SparkFun RTK Surveyor Hookup Guide

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Contributors: Nate, Ell C
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Introduction

The RTK Surveyor from SparkFun is your one stop shop for high precision geolocation and surveying needs. For basic users, it’s incredibly easy to get up and running and for advanced users, the RTK Surveyor is a flexible and powerful tool.

SparkFun RTK Surveyor

SparkFun RTK Surveyor

GPS-18443
$399.95

With just a few minutes of setup, the RTK Surveyor is one of the fastest ways to take centimeter grade measurements.

RTK Fix in SW Maps

An RTK Fix in SW Maps

By connecting your phone to the RTK Surveyor over Bluetooth, your phone can act as the radio link to provide correction data as well as receive the NMEA output from the device. It’s how $10,000 surveying devices have been operating for the past decade - we just made it easier, smaller, and a lot cheaper.

Required Materials

While the RTK Surveyor is nicely enclosed you will need a few cables and antennas to make everything work. We'll go into the specifics of how to hook things together but in general you will need to get a good quality L1/L2 antenna:

GNSS Multi-Band L1/L2 Surveying Antenna (TNC) - TOP106

GNSS Multi-Band L1/L2 Surveying Antenna (TNC) - TOP106

GPS-17751
$124.95
5
Interface Cable - SMA Male to TNC Male (300mm)

Interface Cable - SMA Male to TNC Male (300mm)

CAB-17833
$9.95
1/4" to 5/8" Antenna Thread Adapter

1/4" to 5/8" Antenna Thread Adapter

PRT-17546
$4.95

Depending on your setup you may want to use your phone for RTCM correction data. If a source is not available online, you will need a 2nd RTK Surveyor setup in base mode and a radio link connecting the Base to the Rover. Again, we'll go into details but we designed RTK Surveyor to work with these 500mW 915MHz telemetry radios out of the box:

Serial Telemetry Radio Kit - 915MHz, 500mW

WRL-17255
Retired

To charge the RTK Surveyor you will need a USB C cable and a power supply. SparkFun carries a few options:

USB 2.0 Type-C Cable - 1 Meter

USB 2.0 Type-C Cable - 1 Meter

CAB-16905
$4.50
Reversible USB A to C Cable - 0.8m

Reversible USB A to C Cable - 0.8m

CAB-15425
$4.95
1
USB Wall Charger - 5V, 2A

USB Wall Charger - 5V, 2A

TOL-16893
$5.95
USB-C Wall Adapter - 5.1V, 3A (Black)

USB-C Wall Adapter - 5.1V, 3A (Black)

TOL-16272
$4.95

Suggested Reading

GNSS RTK is an incredible feat of engineering that has been made easy to use by powerful GNSS receivers such as the ZED-F9P by u-blox (the receiver inside RTK Surveyor). The process of setting up an RTK system will be covered in this tutorial but if you want to know more about RTK here are some good tutorials to brush up on:

What is GPS RTK?

Learn about the latest generation of GPS and GNSS receivers to get 14mm positional accuracy!

Getting Started with U-Center for u-blox

Learn the tips and tricks to use the u-blox software tool to configure your GPS receiver.

GPS-RTK2 Hookup Guide

Get precision down to the diameter of a dime with the new ZED-F9P from u-blox.

Setting up a Rover Base RTK System

Getting GNSS RTCM correction data from a base to a rover is easy with a serial telemetry radio! We'll show you how to get your high precision RTK GNSS system setup and running.

How to Build a DIY GNSS Reference Station

Learn how to affix a GNSS antenna, use PPP to get its ECEF coordinates and then broadcast your own RTCM data over the internet and cellular using NTRIP to increase rover reception to 10km!