How To Use a Robotic Total Station

How To Use a Robotic Total Station

After you have purchased a robotic total station, you may be confused on how to set up or use it.  If that is the case, we will go over some of the steps to get your robotic total station setup and ready to survey


Setting up the total station on a tripod

The first step after you get all of your tools and instruments together is to properly set up a tripod.  Here are the order in which you should pick a spot and set it up.

  1. Find and mark a reference point in which you will set your tripod over.  Make sure when setting it up that you place it over the point as accurately as possible.
  2. After this is done, place the total station on stop of the tripod and make sure that it is fastened to it.
  3. When the total station is secured, use the plummet to adjust if needed to make sure that the plummet and reference point are aligned.
  4. You also need to level the total station, to find if your unit is leveled look at the bubble on the unit. Some units may have an electronic level which would help guide to leveling the unit.  Should the unit be out of level, adjust the tripod legs and/or the screws of the tribrach till the unit is as close as possible to being perfectly level.
  5. The last step of the setup involves connecting your total station to your data collector.  This can either be done via bluetooth or through cables that can connect to both. 


Controls and display

For those who are new to using total stations, the buttons and controls may seem strange or confusing.  While some controls may slightly vary between different models or brands, the core controls share similar functions.  Here is a key to the controls for the Geomax Zoom90 (which is similar to the Geomax Zoom95).

How to take distance

Using a robotic total station can make a surveyor’s life much easier with the advanced technology it offers when taking points and finding distance.  However, there are several things that a surveyor should look to avoid happening to ensure they get the best reading possible.

  1. The first thing you need to decide is if you will use the reflectorless mode or if you will be using prisms.  This is important when it comes to accuracy and the distance you will be taking points over.  Reflectorless mode over a certain distance will start to lose accuracy, that is why it is important to know the range of your device’s reflectorless mode beforehand.
  2. After this is determined, the next thing you should be aware of is any potential obstructions that may pass through the laser while it is taking a reading.  This is especially an issue when in reflectorless mode as the laser will give off a reading of the first surface it touches.  An example of an interference for the laser would be a passing car or potentially heavy rain.


Care and Transportation

With such an important and expensive piece of equipment, it is very important that you take the proper care needed to use and transport it.  While there are the obvious dangers such as dropping the instrument, there are other concerns such as the weather and dampness of your carrying case.

  1. One of the main things to be aware of before you start taking measurements is the weather.  When setting up a total station you should try your best to shield the unit from the elements as best as possible.  If the weather is either very hot or cold, it would be best to give the instrument a little time to adjust to it.  Anywhere from 5-15 minutes would be best.  
  2. Before you put the unit back in the case, it is important to make sure that there is no liquids or dampness inside the carrying case or on the unit.  It is important to thoroughly dry the unit, especially in the battery compartment to prevent any dampness.  This could affect both the batteries and the total station negatively if they are left unchecked.
  3. When you do put the unit back into its carrying case, be sure to take out the batteries and charger if they are still connected to the unit.  Be sure to secure each part individually inside the case to prevent any damage.  
  4. Should the total station need to be cleaned, first be sure to avoid touching the glass with your bare hands.  If the glass does need to be cleaned use a lint-free cloth, and if needed use either water or pure alcohol to clean.