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5.1 5.2 Introduction

Modern Surveying Equipment

Micro-optic and Electronic Theodolites

5.2.1 Micro-optic Theodolites 5.2.2 Electronic Theodolites 5.2.3 Working of Micro-optic and Electronic Theodolites


Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM)

5.3.1 Principle of EDM 5.3.2 Working of EDM 5.3.3 Accuracy Considerations


Total Station
5.4.1 Concept of Total Station 5.4.2 Working of Total Station 5.4.3 Accuracy Considerations

5.5 5.6

Automatic Levels Global Positioning System (GPS)

5.6.1 5.6.2 5.6.3 5.6.4 5.6.5 Navstar GPS GPS Equipment Principle of GPS Surveying with GPS Accuracy Considerations

5.7 5.8

Summary Answers to SAQs

The measurement of angles and distances is the focus of all land surveying jobs. In your earlier courses, you have been introduced to the use of a number of field equipment for a variety of surveying works such as control establishment, route surveying, construction and mapping surveys. Over the years, due to the advancement in electronics and computer technologies, a range of electronic equipment have been developed in the field of surveying and levelling. With the introduction of these equipment, not only the efficiency of the work has increased but the jobs can now be performed with more precision and accuracy within much lesser time than before. Further, with the inclusion of data recording facilities in these equipment, a large amount of data can be stored in proper format which can then be analysed with the computer. Some of the modern equipment are Electronic Distance Measuring (EDM) equipment, Optical and Electronic Theodolites, Auto and Digital Levels, Total Stations and Global Positioning System (GPS). These equipment can provide accurate data in no time that can be recorded in suitable media which can then be connected to a computer to generate quality map products. 93

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In this unit, an introduction to some important modern surveying equipment and their use has been explained. The first section deals with the angle measuring equipment such as micro-optic and electronic theodolites. In the next section, the EDM has been discussed. This is followed by a discussion on electronic and auto levels. The penultimate section provides details on the Total Station that can be used for angle, distance and height measurements in one go. In the last section, an introduction to the latest technology, namely GPS, has been provided.

After studying this unit, you should be able to get an overview of some commonly used modern surveying equipment and their uses, and understand the working of these new generation equipment for field surveying jobs.


As you know that the survey field measurements include distances (horizontal and sloping) and angles (horizontal and vertical) measurement. The latter can be measured with a transit, or theodolite. You have already studied the use of vernier theodolites that are designed to read angles to the closest minute, 20 seconds or 10 seconds. Over the years, the vernier theodolites have been in practice for conducting surveys of ordinary precision. For very precise surveys, these have been superseded by modern theodolites. The modern theodolites can be categorised as micro-optic and electronic theodolites. Unlike vernier theodolite, the observations are taken through an auxillary eyepiece (i.e. through optics) in the micro-optic theodolites and hence the name. In electronic theodolites, the observations are taken from the visual displays. These can read, record, display and store horizontal and vertical angles in the electronic recorder attached to them.

5.2.1 Micro-optic Theodolites

The design of these instruments is such that these become compact and light-weight. These are generally characterised by a three-foot screw levelling head and an optical plummet. There is a circular level for approximate levelling and a plate level for precise levelling. Optical plummet is provided for accurate centering particularly in windy climatic conditions. The plummet consists of a small eyepiece generally built into the tribach. The graduations are marked on horizontal and vertical circles made up of glass. The observations are read through an optical reading system that consists of a series of prisms. The vertical circle is normally graduated such that 0o corresponds to the telescope pointing upwards towards the zenith. The graduations increase clockwise with 90o and 270o marked on the horizontal line and 180o on the vertical line pointing downwards towards the nadir. The glass circles are read with the aid of an eyepiece adjacent to the telescope. The angles can be read to a least count of 1. Many manufacturers have developed a variety of micro-optic theodolites each having a particular optical system such as circle microscope system, optical scale system, single reading optical micrometer and double reading optical micrometer etc. 94

A list showing the performance of some of the direction measuring equipment is given in Table 5.1. Table 5.1 : Some Micro-optic Theodolites for Angle Measurement
Sl. No. Name of Instrument Make Least Count Direct (Seconds) 1. 2. 3. 4. T2 (Universal) T3 (Precision) T4 (Astronomy) Theo 010 Leica, Switzerland Leica, Switzerland Leica, Switzerland Zeiss, Germany 1.0 0.2 0.1 1.0 Estimation (Seconds) 0.5 0.1 0.05 0.1

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Wild T3 theodolite is used for geodetic triangulation and all other precise surveys whereas Wild T4 theodolite is commonly used for astronomical determination of co-ordinates and azimuth. Wild T2 and Zeiss Theo 010 are commonly used for engineering surveys.

