Top 5 best RTK GNSS Receivers for Land Surveying

Finding a good GPS antenna for your land surveying projects can be difficult and time consuming. With more and more brand entering the market won’t make it any easier.

Normally you would have gone to your local dealer and he would tell you he has the best receiver for you, but is this really true? Most local dealers only have 1 to 2 brands and probably just offer you what they want to sell you, not which receiver is best and most cost-effective for you. 

As a land surveyor, you and your receiver have to deal with some tough conditions. Your GPS antenna has to be able to deal with these environments. Does that mean that you will need a €10.000 GNSS antenna? No. Nowadays you can get high performance RTK GNSS receivers for around €4000 to €5000. Yes you can get them cheaper but then you really have to ask yourself, do you want to be in a situation where you are standing in a difficult location and your GNSS antenna is not able to get a centimeter accurate fixed location? 

Sometimes spending that little extra money on the GNSS receiver will save you on working hours in the long run.  

Performance and price are 2 of the key ingredients of finding a good GPS receiver. Of course there are more components that play a role which we take in consideration as well. 

Here is our review process in detail:

  1. Performance
  2. Price
  3. Connectivity
  4. Compatibility
  5. Features  

Top 5 Best RTK GNSS Receivers For Land Surveying in 2022

Below is a list of the top 5 best RTK GNSS receivers for land surveyors that we’ve found perform well in tough conditions with good accuracy and speed.

Please note: As you probably know, a GPS surveying set is not complete without a good surveying software solution. Where the GNSS antenna determines the location its the software that allows you to determine what to do with this location. Wether this is uploading your DTM (digital terrain model) for staking out, or for point collection. In this review we focus on the GNSS antenna only because this is responsible for the performance. Please read the article below for a good software solution: 

  • Software Help Guide – Top 5 software for land surveying

 

1. Comnav N5 – Best Overall

 

Comnav N5 Pros

+  1198 channels

+  4G internet 

+  Fast FIX (CM accurate in 5 sec)

+  Free Surveying software included

+  Connect via IP, Bluetooth, Cable

+  IMU tilt sensor (up to 60° angle)

Go to product

ComNav Technology is a China based Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) that develops and manufactures RTK GNSS receivers, GNSS OEM boards and solutions for high-precision positioning applications worldwide. They develop their own high-end GNSS technologies that help land surveyors all around the world to achieve their high precision objectives without having them to spend tens of thousands of euros.

The Comnav N5 is one of their strongest RTK GNSS receivers. It’s a multi-constellation RTK GPS receiver with 1198 channels. It also has a enhanced UHF for up to 15km working range and an IMU tilt sensor that let’s you tilt up to 60°. The user-friendly OLED display makes it an RTK GNSS receiver everybody can easily work with, from surveyors that are already years in the business to surveyors that are only just tipping their toes in the surveying world.

Because of the build-in 4G internet modem you’re able to work seamlessly with GNSS RTK correction services. So even if you have a data collector without an internet modem you’ll be able to achieve centimeter accuracy with this RTK GNSS receiver.

The Comnav N5 RTK GPS receiver has two 3400mAh Li-ion batteries which makes you able to work for at least 24 hours before the batteries run dry. The Comnav N5 GNSS receiver also has an IP67 rating which makes it able to handle though environmental conditions.

Here are some recommended Comnav N5 setups

Comnav N5 Rover set

A standard RTK GPS set for mapping your terrain, staking out or collecting points.

check options

Comnav N5 Rover and Base set

When you live in a remote area a second GPS receiver is needed to act as a base station for correction data

check options

 

2. South INNO7 – Great performance

 

INNO7 Pros

+  First GPS with 5G internet 

+  Fast FIX (CM accurate in 5 sec)

+  Connect via Cloud server, IP, Bluetooth, Cable

+  E-bubble and IMU tilt sensor (up to 60° angle)

+  LCD Color touch screen

+  15KM internal radio range 

+  Trimble board with full constellation support

 

South INNO7 RTK GPS GNSS receiver
Go to product

You might not have heard of them before but South Instrument has been around for over 15 years now. It’s a China based company with over 3000 employees and is currently the leading Geospatial manufacturer in China. 

The South INNO7 RTK GNSS receiver starts at a price of €4995. The INNO7 is at time of writing the First and Only GNSS receiver with 5G internet, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to get a powerful internet connection and making the GNSS receiver ready for the future.

