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Modern Mag in conjunction with GEM systems magnetometers is trialing new firmware for the GEM-19 and GSMP-35 series of magnetometers.
For many years there has been a fatal flaw in the real time magnetometer navigation function. A programming error caused the lane guidance and distance to end of the line functions to fail, particularly for very long lines. Most operators with GEM magnetometers used non-magnetic Garmin handhelds to navigate instead.

Well GEM technicians have now fixed the error and made some further improvements as recommended by Modern Mag:

  • Lane guidance now works flawlessly for long or short lines.
  • A UTC time offset has been added to the GPS menu so that files no longer get split at GMT midnight. That is, you will now only have one file per day per magnetometer.
  • The GPS would often freeze, and the console would lock up. GEM seems to have fixed this with recent firmware updates. One of the symptoms of this bug was that there would be up to 32 files in the magnetometer at the end of the day. Nonetheless it is recommended that all Novatel SuperStar GPS boards be replaced with Novatel OEMstar boards with firmware version 1.3.
  • Lines can now be navigated backwards and the lane guidance arrows will point in the right direction.
  • Some input parameters in the console are required in centimetres. GEM has changed some of these to metres for consistency, but some remain.

There are a few more features that we have requested from GEM such as:

  • Larger lane guidance arrows, and placement at the top right of the screen so they can be seen more easily.
  • A GPS and mag out of lock alarm that sounds after X consecutive readings out of lock.
  • Buzzers to assist lane guidance so that the operator would not have to look at the console as often.
  • Changing the waypoint file input from centimeters to metres.
  • Removing the requirement to start taking readings in order to change the line number.

Modern Mag will keep you posted on these updates, but suffice it to say, the GEM series of magnetometers now work very well and are extremely robust. There is no longer a need to carry a handheld GPS when surveying. The magnetometer navigation works just fine.

If you need assistance upgrading your firmware or hardware, feel free to contact Modern Mag for advice.
It is tough out there walking the line. You need your equipment working at its best…