Total Station Definition for Land Surveyors

total station—A surveying instrument comprising an EDM (electronic distance measurement) unit and an electronic digital theodolite. Differs from a theodolite in that it can measure distances in addition to vertical and horizontal angles. Modern EDM units are capable of measuring distances to either reflective targets, such as glass prisms, or directly to real-world objects. The survey instrument can also comprise a tracking system that allows the instrument to lock and track a prism or target without requiring the user to aim the instrument. Robotic forms of total stations exist, allowing only one person to operate the system. The robotic total station is able to track the prism as it is moved between observation points, communicating through a telemetry link with a remote control unit attached to the prism pole.

Source: NSPS “Definitions of Surveying and Related Terms“, used with permission.

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