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Breaking Down Borders

How we helped remote Rwandan communities gain access to water using Trimble RTX
Trimble technology enables a team from Engineers Without Borders to design and install third-world water distribution systems.

The residents of Mwendo, a community of 3,000 people in remote Rwanda needed to carry 20-litre jerry cans to obtain water. The Engineers without Borders plan to rehabilitate a large water tank and install a pipe direct to the local school faced challenges—due to their use of a gravity-fed system. The elevation change and the difficulty of the terrain made traditional survey techniques challenging.


To gain the accuracy Brodbeck, a professor from Auburn University, needed for the project, he used the Trimble R2 and CenterPoint RTX. CenterPoint RTX allowed the team to collect extremely accurate elevation data that was used to determine flow distribution under a variety of conditions. The team used CenterPoint RTX to verify elevations at five high points along the pipeline, ensuring elevations were lower than the source point.

“Trimble CenterPoint RTX provided reliable data when we needed to know the data is accurate and everything works correctly. Without this data, our design would have been incredibly difficult.”-Christian Brodbeck


The R2 and CenterPoint RTX are now used extensively by the Engineers Without Borders team for designing and implementing water distribution systems in underdeveloped countries.

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