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eNewsletter: May, 2015

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eNewsletter – May, 2015

Check out Tony Cavell’s article, “To Think Like a Surveyor” in the April issue of The American Surveyor

President’s Message: So What’s the Big Deal About Google Earth KML Files and Why Should I Care?,  Mark Lull: Agile Release TPC Desktop 2015 R1,  Oliver Bochsler: Scratching the Surface of Google’s Earth,  Eric Tanikawa: Is it Time to Throw Out that Old T-Shirt?

John Balcom, President, MSE, PLS, GISP

President’s Message:
So What’s the Big Deal About Google Earth KML Files and Why Should I Care?

There are a lot of people out there who use Google Earth every day. Maybe they want to map out the trail they are planning to hike this weekend (like I do). Maybe they just like to fly into different spots around the globe to see the sights they will never see in person. Or maybe they use it for something else.

There are also a lot of other people out there who haven’t installed Google Earth because they don’t see any value in it, don’t know what it is or maybe haven’t even heard of it.

You may be in either of those two groups and not know what a KML file is. Even if you use Google Earth regularly, you may still not know what they are or what good they are. It’s time for you to see what the big deal is for yourself.

If you don’t have Google Earth installed, you can install it here. (Don’t worry, it’s free and you can always uninstall it later.) Once you have Google Earth installed, download this subdivision.kml file, run it and turn various features on or off in the Places pane on the left.

Now imagine that you are one of your clients. Maybe you’re an old couple who is subdividing their property. Maybe you’re a young couple who is just getting started. Now imagine that the surveyor you hired emails you a KML file along with instructions on what to do with it (like I provided above).  Can you imagine these couples being so wowed that they want to send the KML file to all of their friends? Can you imagine how these customers will rave about your work?

What’s the best source of advertising for your business? Is it word of mouth from your satisfied customers? Do other people ask your customers who to hire and who to trust?

Including a KML file for your clients can make your work stand out from the competition. Send a KML file to your client and see how much value that adds to your services! Can you afford to not have this tool?

Oh, by the way, KML files (but only smaller ones) also work with Google’s My Maps. You can use the file from above but you won’t see the contours.

John Balcom, MSE, PLS, GISP

Mark Lull, Technical Support Manager

Mark Lull:
Agile Release TPC Desktop 2015 R1

We are just about ready to release TPC Desktop 2015 R1 and I know you’re going to like it.

With agile releases, we are able to focus on bringing you really great new features in a timely way. 2015 R1 is no exception – You are getting some great new features. Here are a few.

Google Earth KML (Premium and Professional Editions) – TPC now reads/writes KML files. Do your research on a survey, enter the boundaries then export it to Google Earth and see how it fits. And when your survey is finished, export it to Google Earth so you can show the client where their property lines are and which pins you set. Someone said recently that as far as big things go, Google Earth is right up there with the wheel and fire. Once you start using it with your surveys, you might agree.

Multiple Backups – Now you can automatically store up to 10 backup copies of your surveys. And TPC’s new Recover Backup File command and dialog make it super easy to select the backup you want by date and size. You may not need this very often, but when you do, you’ll be glad it’s there.

You’ll also find enhancements in drawings, COGO, CAD interface and more.

Agile releases like this are only available to our TPC Connection members. So if you’re already a TPC Connection member, look for an announcement in your email soon. If you’re not a TPC Connection member, you probably should be. Otherwise, you’ll just have to wait to get your hands on these great features.

Mark Lull, Technical Support Manager

Oliver Bochsler, Software Developer

Oliver Bochsler:
Scratching the Surface of Google’s Earth

In my March eNewsletter article, I wrote about Traverse PC and KML. It was a high level overview of TPC’s ability to handle importing and exporting KML files. Since we’re about to release TPC 2015 R1, it makes sense to provide more detail on how TPC works with them. We have added several videos on our website that show how it works.

What’s in a KML file exported by TPC? The file will always contain four main folders named Drawing, Traverses, Surfaces, and Points.

  • The Drawing folder contains data related to exported drawing entities (lines, arcs, circles, etc.) and some additional information only if ‘Entire Drawing’ was chosen as the “What” list option when the file was exported.
  • The Traverses folder contains all the data from any exported traverse.
  • The Surfaces folder holds data from exported surfaces, minor and major contours, as well as TIN and Break lines.
  • The Points folder stores exported points from both the Points Manager, Traverse Views and Surfaces.

Our KML files currently use the Traverse Drawing Settings to define the symbols used in Google Earth. We are working to provide KML symbols for our entire symbol list. If we don’t yet have a KML symbol for what you used in TPC, our default symbol (a circle) will be used.

The KML videos can show you a lot more about all of this:

Oliver Bochsler, Software Developer

PS: What does everyone think of my new picture and that fresh looking orange TPC shirt?

Eric Tanikawa, Business Manager

Eric Tanikawa:
Is it Time to Throw Out that Old T-Shirt?

Traverse PC’s software has evolved for 28 years but has always maintained its core values of providing Land Surveying functions & routines. Everything else in the program is built on top of that core functionality. After all, surveying is what we do.

From DOS to Windows for Workgroups, Windows 98 to Windows ME, Windows XP to Windows Vista and now Windows 7 & 8 operating systems, Traverse PC has answered the call for COGO and closure tools, file compatibility, drafting and ease of use – All without the user having to spend thousands of dollars on multiple software programs.

During that time, we have had die-hard users who love some older version of our software, but are now forced to update because of computer and O/S technologies. Serial ports have been replaced by USB ports, printers now connect wirelessly, Microsoft eliminated security protections for older Windows operating systems and more. There are many reasons that the old software just can’t keep up.

We understand that it can be difficult to toss out that favorite old t-shirt that is so comfortable. We also understand that the cost of new hardware, software and other equipment adds up quickly so we decided to give our users an easy and inexpensive way to move forward. We call it Update2015. It provides discounts of up to 80% and it is only available for a short time.

So if that old t-shirt is looking a little threadbare, it’s probably time to get a new one that will end up being just as comfortable as the old one and be a lot more stylish and up-to-date.

Eric Tanikawa, Business Manager

PS:  I think Oliver’s orange Traverse PC T-Shirt looks Great and you can get one too! Just give me a call!