General Info: TOTAL STATIONS have all the angular accuracy of THEODOLITES and also have the ability to determine accurate distance measurements using a built-in EDM (electronic distance meter). A chip in the instrument interprets the vertical angle and distance measurement and calculates corrected horizontal and elevation readings.
The chip also allows data storage and has many embedded functions enabling routines such as layout using coordinates; missing line measurements; and offset stakeout (see COORDINATES). All TOTAL STATIONS can use a prism as a target and some now (REFLECTORLESS) can get distance measurements directly off objects in the field or off reflective sheets. Some models have a laser plumb instead of an Survey plumb.