machine control online

World of Concrete, Day Three; Timing

I can tell when convention goers get weary. As the days drag on, they start to show up later in the morning, conduct necessary business and retreat to their rooms for a nap before the evenings festivities.

I saw empty halls in the morning with the place filled up mid day. Booth staff was occupied writing orders and owners were making decisions. All in a days work at a trade show.Sales are better than last year with increases for big ticket as well as smaller suppliers. The clients I met at the show are reporting firmer pricing on better jobs with the work pipeline getting fuller and more profitable.

I headed back to Phoenix where I could get some promised work done.

February 6, 2015 in Marco's Posts
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World of Concrete, Day 2; Noise

You can often tell how good a party is going when there is a level of conversation that fills the room. When you get the same level in a place as big as the Las Vegas Convention Center, you really notice. The buzz at this years show was that level.

Vendors at the event feel that attendance is better and people are buying. I saw much of the same. What is different in this show from past offerings is notable. There was always a decent presence with iron manufacturers and machine control brands. There was representation from all these groups but their offerings were tailored to the Concrete crowd. Iron manufacturers displayed skid steers, backhoes and small excavators. Technology companies focused on layout and measuring products. Upon talking to manufacturers, the consensus was to keep the presence tailored to the audience, use fewer resources and save the focus on machine control for ConExpo. A wise move and a cost saver.

I was intrigued by several new products shown at the show. Topcon’s LN-100, reviewed in the latest newsletter was getting a lot of attention. Trimble has a layout product I will be looking at and reporting on in the future. Spectra Precision, the capable price conscious provider of technology introduced a new product; their QML800. The short story is 2 lasers, an android tablet and you mark the intersection of the laser beams to locate your point. Seems quick, low cost and easy. I’ll report on it in the near future.

One more day at the show for me than it’s back to 2 big monitors so I can get some real work done…

February 4, 2015 in Marco's Posts
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World of Concrete, Day One

I will find out the opening day numbers tomorrow, the Show Daily usually has them. What impressed me most was the long line to get my attendee badge upon entering the Convention Hall.

I drove from Phoenix in the morning, a beautiful 4.5 hour drive through Arizona and Nevada. The outside lots and displays seemed to occupy as much real estate in years past, with the inside seeming to be smaller. I think the number of exhibitors has stayed near the same, booth size might be getting a bit smaller.

With the increase in BIM, manufacturers have split booths to cater to their various divisions. Trimble has a Spectra Precision, Tekla and Vehicle Tracking booths to help focus on different business units.

Upbeat clients and happy vendors have me believing that people are getting a bit more optimistic. More to come…

February 3, 2015 in Marco's Posts
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Design to Paver – Conference Handbook now available


Click below for the PDF

Design to Paver Intelligent Construction Systems & Technologies Conference Handbook click here

July 20, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Design to Paver: Event promoting Construction Systems and Technologies (ICST)

Back in 2010, I was honored to be invited to speak at the “Design to Dozer” training event hosted by Oregon Department of Transportation’s Geometronics Unit. Ron Singh, Chief of Surveys and Geometronics Manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation, lead the event bringing together technologies that make up construction systems and technologies (ICST). Click here for past presentations that are still relevant today.

This week, July 9-10, 2014, Ron and his colleagues will host an expanded version of this event titled “Design to Paver.” I am appreciative to be invited again and had planned on attending but due to a business conflict, I regretfully had to cancel just a few days ago. But I will post updates from the event here on

Hats off to Ron, Oregon DOT, Federal Highway Administration and all those organizing and participating in the event. Get informed and see 3D design, Automated Machine Guidance and related technologies in action at a two-day training event. Click here for more info and stayed tuned on our site.

July 6, 2014 in Randy's Blog
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LandXML 2.0: New Update to Data Exchange Standard

If you are an engineer, surveyor or contractor, you are likely familiar with LandXML. The data exchange standard has been around over 14 years making data exchange between multiple proprietary and nonproprietary data formats play well together. LandXML is an ambassador of sorts lubricating the data workflow. Now there is a new sponsor, new development team and new features comping to a proposed LandXML 2.0 update tentatively scheduled for a December 2014 release.

