Civil Engineering

Working Knowledge of a Total Station - Essential Skill for Civil Engineering Students

Total Station is the most widely preferred modern surveying instrument in the civil industry. Civil engineers acquainted with the use of Total Station are hence preferred in the industry. However, Total Station is absent in the current schemes of engineering education. Experts in the industry, hence propose getting industrially trained in using Total Station surveying equipment. It would positively enhance employability of civil engineering students in India.



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Surveying is widely used across various engineering domains, specifically essential for civil engineering projects. It helps in designing a three-dimensional terrestrial plan or map of a particular area span. The angles and distances of relevant topographic points are measured with the help of surveying equipment.

Various categories of Surveying are Geodetic Surveying, Cadastral Surveying, Topographical Surveying, As-Built Surveying, and Aerial Surveying using Photogrammetry, LiDAR.

Fundamental techniques used for Surveying are Triangulation, Trilateration, Traverse, Leveling and Radiation.


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Total station is basically a theodolite or an instrument to measure angles across horizontal and vertical planes. It is additionally equipped with an EDM to evaluate relative terrestrial distances. A Total Station is a real-time system embedded with an onboard computer for live feedback. Using real-time measurements, the onboard computer is capable of resolving or adjusting data and setting construction points. Some Total Stations are also robotic which enables the surveyor to utilize the device remotely with the help of a controller.

Total Stations use computational methods for processing and analysis of surveyed data. These computations are carried out by an external device called as the data collector or data logger. The device maintains records of all analyzed data. Some total stations are also equipped with Global Navigation Satellite System to enable coordinate measurement of surveyed points.

Total Stations are also integrated with Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and Geographic Information System (GIS) which facilitates accurate mapping of survey points. Data collected from Total Stations are also used for Building Information Modeling (BIM), i.e. the representation of construction characteristics graphically. Computer Aided Design (CAD) is extensively used for this purpose. Map data collected from Total Stations can also be projected on Google Earth.

Apart from surveying in civil engineering, Total Stations find applications in archeology, crime scene investigation, surveying work required for mining, and in many more possible domains. The working knowledge of Total Stations hence would be an added advantage to the skill sets of engineering students.


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Civil Simplified, unit of Skyfi Labs, has taken the initiative for conducting Survey Camp using Total Station. This will help abridge the gap between education and industry standards for the current breed of engineering students.Click here for further information.

Read more about the course here.
Working Knowledge of a Total Station - Essential Skill for Civil Engineering Students
Skyfi Labs Last Updated: 2019-10-15





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