Six questions when choosing a surveying field controller that fits

Surveying field controllers. They are like shoes: They need to fit you well, and that’s why there are many types of designs available. Are you looking for sneakers or boots? The controller running the field software is a central part of your surveying solution: you control the instruments with it, it guides your work, it manages the connections, and often you store data in the controller before moving it to the office. Although the entire solution – the sensor, the software, the controller and services – is essential for you to get your job done right and efficiently, let’s give controllers their time in the spotlight.

1. Are you looking for an office-on-the-go or a surveying tool?

Think about your needs for the controller. Are you after a tablet that can work almost as your second laptop? Do you expect to effortlessly use business apps, such as spreadsheets, email or other software on your controller? Is it best for you to have a data collector that is a tool only for measurement tasks? Application-specific field controllers are optimised for surveying workflows, but you might need another computer, tablet or smartphone for non-measurement tasks in the field. If you want a versatile approach, ensure you have enough processing power and a larger screen.

Do you need a swiss army knife or a hammer?


2. Do you work with complex drawings on your controller?

If you have projects where you often use complex drawings, you know how it feels to tap a single line from a complex drawing. For that job, you might prefer using a controller with a larger screen. When interacting with drawings of structures, e.g. bridges, you need to see the big picture and to be able to quickly choose the correct elements from the plan. This will save you time and frustration.

Do you have points and lines or more complex structures in your mind when you think of your most common task?

Complexity of tasks

3. Do you use imaging sensors?

To use imaging sensors efficiently, you need processing power in the controller and a large screen to see what the sensor sees. If you process images on your controller, choose a solution with enough capacity to handle the tasks quickly.

Who wants to queue when there is an express lane available?


4. How rugged does your controller need to be?

What kind of environment are you working in? Every single one of our surveying controllers has been designed to endure impacts. The larger the screen, however, the more vulnerable it might be when dropped to an uneven rocky surface. If you often work in projects and environments where ruggedness is the most important factor, you might consider a more traditional approach to a controller design.

Can you imagine accidentally running over your controller with a car, or is it always safe?


5. How extreme are the weather and dust conditions?

When you work outside, you have to endure all weather conditions, and so has the controller. All Leica Geosystems CS controllers are waterproof and dust-tight. Still, if you also work in heavy rain, extreme cold or maximum dust, you might appreciate having buttons rather than a touch screen.

When you think of your work, do you see yourself often fighting the elements?

Rough conditions

6. How important is it to be able to use the controller with one hand?

The importance of easy handling and comfort grow the longer you need to carry on measuring. A tablet with a considerably large screen might set off the balance of the pole, and holding them in one hand might be a tad tiring. Many traditional ergonomic controllers can be managed easily with one hand and even suitable to attach to a belt. When working long days, weight also starts to be a factor.

Are your hands-free, or do you carry the controller a lot?


What other features make your work easier or are crucial for your work? Sunlight-readable screen? Hot-swappable batteries? Sustainability? Security?

There are pros and cons for every controller design and finding a balance between these six questions is the way to go. All of our CS controllers are excellent paired with Leica Captivate field software and our total stations and GNSS systems, so choose the one that fits your needs.

Discover our surveying field controllers and choose the one that best fits your needs.



  • Recent Posts

    More >
  • Never Miss an Update

  • Most Popular Tags