What is a Total Station?

What is a Total Station?

A total station is an electronic surveying instrument used in land surveying and construction projects to measure angles and distances with high accuracy. It combines the functions of a theodolite (an instrument used to measure horizontal and vertical angles) and an electronic distance meter (EDM) to determine coordinates and distances of specific points on the ground. In other words, it is a fancy electronic measuring tape with protractor.

A total station typically consists of a theodolite mounted on a tripod, an EDM component for distance measurements, and a data processing unit. It utilizes a combination of electronic sensors, a laser or infrared beam, and software to perform various surveying tasks.

Here are some key features and capabilities of a total station:

  1. Angle measurement: The theodolite component of the total station measures both horizontal and vertical angles with high precision. These angles are essential for determining the direction and orientation of the surveyed points.

  2. Distance measurement: The total station's EDM uses either a laser or infrared beam to measure distances between the instrument and the target point. It emits a pulse of light or electromagnetic waves and calculates the time taken for the pulse to return, allowing it to determine the distance accurately.

  3. Coordinate calculation: By combining angle and distance measurements, a total station can calculate the coordinates (easting, northing, and elevation) of surveyed points. It often uses a reference point or known coordinates as a starting point for the calculations.

  4. Data collection: Total stations can store and record the measured data, such as coordinates, angles, and distances, in their internal memory or external storage devices. Some advanced models can even transmit data wirelessly to a computer or mobile device.

  5. Stakeout and alignment: Total stations can guide construction projects by assisting in stakeout tasks. They can accurately mark positions for excavation, foundation layout, and other construction elements based on the surveyed coordinates. Additionally, they aid in aligning structures, roads, or utilities with high precision.

Total stations have greatly improved the efficiency and accuracy of surveying and construction processes. They are widely used in a range of applications, including topographic surveys, boundary surveys, construction layout, and monitoring of structures. Once your property has been properly surveyed and registered, your address will be assigned by the appropriate authority. An address marker will help ensure easy identification while adding a touch of design appeal to your property.

Back to blog