5.2.2 Electronic Theodolites

A major change in the design of theodolites has occurred in recent years with the introduction of electronic circle reading systems to their design. The electronic theodolites are similar to micro-optic theodolites in their design and operation. However, the difference lies in the system of taking reading. Here, the observations are taken through digital readouts or displays. The commonly used displays are Light-Emitting Diodes (LED) and Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD). The direct display of angular readings eliminates the guessing and interpolations associated with the vernier scale and micrometer readings in other theodolites. The angles can be measured to a least count of 1 with precision ranging from 0.5 to 10. One of the significant characteristics of these theodolites is that the data can be recorded in a data collector attached with the theodolite. The data can then be processed in a computer for subsequent analyses. The theodolites have a zero set button for initial setting of the readings. Once attached with EDM, it can then be used as a Total Station (to be discussed in Section 5.4 of this unit). A typical electronic theodolite is shown in Figure 5.1.

Figure 5.1 : An Electronic Theodolite with Data Collector


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5.2.3 Working of Micro-optic and Electronic Theodolites

The working of these theodolites is more or less similar to that of a vernier theodolite. The major difference is in the centering procedure, which is through optical plummet instead of the conventional plumb bob centering. For an easy and quick set up, following steps may be followed : (a) (b) Place the instrument over the point with the tripod plate as horizontal as possible. From a distance of 1 to 2 meter, check if the instrument appears to be set over the station. If not, adjust the location and check again. Move in the direction 90o to the original setting and repeat the steps. Through the optical plummet, look the station mark and then firmly push in the tripod legs into the ground. Manipulate the levelling screws while simultaneously looking through the optical plummet until its cross hair is exactly over the station mark. Level the theodolite with the circular bubble in the usual fashion. Look into the optical plummet to confirm that its cross hair is quite close to the station mark. The circular bubble can now be brought into centre by turning one or more levelling screws. The tripod clamp is now loosened to slide the instrument on the flat tripod top till the optical plummet cross hair is exactly centered over the station mark. The instrument can now be precisely levelled using longitudinal bubble in the usual fashion as we do in vernier theodolite. Start measuring the horizontal and vertical angles.

(c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h)

(i) (j)

The instrument can be used for various surveying operations such as laying off angles, prolonging a straight line, balancing in, intersection of two lines etc.



For providing precise horizontal control using trilateration (Section 6.3.1 of this block), it is necessary that the distances be measured as accurately as possible. The advent of EDM has made this possible. The EDM was first introduced in the late 1950. Since then, many refinements to these equipment have been made. The earlier EDMs were very big, heavy and expensive. With the advancements in electronic and computer technologies, these have become smaller, simpler and less expensive. The EDMs come in two parts : the instrument and the reflector. The Instrument The EDMs are generally of two types : electro-optical systems and electronic systems. The electro-optical systems use either light and laser waves or infrared waves whereas electronic systems use microwaves. The microwave systems require transmitter/receiver at both ends of the line to be measured. The infrared system requires a transmitter at one end and a reflector at the other end. The microwave systems are capable of measuring distances up to a limit of 100 kms whereas the infrared EDMs come in three


different ranges, long range (10-20 km), medium range (3-10 km) and short range (0.5-3 km) equipment. A typical EDM is shown in Figure 5.2(a). The Reflector The reflector is usually a prism or a set of prisms (Figure 5.2(b)). Generally, a cube corner prism is used that has the characteristic of reflecting light rays precisely back in the same direction as they are received. This means that even if the prism is somewhat misaligned with respect to the EDM, it can still be effective. These prisms can be mounted on a tripod or a pole held vertical on the point. For higher accuracy, the prisms should be mounted on a tripod. The height of the prism is normally set equal to the height of the instrument.

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(a) An EDM Fitted on a Digital Theodolite Figure 5.2

(b) A Set of Reflectors Used with EDM or Total Station

Recently, some EDMs have been introduced that can measure the distances without reflectors. In these situations, the surface itself behaves as a reflector. However, the EDMs without reflectors can only be used for the measurement of shorter distances within 1 km and also with reduced accuracy. The EDM when mounted on a precise theodolite can be used to determine both slope and vertical distances. This arrangement has given rise to another category of surveying instrument known as Total Station or Field Station.

