Part 1 By Michael John B. Delos Reyes

Did you ever see a Geodetic Engineer and wondered what are the instruments they are using? In this article, you will know more about the tools they use to provide quality service.

The most common equipment used by Geodetic Engineers in acquiring spatial data is currently the Total Station along with its accessories – Prism Pole, Prism, and Survey Tripod.

Image 1. Total Station. Shot taken in one of LPH LSS’ Survey Projects in Pililla, Rizal.

Total Stations are always mistaken for a piece of equipment in photography. Passerby during a survey sometimes strike a pose hoping that the surveyor captures a photo of them but are always disappointed when pointed out that it doesn’t have the capability to take photos.


A Total Station is a lightweight optical instrument that performs the following functions:

  • Distance measurement between two points
  • Identify coordinates of points
  • Angle measurement
  • Display points’ details digitally
  • Store data
Image 2. Theodolite (Image retrieved from:

Total Station surpasses the conventional theodolite by means of having the same function as the theodolite combined with the function of an auto-level and electronic distance meter. The main features that make it a horsepower are:

  • All functions are controlled by a keyboard
  • The values of distance, angle, height, and coordinates of the observed point are displayed on the digital panel
  • The coordinates of the reflector/prism and its angle/bearing can be stored and recalled for the next setup of the instrument.
  • If you know the coordinates of a particular point, the instrument displays the angle through which the instrument is to be turned and the distance of the reflector/prism should be moved.


Image 3. Prism/Reflector (Photo taken from: 

Reflector/Survey Prism redirects a measuring beam back to an Electronic Distance Meter(EDM)/ Total Station which determines the distance of an object to a specific survey point. They are often attached to a prism pole in order for it to focus on a specific position. It needs to be properly aligned with the instrument to ensure accurate results.

Image 4. Prism Pole (Image taken from:

Prism Poles are used together with the reflector/survey prism to focus it in a specific location and ensure solid and stable readings.

Image 5. Instrument Man alongside the Total Station mounted on the tripod

Survey Tripods are three-legged stands that are designed to provide a stable foundation for the total station and a variety of surveying equipment.

There are other types of survey equipment Geodetic Engineers use in collecting spatial data which depends on the extent or the scope of the project and its duration. If you want to know more about it or would like to avail the services of a Geodetic Engineer, you can reach Lira Perin Habana, founder of LPH Land Surveying Services. She has been a licensed GE since 2014. She is a registered member of the Geodetic Engineers of the Philippines – NCR Chapter (GEP-NCR) and has been consistently providing reliable service to their clients since 2016.

Engineer Supply. (n.d.). Prisms. Retrieved from:
Engineer Supply. (n.d.). Prism Poles. Retrieved from:
The Constructor. (n.d.). Modern Surveying Instruments and their Use. Retrieved from:

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