Using Trimble Link Without a Data Collector

Yesterday I was browsing around the Autodesk Civil 3D discussion group for a few minutes. I go there from time to time to research quick questions or to see if anyone needs help. I was talking to a user who was having trouble with Trimble Link and Civil 3D – well, part of the problem was with Trimble Link and Civil 3D…he couldn’t import a .JOB file using Trimble Link because he didn’t have the data collector available. I ran into this same problem when I first installed Trimble Link a few years ago, because I don’t have any physical data collectors that I can hook to my computer. I have emulators for TDS Survey Pro, Microsurvey FieldGenius 2008, Leica GPS/TPS 1200, Trimble TCS and SCS900, Topcon TopSurv PC and Carlson SurvCE, and have successfully transferred data from them into Civil 3D, but it took a bit of work. So if you find that you don’t have access to the data collector BUT you have the .JOB files stored on either a local machine or a network, then this is the article for you.  Follow the link to find out more.

When you select the Import Job command from the Trimble menu in Civil 3D, you will be presented with a dialog that asks you to select your instrument or a data collector. As you can see in the image below, there is no typical Windows Explorer-type folder navigation that you can do to go out and find your files on the network.


What you have to do is more or less trick the software into thinking that you have a survey card inserted into a reader somewhere. Luckily, there is a button that allows you to set up other instruments, shown below:


If you select that button, you will see a dialog that displays a long list of possible connections to Trimble equipment. You’ll want to select the Survey Data Card as shown below:


The next windows will allow you to navigate to a specific folder that the “data card” will point to and give it a name. I simply selected my C: drive and named it Computer, as you can see below. Now you can navigate around and pick your .JOB file to import!


And now for a bonus tip – I realize that most people very likely know this one, but something I read yesterday made me realize that there may be a bit of confusion out there. TDS Survey Pro creates a .JOB file, as does Trimble TCS. However, these are not the same formats. TDS Survey Link will not import a Trimble JOB file, and Trimble Link will not import a TDS Survey Pro JOB file. Consider this a very small Friday bonus, and to further show my appreciation, go ahead and take the next two days off 😉

One comment

  1. Joe Kanera says:

    Well, I for one do my best to discourage our surveyors from submitting a JOB file, in fact, I tell them I do not want to even see it.

    I tell them I want the original RAW file, as it contains the original, surveyed data which I can visually check and process to a processed text file.

    The problem with receiving a JOB file is that all it is, is a list of coordinates. You, as an office CAD type, cannot check on the accuracy of the survey that is contained in the original field data, because you do not see the original field survey data. With a RAW file, you can see each setup, individual shot, slope angle, distance and comment.

    If there seems to be a problem with the data, it’s very easy to check for mistakes. With a JOB file, you just assume that it is correct. Or, you have to wait for the surveyors to explain.

    The ability to check the original survey file allows one to check the data processing, hence to verify the correctness of the data and reduce the liability a bad survey could produce. Quality control, in other words.

    As a former surveyor – I tend to be a bit critical of any data that crosses my desk.