Applied Geodesy. Choosing an electronic total station

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In the last post, we took a short excursion into the history of the development of the industry and examined the tools that surveyors of the 20th century used. Progress has given us into service fundamentally new methods of producing geodetic works, combining optical instruments and computing technology, which greatly simplified the implementation of the tasks, while significantly increasing the measurement speed and maintaining the required accuracy.

Optical instruments used for the production of work

To measure angles at a construction site, an analog of theodolite is used – an electronic tacheometer. These instruments are divided according to the accuracy class, for example, high-precision instruments are used for surveying crane runways, and models with 3-5 “accuracy are enough to break the construction mesh. For example, an angular misclosure of 5” at a distance of 100 m will give you a measurement error within 2, 5 mm, so when choosing a total station, find out which construction sites you have to work on, and make a margin of accuracy for the future.

It should be noted that the use of an electronic total station is preferable to an outdated theodolite, because the total station can simultaneously measure angles and distances. Using the software of the tool, you can perform a number of standard actions, namely, setting out the boundaries of the land plot, the axes of buildings and structures, the turning radius of the route during road works, and even calculating the areas of the resulting closed polygon.

Applied Geodesy. Total station - the main tool of the surveyor

One of the indicators that you should pay attention to when choosing a tool is the version of the tacheometer in terms of its dust and moisture resistance. The working conditions for high-precision instruments in the field are far from laboratory ones, therefore the compliance of the instruments with modern requirements of international standards should be taken into account when choosing an instrument. For work on a construction site, it is recommended to use a tool with maximum protection against ingress of dust and moisture IP66, where:

  • the first number 6 – speaks of a dustproof design with full protection against contact. Dust ingress into the device is excluded;
  • the second digit 6 – indicates that strong jets of water falling on the device should not interfere with its operation.

Let us dwell in more detail on the brands of electronic tacheometers used in construction, since these instruments are a kind of compact “three in one” measuring laboratory. For convenience, after describing the main advantages of the tools, we provide an approximate price order so that when choosing equipment for work on a construction site, you have an approximate idea of ​​what you should count on.

Choosing an electronic total station

Electronic total station Sokkia

Instruments from a world-renowned brand from Japan were the first to penetrate the Russian market and won the trust of specialists. There are models for operation in various climatic zones with an internal memory of up to 10,000 survey points, and this capacity can be expanded by using an external storage device. When conducting a survey, you can write down comments to points using the alphanumeric keyboard, and the “reflectorless mode” will allow you to register inaccessible points that cannot be approached with a measuring pole.

Applied Geodesy. Total station - the main tool of the surveyorSokkia SET 630R

The Sokkia lineup includes more than 30 items. The most popular in terms of price / quality ratio are five seconds, but budget models with an accuracy of 6 “make it possible to conduct high-precision measurements. The accuracy of the Sokkia total station is displayed in the first digit of the model name, for example Sokkia Power SET 3010 indicates that we are dealing with a three-second .The RS-232 and USB interfaces will help to connect your total station to a personal computer, and the proprietary software from Sokkia will allow you to transfer the obtained survey results in electronic form in a compatible format for working in the popular programs Credo or AutoCAD..

Applied Geodesy. Total station - the main tool of the surveyor Sokkia Power SET 3010

These are real “heavyweights” in surveying, not all the functions available in the software will be useful for your daily work on a construction site. It is unlikely that you will work with high-precision measurements that require transferring the instrument pipe through the zenith, so whether it is worth overpaying is up to you. The average cost of a five-second branded assembly is 290 thousand rubles.

Trimble Total Station

These are, without exaggeration, “workhorses” on construction sites. The popular three-second model 3303 DR is specially made for Russia in the X-treme modification, which makes it possible to use the tool in the Far North at temperatures down to -35 ° С. These total stations, in addition to the reflectorless mode “DR”, have a laser pointer, which is indispensable for stake out work.

Built-in software allows you to determine the height of inaccessible objects and perform basic operations for surveying or staking out the construction grid. The instrument interface has 7 function keys, combinations of which allow you to control the main functions and software, the display is one-sided, unlike the two-sided on Sokkia, and the RS-232 interface provides a connection between the device and a PC. Trimble’s memory is sufficient to log 1900 survey points, but for the working environment on a construction site, this is more than enough. With a tight work schedule, this number of cells will be enough for you for a full 4-5 days of work.

