Top 5 RTK GNSS Receivers for Construction and Infrastructure

Finding a good GPS antenna for your infrastructure and construction projects can be difficult and time consuming. With more and more brands 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. 

Active users of RTK GPS equipment in the infrastructure and construction business need good performing, strong and reliable equipment. Your GNSS receiver needs to be able to measure points in sometimes harsh conditions where everything can happen and where the signal can be blocked by anything. So having a good, strong and reliable RTK GNSS receiver is a must.

The RTK GNSS receiver sets are pretty similar to the GPS sets used by land surveyors, both need strong GPS receivers. 

Dense areas of (high) buildings can interfere alot with the satellite signals your RTK GNSS receiver tries to collect, so a GPS receiver with great performance is necessary in the infrastructure and construction business. 

 

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 Infrastructure and Construction in 2022

Below is a list of the top 5 best RTK GNSS receivers for the infrastructure and construction business that we think are cost effective and work well in the environments common in the infrastructure and construction industry.

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. South Galaxy G3 – Best Overall

 

South Galaxy G3 Pros

+ 1598 Channels 

+  Fast FIX (CM accurate in 5 sec)

+  15 hours working time with 6800mAh battery

+  Connect via IP, Bluetooth, Cable

+  60° IMU tilt sensor

+  8 km “Farlink” radio solution

+  410-470 MHz range internal radio 

+  Robust aluminum housing

 

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The South Galaxy G3 RTK GNSS receiver is the receiver we recommend for the infrastructure and construction business. It’s a very strong and reliable GPS receiver that gets the job done.

The South Galaxy G3 is very sharp priced for its performance capabalities. With its 1598 channels and 60° IMU tilt sensor you just know that whatever obstacles you encounter, with this RTK GNSS receiver they won’t be a problem. With the new function ‘RTK Keep’ the South Galaxy G3 GNSS antenna is able to keep centimeter-level accuracy for a few minutes when the RTK correction is missing. 

The South Galaxy G3 GPS receiver doesn’t have an internet modem, but that won’t be necessary because your data collector probably does have one. So you’re able to connect with an RTK VRS correction network to get centimeter accurate. 

With a weight of only 790 grams the South Galaxy G3 is a very light GNSS receiver. So you won’t have to carry a heavy device the whole time when you’re measuring on the construction site. The receiver is still packaged with a magnesium alloy shell which makes it a very strong device that can take a beating. It also has an IP68 rating which makes it fully protected against blowing dust. 

The South Galaxy G3 RTK GNSS receiver uses the new Farlink protocol. The Farlink protocol let’s your South Galaxy G3 GPS receiver have a radio with a maximum range of 15 kilometers. Also the power consumption of your GNSS receiver is reduced by 60% with this protocol. This allows you to set up another GNSS receiver as a base station and be able to connect the two receivers with eachother for a distance of 15 kilometers. 

Here are some possible South Galaxy G3 setups

South Galaxy G3 Rover set

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

Check options

South Galaxy G3 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. Comnav N3 – Great performance

 

Comnav N3 Pros

+  1198 Channels 

+  Fast FIX (CM accurate in 5 sec)

+  4G Internet modem

+  Connect via IP, Bluetooth, Cable

+  24 hours battery life 

+  Upgraded IMU tilt sensor

 

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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 N3 RTK GNSS receiver is a high performing GPS receiver with 1198 channels. It has an upgraded 60° IMU tilt sensor which allows you to measure difficult to reach points more easily. The 4G internet modem let’s you connect easily with a VRS RTK correction service. 

With two 3400mAh and low power consumption the Comnav N3 GPS receiver is able to work for 25 hours in rover mode before the batteries run dry. It also has an enhanced UHF modem which allows you to connect the GNSS receiver with another GNSS receiver for a distance of 15km. 

The Comnav N3 has 5 LEDs which indicate satellites tracking, RTK correction data, GPRS status and power. It has an IP67 rating which makes this RTK GPS receiver a strong an reliable receiver. 

Comnav has its own free Android based surveying software called Survey Master but the Comnav N3 is also perfectly compatible with MicroSurvey FieldGenius (Android) and Carlson SurvCE (Windows) software.

