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When surveyors collect field data, the objects they’re documenting are known as features. Almost anything could be a feature: a tree, fence, gate, sign, utility pole, or building.
Trimble Business Center and the Trimble feature code library increase your productivity by allowing you to:
- create features, attributes, and linework on the fly which saves you a ton of time (with the Measure Codes feature)
- do QA/QC as your linework is being collected (by reviewing your template pickup)
- create survey and GIS data with software and equipment that you may already own, like Trimble Access, Trimble Business Center (TBC), and the TSC3
This means that you can avoid the slow, painful task of manually describing objects one at a time, saving you from unnecessary mistakes and frustration.
What is Feature Coding?
Survey feature codes are abbreviations that Trimble survey software programs use to represent real-world objects with either points, lines, or areas (polygons). For example, a feature code for a tree might be TREE and the object would be represented in your program by a point.
In the field, feature codes make data collection more accurate by allowing crews to QC on-the-go. In the office, they make the drafting process faster by reducing the time required for data processing. These features can then be exported to other systems (like CAD & GIS packages) as necessary.
Attributes are the metadata that help describe your survey feature codes in more detail. They could be useful to have if you want to query your field data for specific information. For example, if your feature was a tree, the attributes you use might include its species, diameter, and even a photo of the tree. With each attribute you add, you can collect another type of information about your feature that wasn’t there before.
Collecting Field Data
Once you’ve set up all your feature coding and added the attributes, you can create a Trimble feature code library in TBC. This library can then be uploaded to Trimble Access on your data collector for use in the field. There are 3 main methods of collecting your field data:
Of these three methods, the Measure Codes feature is the fastest and most efficient. The cool thing about it is that it allows you to create groups of common codes (roads, utilities, vegetation) and collect each feature with a simple tap of the code. It also has a nice Automatic Template Pickup feature that lets you choose your direction and the number of elements, helping you to pick up survey feature codes and collect alignments faster in the field.
You can also QC in the field by reviewing your template pickup in Trimble Access.
Creating a Library with TBC & the Trimble Feature Code Library
You can create a Trimble Feature Code Library by using the Trimble Feature Definition Manager in TBC. Not only can you add features and attributes, but you can also use Line Control Codes to define how your points connect to each other. In the field, this lets you create points, lines, and polygon features. In the office, it’s used for verifying linework and processing features.
Learn More about TBC & Trimble Access Feature Codes
For more information, view the video presentation below where we cover:
- Creating a Trimble Feature Code Library with Attributes using the Trimble Feature Definition Manager.
- The Data Collection interface and workflow in Trimble Access.
- Processing and Editing Linework in Trimble Business Center software
- Exporting features to various CAD or GIS formats.
To download a preset Feature Definition Manager from the Trimble website, click here:
Feature Definition Manager 2.21 (64-bit) Full Install
To jump directly to a specific topic, click below:
2:40 Survey software used for this video
3:13 What are TBC & Trimble Access Feature Codes?
3:38 What are Attributes?
4:40 The benefits of Feature Coding
6:00 Create a Trimble Feature Code Library
6:27 Upload to Trimble Access
7:30 Collect and Process Data
8:10 Visual Overview
10:30 The 3 Methods of Collecting Data:
11:02 #1 The Measure Topo Method
11:44 #2 The Map Method
15:45 #3 The Measure Codes Method
21:15 Overview of the 3 Methods of Collecting Data
21:48 Quick access to feature categories
22:40 Creating a Trimble Feature Code Library
23:23 Benefits of the Trimble Feature Definition Manager
24:51 Examples of Point, Line, and Area features
25:25 Line Control Codes
30:07 Creating Areas with the line control Close code
31:35 LIVE DEMOS: The Feature Code Definition Manager
32:17 Trimble Feature Code Library
34:59 “Point Features”
38:30 Text Attributes
39:48 List Attributes
41:26 Number Attributes
42:45 Photo Attributes
46:05 “Line Features”
48:00 Date Attribute
48:10 File Attribute
48:52 File Attribute (and Voice Memos)
49:14 Line Symbols
50:40 “Polygon Features”
52:55 Line Control Codes
59:25 Linking photos on the TSC3
1:00:37 Processing features in TBC
1:03:50 Feature Code Processing Reports for QC
1:05:30 View media files
1:06:00 Assign Media files
1:07:00 Export data to 3rd-party software
1:10:30 Contact tech support
1:11:00 Survey hardware used for this video