Josh Reviews: Trimble surveying gear

If you’re laying down a whacking great concrete slab, you probably want to make sure it’s level. That said, if you’re going to do all that surveying, you might as well have fun doing it. Hence, the Trimble Spectra Precision Laser LL500 laser level and the CR600 receiver. Put these two together, and you could spend hours wandering around measuring depressions and elevations. I did…
Ratings:
Ease of use: 6/10 – 10/10
Entertainment value: 7/10
Usefulness: 9/10
Shiny factor: 9/10
Overall:


Ratings:
Ease of use: 6/10 – 10/10
The laser “base station” is a snap. Find some high ground, set it up, and flick a switch to project a laser for 600m around. The receiver is a little harder to get to grips with – and it’s not particularly intuitive. Measuring depressions – and thinking in negative heights – is even less intuitive.
Entertainment value: 7/10
It’s almost too good. The temptation is to measure everything in sight, and by the time you get to that point you’ll be a little sick of it. Still, it’s enthralling once you get the hang of measuring depressions.
Usefulness: 9/10
Despite the tone of this entry, it’s not designed as a toy ^_^ The laser level is accurate to around 3mm (1/8″), which is plenty of accuracy for most projects – especially when you’re 600m from the base station. It’s rugged, and will be good enough for any application that doesn’t require GPS-grade positional accuracy.
Shiny factor: 9/10
It has a laser! It has a laser, and ultra-bright LEDs! How much more shiny can it be?? Granted, it could be brushed metal, but that would be a little impractical on a building site…
Overall: 8/10
If this package weren’t so expensive (it’s a couple of thousand dollars worth, most of which goes to the cool spinny laser prisms), it’d be worthy of a Seal of Shininess. As is, it’s still a really cool thing to play with… or use for its intended purpose. Your call.

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