery, as well as fully integrated GPS receivers and antennas.

Among other signicant upgrades is a switch from QVGA (240 x 320 pixels) to full VGA (480 x 640 pixel) resolution, upgrade from 802.11b to 802.11b/g WiFi, and enhanced ruggedness. The new units are now sealed to IP55 specifications, which means they are immune not only to water spray, but low pressure water jets from all directions. The operating temperature range is now also considerably wider, from -4 all the way to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

These being Trimble devices optimized for mapping and GIS applications, GPS performance is first rate. The units differentially correct location in real time by using corrections from satellite-based augmentation systems such as WAAS or EGNOS. They can also use their own internal Bluetooth radio to connect to a dedicated Trimble GeoBeacon receiver, receive real-time corrections from VRS networks, as well as download background map data. For enhanced connectivity, the GeoExplorer 2008 Series' integrated GPS receiver provides users location information for navigation and data collection.

Bluetooth can also be used to connect to BT-enabled laser rangefinders, barcode scanners, and digital cameras to provide additional capabilities and increased productivity in the field.

Like all Trimble handhelds, the Geo series can be used with TerraSync software, the Trimble GPScorrect and GPS analyst extensions for ESRI's ArcPad. TrimPix software provides wireless camera support, and there is GPS Pathfinder Office.

As of mid-2012, the GeoExplorer platform remains available, but it is now split into the GeoExplorer 3000 Series that uses an updated version of the models introduced in 2008, and the 6000 Series that's based on the TI OMAP 3503 processor and comes in GeoXH (deci/centimeter accuracy) and GeoXT (submeter accuracy) models.

Specifications Trimble GeoExplorer
Added/changed Added 5/08, updated 08/2012
Form-factor GPS Handheld PC
CPU Speed Marvell XScale PXA270, 520 MHz
OS Windows Mobile 6.0 Classic Edition
RAM/ROM 128MB/1GB Flash
Card slots 1 sealed SD/SDHC Card
Display type Outdoor-viewable color LCD
Display size/res 3.5"/480 x 640
Digitizer/pens touch/1
Keyboard/keys on-screen
Navigation Touch screen, Soft Input Panel (SIP) virtual keyboard
Housing Plastic
Operating Temp -4 to 140F
Sealing IP55
Shock 3-foot drop
Size (WxHxD) 3.9 x 8.5 x 3.0
Weight 1.78 pounds
Power Internal 7,500mAH Li-Ion, 27.8 watt-hours
Interface USB 1.1 and 10/100 LAN via support module, Seral via RS232 power/serial clip adapter
GPS GeoxM: 14 (L1 code only, 2 SBAS), 1 Hz update rate, 30 second time to first fix, 1-3 meter postptocessed accuracy after differential correction. GeoxT: 14 (L1 code and carrier, 2 SBAS), 1 Hz update rate, 30 second time to first fix, submeter postprocessed accuracy after differential correction. GeoxH: 26 (12 L1 code and carrier/12 L2 carrier, 2 SBAS), 1 Hz update rate, 30 second time to first fix, H-Star 10-30 cm postprocessed accuracy after differential correction.
Wireless Bluetooth, 802.11b/g
List price inquire
Contact www.trimble.com
Brochure GeoExplorer 3000 brochure (PDF)
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