As the cost of surveying instruments can range from several hundred to several thousand U.S. dollars, buyers should consider their current and anticipated functional needs, available budget, and whether to consider used or new surveying equipment.
Functional Needs – Frequently, buyers know exactly what they are looking for, yet not aware of other options to meet their surveying instrument needs. In other cases, buyers may not have the awareness or understanding of what is needed and available to meet those needs. Below are the primary factors and considerations that buyers should be aware of when assessing their surveying instrument needs:
- Size of jobsites/work areas – laser and optical have distance limitations, and need line of sight; if not using Network RTK, GNSS accuracy degrades as distance from base station increases.
- If GNSS use is contemplated, will you have an unobstructed view of the entire sky? Is a RTK network available? If not, a base station is needed.
- The work you must perform, what will be done most often and future needs.
- Accuracy needed.
- Frequency of intended use, with implications to cycles of use (including transportation) and the time required for set-up.
- Sophistication of user – ease of use
- Field conditions
- The value of added productivity that certain surveying instruments may afford when compared to added cost
Available Budget – Buyers of surveying instruments should first determine their needs and budget. They should also give thought to whether there are other features that would be desirable if they could be obtained at marginal cost, considering current and expected needs. When evaluating surveying instrument purchase options based on your budget, the features needed and available funds will dictate your options. Whether you’re purchasing new or used instruments, this will define the particular manufacturers and models that are suitable.
Please refer to the full MCE Survey Buyers Guide Free download for additional information about surveying instruments.