Besides its internet capabilities to connect to RTK providers, the INNO7 also allow you to send data to a Cloud service via IP. Of course you can also connect to your tablet or data collector via the traditional Bluetooth, USB or RS-232 cable. 

For land surveyors that use the INNO7 GNSS receiver in a Rover and Base setup South has upgraded its internal radio with the new FarLink protocol.  This build-in radio adopts a switchable 1 to 3 Watt radio with a maximum range of 15 Kilometers. Besides an increased range its power consumption is also reduced by 60%. So if you’re planning to use the South INNO7 GNSS receiver in a Rover and Base setup, you’ll be able to survey a way bigger area before needing to replace your Base station than you normally are able to with the range of a standard internal radio.

In terms of performance the INNO7 is not falling behind either. With its Dual RTK engine the GNSS receiver can have a centimeter accurate fixed position in seconds. 

Fast IMU Initialisation

The INNO7 is integrated with a new generation IMU module that only need 2 to 5 seconds of shaking to complete its initialisation. After initialising the receiver can reach a maximum angle of 60 degrees. 

This allows you to measure places unreachable to the standard GNSS receiver without tilt functionalities. 

With the IMU tilt you can get even closer to the buildings, reach manhole covers that are blocked by parked cars or when under tree canopies that are too dense. That little extra tilt might give you the centimeter accurate fix you need.

Here are some recommended South INNO7 setups

South Inno7 Rover set

A standard RTK GPS set for mapping your terrain, staking out or collecting points.

Check options

South INNO7 Rover and Base set

When you live in a remote area a second GPS receiver is needed to act as a base station for correction data. 

Check options

 

3. Kolida K30 – Good performance

 

Kolida K30 Pros

+  4G internet 

+  Fast FIX (CM accurate in 5 sec)

1598 Channels

+  Connect via IP, Bluetooth, Cable

+  E-bubble and IMU tilt sensor (up to 60° angle)

+  Up to 25 hours battery life

+  4 hour charge to full power

Go to product

Kolida Instrument is a Chinese based company as well and is actually a sub company of the South Instrument Group. Same as South they offer a good range of RTK GNSS receivers but the difference is where South mostly uses external battery systems, Kolida has integrated a more internal approach with their GPS receivers. 

Their, at time of writing, flagship model which is the Kolida K30 GNSS receiver has an internal battery capacity of 10.000 mAh. This capacity should give you more than enough juice for a continuous survey throughout the day. 

Besides the impressive internal battery the Kolida K30 RTK GNSS receiver top model implements a very strong GNSS chip with full constellation support. Its triple frequency GPS L1 L2 L5 capabilities allow you to get a centimeter accurate fix in mere seconds, even in the toughest conditions. Besides GPS this GNSS receiver also tracks all Galileo Glonass and BeiDou satellites.

In terms of connectivity the Kolida K30 is not falling behind either as its able to connect to most of the known surveying software packages. With this RTK GNSS receiver you can either send the data via the internet, through USB or via traditional Bluetooth connection. The standard NMEA output sends the positioning data to any place it is needed.

The Kolida K30 GNSS receiver is also equipped with an IMU. This calibration free tilt compensation mechanism allow you to reach an angle of up to 60 degrees, making it possible to reach the places where traditional GNSS receiver can’t go.

Here are some recommended Kolida K30 setups

Kolida K30 Rover set

A standard RTK GPS set for mapping your terrain, staking out or collecting points.

check options

Kolida K30 Rover and Base set

When you live in a remote area a second GPS receiver is needed to act as a base station for correction data. 

check options

 

4. Carlson BRx7 – Great performance but expensive

 

Carlson BRx7 Pros

+  4G internet 

+  Fast FIX (CM accurate in 5 sec)

+ With removable dual battery, for single
battery parameter: 7.2 V, 3400 mAh, 24.48 Wh

+  E-bubble and IMU tilt sensor (up to 60° angle)

+  800+ Channels

+  Hemisphere board with full constellation support

 

Carlson BRx7 RTK GPS GNSS receiver rover set
Go to product

Carlson was founded in 1983 in America and specializes in field data collection, machine control products and CAD design software for all surveying markets worldwide. 

It’s easy to say that the Carlson BRx7 RTK GNSS receiver is their flagship product when it comes to hardware. With its 800+ channels you know this RTK GNSS receiver gets the job done. The price is indeed a little higher than most RTK GPS receivers but you’ll be able to go surveying almost anywhere with confidence. 