5.3.1 Principle of EDM

The EDM systems are based on the principle of distance travelled between the transmitted wave from one end and its reception at the other end. Thus, the basic relationship between time, speed and distance is applied. The instrument transmitting the infrared or microwaves is kept at one end whereas the reflector is kept at the other end. The instrument sends the waves, which are reflected by the reflector to be received by the instrument. Figure 5.3 shows a wave of wavelength travelling along the x-axis with a velocity v. The relationship between wavelength (), frequency (f ) and velocity (v) can be given as,
= v f

. . . (5.1) 97

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E 1 2 3


S Station Z Target

E Reference plane within the distance meter for phase comparison between transmitted and received wave R Reference plane for the reflection of the wave transmitted by the distance meter

Modulation wave length

Fraction to be measured of a whole wave length of modulation ()

Figure 5.3 : Principle of EDM Measurement (Source : Kavanagh and Bird, 1996)

In Figure 5.3, a modulated wave transmitted by the instrument and its reflection back to it is shown. It can be seen that the double distance 2L can be determined by knowing the total number of wavelengths plus the fraction of wavelength reaching the EDM. Thus,
L= ( n + ) 2

. . . (5.2)

The fraction wavelength can be determined in the instrument by noting the phase delay required to precisely match the transmitted and reflected waves. The instruments are designed to determine the number of wavelengths (n) within seconds and compute the distance in no time. Corrections Since the wave travels through the atmosphere, the velocity of the wave may be affected by temperature, pressure and water vapour content. Therefore, the appropriate corrections for these must be applied. Normally, the provision for these corrections is made in the instruments themselves by supplying the required values of the prevailing atmospheric quantities on the day of measurement. Alternatively, these corrections can be applied manually by looking at the charts and graphs (showing the relationships between the quantities and the corrections) provided by the manufacturers of the instrument. It may, however, be mentioned that the effect of atmosphere is more pronounced in long distances of the order of kilometers. For short distances, less than a kilometer, the atmospheric corrections are less significant and may not be required.

5.3.2 Working of EDM

Before using EDM in the field, these are normally checked for their accuracy and proper adjustment. EDM instruments are calibrated against the known distances. The zero error (distances between electronic and physical centre), if any, is determined. This activity requires several measurements on different known lengths.


Once zero error is found out, the measurements can be taken. The typical operation of any EDM involves four basic steps of setting up, bisection, observing and recording. Setting Up The EDM instrument is first inserted into the tribrach on the tripod, which is centered exactly over the station mark through optical plummet. Reflector is set over the other point of the line whose distance is to be measured. The power of the instrument is turned on and certain initial checks are made. For example, to examine proper working of the battery and the display. Bisection The instrument is unclamped to bisect the reflector through the built-in sighting device. There are horizontal and vertical tangent motion screws for exact bisection of the reflector. Observing The distances are measured by simply pressing the measurement key and waiting for a few seconds. The result appears on the LCD panels. If there is no display, the user should check the previous steps. Repeated measurements are often made to observe the distances with more precision by pressing the repeat mode key. Some of the corrections normally applied on the distances measured by EDM instruments are atmospheric and zero error correction, slope to horizontal distance conversion etc. Since the measurements obtained are slope distances, some EDM have built-in calculators to compute horizontal and vertical distances if the vertical angles are fed manually through the keypad. Recording These days, all the EDMs are supplied with an electronic field book wherein the measurements can be recorded directly or by manual entry. The observations must be accompanied with all relevant atmospheric and instrumental correction data.

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5.3.3 Accuracy Considerations

In general, the accuracy of an EDM is expressed in terms of a constant instrumental error and a measuring error proportional to the distance being measured. Thus, an accuracy value of (5 mm + 5 parts per million (ppm)) signifies that 5 mm is the constant instrument error (independent of the length of the measurement), whereas the 5 ppm (5 mm/km) represents the distance related error. For example, if the distance to be measured is 10 km then the total error in the measurement shall be 5mm + (5 10) mm which works out to be 55 mm or 5.5 cm. This is equivalent to an accuracy of 55 in 1,00,00,000 (or 1 in 181818). Now-a-days, EDM equipment are being manufactured by various companies throughout the world. The specifications of these vary in terms of the distance range and accuracy. A list of some EDMs manufactured by Leica Geosystems (earlier Wild) with their salient features is given in Table 5.2. Table 5.2 : Some Models of EDM
Sl. No. 1. 2. 3. 4. Name DI1001 DI1600 DI2002 DI300S Distance Range 800 m with 1 prism 2500 m with 1 prism 2500 m with 1 prism 19 km Accuracy (5 mm + 5 ppm) (3 mm + 2 ppm) (1 mm + 1 ppm) (3 mm + 1 ppm)


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The criterion for the selection of an EDM depends upon the range and accuracy achievable. The instrument capable of taking measurements to an error of 1 to 2 ppm is the best suited for geodetic control establishment. For civil engineering works, where accuracy requirement may not be high, short range EDM with 5 ppm error can be used.


