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We have been using RTK survey solutions and Total Station survey separately on topos but now wish to combine the two techniques into the same survey, to leverage the strengths of both these solutions.

I'm looking for advice or a start point for investigation on how to accomplish this.

Kind regards


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  • I'd just like to thank you guys for taking time out to provide advice and guidance. You've provided some great information to invistigate and follow.

    Thank you


  • Yea, for the Data Collector, so this is how you make a round world flat or is it a flat world round.

     Either way sounds good to me.

  • Hi Ian,

    you had quite a few reply's to this topic, as I recall you use Trimble R8 and ??? Total Station

    if both Trimble you can use Integrated Survey:

    Setup/Resection over GPS/GNSS min:2 points to work but take at least 3  and don't forget

    do not work out of your resection area. Setup accuracy GPS/GNSS , Survey accuracy TS in itself.

    On Accuracy:! always depends what your Survey is used for/ requirements of your Clients.!

    If you have to different systems its more or less the same as Integrated you just setup your control with GPS/GNSS and do Survey with TS again stay within your resection area. Don't have your longest Backside 100m and Survey 200-300m from this setup you just implement errors (see above).

    Just remember the scale factor and of course setup accuracy if required Hard level control stations/TS can work too again !...!

  • All other points aside, I'll add (maybe repeat) the following

    1) If you are not using a data collector that can run both systems - GPS/RTK and Terrestrial / Total Station equipment, ( unplug the GPS and plug into your TS on the fly) you need to take a hard look at how you are investing in and operating your survey business.  That was the final determining factor when I selected my first GPS system back in 1998 

    2) A Point is a Point - it should not matter if you obtain, occupy or establish a control point via GPS or Total Station if you have the proper procedures in place.

    3) Some of us obsess over point quality - its been my experience that more than 95%(?) of any point error falls within standard allowable spec'd tolerances.  The other 5% is human operator error ( sometimes called UTS errors) and no data collector mode, GPS setting or Total Station/EDM calibration is going to correct for untrained or under trained field crews and techs.

  • The truth is that the two equipment cannot talk to each other but the data each acquired can be married together to give a result. All you need to do is to make sure that the have the same projection. Total station works with the principle of intersection i.e occupy the known to get the unknown. i will advice u use the DGPS to establish the known point (control) to enable the total station to take off and since its a topo, survey try and minimize the no of instrument setup thanks

  • There is an option of Integrated Surveying using a conventional instrument and GNSS. I know you can do this with a Trimble instrument and GNSS. Please see below from Trimble Survey help:

    Integrated surveys

    Using an integrated survey (IS) allows you to connect to both a GNSS receiver and a conventional instrument at the same time.

    You can perform an integrated survey using Trimble servo total stations and RTK surveys.

  • Ian, what has made life a bit easier for me in combining RTK and TS field data is to be certain you are using the same control points, best efforts being that you measure to at least three control points prior to stating your survey and by measuring to at least three control points at the end of the survey. If for some reason you are not happy with the measured results, you can run down the errors before collecting a lot of data that has to be adjusted at a later time.This technique can be a quick check to be sure that each type of sensors you are using (GPS or TS) have the same settings/configurations for the project. As you may know, vertical measurements (elevations) are some of the most difficult field measurements to match between RTK vs Total Station are even from a level run.

    • Thanks for you reply Robert.

      The advise you guys are providing has allowed me to understand it's possiable to combine the data.
      The reason I'm asking is that although RTK is fast and accurate for our needs, sometimes we can't get onto ajacent properties or are in an urban canyon where GNSS is unavailable. In these circumstances, we would use the Total Station, however in more open survey sites we can complete the survey using RTK alone. 


    try going back to this discussion topic

  • I'll dig through my previous blogs - but I  think this very topic was hashed out a few months ago.

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