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Hi this sounds a little bit of a newbie question but I'm asking on why some land surveyors think that Nikon total stations and that Leica and Topcon total stations are better overall. I personally think Nikon TS' gets the job done especially on the topographic surveys and in relocation surveys but what are your thoughts on the matter? 

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  • Not sure about Leica, but I prefer Nikon over Topcon, simply for its features and reliability. Been using a DTM522 for a few months and it certainly hasn't let me down.

  • I used yet sokkia, pantax,lieca, and now using nikon and lieca both. And i found that when i using lieca i feel its best..... nikon also good. Like because of vibration by compacting and heavy equipment movement lieca disturbed its tilt. But nikon will not so much distrub.
  • I have a Nikon NIVO 5m 8 years ago. Although I can not say which is better in terms of precision (because they are not all used under the same conditions) I can say that Nikon total stations do their job very well, in 8 years I only need to collimate once (the Y axis was a bit complicated to calibrate). The two batteries can last between 16-18 hours of work (if they are in good condition). Totally portable and light.

    In conclusion it is a total station of a lot of quality in terms of durability, in terms of presicion would have to perform tests under similar conditions (I hope someone else can answer this).

  • I've used them all and cussed them all for one reason or another and would pick Leica every time. Leica is reliable, rugged, great optics, superior prisms... I could go on about how seemingly small details like clipping in and out of the tribrachs yields the same hi for the prism and the instrument or the positive tangent lock that you can't over-tighten and yet holds securely... little details that make the field work just a bit less exacerbating.

  • I think leica is the best
    • I use a Nikon Nivo 1C and I must say it is awesome - especially with Survey Pro.

  • I think all the reputabe manufacturers make a good tool for their intended markets.

     I thought a bit of history might be interesting.

    The total station was first introduced to surveyors under a variety of names, including electronic tacheometer and EDM theodolite. "Total Station," as a proper noun, was introduced by Hewlett-Packard to promote its Model 3810A around 1975

    • 1968 Zeiss began making the Elta, Zeiss' name for a total station that stands for "electronic tacheometer."
    • 1971 Geodimeter 700-710
    • 1975 Hewlett-Packard Model 3810A.
    • 1979 Topcon's EDM Theodolite GTS-1 was introduced
    • 1990 Geodimeter 460 First conventional servo-driven total station
    • 1990 Geodimeter 4000 First robotic total station


  • Well, I've used Nikons and they're nice. But Topcon actually invented the total station in 1971, and I feel they've done a good job keeping up with innovations in the technology. Admittedly I am biased because I am a surveying educator....and Topcon gives killer education discounts!

  • So, I have used many different total stations in a lot of different environments.  If I started my own company I would go with Sokkia/Topcon.  I just prefer the way they look and feel over the Nikon.  If you are just doing title surveys and topo's then a Nikon should suffice.  I used a Nikon for 18 months laying out heavy industrial inside of an oil refinery and it worked just fine.  The optics are not as clear and bright as the Sokkia's the other surveyors were using, but they worked fine.

  • I've used Nikon Instruments for 11 years now. we Started out with a Nikon 522 with on board data collection 3sec, was great unit a little heavy/big and the batteries didnt last long in the end. We have had a Nikon Nivo C3 for 3 years now. I really like the the Survey pro software, upload/downloads are easy through USB. Unit is light weight, fast and accurate. I believe nikon optics are one of the best in the industry.

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