In the previous sections, you have been introduced to electronic theodolites and EDMs. When these instruments are combined into one assembly, these give rise to another category of surveying instruments known as Electronic Tacheometers. These are also referred to with other names such as Total Stations and Field Stations.

5.4.1 Concept of Total Station

The basic idea behind the development of Total Station is the fact that the equipment can be used to perform all surveying operations in one go from a station (or point) and hence the name. Thus, a total station is an equipment that can electronically measure both angles and distances and perform limited computational tasks using an internal micro-processor such as reduction of slope to horizontal distance, computations of coordinates from a bearing and distance etc. Often, these are provided with built-in facility for atmospheric and instrumental corrections. The data are recorded by the instrument in internal memory or in external memory cards. The advantage with these cards is that these can be directly inserted into the computer for easy data transfer. Moreover, these cards come in different memory sizes and, thus, the data for many days and months can be recorded. There are two basic designs of a Total Station : integrated design; and modular design. In integrated design (Figure 5.4), both the electronic theodolite and the EDM are assembled in a single unit, whereas in the modular design these act as separate units. The latter arrangement is more flexible, since the theodolites and EDM units with varying precision can be combined to form a suitable design as per the requirement of the project. One important feature of any total station is the provision of data recorder or collector in it. A data recorder is basically a hand-held computer. It can record all the measurements in suitable format and can perform some basic computations such as figure closures and adjustments. Also, many total stations can record all measurements (i.e., slope distance, horizontal and vertical angles) of a point by just pressing a button. The point number and its description may also be recorded.

Figure 5.4 : A Total Station (Courtesy : Elcome Technologies Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi)


5.4.2 Working of Total Station

There are many surveying tasks where Total Station can be used effectively. These include preliminary control and construction surveys etc. However, these have mostly been used for topographic surveys where the three coordinates of a point (i.e., Northings, Eastings and Heights above msl) are required. Typical steps in the operation of a Total Station for a traverse computation can be listed as below. Entry of Initial Data After switching on the equipment, at first instance, some initial data are fed to it through the controller. These data include the description of the project, date and survey team, atmospheric pressure and temperature values, prism constant, sea level, curvature and refraction corrections, choice of measurement units etc. It is likely that you may bypass feeding of certain data as the default values may themselves be sufficient. Entry of Traverse Station (Occupied Point) and Feature (Sighted Point) Code All the traverse stations and features to be plotted must be given a suitable coding system for their recognition. The coding system varies from one model of Total Station to the other. These codes may be entered through the keypad on most of the equipment. Some models now have the provision of bar codes to enter the codes. For the traverse station, in addition to the station codes, the data such as height of instrument, station name and number, coordinates of traverse station (forward and backward), azimuth of reference line etc. may also be entered. Similarly, for the sighted point, besides its code, the other data to be supplied are height of prism or reflector, point name and number etc. Measurement of Angles and Distances After entering the required data, an observer may start taking measurements using the following steps (refer Figure 5.5) : (a) (b) Centre the Total Station over the traverse station 11. Sight at station 14, zero the horizontal circle.

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(IS) 104 14 (BS) (IS) 103 Control Traverse (IS) 102 (IS) 101 13

11 Instrument Station

12 (FS)

Stations 101 to 104 are Control Monuments

Figure 5.5 : Sketch Showing Intermediate Road Ties to a Control Traverse


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(c) (d) (e)

Enter code of sighted station 14. Measure and enter the height of prism/reflector. Press appropriate measure key as there may be different keys for different measurements such as horizontal and vertical angles, horizontal and vertical distances etc. Press record button. From this traverse station, any number of points signifying the topographical features such as 101, 102, 103 are sighted and their measurements recorded. For doing this, the prism mounted on a pole has to be moved to the respective points. Once measurement and recording of all the points is completed, the Total Station is moved to the next traverse station (i.e., 12) and the procedure is repeated till all the stations are covered.

(f) (g)


Transfer of Data and Its Processing All the models of the Total Station are supplied with software for processing the data stored in the data collector or electronic field book. The processing may require operations such as preliminary analysis, adjustments and coordinate computations. For example, to process the data from Leica models, the software LISCAD may be used. However, the software supplied with other model may also be used to process the data captured by Leica model through some manipulations. For any data processing, first the data have to be downloaded from the electronic field book to computer where the software is installed. It is possible to connect the field book directly to the computer through a cable. Otherwise, the data stored in the memory card of the field book can be inserted into appropriate slot in the computer for its transfer. The data transfer is followed by desired processing operation for the computation of coordinates of points and features. Plotting of Details After processing the field data in the desired form (i.e., the coordinates), the data required for plotting may be assembled and the survey can be quickly plotted at any scale on a printer or a plotter. The symbols necessary for plotting different topographical features can be extracted from the symbol library provided in the software. Some software have the provision of generating your own symbols, if these are not available in the software.

