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NZsurv FAQ

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NZsurv is a fairly bulletproof program and most users familiar with the HP48 will find it straightforward to use.  For users that are not familiar with the HP48GX, we suggest you read the initial sections of the HP48 User Manual before using NZsurv.
Typical problems and questions we get regarding NZsurv are listed below:
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Has your HP48 calculator died?

iphone_nzsurvMany HP48 calculators used by surveyors in NZ are on their last legs and are unable to be repaired by HP. Therefore, the future on NZsurv, without a massive re-write for another platform, is looking grim. However, NZsurv can run on the HP48 emulation software that is available for the Android and iPhone/iPad platforms and probably some others.

We have found the iPhone to be a little small for large fingers but NZsurv running on an iPad shows a lot of promise. One loses that tactile key presses but the program runs a lot faster than on the original HP48 hardware.

We are currently testing NZsurv on the iPad platform and will post information on this website shortly.  

Image shows an HP48GX running on M48+ Emulator on iPhone and is available from their App Store. 

GCN 14-3-2012


NZsurv and 12D
A routine to convert a csv coordinate format file from 12D to NZsurv format is being developed.  Users will need to have an HP48-serial cable and HPcomm serial communications software.  Please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you are interested.

Why does NZsurv sometimes run so slowly?
This is likely due to the hanging programs left in memory hogging up space.  You can free up memory with the HP48 KILL command of use KILL from the NZsurv CST menu to do the same thing.  Hanging programs occur when you break into an HPsurv program to some stack calculations or run another program.  Regular use of the KILL program keeps NZsurv running as fast as possible.

 What versions of NZsurv are available?
  • Full NZsurv - for the HP48GX and HP48G models.  It can be loaded onto HP RAM cards for use in the HP48GX - this allows for a lot more point storage space.  When running on the HP48G and the HP48GX without a RAM card, approximately 500 points can be stored.
  • NZsurv Lite - this is a cut down program that does not store coordinates and is based on the powerful "Missing Line" program from NZsurv and includes the UTILS program.  This version will run on both HP48GX and HP48G models.
  • NZsurv Lite "super light" - this will run on the HP48GX, HP48G and the HP48SX (32kb) models.

Does NZsurv run on HP49G and HP50 series calculators?
No, NZ surv will not run on these models.

I can't find my program in the HP48?
You may have lost the program from calculator memory.  Press LIBRARY and NZS should be displayed on the first softkey.  If it isn't there, you have lost the program.  Bummer.  If you have the library file and the special HP48 cable and serial communication software, you can reload the program from your PC (The process it is not a simple task).  If not, you will need to send it to us to reload for a small fee.  Contact Joanne here at Nicklin Surveying it can be arranged.
The NZsurv program file can get lost from the HP48 for the following reasons:
  • Batteries have been left to go flat.  Always use the best quality long-lasting bateries - don't skimp here!
  • Batteries have have been pulled out of the HP48 for too long (a few minutes maximum when changing batteries)
  • The calculator has been left in the sun and has overheated. 
  • Sometimes occurs due to random electrical contamination or magnetic effects.

My NZsurv menu keys are not working?
Turn on the HP48 USER mode

Can I use RAM cards in the HP48GX?
Yes, but we do not recommend non-HP RAM cards due to reliability problems.
The RAM originally supplied with NZsurv for the HP48GX are no longer supported due to reliability problems.  Many of them are over 10 years old and still going but program loss on battery change is a problem.  By the time you get a warning re the RAM card battery failure, the program is lost from the card.  HP RAM cards do not seem to have this problem as it seems they are powered from the HP48GX (no battery).
When changing a non-HP RAM card battery, try to do it with the card remaining in the HP48GX.

Why can't I load the program file myself?
No reason.  But you will need to be familiar with the HP48 serial communication protocol, have the special HP48-PC cable and understand how to use the (free) HPcomm software.  The process is not easy.  The easiest way is to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   and we will load the program and courier it back for a small fee, usually on the same day.

How can I load data from my survey program into NZsurv? 
We wrote some software to carry out this task for the major survey programs used in NZ (except for 12D) but that software is unreliable when running under Windows XP and Windows 7.  The program is called the "NZsurv Support Program" and is a DOS program.  We can supply it along with some "work around" instructions that will let you load the data into NZsurv.  But you will need the HP48-PC serial cable and use the HPcomm software.

What is the future of NZsurv?
Parts of NZsurv for HP48 have been re-written for the HP50G and is called NZS50.  Whilst much of the functionality for field calculations is contained in modern total stations, there is still a need for basic missing line and unit conversion calcualtions and that is what NZS50 provides. 

[end of FAQ]
Last Updated on Sunday, 29 November 2015 09:01  


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