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Looking to replace my old Leica TS06+, how accurate are gps based total stations?  

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Joined: 3 months ago

I've only ever worked directly for an incredibly old school residential construction firm. the previous/office based SE was still using an 90s casio handheld computer (that cost a small fortune as only one shop in austrailia still bothered to program them) so while it was helpful getting a solid grasp on the fundamentals, I've had to teach myself the ins and outs of total stations (beyond just using it to swing angles) myself.

so how much of an error would you expect on a GPS based total station? I get very little exposure to the industry as the only other people in this line of work i've met are retired or work exclusively at setting out for piling contractors. Are these sort of things suitable for residential construction setting out? I'm using a two man kit on my own right now, and i'm at least insisting on that changing to a one man robotic kit, as so much time is lost on me walking back and fourth moving prisms. 

4 Replies
Lee D
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If by "GPS based total station" you mean RTK, you can typically expect about one centimeter in Hz and two centimeters in V. For residential construction layout I'd rather have a good robot like a Trimble S7, especially if you're doing anything that requires tight vertical accuracy. At short range a good robot is much more accurate than RTK.

David Livingstone
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I agree, except in rare instances, I don't use GPS to do building layout and also don't like to use it for pavement staking.  It sounds like a robot would be much better.

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Joined: 4 years ago

if you are doing rough layout like dirtwork, GPS is much faster, however traditional methods by using a total station is still preferred for setting out grids or building corners. If you meant GPS to create your control point then after using your total station to layout thats why is mostly done too. 

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I use GPS for long range work and laying out a house for digging foundation (fast), but I use a total station for more exact work. Concrete guys will check your measurements with a tape measure and they all have calculators to square them up, so they expect us to be "better" than that.

Of course, "better" to us means more in charge of the overall job and error propagation.

I will set curb with a total station after leveling (!) through my control net, but never with GPS.


A good robotic gun is a good companion, especially since you never have to buy it beer.