Blazing fast, fun to use and virtually foolproof, the AutoPole is proving to be the newest essential tool in this surveyor’s toolbox.
“When there’s a bunch of work to be done and there’s not enough people to do it, speed is absolutely everything.”
— Mark Borys, PLS
With more than 20 years of experience working in both small and midsize firms, Borys knows what it takes to deliver quality surveys on a tight schedule. His firm, BBA Land Surveying, which he owns with his wife Nicole, thrives on referrals from happy clients who value them as a partner. The company relies on process automation and a simple but powerful toolkit comprising a Leica GS16 GNSS rover and Leica TS16 total station, sourced from Mack Kowalski at Kuker-Ranken Inc.
In mid-2022, Kowalski invited Borys to test drive the new Leica AP20 AutoPole, a smart prism pole system that automatically measures pole height, identifies and locks onto the correct target, and eliminates the need to level the pole. Borys jumped at the opportunity.
- “Movement is your friend. More movement seems to calibrate the tilt for best residuals and maintain the initialization.”
- “[The AutoPole] eliminates bad shots due to storing too late. Hit store the moment the tip is in place and lift off once it says ‘stored.’”
- “Very communicative. Let’s you know when you can’t use it and won’t let you store in tilt mode if it’s not initialized.”
- “Plug-n-play; very little training needed.”
- “Stakeout very helpful. Loses tilt initialization when you set it down, but if you let it keep measuring while you set your point it reinitializes instantly with small movement.”
- “There seems to be an additional automatic power search when target is lost.”
- “Automatic pole height does work when running GPS but needs to be connected to the instrument (note there were no markings on this rod for GNSS head unit conversion).”
- “Won’t let you use for control operations. (I actually view this as a good thing because I wouldn’t want this being used as a shortcut for a control point.)”
- “Out in the open it’s blazing fast but those 5 or 6 tough shots become fun shots.”
- “I work solo right now and definitely find this tool useful. It will certainly pay for itself, improve my data and make surveying more enjoyable.”
- “Very simple with built-in foolproofing. It’s hard to take a bad shot or misuse (a plus for younger survey teams).”
- “Fun. Talent retention seems to be a huge issue these days. Anything we can do to make surveying fun improves talent attraction and retention.”
“When there’s a bunch of work to be done and there’s not enough people to do it, speed is absolutely everything. It’s cost effective to buy a piece of equipment that is going to make you that much faster, increase the quality of your work product, and allow you to be more hands-on with your surveys,” Borys says.
“Our capabilities as surveyors are becoming exponentially more effective with this type of innovation. It pays for itself and makes surveying so much more fun.”