I'm interested in doing rough topographic surveys using my tripod-mounted Brunton transit compass for azimuth readings and laser rangefinder (and maybe an optical level), so obviously going to be much less accurate than using a theodolite and EDM but find (and fast) for the level of accuracy I need for say 25cm contour maps of rural properties.

I'm looking for low-end (but not necessarily free) Windows GUI software that doesn't have all the bells and whistles of most of the $1,000+ packages out there that I can manually transcribe my data points into and do some sort of least squares network adjustment or whatever it's called to solve traverse misclosures etc as well as be able to easily work with and offset for some of the hacky ways of taking observations like fixed height range rods (painted rebar jammed into the ground) and working in some consumer GPS (3 metre error) readings and hopefully getting a reasonable terrain model out of it.

Suggestions? Also any appropriate reading pitched at this level of topographic surveying and cartography would be welcome too! Like this http://www.lulu.com/shop/stephen-eastmead/landscape-surveying-using-handheld-gps-receivers/ebook/product-20624990.html


Copan Lite should do exactly what you need. It's a free, GUI-based Windows COGO tool for land or topographic surveyors. (I was heavily involved in its development.)

From the Field Bearings Processing section of the User Manual:

Use this module to process raw field data from hand-held survey instruments such as compass, inclinometer and rangefinder. Copan can process the data — azimuths (or bearings), vertical angles, slope distances, and instrument and signal (or target) heights — whether concerning one or more connected traverses, independent radial surveys, or combinations thereof, to calculate new points. Data may come from data logger files or be manually input from field books. Traverses may be adjusted for coordinate misclosure and new points may be saved.

  • Thanks, had a bit of a play with it. I'm new to this stuff so there's a lot of terminology and procedure that I need to get my head around before the UI makes sense, but it looks like it'll do what I'm looking for, cheers. – Nathanael Coyne Nov 22 '14 at 21:15
  • Please pose any specific questions requiring further details separately and i'll be happy to help. – Martin F Nov 22 '14 at 21:25

You can try GNU Gama. According to its project page:

GNU Gama is a project dedicated to adjustment of geodetic networks.

Adjustment of geodetic networks means that we have a set of points with given coordinates coordinates of some points and a set of observations among them. What is typical of adjustment of special geodetic measurements is that the resulting linearised system might be singular (we can have a network with no fixed points) and we are not only interested in the values of ‘adjusted parameters and observations’ but also in the estimates of their covariances. This is what Gama does.

I personally haven't used it yet but it seems to fit your problem requirements. GNU Gama itself is a CLI application but there's a GUI for it called Rocinante. Thanks to @SteveBarnes for pointing this out.

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  • 1
    You might want to edit your question to reflect that. So other people wont post CLI tools. – R.K. Nov 19 '14 at 21:08
  • Will do, thanks … just assumed CLI was long in the past. – Nathanael Coyne Nov 19 '14 at 22:17
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    There is a GUI for GNU Gamma called GNU GaMa / Rocinante - it is available from roci.sourceforge.net – Steve Barnes Nov 24 '14 at 20:59
  • @SteveBarnes Shall I add it or do you want to post the answer yourself? – R.K. Nov 26 '14 at 3:43
  • @R.K. It is really supplemental to your answer, (as it is just a front end), so really belongs in your answer. – Steve Barnes Nov 26 '14 at 6:01

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