5.4.3 Accuracy Considerations

The accuracy of a Total Station is generally referred in terms of distance measuring accuracy and angle measurement accuracy. Since the distance measurement is through EDM, all the accuracy standards of EDMs apply to Total Station. Similarly, all the accuracy standards of digital theodolites apply to the angle measurement accuracy of the Total Station. A number of Total Stations are available in the market these days. Some of them (e.g., manufactured by Nikon and Leica) along with their accuracy standards are mentioned in Table 5.3.


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Table 5.3 : A List of Some Total Stations

Sl. No. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Name DTM850 (Nikon) DTM550 (Nikon) DTM310 (Nikon) TCA1101 (Leica) TC303 (Leica) TC905 (Leica) TCA2003 (Leica) Distance Range with 1 Prism 2400 m 2400 m 1000 m 1000 m 3000 m 2500 m 2500 m Distance Accuracy (2 mm + 2 ppm) (4 mm + 2 ppm) (5 mm + 5 ppm) (3 mm + 1 ppm) (2 mm + 2 ppm) (2 mm + 2 ppm) (1 mm + 1 ppm) Angular Accuracy 1 1 5 1.5 3 2 0.5

(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i) (j) (k) (l) Give the full form of abbreviations, EDM, LCD, LED, ppm. Differentiate between micro-optic and electronic theodolites. What is the function of an optical plummet? Describe the reading system of a typical micro-optic theodolite. Write down the steps required for setting up of an eletronic or micro-optic theodolite. What are two different types of EDM? What is a reflector?

On what principle the working of an EDM is based? Write four basic steps of working with an EDM. How will you signify the accuracy of an EDM? Define Total Station. What are the two basic designs of a total station? Explain the difference. (m) Describe the steps for the operation of an EDM.


Levelling is the process of determining the vertical position of different features below, on or above the surface of the earth. The vertical position is normally referred to as elevation (or height) above mean sea level (msl). The elevations can be determined by direct and indirect means. In direct method, the elevations are determined by direct observations to measuring rods or staffs using an equipment called level. You have already studied spirit levels (Dumpy and Tilting levels) in your earlier courses. The focus here will be on the understanding of a new generation of levels known as Automatic levels. In indirect levelling, the


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elevations are determined indirectly by taking measurements of horizontal and vertical angles. The trigonometric levelling and tacheometric surveying are the examples of indirect levelling. These two procedures are described in detail in Units 1 and 2 of this Block. The automatic levels differ from other forms of spirit levels in the sense that these have a compensating device that maintains the horizontal line of sight when the instrument is approximately levelled (Figure 5.6). This increases the efficiency of the levelling work. In fact, automatic levels have become very popular these days and are available from most of the surveying manufacturers. They are quick to set up and easy to use. These levels are similar in design to any other level as these also have a three levelling screws and a circular bubble. The instrument is quickly levelled using the circular bubble and these screws. After this, the compensator takes over and automatically makes the line of sight horizontal even if the telescope is slightly tilted. Once the line of slight is horizontal, same levelling operations can be performed as with any other level used in spirit levelling.

Figure 5.6 : An Auto Level (Courtesy : Elcome Technologies Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi)

These days, auto levels have arrangements for digital displays and data collectors and are thus named as Digital levels. These are supplied with a bar coded staff. As soon as the staff is bisected, the readings are automatically recorded in the data collector that can then be connected with a computer for data reduction and analysis. These bar coded staves can read to a least count of 0.001 mm.


The GPS is an emerging technology in the field of geodesy, geography, surveying and spatial analysis. In particular, the technology overcomes the limitations of the conventional field surveying methods, such as the requirement of intervisibility of survey stations, dependability on weather, difficulties in night observations etc. Advantages over the conventional techniques, economy in operation and time makes the GPS most promising surveying technique of the future.