Here are some possible Comnav N3 setups

Comnav N3 Rover set

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

Check options

Comnav N3 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. South Galaxy G7 – Good Performance

 

South Galaxy G7 Pros

+  1598 channels

+  Fast FIX (CM accurate in 5 sec)

+  Connect via Bluetooth, Cable

+  IMU tilt sensor (up to 60° angle)

+  Magnesium alloy shell

 

South g7
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On the 3rd place we have another South RTK GNSS receiver, the South Galaxy G7. This receiver is a little bit older than the South Galaxy G3 but is still a good GNSS receiver with great performance. It also has 1598 channels and an IMU tilt sensor that can tilt up to 60°.

Its standard NMEA protocol allows you to connect the GNSS receiver to any software or machine you like. Within its intuitive user interface you can choose which parts of the NMEA string you want to include or not. This is good to reduce noise when you only need the GGA data. Connect the GNSS receiver to any software package via bluetooth, cable or via WiFi.

Last but not least the South Galaxy G7 RTK GNSS receivers internal radio uses the 410-470 MHz range and can use the protocol Farlink which allows it to achieve a working range of 8 kilometers. This allows you to set up another GNSS receiver as a base station and be able to connect the two receivers with eachother for a distance of 8 kilometers. 

Here are some possible South Galaxy G7 setups

South Galaxy G7 Rover set

South Galaxy G7 Rover set

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

Check options

South Galaxy G7 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. Kolida K1 Pro – Two GNSS Board options

 

Kolida K1 Pros

336 or 672 channels

4G internet 

+  Fast FIX (CM accurate in 5 sec)

+  Connect via IP, Bluetooth, Cable

+  Star-Fill provides fixed solution when signal is lost

Kolida K1 pro RTK GPS GNSS receiver
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Kolida Instrument is a sub company of South. Just like 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. The Kolida K1 Pro is one of their strongest RTK GNSS receivers. With the option of two different GNSS boards: one with 336 channels and one with 672 channels.

With its IMU tilt sensor that can tilt up to 60° you are able to measure every point very easily. Also with the 4G internet modem you are able to connect the Kolida K1 Pro with any VRS RTK correction network to become centimeter accurate. With the build-in 410-470MHz frequency UHF radio you can connect a second RTK GNSS receiver to get correction data when a VRS or CORS network isn’t available. 

Quickly check the system information on the screen on the GPS receiver. The Kolida K1 Pro also has voice guide in 8 different languages.

With its IP68 rating you know this receiver can handle some though environments.

Here are some possible Kolida K1 Pro setups

Kolida K1 Pro Rover set

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

Check options
Kolida-k1-pro

Kolida K1 Pro 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. EFIX F7 – Affordable

 

EFIX F7 Pros

+  824 Channels

+  Fast FIX (CM accurate in 5 sec)

+  Connect via IP, Bluetooth, Cable

+  IMU tilt sensor up to 60°

+  Smart battery management 

+  15 hours of continuous operation

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The EFIX F7 RTK GNSS receiver is a great receiver for a very sharp price. It has 824 channels and an IMU tilt sensor that can tilt up to 60°. It doesn’t have an internet modem but most of the time your data collector has an internet modem in it so it isn’t per se necessary. 

This RTK GPS receiver has an optimized power consumption which allows it to work for 12 hours in RTK mode and 15 hours in static mode. The EFIX F7 GNSS receiver supports charging from a mobile power bank allowing it to be recharged anytime and anywhere. 

It has an IP67 rating which makes it waterproof and dustproof and protected from temporary immersion to a depth of 1 meter. The nagnesium alloy housing makes the EFIX F7 RTK GNSS receiver lighter and stronger, it weighs only 770 grams. 

The LED lights on the front of the GPS receiver show you exactly the power and communication information you need.

Here are some possible EFIX F7 setups

EFIX F7 Rover set

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

Check options

EFIX F7 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 Infrastructure and Construction purposes

 

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. Choose a Strong GNSS Receiver 

In the infrastructure and construction business the environments can be very harsh, because of that it is important to have a strong and rugged GNSS receiver. That’s why we always recommend a GPS receiver with an IP67 rating or higher. If something may happen it will be strong enough to survive it. This is ofcourse for minor things, not if a truck or something like that runs over it.

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