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Mechanical vs. Robotic Layout: Is a Robotic Total Station Really Worth It?

By Bryan Williams

If you’re currently using a mechanical total station, you may question if upgrading to a robotic total station is really necessary. You’re already performing layout more efficiently than you could with a tape measure, string line, plumb bobs, wooden stakes, and a Sharpie.Do you need a robotic total station?

You may also worry about the learning curve that comes with adopting a new tool like a robotic total station. Getting others up to speed can take time and some convincing about the benefits.

While it’s natural to have doubts about whether a change is needed, the advantages of robotic layout are impossible to ignore. Yes, mechanical total stations were a huge improvement over traditional layout methods. But as the industry advances and technology increasingly becomes a competitive differentiator, the time is right for exploring how the latest in layout technology can give you the upper hand.

Here’s a look at the key differences between mechanical and robotic total stations and how a robotic total station will help you come out on top.

Four Important Differences Between Mechanical and Robotic Layout


1. Mechanical total stations require manual operation

Each of the functions of a mechanical total station still has to be manually operated, and any manual effort takes more time and introduces the potential for more mistakes. For example, when laying out each point, the instrument has to be manually turned, the prism has to be manually moved and sighted, and the electronic distance measurement (EDM) feature has to be manually engaged.

How a robotic total station is different: A robotic total station is an automated tool that can execute workflows faster and more accurately. The station continuously follows the prism and measures on its own without human intervention. The gains you can make in speed and precision far exceed what’s possible with a mechanical layout tool.

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Click to read more at Trimble’s FieldTech blog.

Learn more about Robotic Total Station technology!


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