Roundtable Discussion: What is the best total station you used in the field up to now?

Land Surveyors discuss best total stations equipment to use for surveying

Best Total stations DiscussionWanna see the type of surveying equipment your fellow land surveyors are using around the world?  More specifically... would you like to know what kind of Total Stations everyone is using?  Take a look at the comments on the following thread for some very valuable insight from all corners of the earth.

We asked:

What is the best total station you used in the field up to now ? And why ? 
Please explain in few sentences from your experience
 

Click on the ^ Comments

Feel free to comment below and let us know what type of Total Station you are using in the field and why you like it!

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Reply by Allan Pringle on November 21, 2017 at 5:06pm

Came to love the Leica late in career, but my heart will always belong to Geodimeter...

Started out with the old 400 series, and was one of the first companies in the UK to make the move to robotics with the introduction of the 500 series. Hated it with a passion - as it followed every reflector except the one it was meant to be following! (Fire engines, car number plates, even had it lock on to a window open at what must have been the perfect angle...)
But it was virtually bomb proof, monsoon proof, and never let me down.

Reply by Nitesh Shrestha on September 27, 2017 at 9:21pm

For me the best was Topcon GTS 210 model, and (simlar products as Gowin and Sygnus). It is because I am from Nepal and we have lot of Vegetation for Topo survey. And other total stations like Sokkia, Pentax etc cant take the measurements if only little of the Prism is visible. For eg. Sokkia tents to give Bad Condition. Only defect of the topocon model is if you collect data where Zenithal angle is greater than 150grade or less than 50grade after download it gives wrong zenithal angle.

Reply by Matthew Jennings on September 27, 2017 at 8:46am

Great question!  I would have to put it between two and both had major faults.

The first was an OLD Zeiss gun, I think it was an elta if I remember correctly.  It had the best optics I have ever seen.  The down side was that it was built pre data collector so there was no port to hook a DC up to it.  Had to right down every angle and every distance.

The other was a now older robot, the Topcon 800 series.  It could drive brass tacks it was so tight.  The vertical loop was tight enough that it could elevate points in Florida as well as a level loop.  The down side: get anywhere near a highway and it went haywire following every car that came along.

Reply by Naveed Abbas on September 27, 2017 at 8:43am
I used Leica 1200 total station for topography and some stake out works.
Reply by Saffron Grant on September 27, 2017 at 3:38am

Leica TS06 or TS09- most user friendly and does everything you could want it to. 

Reply by Gav Walker on September 27, 2017 at 3:03am
Hi all,

I do not use Total Stations I repair and calibrate them.
I have had factory training on Topcon and Leica instruments and have some experiance with most of the other manufacturers.

The best ones from my point of view are probably Leica as they appear to be built with at least some serviceability in mind!
Reply by Jon Moeller on September 26, 2017 at 11:15pm
I have limited experience. My career has been mostly just two different instruments - Toocon 300 series with TDS Recon and Ranger DCs, and Trimble S6 robotics with TSC3 data cokkectors. Can't really compare manual with robotic, but I do think TDS was much more intuitive than Trimble Access. Trimble has made some significant improvements in their software updates. Translate/rotate is a lot simpler than it was but still easier in TDS. But Access has a lot of things going for it once you dig in to it.

Learned on Topcon 300 series and have used some of their later models. I do miss the camera shutter sound when taking a shot in TDS and those toocons were a lot better at shooting through foliage.

Other than that wouldn't trade my S6 for anything else I've had any experience with. Would like a chance to compare with Leica and other top robotic brands.

This week I had to rent a Spectra robot because s6 is in the shop. Doesn't even come close to performance of s6.
Reply by Judson Cato on September 26, 2017 at 6:31pm

I started out with a slew of older Topcons to use with the HP48's... I spoiled myself working for years with my own Topcon 300 series and a Recon with TDS software. I'm now running a very old model of Topcon with Trimble data collectors. I'm not a fan of the Trimble software as its got alot of quirks and probably has never been updated.  Its map view features are antique compared to my former recon.  I have found the newer Trimble software for the Trimble S6 Robot to be better.  The instrument is impressively accurate if it can find you.  I'm sure it would have some bullet holes in it if I were to try to complete a big boundary with lots of obstacles when no one is on the site.  I don't find it any faster than a traditional setup if the job site is busy.  Maybe I'll figure out how to get it to track the prism better.  Its lightweight but comes in a bulky box. I can't imagine that it would outlast a Topcon as it is made of very lightweight plastic.  Ideal for a one man crew in wide open spaces, but I've never been a desert surveyor until now so we'll see how long this lasts.

Reply by Jim Thurber on September 26, 2017 at 6:07pm

Being I am an old timer...starting my land surveying journey in 1970 with a 4 post surveyors transit plumbing highway overpass piers and moving to the Wild T1 optical plumb band on up to the forever reliable Topcon 300 series. I like legacy equipment because it keeps the learning curve cheap. I have been using the Topcon 300 series and the reliable HP48 with TDS software for 20 years. I keep my business to a level that does not require anything else. The buttons and whistles are tempting but I believe if it is working fine I don't need to replace. I still use Autocad 13 with Softdesk 7.6...so I have to keep a fresh supply of Windows XP operating systems around. Although I have all the modules there is for Softdesk I only use about 5%. Sticking with what works for me keeps my overhead down to zero. That, to me, is the object of the game.

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