The Carlson BRx7 GNSS receiver also has an IMU tilt sensor which can tilt up to 60° with a compensation of 5 cm. So also with this GPS receiver surveying in difficult enviroments is no problem at all. If, because of any reason, you’re not able to connect with a local RTK or CORS solution and you don’t want to set up a base station, you’ll have the option to use the Atlas L-Band correction data anywhere you want. 

With the removable dual battery, with a working time of 12 hours, you’re able to just change the batteries in the RTK GNSS receiver when they run dry. So even if your batteries run dry on the job you don’t have to quit surveying that day to come back the next day. Just swap the empy batteries for the fully charged ones and continue your surveying.

If you are planning to use the Carlson BRx7 GNSS receiver in a rover and base set up you’ll have the ability to use their industry-leading unique cloud-based service that eliminates baseline length restriction of UHF radio’s, Carlson’s Listen-Listen. With this service your RTK GPS receiver will have RTK baselines up to 50 km with fast acquisition times.   

Here are some recommended Carlson BRx7 setups

Carlson BRx7 Rover set

A standard RTK GPS set for mapping your terrain, staking out or collecting points.

Check options

Carlson BRx7 Rover and Base set

When you live in a remote area a second GPS receiver is needed to act as a base station for correction data. 

Check options

 

5. Stonex S990A – Very Reliable

 

S990A PROS

+  4G Modem 

+  Multi constellation

+  Double frequency radio

+  E-bubble and IMU tilt sensor (up to 60° angle)

+  Color touch display

+  Atlas correction service & RTK

 

Go to product

This familiar looking RTK GNSS receiver is one of the best sellers from the Company Stonex. The company has been active since 1995 and has a lot of experience in the geospatial industry. Stonex is affiliated with the Unistrong group, which on its own is connected again with Hemisphere and E-Survey. 

Also a multi constellation RTK GNSS receiver, the Stonex S990A outperforms most GPS receivers. With its 800 channels, provides an excellent on board real time navigation solution with accuracy. all GNSS signals (GPS, GLONASS, BEIDOU, GALILEO, QZSS and IRNSS) are included, no additional cost.  Like the previous GPS receivers, the S990A has IMU tilt capabilities as well with a max reach of 60 degrees with an accuracy of 5 cm.

With the Stonex S990A RTK GPS receiver you’ll have access to 800 Channels which gives you more than enough processing capabilities to track each and every satellite and full capacity. Also for when you are in a country that does not have a local RTK or CORS solution and you don’t want to setup your own base station, you can use the Atlas L-Band correction data. With an initialisation time of approximately 10 minutes you can achieve an accuracy of around 5 to 10 centimeters anywhere on the planet.

 

Here are some recommended Stonex S990A setups

Stonex S990A Rover set

A standard RTK GPS set for mapping your terrain, staking out or collecting points.

Check options
Stonex-S990A-Rover-Base-set

Stonex S990A Rover and Base set

When you live in a remote area a second GPS receiver is needed to act as a base station for correction data. 

Check options

Things to consider when choosing an RTK GPS receiver for land surveying

 

1. Besides The GPS Antenna You Will Need Surveying Software As Well

With just a GNSS receiver you are not going to get far. Yes the GPS antenna provides you with the positioning data and the accuracy that you need but you’ll still need a place to process all of this. 

This is what land surveying software is for. Within the software you can attach data to your GPS positioning data. By uploading DTM (Digital Terrain Models) into your software you can stake out these points based on the positioning data your GPS system provides. 

The receivers listed above are all compatible with most of the GPS survey software packages so connecting should not be an issue. Now the questions remains, Which software package do I need? You can read the article below to find a good solution:

  • Software Help Guide – Top 5 software for land surveying

 

2. Know which GNSS receiver setup you will need

Most land surveyors nowadays use a correction service to make your GPS receiver centimeter accurate. Without a correction source your GNSS antenna will never be centimeter accurate. 

 

 

Because they they use this, setting up your own base station is not needed anymore. Most land surveyors will go for a setup which is called a Rover setup.

This setup normally consists of:

  • RTK GNSS receiver with internet capabilities;
  • Data collector with land surveying software
  • Surveying pole with bracket for data collector
  • Correction data from a source like RTK FIX

Leave a Reply

Select your currency
EUREuro