Leica Total Station (TCR1105) – Operating the Instrument
Find the location where you want to set up the survey instrument, it can be over either a known point with coordinates (usually a survey pin or monument) or an unknown one (can be any type of point – If one is not present beforehand place a surveyor’s stake with a cross-hair in the ground pushed flush into the soil) without coordinates but it should be setup on top of some sort of distinct feature.
Open up the survey grade tripod and extend the three legs out approximately three quarters of the extent keeping in mind that you will need to look through the eyepiece on the Total Station, so you will want it to be at a comfortable height for the user.
Next place the tripod approximately centered over top of the point on the ground and as level (it will be fine tuned later but it makes it easier if you start off close to level) as possible with the legs evenly spread out wide enough to provide adequate stability.
Plant one of the three legs firmly into the ground with your foot using the peg on the end of the leg for assistance.
Next carefully attach the Total Station to the tripod using the screw on the underside of the top of the tripod mount. Screw the Total Station down snugly aligning the base orientation with that of the tripod mount.
Insert a freshly charged battery and a memory card with adequate space into the appropriate slots in the unit and verify that both are properly installed before securing them to the unit.
The battery slot will be located on the left hand side of the unit and the memory card will be found on the opposite side. A fully charged battery should last 4-6 hours in the field. However it is always good practice to remember to recharge the batteries on return back to the office.
Tip: None of Leica’s survey equipment used ever needs to be forced to fit into any of the slots. If a piece of equipment does not seem to want to “fit” properly it may not be oriented correctly for insertion. So it is better to take your time and Check again!
The image on the right contains a yellow box to show the location of the battery on the left side of the total station with respect to the remainder of the instrument (this assumes that the left hand side is from the side where the user would be facing the keypad on the side of the optical viewer).
The memory card is inserted on the opposite side of the unit by turning the small black knob to open the side of the case and gently placing the card into the memory card slot.
Centering & Leveling the Unit
Turn on the total station by pressing the on key found on the lower right hand side of the key-pad. First press the Shift key and then press the button with the headlamp icon on it to initialize the Electronic Level tool.
The red plummet laser should now become activated and visible on the ground. The red point is relatively small so you can place your hand beneath the unit to verify a bright red laser dot is present if you can not locate it easily on the ground.
With the laser plummet on, grasp the other two legs of the tripod and use them to orient the laser over point on the ground plummet.
Once you have the point right over top of the cross hair of the point firmly plant both legs into the ground.
Most often at this point you will only have to adjust the unit slightly to have the point centered if you are experienced at installing survey tripods and have done an adequate job of setting up the tripod prior to mounting the unit on top of it.
The electronic level works similar to the bubble level that is found on a typical survey tribrach. You want to have the small leveling circle contained within the cross hairs of the target circle on the display screen.
The small black foot screws of the tribrach can be used to adjust the level of the unit and move the small leveling circle into the desired position. The tilt values will also get smaller as you get closer to having the unit leveled.
When you have the instrument leveled then press the F1 function key to continue and this will return you to the main menu.
Tip: There is a small external survey bubble found in the middle of the instrument that you can use to get the unit approximately level and then use the electronic level on the screen to finely calibrate the Total Station.
Once you have the unit over top of the point, leveled and plumb with the electronic level tool then it is time to measure the instrument height to get the HI (HI is a common GPS survey term for height of the instrument above the point). An accurate height is required for the survey because the instrument will use the HI value to calculate the value of the point on the ground based on the geometrical offset from the optical sensor that is recording the measurements.
Attach the spacing bracket to top of one of the foot screws as illustrated right. This will hold the end of the height meter (tape measure).
Extend the height meter’s black leg and insert the end of the tape into the spacing bracket slot. It should fit snugly.
Extend the height meter and touch the extend leg of the tape to the top of the surveyors mark where the laser is aimed. This should be on the cross hair. Read the height of the instrument and write it down.
Remove the height meter and the spacing brackets and replace them back into the case.
Click here for more information from surveying with the Leica Total Station (TCR1105) or refer to our Leica Total Station user guide available for download.
- Surveying with the Leica Total Station (TCR1105)
- Leica Total Station (TCR1105) – User Interface
- Leica Total Station (TCR1105) – Operating the Instrument
- Surveying from a Known Point
- Surveying from an Unknown Point with Leica Total Station
- Exporting Data from Leica Total Station (TCR1105)
- Leica Total Station User Guide (full version)
Total Station Basics
The content on this page was derived from the document titled ‘Introduction & Simple Guide to Using the Leica Total Station’ published by Ted MacKinnon and Jonathan Murphy in 2004 as part of a requirement for the Applied Geomatics Research advanced Post Graduate Diploma at COGS.
(In 2011 it was revised and updated). The full version of the document can be downloaded by clicking here.