For more information, click here for a new document written by Bruce Carlson, PE and Nathan Crews.

July 6, 2014 in Randy's Blog
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New Utility Claims to Restore Damaged DWG Files

Here is a press release I received. I read through and visited the website. The website is a bit archaic which doesn’t speak great but if the utility works, it certainly could save the day. Give it a look.

DataNumen has released a new version of DataNumen DWG Recovery, a Windows application that repairs corrupted or damaged DWG files created by AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT, and similar software products. The main improvement in Version 1.5 is the recovery of files in AutoCAD Release 14 through 2003.

DataNumen DWG Recovery can fix more than 50 types of objects in DWG files, including block, point, line, arc, circle, and many more. The software can even recover deleted objects in DWG files. In addition to writing recovered files in drawing (DWG) format, DataNumen DWG Recovery can also create drawing exchange format (DXF) files, allowing recovered files to be used in AutoCAD as well as third-party applications that use AutoCAD files.

Unlike competitive data recovery solutions, the demo version of DataNumen DWG Recovery will scan the damaged DWG files and identify exactly theinformation that it can recover. Before buying the DWG recovery program, users will be able to view all of the recovered contents in a preview window, and know exactly how successful their data recovery efforts will be when they install the full version of the application. In addition, DataNumen will refund a customer´s order if any competitive AutoCAD data recovery program can recover more data than DataNumen DWG Recovery.

Registered users can run the software in batch mode to fix any number of damaged DWG files. DataNumen DWG Recovery works with modern drives as well as older media such as CDROMs, floppy disks, and Zip disks.

DataNumen DWG Recovery is fully integrated with the Windows Explorer context (right-click) menu, allowing AutoCAD users to initiate the repair process quickly and easily. Drag and drop operations are also supported.

Product page:

About DataNumen
Founded in 2001, DataNumen, Inc. is recognized as a world leader in data recovery technologies. In addition to DataNumen DWG Recovery, the company offers data recovery software for SQL Server, Oracle, Access, and .DBF databases. DataNumen also markets data recovery programs for Microsoft Excel, Word, Outlook and Outlook Express, RAR, PDF, and more than a dozen other applications.

DataNumen´s customers include AT&T Global Network Services, General Electric Co., IBM, HP, Dell Inc., Motorola Inc., The Procter & Gamble Co., FedEx Corp., Xerox Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and many more businesses and institutions worldwide.

For more information, visit

June 4, 2014 in Randy's Blog
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Oculus Rift & Project Morpheus-Virtual Reality Headsets for 3D Positioning & Machine Control?

The spotlight was on the virtual reality industry last week with a couple of big announcements. First, Facebook announced its 2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR, the maker of a virtual reality gaming headset called Oculus Rift. That is an amazing value given that less than 2 years ago, Oculus VR was asking for startup cash via Kickstarter.

The next announcement was no less significant. Sony revealed Project Morpheus, their plans for bringing virtual reality to, well,…. reality. What makes Sony’s play interesting is that this marks the first serious effort from a first-party platform holder. Project Morpheus could be the most attractive option yet for VR developers.

Read more click here

March 31, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Obituary Karl Soar – EMEA Paving Sales Manager Leica Geosystems

Karl Soar, an inspirational member of the machine control team at Leica Geosystems and world class specialist in his field, was known, liked and respected by professionals across the globe.

Colleagues, customers and friends were shocked and saddened to hear of Karl’s sudden and early death at home, at the age of 45. Many of them travelled to the UK from the USA, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Norway to attend his funeral in Staffordshire.

During a 14 year career with Leica Geosystems Karl’s contribution and impact in a number of senior roles in machine control, was significant.  Based in the UK, Holland, and also at the manufacturing base in Heerbrugg, Switzerland, he worked on numerous major civil engineering projects around the world.

These include: the Channel Tunnel Rail Link; Terminal 5 at Heathrow; the Perpignan-Figueres high speed rail link between France and Spain, and road and rail tunnels from the Russian Winter Olympic town of Sochi to the airport on the Black Sea coast.

