The news has not been very surprising, in these times that the big companies buy their competitors, they merge and disintegrate into pieces; But it certainly punishes us to think that it could happen to happen with the company that manufactured the equipment that we used or we were in plan to acquire.
At my discretion and from a good friend with whom we shared the subject, it is not to be alarmed. They are the consequences of globalization and the inevitable fusion of capture, processing and cartographic data service technologies. Nothing to do with the way they were in that comparison of Total stations (60 in 11 marks). The certain thing is that the competition (separating the Chinese technologies), remains in three great ones:
- Europe (Leica)
- Japan (Topcon)
- United States (Trimble)
But each of them come from such long histories that reflect how Civil Engineering, cartography, photogrammetry, topography, GIS and transport have been combined as almost inseparable disciplines. The evolution of CAD / CAM / CAE technologies, computers, Gadgets And the Internet add up to a rather interesting trend.
The case of Leica (Switzerland), is the heir of those Wild teams that we used in the University, with a history from 1819, associated with the manufacture of the famous Leitz cameras. Summing up acquisitions, in the field of photogrammetry and remote sensing they had bought ERDAS and LH Systems in 2001 and, ER Mapper, Ionic and Acquis in 2007.
Now Hexagon AB (Swedish) is the owner of Leica, just like Geomax and recently also bought Intergraph (2010).
In the case of Topcon (Japanese), comes from 1932; in 2000 Topcom bought Javad; KEE in 2006 and Sokkia in 2008. The next step could be a Chinese company, which are little known in our environment but with a global growth capable of absorbing Topcon that has been limited in some fields of application.
And the Trimble case, in this side of the world it is more recent (1978) but with the aggressiveness of the North American companies. He had roots with Hewlett Packard; in 1990 it enters the Datacom package, then in 2000 it buys Spectra Precision and TDS, in 2003 Nikon; in 2004 MENSI, GeoNav; in 2005 Pacific Crest, MTS and Apache Technologies and Applanix.
Then in 2006 you buy APS, XYZ, Quantm, BitWyse Eleven, Meridian and so follow the list ... which includes among the last Definiens in 2010. So the purchase of Ashtech in 2011 is nothing more than a new acquisition -Of course, without Magellan that had already been sold-.
These processes do not usually kill innovative technologies but those that are becoming obsolete. Trimble is buying Ashtech to increase the competitiveness of Spectra Precision, not to kill the BLADE technology, as I understand so far, we'll see later.
«Combining Ashtech's wide portfolio of GNSS products with Spectra Precision's global distribution network can provide surveyors exciting new choices for optimal efficiency.»
With this, it is clarified, that we will no longer see the Mobile Mapper 6 that was Magellan, only the new line called Mobile Mapper 10 and Mobile Mapper 100. At MM100 already He had taken a look a few days ago, it offers 40 cm in navigation and less than 10 cm with post-processing; while the MM10 is much smaller but will be highly marketed for rural cadastre purposes:
It should be seen, but you just have to imagine a team of US $ 1,500 or less, with WindowsMobile open, with camera, gis software, postprocessing and that you can mount a data collection program for stations with bluetooth. A powerful weapon against US $ 2,400 or more that would cost a station collector without the possibility of GPS GIS. Nothing to do with the simple Mobile Mapper 6, although this one supports RTK; a station collector could be made with this hardware and Sokkia's SSF software
As for the side of the Promark 3 that is doomed to disappear, we will only see Promark 100 and Promark 200. The difference of the second with the first one is that the PMK200 works with double GPS frequency, or GLONASS and GPS in a frequency. Eye, can not stand GLONASS at double frequency.
But between GLONASS / GPS of one frequency and GPS of double frequency, I would prefer the second option -At least in the American tropics that there are not so many alternatives-.
Both Promark and Mobile Mapper 100 are hardware with equal hardware and software. In a way, they are scalable equipment, a matter of configuration, starting with an MM100; then you can buy the external antenna of double frequency (there is a Promark), if you want more you will integrate the geodesic software of the collector and then the RTK and you have a tremendous team.
Let us hope that the purchase is for the good of all.