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How to Use a Total Station’s Application Programs

total-station surveying

A total station combines a theodolite with an electronic distance meter to measure slopes and distances. Some total stations come with GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) capability and/or a remote control and allow you to store data points and coordinates for mapmaking, reconstructions, or set-outs.

A good total station usually offers these applications:

  • Reference Line allows you to measure to a reference line by calculating the horizontal and vertical position and the offset of a manually-measured point, relative to that reference line. It also lets you stake to a reference line by defining a point relative to the reference line and then staking it out.

total station_reference line

  • Volume Calculations lets you measure surface points and boundaries, then computes volume from those measurements.

total station_volume calcs

  • Area Calculations allows you to set up a total station within view of the entire survey area, measures a sequence of points clockwise around the area, then calculates the area from that data.

total station_area calcs

  • Remote Heights lets you measure inaccessible high points. Place a reflector anywhere below the height you want to measure, enter the reflector height, target it, measure the distance, and then target the high point. The total station calculates the height difference between the ground and high points.

total station_remote heights

  • Tie Distances calculates the distance and height differences between two points. Set up your total station anywhere, measure the distances to points A and B, and the total station calculates both distance D and height difference H. You can also store points in memory to calculate tie distance and height difference.

total station_tie distances

Check your user manual for details on any special functions your instrument performs, or give us a call for advice on choosing and using your total station.