When choosing a total station, the first thing to consider is the application. How will the instrument be used? How you will use the equipment will help you determine the angular and distance accuracies you need, as well as range, portability, and ease of setup

Advantages of Total Stations

Total stations are known for their accuracy, ease of use, and the ability to quickly collect information. With a total station, multiple surveys can be performed from one setup location, and it is easy to simultaneously take distance and horizontal measurements and calculate project coordinates (x, y, and z or northing, easting, and elevation).

Total stations use a quick and efficient layout, and daily survey data can be quickly downloaded into CAD, saving the time required for data manipulation when using conventional surveying techniques. Digital design data from CAD programs can be easily uploaded to an external data collector.

Disadvantages of Total Stations

Elevation accuracy with a total station is slightly inferior to results from a conventional level-and-rod survey technique, and transformations are necessary to convert coordinates from a rectangular grid to match the curve of the ground’s surface.

Total stations require line-of-sight observations and must be set up over a known point or with a line of sight to two or more points with known locations.



Accessories used in typical total station setups include:

- Reflector poles

- Tripods

- Tribrachs

- Prisms