Q. What are the activities of Trimble Earth Systems?
A. Trimble Earth Systems is as a part of the infrastructure division of the company and is dedicated to serve the academic markets with products that apply measuring technology, positioning technology to areas of tectonic seismology and meteorology.
Q. What are various geodetic solutions for the seismic and earthquake communities offered by Trimble?
A. As of today, we have been deploying a lot of GNSS and geodetic networks for measuring tectonic movements on a large scale. We also provide a wide range of seismology equipment for research in addition to earthquake rapid event notification.
Today, we are bringing geodesy and seismology technologies together. With Trimble SG160-09 SeismoGeodetic System, we are combining these two worlds to bring out a completely new class of sensors that brings the best of both worlds to the academic and to the disaster warning community.
Q. What are the key features of the SG 160-09 SeismoGeodetic System?
A. For the first time we now have the combination of highly accurate seismic sensor, low-noise accelerometers and a GNSS sensor in one package. Essentially, the advantage is that you break the barrier of the choice between having a high accurate weak motion sensor together with a highly accurate absolute positioning sensor. In effect you create a very broadband seismometer together with absolute positioning in the terrestrial reference frame.
Q. Trimble also has a technology called RTX for absolute positioning. How is it different?
A. Trimble RTX is another new technology from Trimble that allows you to do centimetre level measurements on a global scale as opposed to the traditional methods using differential measurements.
If you look at a large seismic event, actually a big part of the landmass moves around. In such a scenario, differential measurement doesn’t give you the whole information. At the same time, absolute measurement can really tell you how big the movements of the tectonic plate were. One of the examples is the big earthquake we had in Sendai, Japan. There, the post-processing has shown that the magnitude that caused that catastrophic tsunami could have been precisely predicted two minutes after the earthquake, if real time processing of that would have been conducted at that time. And that’s one of the key things we achieve with this new sensor that takes advantage of the Trimble RTX precise positioning technology and the accelerometer technology.
Q. What are the focus application markets for this product?
A. The primary market is actually seismology, earthquake early warning and earthquake rapid notification as well as disaster management. This product is also applicable to structural monitoring applications (for buildings, bridges and dams) for measuring structures with a very high accuracy and in high resolution.
Q. Regional Earth Quake Monitoring programmes are a big focus these days. So, will this product benefit such programmes?
A. We hope to help institutes researching on disaster management — in India and in and around this region — to develop various monitoring programmes.
Q. You said, this product can be helpful for critical infrastructure monitoring also. Can you explain a bit more?
A. With this sensor, you get absolute reference that improves the performance of the accelerometers. This in turn means less measurement bias because you add an additional absolute measurement and also discards the need for any external reference sources.
So today if you do GNSS monitoring of a dam, you need external reference stations. If you monitor a bridge or a building, you need external reference stations. In short, you need a huge infrastructure. This can be avoided now with the use of this new sensor.