5.6.1 Navstar GPS

The NAVSTAR (Navigational Satellite Timing and Ranging) GPS, developed by United States Department of Defense, is a satellite-based radio navigation system that can provide three-dimensional position and time information in one go. The system can be successfully used for many civil engineering and other applications such as


(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f)

Provision of geodetic control. Alignment surveys. Large Scale Mapping. Navigation of ships and aircrafts. Crustal movement studies. Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing

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GPS has three segments (a) (b) (c) Space segment Control segment User segment

Space Segment The space segment consists of 24 satellites and 5 additional satellites. These satellites are placed in six orbital plane at a height of 26,200 km semi major axis. Each orbit is inclined at 55 degrees to the equator and each satellite completes one rotation in 12 hours of sidereal time. This provides a repeat satellite configuration every day four minutes earlier in respect to universal time. All these satellites carry very precise atomic clock with an accuracy ranging from 1 10 12 to 1 10 13 seconds. Each satellite transmits signals on two carrier wave frequencies, L1 and L2, derived from fundamental frequency 10.23 MHz. L1 = 154 10.23 MHz = 1575.42 MHz (= 19.05 cm) L2 = 120 10.23 MHz = 1227.60 MHz (= 24.45 cm) The GPS signals must provide some means to determine the position on real time basis. To achieve this, the carrier phase is modulated with Pseudo Random Noise (PRN) codes. There are two types of codes in use, the P-code (Precision or Protected code) and the C/A code (Clear/Acquisition code). Control Segment There are five control stations around the globe that continuously track the satellites and feed the information to the Master Control station at Colorado, USA. At control stations, the pseudoranges (to be explained later) are determined to all the visible satellites. This information, along with local meteorological data, is sent to Master Control station. From these data, satellite ephemeris and the behaviour of the satellite clocks are computed which are then transmitted in the form of navigation (message) data to the ground antennas. User Segment A user segment consists of a GPS receiver with antenna and power supply unit. A GPS receiver must have enough channels with low noise level to collect data from all the available satellites. A minimum of eight channels is recommended for the determination of accurate position. The antenna is of two types Chock Ring and Microstrip antenna. 105

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5.6.2 GPS Equipment

A complete GPS set has three major parts as given below : (a) (b) (c) Hardware Software Accessories

The hardware part of a GPS unit consists of two components which are the receiver and the antenna. The design of both receiver and antenna varies from one manufacturer to other. For civilian uses, most GPS receivers are single frequency, C/A code receivers. These receivers have access to both code and satellite message. The satellite message contains the broadcast ephemeris, clock correction coefficients, and the age of ephemeris data. It also provides information about the health status of the satellites. There are generally two software that are obtained with a GPS. These are instrument specific software and scientific software. The former is supplied with the GPS unit and is expected to perform the following jobs (a) (b) (c) To transfer data from GPS hardware to the computer. To provide baseline solutions. To perform datum transformation from WGS 84* to the desired projection. (*World Geodetic System of 1984 is a 3-D, Earth-centered official GPS reference system developed by US Defense Mapping agency.) (d) (e) To determine Geoid heights. Network adjustments.

Some of the instrument specific software are Ski, GPS Survey etc. The instrument specific software are generally suitable for processing short baselines of the order of 10 to 20 km. For processing of larger baselines of several hundred kilometers, it is necessary to consider all kinds of errors (to be discussed later) for obtaining high precision results. This requires complex mathematical algorithms. Therefore, many scientific software have been developed. Some of them are BERNESE, GAMIT etc. Besides performing the above mentioned jobs, these software are expected to carry out all sorts of error modelling tasks and their adjustment. In addition to the standard GPS equipment, some auxiliary equipment are also necessary. These include (a) (b) (c) (d) Tripod and Tribrach Antenna Cable Field computer Spare batteries

5.6.3 Principle of GPS

The basic principle of GPS is to determine the position of points in threedimensional space. The determination of position is based on measurement of distances from the point of observations to the GPS satellite. The distances are computed by observing the travel time of the signals from the satellite to the point. The travel time has a systematic bias because the satellite and the receiver clocks are of different precisions. The satellite has atomic clock whereas the


receiver has quartz clock. Thus, the computed distances (also referred to as range) shall be biased and, therefore, these are called pseudoranges. To compute the position based on this pseudorange, the error due to time bias has to be corrected. It is because of this reason that time is also taken as unknown and determined before deriving the true range. The range can be determined from
R= ( Xs X )2 + (Ys Y )2 + ( Zs Z ) 2

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. . . (5.3)

where X, Y and Z are the co-ordinates of the point, on the ground and Xs, Ys and Zs denote the position of the satellite broadcast by the Master Control station. To find the true range, the time bias t has also to be considered. Thus,
R= ( Xs X ) 2 + (Ys Y ) 2 + ( Zs Z ) 2 + t c

