The AP20 AutoPole – Revolutionising Total Station Measurements

Expert Insight

Leica AP20 AutoPole

Leica Geosystems robotic total stations and MultiStations are crucial in everyday survey workflows for measuring and layout, with automation and software integration resulting in significant productivity increases, confidence in accurate measurements and quality deliverables.

However, working with a survey pole during measurement tasks has been the weak link in this automation chain, with time spent levelling the bubble and recording pole height changes in the software, and the potential for the total station to not find the target on busy sites. To fill in this gap, Leica Geosystems developed the Leica AP20 AutoPole – the world’s first intelligent survey pole.

The AP20 is a unique smart solution enabling surveyors to measure with a tilted pole, automatically record height changes in the field software and ensure the total station searches and locks to their target only.

Hannes Maar, Senior Product Engineer at Leica Geosystems with expertise in surveying, introduces the new AP20 and provides insight into how this latest innovation can optimise the surveyor’s workflow with automation.

Innovative and Automated Survey Pole

The Leica AP20 AutoPole is truly a unique smart solution that solves many challenges that surveyors experience today when using a prism pole together with an automated total station. The AP20 is comprised of an intelligent sensor module which communicates with our automated total stations and MultiStations and can be attached onto our new AP Reflector Pole with passive sensing elements. Combined, it is possible to measure points with a tilted pole, automate pole height adjustments and search and lock onto any standard target which is mounted on top of the pole.

To support stakeout and survey tasks to the most extent, the AP20 is designed both for one- and two-person operation. It can be operated directly from the total station or from a field controller or tablet. For these reasons, the AP20 fits flexibly into your existing total station survey setup.

Three Powerful Possibilities for the Surveyor’s Workflow

Each of the AP20’s unique functionalities provides distinct and significant advantages to the surveyor’s workflow.

Tilt compensation is a feature that enables point measurements with a tilted pole, eliminating the need to level the pole and hold it steady during point measurement. Essentially, the AP20, replaces the individual levelling uncertainty of the pole operator with the certainty of a reliable IMU sensor.

Even when you must drastically tilt a pole to reach a point, you can be confident that the tip of the pole is always the point being measured. Tilt compensation makes points accessible that were previously too difficult to measure or even impossible to reach. At the same time, productivity increases because you can collect data or stakeout a location without slowing down to level the pole.

With PoleHeight, the AP20 automatically measures the current length of the pole and applies the detected changes in Leica Captivate field software, removing the need to read, check and enter height changes manually in the field software. This also eliminates time-consuming post-processing to fix incorrectly entered or forgotten target heights, saving time in the office as well as the field.

Conditions on sites are rarely static or predictable, you might often need to change the length of the pole to ensure line of sight to the total station over obstacles. With the AP20’s PoleHeight functionality, you can easily adjust the height to accommodate the situation, with the assurance that the correct pole height is always recorded.

Today, our automated total stations and MultiStations are already able to detect what is, and what is not, a target and thereby can filter foreign reflections. Now with the AP20, they can detect if the target is your target. TargetID, enables the total station to uniquely identify your target during search, preventing lock onto other targets. This feature is particularly useful when several surveyors are working on a site together.


Grow Your Business with Automated Surveying

For Surveying Service Providers looking to optimise their workflow by reducing human error during the stakeout process and survey, the AP20 represents a highly valuable complement to Leica Geosystems automated total stations. Since the AP20 fits into and improves your existing workflows, it brings immediate benefits with no process disruptions or training downtimes.

Additionally, the combination of tilt compensation, automatic height readings and target identification is unique to the market. It creates benefits of assured measurement quality, transparent reliability in the field and time savings, translating to significant productivity increase while performing survey tasks. Coupled with a robust design, the owner experiences a new kind of easy-to-use and flexible pole operation with the lowest total cost of ownership.

Hannes Maar,
Senior Product Engineer

Contact us to learn more about how the Leica AP20 AutoPole can optimise your automated surveying workflow.






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