Novatel – Company | GNSS receiver | SMART2 | Software

Novatel is another company in the GNSS world. It is part of Hexagon.

gnss receiver manufacturer Novatel

Novatel the company

Novatel started in 1992. So the company already has quite some history and experience. They started in that year with a small group of engineers, that started to develop and manufacture products.

In the years till now they grew. Because now they have like around 350 employees. Their main line is GNSS products. GNSS stands for Global Navigation Satellite System. They ship their products from their headquartes in Calgary, Canada.

Like lots of companies in the GPS and GNSS world also Novatel is part of the Hexagon group. Hexagon likes to buy companies to become bigger and so they did with Novatel.

Novatel describes their core values on their website. The first value they mention is that they are profit-driven. Besides that they say that they are professional, innovative, engaged, customer-focused and entrepreneurial. It are kind of all the main core values of all companies. So with that they don’t make a difference from other companies.

But with their products they can make a difference. Novatel is a big producer of OEM GNSS receiver boards. They have their OEMstar receiver line with L1 GPS and Glonass. And then they have their OEM7 line with the OEM7500, OEM729, OEM719 and OEM7700. Those can receive more satellite constellations, which is better for  land surveying purposes.

Besides their OEM boards they have their own correction network. To be exact they have two correction services. One is called Terrastar. Terrastar is a global correction network. The accuracy of Terrastar is from 2 cm to 50 cm. And it can be used for land and airborne applications. For marine applications Novatel introduced Oceanix, which has a high accuracy close to the coast lines anywhere in the world.

The GNSS receivers of Novatel

Bluetooth connection

Besides the OEM GNSS boards and the correction networks Novatel has GNSS receivers or smart antennas as they call them. The thing that you have to check with them is if they have a Bluetooth connection. Because not all GNSS receivers or smart antennas of Novatel can be connected with Bluetooth.

And that is a bit strange. Because Bluetooth is currently the most used communication method between GNSS receivers and handhelds. Anyway here are some GNSS receivers of Novatel that do have Bluetooth so you can connect them with Apglos Survey Wizard.


The Smart2-B is one of them. The B in the name stands for Bluetooth. There is also a Smart2 GNSS receiver. But that GNSS receiver of Novatel does not have Bluetooth on board. The Smart2-TB does have Bluetooth as well.

GNSS receiver Smart2-B of Novatel

This Smart2-B  GNSS receiver has a clean white design, which is nice. But of course the design does not say about its functionality. The specifications do.

  • Dimensions: 155x155x81 mm
  • Weight: 470 gram
  • Ingress protection: IP67
  • Corrections: not mentioned in the data sheet of Novatel
  • Position output: NMEA, Novatel ASCII
  • Positioning kinematic horizontal: not mentioned in the data sheet of Novatel
  • Positioning kinematic vertical: not mentioned in the data sheet of Novatel
  • GNSS signals tracked: GPS L1, L2, GLONASS L1, L2, BEIDOU B1, B2, GALILEO E1, E5b
  • Number of channels: 167

The thing that Novatel does not mention all the necessary data for accuracy and the correction input to be able to compare GNSS receivers is that they of course like to combine their products. So in this case the Smart2-B with their correction network Terrastar.


Then Novatel produces the Smart7 GNSS receiver.

GNSS receiver Smart7 of Novatel

Of this type of GNSS receiver they have five different options. The options are Smart7, Smart7-W, Smart7-I, Smart7-SI and Smart7-S. None of those options have Bluetooth. The connection method of those GNSS receivers is with Wi-Fi, Ethernet or Span.


And finally they have Ag-star.

GNSS receiver Ag-star of Novatel

This is a GNSS receiver with other purposes than land surveying. The AG in the name probably stands for agriculture where this receiver is uses for. It can be mounted on agricultural machines. That it is not used often for land surveying you can also read in the specifications.

  • Dimensions: 155x155x68 mm
  • Weight: 490 gram
  • Ingress protection: IP67
  • Corrections: RTCM2, RTCM3, CMR, CMR+ and RTCA
  • Position output: NMEA, Novatel ASCII
  • Positioning kinematic horizontal: not mentioned in the data sheet of Novatel
  • Positioning kinematic vertical: not mentioned in the data sheet of Novatel
  • GNSS signals tracked: different options according to data sheet
  • Number of channels: different options according to data sheet, but only up to 14

What is interesting is that for the Ag-star GNSS receiver they put the correction input. So at least they have the knowledge to use the most common correction data.

Novatel software for their GNSS receivers

This company has several software packages. One is called Novatel Connect. It is a Windows base software program that helps you to configure the GNSS receivers of this company.

Besides the configuartion software they developed two other software packages with different variants. One is called GrafNav. Originally it is a post-processing software. But nowadays it can also get data kinematically. It is not that easy to use though. Besides it is Windows based.

And then there is Inertial Explorer. Inertial Explorer maximizes the performance of the GNSS hardware of Novatel by ensuring you get the position, velocity and altitude accuracy you need. So it is just a tool to improve accuracy.

So the best option for software to do land surveying with a GNSS receiver of Novatel is Apglos Survey Wizard. Apglos Survey Wizard is easy to use and you can download it for free from the Google Play Store. Read here more what Apglos Survey Wizard can do for you. It is a lot. The only thing you have to make sure is that your GNSS receiver of Novatel does have Bluetooth.