Catry Topographie recovers €250,000 of stolen equipment with LOC8, the security solution from Leica Geosystems
One Sunday in 2020, an employee of Catry Topographie arrived at work and immediately noticed something wasn’t right. The distressing sight of a damaged fence and gate and a busted door greeted him instead of the usual quiet order of weekends. Cautiously entering the business’ workshop, he realised that the damage from the break-in was minor compared to the cost of what had been stolen: Leica Geosystems equipment including total stations, 3-D scanners and more.
This is an all too familiar story for surveying, construction and civil engineering professionals, one that often ends in huge losses of premium equipment and costly delays due to downtime. With the rise of high-precision surveying equipment like robotic total stations, thefts of equipment from construction sites, offices and operator’s vehicles have increased. This phenomenon has left owners wary to invest in new devices and insurance companies charging high premiums, impacting overall profitability.
However, when Benoît Catry, manager of Catry Topographie, received the call from his employee reporting the theft at their workshop, he knew this was not the way his story had to end. Instead, a different and much happier ending unfolded: with the help of Leica Geosystem’s innovative LOC8 feature, all the equipment stolen from the company was swiftly recovered in a few hours.
A long-time partnership, an innovative solution
Catry Topographie, a century-old company located near Lille, France and operating throughout the Hauts-de-France region, specialises in selling, renting and repairing topographic equipment. A long-time partner of Leica Geosystems, Catry Topographie distributes topographic equipment to surveyors, public works companies, design offices and local authorities and offers Leica Geosystems solutions for all types of projects.
Catry Topographie’s rental fleet is equipped with total stations featuring Leica LOC8, a security solution launched in 2019. Leica Geosystems developed LOC8, which offers a range of security features for the latest generation of robotic total stations, to address and combat theft, protect customer investment and provide peace of mind.
This innovative feature allows professionals to track, locate and lock their total stations remotely. Using a smartphone, tablet or computer application, LOC8 lets operators know where their instruments are and provides alerts if they are not where they should be. With GPS, A-GPS and WLAN capability, the device can be accurately located (within 5m with GPS) at any time indoors and outdoors in real-time.
Additionally, LOC8 allows owners to define geographical zones around the office or construction site. When an instrument leaves these predefined zones, an alert is immediately sent. As a fleet management tool and theft deterrent, LOC8 offers the ability to remotely lock and unlock total stations with a single click via the app or web platform, even when the station is not powered on. Remote locking enables users to detect when a missing device is turned on and the device cannot be used.
Leica LOC8 in action
Catry recalls that the burglars had taken “all the equipment that was there. Both order preparations for new instruments and maintenance equipment had been stolen: total stations, 3-D scanners, GPS… in total, there was €250,000 worth of equipment.”
Once informed of the burglary, Catry was able to alert the police while simultaneously initiating a location track of one stolen device, a Leica TS13 total station equipped with the LOC8 security solution. Even though the Leica TS13 was powered off and the battery was not fully charged, the location tracking was able to reveal the position of the stolen instrument, which Catry shared with police via a link. “We were able to pinpoint the location of the total station, and the anti-burglary squad intervened very quickly,” said Catry.
The coordinates led authorities to a vehicle in Roubaix, an industrial city northeast of Lille. In less than 4 hours from discovering the theft, police recovered and returned all the stolen equipment intact and undamaged.
More than equipment secured
The benefit of equipping a robotic total station with LOC8 goes beyond preventing or recovering theft. Catry describes the security of client data as one of these crucial benefits: “Thefts are increasingly frequent on the premises, in the field or in cars, and we now equip our fleet with total stations and systemically offer LOC8 to our customers. It is a very affordable option that not only preserves the equipment, but also secures the data it contains, and therefore the work of our clients.”