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New Zealand Research Organization Uses Trimble Alloy to Survey Earthquake Trends Throughout the Country

Trimble technology provides the most accurate and reliable data for analyzing potential threats to the country.


GNS Science, Te Pū Ao, is New Zealand’s leading provider of Earth, geoscience and isotope research and consultancy services. The organization helps to understand natural Earth system processes and resources, and to translate these into economic, environmental and social benefits. With New Zealand prone to earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic eruptions and landslides, a lot of the work done by GNS Science is in monitoring and recording these perils to figure out how to lessen the impact on the country. Due to the serious nature of the work and need for high, precise accuracy to monitor ground deformation, GNS Science requires a solution that is reliable and up-to-date, providing accurate data to keep up with evolving deformation of New Zealand land surface. GNS Science had previously used Trimble’s NetRS and NetR9 GNSS reference receivers with Zephyr antenna models and found them useful in achieving high levels of accuracy. However, with continual updates to GNSS constellations, the team needed to ensure their system remained up-to-date and robust. Accurate positioning information provides invaluable insights in understanding deformation caused by the interaction of the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates, and ultimately to better understand the geological hazards risk New Zealanders are exposed to and improve their preparedness.


GNS Science uses Trimble technology to help record GNSS data across the country, tracking the full constellation and then retrieving and processing that information using third-party and in-house software. From there, the team derives information about how much the ground moves every day—and whether this movement is caused by landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or long term tectonic deformation. With this information, they can provide the scientific community a backbone of data that helps understand behavior and trends of tectonic plates as well as detailed measurements of how the earth moves. In 2018, when GNS Science required the latest update to ensure continued accuracy as more constellations came online, the team purchased its first set of Trimble Alloy™ receivers and the latest generation of Zephyr™ antennas, the Zephyr 3 Geodetic. By continuing to work with Trimble, GNS Science knew it would simply get the latest and most robust receiver that is fully compatible with their existing system. Trimble’s tenured expertise in efficiently operating multi-station, real-time networks has helped GNS Science meet its goals in monitoring and using the 190 continuously operating reference stations (CORS) throughout the country.


GNS Science is able to gather data from Trimble receivers using modern GNSS tracking capabilities that can be seamlessly integrated with collection systems dedicated to the variety of scientific sensors they operate around New Zealand. Trimble’s upgraded Alloy receiver and Zephyr 3 Geodetic antenna operate within mixed fleet of reference receivers without the need to change the setup, which avoids connection and configuration issues that have plagued the industry previously. Additionally, given Trimble’s decades long experience in developing and supporting organizations across the globe with GNSS hardware and software, GNS Science also knew the Trimble Alloy receiver and GNSS antennas would be highly reliable—which is exactly what GNS Science needed when working on projects often in very remote locations, that are of national importance.

The organization speaks highly of how the Trimble Alloy handles constellation tracking, with plenty of space and local memory in case of significant geohazard events for which data sampled at very high frequencies is needed to support scientific research. Trimble Alloy also features lower power consumption and ruggedized design for reliable operation in harsh conditions. In addition, for installation, the same connector series made connectivity easier with a standard RJ45 ethernet port, along with the dual hot-swappable batteries. In addition to the benefits of upgrading to Trimble Alloy, GNS Science has seen continued benefits from the next generation Zephyr Geodetic antenna.

After using three generations of Trimble equipment, GNS Science knew that being able to withstand ongoing harsh environmental conditions were a big factor in gathering accurate data, and durable and long lasting Zephyr 3 Geodetic Antennas easily handled the effects of nature with ease.

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