We are carrying out several research projects involving volume calculations using UAV imagery for which we need survey grade GPS / GNSS accuracy for our Ground Control Points. Right now we are working on very limited budget and are beg/borrow/steal-ing access to Dual channel commercial equipment from government and industry partners. We are quickly hitting a point where we need to operate our own equipment. We do not need RTK, and can post process our corrections.

I have read about Reach and Piksi, but I do not need to go that low cost, and also want something fairly turnkey. I am not looking to integrate any of this into the UAV's, just capture accurate readings for my GCPs.

  • Is there a solution I am not turning up that is affordable ($1500-$3000) that does this?
  • If not does anyone have experience with Reach or Piksi in the field?
  • Has anyone evaluated the above against other high end field equipment?

We are working in Arctic and high Arctic conditions so some robustness and reliability is required.

  • Can you quantify survey grade accuracy? 5 cm, 1 cm? You might check out and possibly post at RPLSToday but the surveyors will be blunt. If you're post-processing, how far away are the CORS/ref stations going to be?
    – mkennedy
    Feb 3, 2017 at 18:23
  • The reference station will always be relatively close to the roving station - we are going to be operating mostly in remote areas (helicopter / snow machine / boat access only) so we will be carrying gear in, setting up the base station and GCPs, flying the site and packing up. Accuracy is somewhat flexible as long as we can provide ranges of uncertainty in our results, but when measuring slumping of permafrost embankments we are sometimes looking to measure relatively small change. If we can prove the utility we can improve the budget :)
    – Matthew
    Feb 3, 2017 at 18:32

1 Answer 1


For a rugged, currently-available affordable turn-key solution, I only know of the Tersus Precis-TX306. I have not used Tersus gear yet. (I ordered a Tersus Precis-BX316 last year but canceled the order after they delayed shipment a second time.)

I have an original Piksi but have hardly used it. (I use NVS dual RTK receivers.) The new Piksi Multi is starting to look like a very usable solution for me, and is fairly turn-key with the evaluation board.

By "dual channel" do you mean L1/L2? The new Reach RS looks like a great turnkey system but it does not support L2.

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