. . . (5.4)

where c is the velocity of light. From Eq. (5.4), it can be seen that there are four unknowns (i.e., X, Y, Z and t). Therefore, the data from at least 4 satellites have to be collected for the solution of this equation. An alternative way to determine the pseudorange is the phase measurement technique. The technique is based on a simple principle that if the wave length, the full number of cycles elapsed between signal travelling from satellite antenna to receiver antenna and the length of part wavelength are known, then Range = N + (5.5) where N is the number of full cycle of wave length and is the length of part wave. The integer, number of cycles between the antenna and the satellite at the first phase measurement is called ambiguity. The initial ambiguity has to be determined with appropriate techniques to exploit the full accuracy potential of GPS carrier phase measurements. Ambiguity determination is one of the most demanding problems. Many ambiguity resolution algorithms are available that are implemented in the software component of the GPS unit. The position obtained by GPS is in the form of geographical coordinates (latitudes and longitudes) and in WGS 84 (World Geodetic System 84) coordinates. However, in India, the polyconic projection system on Everest spheroid is used for all the geodetic computations. Therefore, the coordinates obtained from GPS need to be appropriately transformed to polyconic map projection system. This can be achieved by finding out transformation parameters from known position of at least three points in both WGS-84 and polyconic projection system. Moreover, heights or elevations of points obtained from WGS-84 are ellipsoid heights. The height measured in point positioning mode can have errors up to 150 m. However, the ellipsoidal height difference can be measured with very high precision. For using GPS for determining heights, one receiver is kept at a point whose ellipsoidal height is known very accurately. Now, assuming that Everest and WGS-84 ellipsoids are parallel within a small region the heights of desired points can be determined by adding/subtracting the observed difference between the two ellipsoids. To get the orthometric height, a Geoidal separation correction is added at each point. 107 ...

Advanced Survey

5.6.4 Surveying with GPS

There are two main ways in which position of a point can be determined using GPS. These are point positioning and differential positioning. In point positioning, a single GPS receiver is kept at the point whose coordinates are to be determined. The receiver records the observations for many hours. These observations are then processed as single-point mode using appropriate GPS software. The accuracy achieved in point positioning mode is low (i.e., of the order of meters) unless the data are post processed with a scientific software such as Bernese. In differential positioning, minimum of two GPS receivers are required. One receiver (called the reference receiver) is kept at the reference point whose coordinates are known to a high accuracy from other surveys. The other receiver (called the rover receiver) is kept at the unknown point whose coordinates are to be determined. The observations by both the receivers are collected for a common period of time but for a drastically shorter period than that required in point positioning. The position of the unknown point is determined relative to the reference point by computing the length of the line joining the two points by processing the observations in baseline mode. The accuracy, thus, achieved is of the order of centimeters and millimeters. Thus, in point positioning, the accuracy of the coordinates is within 100 m. Differential positioning have no effect of Selective Availability (SA) (explained later) and coordinates of the station can be calculated on the basis of fixed stations coordinate system or any arbitrary system. Thus, accurate positioning is possible after post processing the observed GPS data. Therefore, this technique is generally used in surveying operations. Normally, three differential positioning techniques are used when observing GPS. These are (a) Static, (b) Rapid Static, and (c) Kinematic. Static Positioning In this technique, at least two receivers placed at two points collect carrier-phase observations in static mode for a longer period of time. The software analyzes all data simultaneously to obtain the differential position between two receivers. Since the long observation sessions allow a careful treatment of systematic errors, static differential positioning yields more accurate results than any other technique. Therefore, this procedure is used extensively for a variety of high precision surveys such as establishment of control networks and monitoring of earths crustal deformations. Typical distances between the receivers range from several tens of kilometers to thousands of kilometers. Observation sessions of several hours may be required to achieve high accuracy over such long distances. The results of the observations taken in static mode are found to be accurate within 5 ppm or better, which are 3-4 times better than the results obtained through other surveying methods. It is also true that GPS is more economical and at least 3 times faster than the other methods. Rapid Static Positioning It is essentially similar to conventional static surveying but features a vastly shortened point occupation time. The reduction in observation time primarily results from faster ambiguity resolution which is achieved either by combining pseudorange measurement technology with carrier phase measurements or by making use of redundant carrier phase measurements.


Kinematic Positioning

When surveying is conducted for a local area and, thus, all baseline lengths are within several kilometers, then some of the systematic errors in carrier phase measurements will be negligible and will have no effect on the differential positioning result. In that case, one may resort to kinematic positioning. A very reduced length of point occupancy is the main advantage of this technique. Kinematic positioning can be carried out in two ways such as (a) (b) Pseudo Kinematic Surveying, and Stop and Go Surveying.

