This is a step-by-step guide on how to set up your total station or theodolite over a point and accurately level it. Following this procedure is the quickest way to set up your total station.
Step 1: Extend the trip legs equally.
Step 2: Space out the legs in an even triangle
Step 3: Check the tripod head is roughly level
Step 4: Lift the whole tripod and place it over the nail
Step 5: Stand back and check that the nail is lined up with the centre of the tripod head from all sides
Step 6: Hold the screw fixing vertically and at the centre of the tripod head and look down it to make sure it is centred over the nail.
Step 7: Check that the tripod head is level
Step 8: Stamp the feet of the tripod firmly into the ground. Check that it is still centred over the nail.
Step 8: Take the total station out of the box and attach it to the tripod head
Step 9: Looking through the optical plummet, adjust the footscrews until the black circle is centered over the nail.
Step 10: Adjust the length of 2 of the legs until the circular bubble is centered.
Step 11: Repeat steps 9 and 10 as many times as necessary until the nail is centered and the circular bubble is centered.
Step 12: Alternatively, when the circular bubble is centered and you are quite close to the nail, loosen the fixing screw and slide the total station over the head of the tripod until centered.
Step 13: Rotate the long bubble until it is parallel to two of the footscrews. Call them A and B. Footscrew C is the remaining footscrew.
Step 14: Rotate A and B in opposite (counter) directions until the bubble is centered
Step 15: Turn through 90 degrees
Step 16: Use footscrew C on it's own to centralise the long bubble
Step 17: Turn through 90 degrees
Step 18: Rotate A and B in opposite (counter) directions until the bubble is centered
Step 19: Turn through 90 degrees
Step 20: Use footscrew C on it's own to centralise the long bubble
Step 21: Turn through 90 degrees, back to the starting position. The long bubble should be centred. If not repeat from step 18
Step 22: Look through the optical plummet to check that you are still centred over the nail.
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This Content Originally Published by a land surveyor to Land Surveyors United Network