Algiz RT10 RTK a GNSS receiver for real-time kinematics positioning datas
In the Field

Can new open GNSS systems compete with the traditional ones?

Traditionally, GNSS systems were proprietary, meaning you were locked into one manufacturer’s system. Brands like Leica Geosystems, Trimble, and Topcon have been market leaders for years. However, with the rapid growth of mobile phones, new players have entered the market, offering GNSS solutions based on the open Android system. One of these solutions is Handheld´s Algiz RT10 RTK

Are these new GNSS systems as accurate as the old ones?

That’s the question Henrik Ott set out to answer when he started to work on his thesis. The project was limited to comparing 4 different units, 2 from the old-school market leaders and 2 devices with new and innovative Android-based systems. 

The thesis provides a detailed examination of GNSS technology and contrasts the performance of the different systems. While the research is thorough, it’s important to note that additional testing would solidify the findings. 

Handheld Algiz RT10 RTK

One of the new GNSS devices in the study is the Handheld Algiz RT10 RTK and it stands out in more ways than just by its Android 11 OS. Unlike the other systems, it doesn’t need to use a rover. Algiz RT10 RTK has a built-in antenna which makes it a lot more mobile than the competition. Technically the smaller antenna should be a disadvantage when it comes to accuracy, making it even more interesting to see how it can measure up to the competition.

The other Android-based GNSS system in the test is the Norsecraft NCGeo-S4i. The old GNSS systems are represented by the Leica CS20 and the Trimble TSC3. 

How the testing was set up

Before starting the test Henrik acquainted himself with the four instruments, hardware as well as software, to make sure the measurements were accurate. He chose 6 location points that were well documented by Lantmäteriet, the Swedish authority responsible for mapping out the country.

With the location points chosen, he set out to make his own measurement on each of them. The 4 devices were all used to take measurements at each of the 6 reference points. The results were then compared to the documented coordinates.

The results of testing the GNSS systems

The results indicated that the instruments measure quite similarly. There are differences, but when considering a margin of error of 10-30 millimeters for plan measurement, which is typically discussed for GNSS, everything looked satisfactory. All the systems performed quite similarly in terms of accuracy and the Handheld Algiz RT10 RTK, despite its unique design, held its own against the competition.

However, there was one exception. At the church of Kinna, it showed a slightly bigger deviation than the other devices. This point was particularly challenging as it consisted of a peg in a church wall, making it difficult to measure accurately. Considering the challenging nature of the point, this deviation is understandable. Henrik Ott notes that more extensive testing would be needed, especially when it comes to height measurement.

The Verdict

The results of the study show that when it comes to plan measurement, there’s little difference between the old and new GNSS systems. All of them stay within a normal margin of error. The GNSS landscape is changing. With the rise of open Android-based systems, users have more choices than ever before.

As the Handheld Algiz RT10 RTK has shown, these new systems can compete with the big players in terms of accuracy and precision. So, the next time you use a GPS or a mapping tool, consider an Android-based device. It will offer much greater flexibility when it comes to software and, in the case of the Algiz RT10 RTK, a lot more mobility.