Applied Geodesy. Total station - the main tool of the surveyor Trimble S3

Due to the ascetic interface, the device also has low power consumption – one battery charge can last up to 8 hours of operation in normal mode. It is also worth noting the lower weight of the tool compared to the weight of the models of the same Sokkia, which cannot but affect the convenience of carrying the Trimble kit when working on a construction site. The average cost of a five-second branded assembly ranges from 198 to 275 thousand rubles.

Electronic Total Station Nikon

At one time, Trimble, which initially did not produce optical instruments, in the process of development joined such world brands as Carl Zeiss, Geodimeter and Nikon, so that modern Nikon total stations can be considered the younger brother of Trimble, but the younger does not mean the worst. The manufacturer guarantees the main indicators of tools at the level of world leaders, in particular, the number of points simultaneously located in the device’s memory is 10,000, the battery life is declared up to 30 hours, and the function keys provide quick access to the most frequently performed tasks..

Applied Geodesy. Total station - the main tool of the surveyor Nikon DTM-352W

So, with the same technical characteristics, Nikon will be cheaper than some of its eminent brothers, and all the necessary programs are included in the standard package, and for the same Leica they must be purchased additionally. A display with a keyboard on many Nikon models will be more convenient than that of Trimble, but the average cost of a five-second proprietary assembly ranges from 204 to 300 thousand rubles.

Topcon electronic total stations

Some models of these instruments allow the surveyor to conduct surveying on his own – a special mechanism provides constant tracking of the target at a speed of 5 ° per second. Topcon is one of the record holders for memory among such devices, the internal storage capacity is 2 MB, which is enough to store information on more than 30,000 survey points. And when using external storage devices, the possibilities of storing information in the device are almost endless. For the convenience of the user, the large double-sided display has an icon menu that is even ready to help with the help of a hint service.

Applied Geodesy. Total station - the main tool of the surveyor TOPCON ES-105

All this makes Topcon a kind of “measuring laboratory” on a tripod, well, and the price does not lag behind – for a five-second proprietary assembly you will have to pay from 205 to 642 thousand rubles.

Electronic Total Station Leica

Models of this brand have absorbed the best of what their “colleagues in the shop” can provide. Even as standard, the Leica is equipped with a laser plummet, which makes it as easy as possible to initialize the instrument during work. Leica total stations are comparatively lightweight with maximum capabilities both for simple measurements and for complex calculations directly on the construction site, while having the necessary margin of safety. Reflectorless mode has already become such a necessary minimum, the measurement speed is up to 3 seconds at a distance of up to 80 meters, and the software allows you to obtain coordinates of points in hard-to-reach and hidden places. The minimum distance that the device can measure is only a few centimeters.

Applied Geodesy. Total station - the main tool of the surveyor Leica TCR 303

The large display of the total station is equipped with a full-fledged alphanumeric keyboard, and the job control system is capable of storing data separately for each of the objects. Unified output data formats allow measurement results to be used without subsequent conversion for any known graphics program, plus Leica itself produces specialized software. All this could not but affect the cost of our “record holder” in terms of functions – a five-second proprietary assembly will cost you from 430 to 780 thousand rubles.

In our short review, we examined the most common brands of electronic total stations. If you are planning to purchase a tool for carrying out geodetic work at a construction site, you should understand the main idea – in terms of quality, reliability and functionality, modern total stations are practically not inferior to each other in a number of parameters. We deliberately did not consider the Chinese counterparts, because a total station with careful use will last you more than one year, and a set of even basic functions can cope with most of the typical work performed on a construction site..

In case of a good financial situation, buy a Leica, however, with the same technical characteristics, Nikon is preferable, since the necessary programs for calculations in this total station are present by default, and in the case of Leica they will have to be purchased additionally.

Applied Geodesy. Total station - the main tool of the surveyor

If you plan to set out the axes of an object or check verticality, you just need to purchase Trimble, and if there are a lot of objects, pay attention to total stations that can save measurements to separate files, for example, on Sokkia or Topcon.

One of the main selection criteria, in addition to price and personal preferences, will be the presence in your region of an official representative of the above brands. In addition to prompt service and advice on pressing issues, you can attend training seminars, where, among other things, you can get acquainted with new models or technologies of work production – after all, progress does not stand still.

Well, if you are not a professional builder, but you really want to build a house in your country house, the following article from our new series will help you, in which we will consider the questions of how to independently make a topographic survey of a land plot using improvised means and without purchasing complex geodetic equipment.

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