There are different ways to survey land, and if you want to ensure accuracy, the use of the total station or GPS is considered the best solution.

The Total Station

The total station is an instrument that uses distances, angles and control points to calculate and determine coordinates. Robotic Total Stations (RTS) can provide accurate results and must be placed in a stable location where all the objects you want to survey can be seen. Survey control points provide known coordinates that new points or features can be measured using distances and angles. 

A total station is essentially a big calculator, and many land surveyors depend on this instrument when completing certain projects or tasks. 


This method can be easier and faster to work with, and satellite signals are used. Land surveyors can use GPS systems for fast and accurate data collection, and many of these systems communicate wirelessly with reference receivers to deliver continuous and real-time results. GPS systems can also deliver centimetre-level accuracy.

Which Method is Best?

Accuracy is incredibly important for land surveyors, and in order to determine which method is best, you have to consider many factors that can affect the GPS’s accuracy. In many cases, there are not enough benchmarks close to the location where you would like to use the total station, which means the base points used for land surveying with a total station are determined with GPS.

While it’s true that the total station instrument can deliver the most accurate results in land surveying, you have to do everything correctly to get those results. GPS, on the other hand, under optimal conditions, can deliver similar results at a much faster speed.

For this reason, you must look at other factors when choosing between a total station and a GPS surveying kit, and you can start with ease of use. A GPS surveying kit is far easier to work with because of the simpler software and automated nature of its use.


Land surveying is not an easy job, and this task is best left to the professionals. Skill, knowledge and certification are required, and the experts at Target Land Surveying (EAST) can provide you with accurate information.

Interested in precise and detailed information? We will provide you with high accuracy and can help you plan, direct and conduct legal surveys. Our expertise will help you locate property boundaries, and you can contact us at any time to learn more about our services!