FEATURES OF TOTAL STATIONS
Total stations are capable of measuring angles and distances simultaneously and combine an electronic theodolite with a distance measuring system and a microprocessor.
All the components of the electronic theodolite described in the previous lectures are found total stations.
The axis configuration is identical and comprises the vertical axis, the tilting axis and line of sight (or collimation). The other components include the tribatch with levelling footscrews, the keyboard with display and the telescope which is mounted on the standards and which rotates around the tilting axis.
Levelling is carried out in the same way as for a theodolite by adjusting to centralise a plate level or electronic bubble. The telescope can be transited and used in the face left (or face I) and face right (or face II) positions. Horizontal rotation of the total station about the vertical axis is controlled by a horizontal clamp and tangent screw and rotation of the telescope about the tilting axis.
The total station is used to measure angles in the same way as the electronic theodolite.
All total stations will measure a slope distance which the onboard computer uses, together with the zenith angle recorded by the line of sight to calculate the horizontal distance.
For distances taken to a prism or reflecting foil, the most accurate is precise measurement.
For phase shift system, a typical specification for this is a measurement time of about 1-2s, an accuracy of (2mm + 2ppm) and a range of
3-5km to a single prism.
Although all manufacturers quote ranges of several kilometres to a single prism.
For those construction projects where long distances are required to be measured, GPS methods are used in preference to total stations. There is no standard difference at which the change from one to the other occurs, as this will depend on a number of factors, including the accuracy required and the site topography.
Rapid measurement reduces the measurement time to a prism to between 0.5 and 1's for both phase shift and pulsed systems, but the accuracy for both may degrade slightly.
Tracking measurements are taken extensively when setting out or for machine control, since readings are updated very quickly and vary in response to movements of the prism which is usually pole-mounted.In this mode, the distance measurement is repeated automatically at intervals of less than 0.5s.
For reflector less measurements taken with a phase shift system, the range that can be obtained is about 100m, with a similar accuracy to that obtained when using a prism or foil.