Is a Total Station or Theodolite Right for Your Project? - EngineerSupply

800.591.8907 M-F 8-5PM EST

21 Years Serving Customers Like You. Buy With Confidence.

What are the differences between theodolite and total station?

Total Station& Theodolite

From the building of the Egyptian pyramids to the construction of today’s massive skyscrapers, surveyors have played an important part in engineering history. Precision measurements are essential for a surveyor to do his or her job properly, and this is accomplished through the use of specialized equipment. While the theodolite has long been a trusted instrument in a surveyor’s arsenal, the total station is becoming increasingly popular. Here’s a look at the two devices, how they’re similar and the differences that make them unique.

The Theodolite: a Trusted Tool

For more than 500 years, surveyors and engineers have relied on the theodolite as the main instrument for gathering information. At its core, the device is a telescope that can be moved on both the horizontal and vertical axes to align with a measuring stake. With this hyper-accurate tool, a surveyor only needs basic knowledge of trigonometry and precise measurements of the angle changes to provide the necessary information on the area in question.

Total Stations: the New School

The steady march of technological progress has made life much easier for surveyors through inventions such as the total station. This sophisticated device combines all of the functionality of a theodolite with other abilities such as an auto level and electronic distance meter. By using laser pulses, total stations can gather much more accurate information over extreme distances. Since data is gathered electronically, it can be instantly imported into the computer for analysis.

Which Is Better?

Now you know the difference between these two important pieces of survey equipment, which is better suited for your next job? While the total station provides more accurate information and can be operated by one person, it’s also significantly more expensive and requires additional training. Theodolites have centuries of proven operation at a more affordable price, but they require two surveyors to gather data and lose accuracy over longer distances. Take a hard look at your budget and the scope of your surveying project and you’ll be able to figure out which device to purchase.

Pipes located and excavated

Survey Accurately

Don’t compromise your next engineering project because you opted to purchase the wrong equipment, No matter if you’re in search of a theodolite or a total station, turn to the experts at Engineer Supply. We’ve worked with contractors just like you for 20 years, and we have what it takes to make informed recommendations and get the right products to you as quickly as possible. To learn about our equipment offerings or ask about our current shipping specials, call us toll-free at 1-800-591-8907 today.

Auto Level & Dumpy

Best Total Stations

#1: Leica iCON 5-Second iCB70 Manual Construction Total Station

Best total stations leica-868588

Featuring mobile data capability, this Leica total station will let you transfer construction data between the office and the instrument. This will always keep your project progress and plans up to date, which will make sure you don’t miss any changes in the design. The device is simple and easy to master, so you can finish your projects more efficiently and with minimal training. You can analyze layout points both quickly and accurately, even on complex structures. You can also make fast and accurate as-built measurements, do volume calculations on-site, and work with digital design data (including fully rendered models in IFC format).

#2: GeoMax Zoom90 Series Robotic Total Station Package

Best total stations geoMax-6010321

With this total station, you can minimize the amount of time it takes to perform any survey task, while maximizing your performance and accuracy on the job site. This total station for surveying is the ultimate one-man system with the following features:

  • Up to 20% more automation performance.
  • Extended reflectorless measurement capability.
  • STReAM 360.
  • AccXess technologies.
  • Windows CE open connectivity.
It will scan the entire working area in seconds, so you can find your target quickly. Once it’s locked, the instrument will continue to aim at the target (even if it’s moving). It will also aim accurately at any prism without having to look through the telescope, and measurements are performed automatically with a great deal of dependability.

#3: Leica iCON 5-Second iCB50 Manual Construction Total Station

Best total stations leica-868584

This Leica total station will allow you to go digital, so it’s leading the way to the no-strings and no-tapes approach for a construction project. It’s easy to learn, so you can finish your projects more efficiently and with very little training. This total station will allow you to perform a variety of tasks, which include but may not be limited to:

  • Evaluating layout points and lines quickly and accurately.
  • Evaluating complex structures easily.
  • Quickly performing verticality checks on formwork and structures.
  • Completing fast and accurate as-built measurements.
  • Working with digital design data (including fully rendered models in IFC format).
If you’re looking for one of the best total stations for construction and surveying applications, be sure to pick yours up at Engineer Supply.
Please Wait... processing