The Dorothy Urlich-Cloher School of Environment

Spatial Measurement and Surveying

Sokkia Set530 Total Station


Practically all research themes in the School incorporate some form of geospatial measurement in their work. The School is well equipped to provide for a wide range of applications from shallow marine or lake bathymetric surveys to aerial image capture, from  accurate land surveying to GPS paired environmental data collection.

Optical Survey Equipment



Sokkia Set530 Total Stations

Sokkia Set530 Total Stations

Optical/electronic 3D surveying with standard prism range of 4000m, triple prism range of 5000m, and reflectorless surveying capability to 150m. Large amount of on-board memory

Used mainly for surveying of landforms in geomorphology and engineering geology applications. Recently used to survey erosion profiles on coastal margins of the Kaipara Harbour.

Can be used independently for basic applications with a little training. The School has three of these instruments with associated tripods, reflective prisms (peanut, single and a triple) and prism poles.



Leica Nova MS50 Multistation Scanner

Robotic survey instrument capable of measuring and storing topographical data. Can collect scanning data at up to 1000 pts/sec with maximum ranges between 50m to 1000m depending upon the terrain and conditions. 

Used to scan geomorphic features in high detail to create 3D models.  The models can be used to calculate volumes and volumetric change over time.

Technical assistance is recommended for operation though one person operation possible with some training. A tripod, 360o prism and prism pole are required with instrument. Controller is optional.

We also have access to a higher powered scanner (Leica Scan Station 2) through Anthropology in the School of Social Sciences.

Muriwai stack photo
Nova data point cloud survey of Muriwai stack



Leica Sprinter 150M electronic level

Leica Sprinter 150M electronic level

A step up from the auto levels, the Sprinter reads a specially barcoded staff to determine height and distancewhich can be read directly from an LDC display or stored on-board its 1000 point memory. The measurement range of 2 to 100m and tough waterproof construction make it ideal for basic geomorphic transects and is often used for our island research in the Pacific and Maldives.



Sokkia C330

Sokkia C330 auto levels

The School has a fleet of these standard optical survey instruments. While they don't have the measurement range or onboard memory of the total stations, they are more portable, more robust, and don't require battery power.



Laser Range Finders

  • Laser Technology TruPulse 200 - measures horizontal, vertical and slope distances up to 1000m range ±1m or 2000m range ±30cm  with reflective target, has tilt sensor.
  • Devon LM30 - measures direct distance ranging 0.1 to 30m ±2mm

GPS equipment



Trimble R8 RTK GPS

Trimble R8 RTK GPS system

A high resolution GPS surveying instrument with up to sub-centimetre accuracy that communicates (in real time) between a stationary base receiver and a roving receiver. Used for transfer of heights between survey sites as well as 2D or 3D topographical data to subcentimetre accuracy.

Used heavily for geomorphic survey applications (recently used on a gravel beach to trace the movement of RFID tagged cobbles between storm events).


Some training is required to independently use this instrument and technical assistance is recommended.



Trimble Nomad GPS data logger

Trimble Nomad GPS data logger

Handheld differential GPS data logger.  Measures and records point, line and area features to ± 4 to 6m uncorrected horizontal accuracy.  Post process the GPS data using Trimble GPS Pathfinder Office to increase the horizontal positional accuracy to ± 1 to 4m. When paired with a Trimble ProXH receiver this positional accuracy can be increased further to sub-metre levels. Vertical accuracy is generally twice the horizontal accuracy. Can be integrated with other Bluetooth devices for paired data collection.

Excellent for locating and mapping field sites, and positioning sampling or measurement locations.



Trimble Juno handheld GPS

Trimble Juno handheld GPS

We have a fleet of these small PDA based GPS devices which are used mostly in our teaching program. They are capable of collecting differential GPS data which allows for horizontal positional accuracy of under 5m otherwise they work to the standard accuracy of ± 10m. Bluetooth capability allows these units to be paired with other Bluetooth devices for more streamlined data acquisition.



A standard GPS device

Other GPS devices

  • Garmin handheld GPS - we have numerous Garmin GPS60, GPS60csx, and Venture HC units which can log GPS positions to ±10m.
  • QStar BT-Q1000X GPS trackers - we have a small fleet of GPS trackers which have been used for a variety of urban pedestrian studies.

Hydrographic equipment



Ohmex SonarMite

This single beam echo sounder can be paired with either the Trimble RTK or a Nomad or Juno GPS device for small scale hydrographic surveys. It continuously monitors heave pitch and roll and logs depth and position at intervals defined by the user. This portable device is ideal for shallow water surveys and has been used to map coral reefs and lagoons in the Pacific Islands.

Sonarmite brochure.pdf
(1.9 MB, PDF)



Knudsen Portable CHIRP Echo Sounder

This dual channel echo sounder runs at 200kHz and 3.5kHz which not only provides higher resoultion imaging of the seabed but also provides imaging penetrating up to metres beneath the seabed. It has most recently been used for sedimentation studies in the Firth of Thames.

Chirp specifications.pdf
(1.3 MB, PDF)

Key staff