Modern Surveying Equipment

The pseudo-kinematic method calls for one receiver to remain static at the reference point while other receiver occupies all remote points in sequence. At each point, the roving receiver collects measurements for a few minutes. After at least one hour, the whole procedure is repeated and all remote points are reoccupied. The procedure is useful when there are a large number of points so that waiting time between point reoccupations may be avoided. The data collected in the first and second occupancy are combined in a processing scheme similar to the one used in static surveying. In Stop and Go surveying (also referred as semi-kinematic surveying), the carrier phase ambiguities are resolved before the actual survey begins. Once the ambiguities are resolved, surveyor moves one of the receivers through all the remote points in sequence. In this method, surveyors can accurately determine the differential position of remote points with observation periods as small as few seconds. The limitation with this method is that when roving receiver is moving between the remote points, it must maintain phase lock to at least four satellites for a successful survey. Accuracy at sub-centimeter level can be achieved with this method. The relative performance of different observation techniques is given in Table 5.4. On comparison, it can be stated that static positioning demands more observation time resulting in fewer base line measurements, although with greater accuracy. The truly kinematic positioning outputs the results in a preset time interval, resulting in greater turnouts and accurate positioning but not at the required ground points. For large-scale surveying, we need a technique that is in-between the static and kinematic. Therefore, pseudo-kinematic and Stop and Go techniques can be considered ideal for large scale surveying purposes. Pseudo kinematic can be used advantageously in areas where there is fear of signal shading due to vegetation, built areas, tall buildings and obstructions, as there is no requirement for the receiver to maintain its lock to the satellite during the movement of rover receiver. But in open areas, Stop and Go technique may prove useful. Table 5.4 : Relative Performance of GPS Surveying Methods
Method Navigational Solution Accuracy (i) 10 - 20 m (ii) 100 - 200m (i) 1.00 ppm (ii) 0.10 ppm (iii) 0.01 ppm (i) < 10m (ii) 10 cm Remarks ----------------SA and AS on Observations < 15 minutes Routinely obtained Achievable in special cases Moving land vehicles Aircraft positioning

Static Kinematic

5.6.5 Accuracy Considerations


Advanced Survey

In GPS solutions, varying levels of accuracy are associated with different survey and position techniques. The position is also effected by a system error known as Selective Availability (SA). Intentional degradation of quality of broadcast information is called Selective Availability. This has been introduced by USA to deny accurate positioning on real time basis. This can be done by deliberately degrading the stability of the satellite clock or by degrading the navigation message, transmitted by satellites. In May 2000, the SA has, however, been removed and, therefore, higher levels of accuracy can be expected from GPS. In Section 5.6.1, it was mentioned that there are two codes, i.e. C/A code and P-code (precision code). The P-code is available to certain selected group of users and is not available to all. The denial of P-code by USA is known as AntiSpoofing (AS). As per the announcement by Department of Defence, USA, the AS will remain on till the satellite constellation is complete. Thus, from Table 5.4, it can be reckoned that the GPS can provide an accuracy of 10 to 20 meter in point positioning mode provided neither SA nor AS is on. However, such accuracy is not sufficient for geodetic purpose. Therefore, the surveyors use the system in differential mode where most of the errors due to SA, Tropospheric and Ionospheric get cancelled out and the distance between two points with very high accuracy can be obtained instead of position. Thus, the equipment can be used for first order survey. A precision term commonly used while collecting GPS observations is called the Geometric Dilution of Precision (GDOP). It is a measure of strength of figure of the satellites being observed for finding out the position. The tracked satellites clustered at one place shall have large GDOP whereas well-distributed satellites shall have small. Smaller the GDOP, greater are the chances of achieving accurate position.

(a) Give the full form of following abbreviations NAVSTAR, GPS, SA, AS, GDOP, WGS-84. (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i) (j) (k) (l) 110 What do you mean by levelling? How do automatic levels differ from conventional spirit levels? Enumerate some applications of GPS. What are three segments of a GPS? What do you mean by a P-code and C/A code? What is the purpose of control segment? Describe major parts of a GPS equipment. What should be the requirements of a GPS software? Give basic principle of a GPS. Define pseudo-range. Differentiate between (i) pseudo-range and carrier phase measurements


point and differential positioning

Modern Surveying Equipment

(iii) static and kinematic positioning (m) Describe two methods of kinematic positioning. (n) Define selective availability, anti-spoofing, geometric dillution of precision.

Although a range of new surveying equipment has been developed by several manufacturers, the working principles of a given type of equipment remain the same. In this unit, you were exposed to some modern surveying equipment and their operation in the field. After reading this unit, you shall be able to handle electronic surveying instruments of different makes supplemented with their operation manual.


Refer the relevant preceding text in the unit or other useful books on the topic listed in Further Reading given at the end to get the answers of SAQs.