GIS Tech News (#112)29 Feb, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff
Trimble's Ruggedized Juno Takes GIS on a Field Trip
The third-generation handheld device combines positioning, imaging, and communications tools in one pocket-sized package for asset management and data collection.
By Cyrena Respini-Irwin
A utility worker uses the Juno 3D to photograph assets in the field.
Positioning solutions provider Trimble introduced a new series of lightweight, handheld devices for GIS field applications this month: the Trimble Juno 3B and 3D. The new series is designed for field workers from organizations such as public utilities and municipalities who perform asset management, data collection, inspections, and related tasks.
According to Chris Stern, director of business development, Trimble Utility Group, the company used to focus primarily on high-accuracy data collection. Now, however, it seeks to accommodate the daily workflow of utility, municipal, and other field workers as well. The primary need for these users is not extremely high accuracy, Stern explained; instead, they require a simple, rugged solution that provides streamlined workflows through a combination of hardware and software.
"The third generation of [the Juno] product line ... is designed to expand the use of mobile technology outside of core users, to those who aren't as familiar with the concepts of GIS and GPS," Stern said. Those "core users" are engineers, who make up only a small percentage of the utility employees who need to access data in the field. The majority are engaged in operations and maintenance, or customer service. "It gives the utility worker a device they can use every day," said Stern, as they inspect and repair fixed assets or install smart meters.
Adapted to the Environment
Today, said Stern, the majority of utility workers are equipped with a cell phone, laptop, or radio, or some combination thereof. The Juno combines navigation, data capture, computing, and communication capabilities in one device, which features a screen designed for clear viewing in direct sunlight. The Juno 3B features a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, a 5-megapixel autofocus camera with geotagging capabilities, and Windows Mobile software. The Juno 3D includes those features plus 3G wireless technology.
The Juno units are dust-, water-, and shock-resistant. Their IP54-level ruggedization makes them better adapted to field work than cell phones or PDAs are, Stern said. "The cell phone is not designed to withstand the harsh environments that [field personnel] work in. ... [Exposure to weather and temperature extremes] prohibit the cell phone from being a primary computing device in the field ... and the accuracy is not that good." In addition, the Juno's compact size and light weight give it a portability advantage over laptops, which may work well in vehicles but are difficult to carry in the field, Stern noted. Read more »
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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.
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