Mark Concannon, President, EMEA Hexagon Geosystems said, “Karl’s passion, drive and practical understanding of the market was instrumental to the development and success of Leica’s concrete paving solutions and bulldozer guidance and grader systems.  He had a rare ability to relate to people at all levels in the construction world, from bulldozer drivers to technicians, to company owners.  He was adaptable and thrived on finding solutions to technical challenges”.

A civil engineering graduate, with an MSc in computer science from Manchester University, Karl joined Leica Geosystems in 1999 as Applications Developer and Engineer for Geodesy/GPS.

Prior to this appointment his PhD research at Sheffield Hallam University had ignited his ambition for a career that combined IT with engineering.

His study had centred on the investigation and preliminary development of a novel, real-time 3D site positioning system using a Leica motorised total station. This would allow construction plant to be driven on site directly from ‘as built’ topographic CAD models. Karl had already spotted that IT provision in the field of construction and surveying had massive potential and was largely undeveloped.

Overcoming the technical challenges in order to design and develop innovative products was Karl’s forte and he wore his professionalism with a jovial, approachable and likeable face.

In 2003 he was offered a position at Leica Geosystems in Switzerland to begin a 3 year secondment as Machine Automation Service and Support Manager. He moved his family to Heerbrugg where his expertise was channelled into product development and management.  His specifications for new hardware and software for concrete paving solutions gave him an international platform and business relationships with key customers and machine manufacturers, including Gomeco and Wirtgen, soon followed.

He returned to the UK to join the management team of the Machine Control Division in 2008.

Neil Williams, Engineering and Infrastructure Segment Manager said, “In his specialist area he was a guru, but with the ability to be informative and clear. He was meticulous in preparing presentations that were tailored to his audience.  He knew our products inside out but he didn’t just sell products, he offered solutions and people respected him for that.  Quite simply, he cared.”

Karl is survived by his partner Zoe and their three children to whom he was devoted. He frequently spoke with pride to colleagues about his family and his weekends were dedicated to spending quality time with them.

His interests outside work included motorcycling and overseas travel.  He enjoyed real ales and had also worked as a lighting designer, technician and rigger for individual bands, live music venues and theatres.

Matthias Fritz, Machine Control Manager for Wirtgen GmbH, worked with Karl on several projects, most recently in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia where they visited a site together.

Matthias Fritz recalls, “We spent several days on the jobsite but in the evening we were both desperate to see a live kangaroo in the wild. We even asked the locals for the best spots to see them and we waited for hours, without success.   At some point we agreed to stop the roo hunt and go to the pub for a good pint of beer. We were very good friends. We both shared a passion for our work and I will miss him dearly”.


January 27, 2014 in Randy's Blog
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RIP Karl Soar, EMEA paving sales manager, Hexagon GeoSystems


It is with regret and great sadness that I am passing this message along from Mark Concannon, President, GSR EMEA, Hexagon GeoSystems.

“Dear All 
It is with shock and great sadness that we write to inform you of the tragic and early death of Karl Soar, our EMEA paving sales manager. Karl died suddenly at home in the early hours of Friday 27th December. 
Karl was a highly respected member of the Leica machine control team.  He was instrumental in driving the success of machine control construction for Leica Geosystems around the World and EMEA . He worked in machine control for his entire career in Leica Geosystems and was inspirational in the development of Leica’s paving and the dozer/grader solutions. Karl will be sadly missed by us all. 
Karl leaves his partner Zoe and their three young children to whom we have offered our support and send our deepest condolences. 



Mark Concannon                                Benjamin Perone
President, GSR EMEA                         Human Resources Manager, EMEA
Hexagon Geosystems                          Hexagon Geosystems

I met Karl back in 2008 and knew him as an industry colleague. We had several discussions at trade shows and via email regarding positioning technology. When my wife and I lost our second daughter, Bonnie Marie, Karl was one of the first to send condolences.

My deepest sympathy and condolences to Karl’s family and coworkers.

Randy Noland

January 13, 2014 in Randy's Blog
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