As the saying goes, it’s only impossible until it’s not. In the past when I’ve heard, or used, this bon mot I would think of the moon landing in 1969. I think of all the early astronomers who gazed at and intensely studied heavenly bodies, using them for navigation and location while knowing there was no hope of ever doing more than seeing them from the ground.
Now I often think of the geospatial professions when I hear this witticism. Early surveyors lugged physical equipment through rough and dangerous territory, never imagining that someday that load would be lightened by satellites orbiting in space, or small flying machines defying Newton’s laws of gravity, sending invisible digital signals that communicate with microchips and technology that even most of us who use that technology don’t understand.
To that point, xyHt writer Gavin Schrock thought it would be a good idea to open up one of the most important pieces of technology in the surveyor’s kit and take a deep look at what is physically inside and what makes the technology work. You’ve certainly seen many GNSS rovers, but our cover is an image of an angle you probably haven’t seen.
We’ll bring you his story in three parts (starting on page 26 and continuing in October and November) because it’s a fascinating in-depth look at the inner workings of the equipment.
In advance of the popular Commercial UAV Expo taking place this month in Las Vegas, we also want to bring you a couple of stories about those little flying machines I mentioned above. Writers Marc Delgado and Juan Plaza take separate looks at the way UAVs are changing the geospatial professions.
I hope you enjoy reading this issue.