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Used Surveying Equipment - Key Things To Look For

Updated on July 30, 2015

The option to purchase used survey equipment is being taken seriously by an ever increasing number of buyers. This is driven by the high cost of new equipment as well as availability of good second hand units.

However it is really important to understand what you are looking at before you make the purchase. The following identifies some of the main things to consider.

Key Elements To Consider When Looking at Used Survey Equipment

It's not just the current economic situation that sways buyers to think about the used survey equipment option. Speedy technical advances are boosting the rate at which new models and enhanced features are released by the manufacturers. This in turn encourages a greater flow of surveying instruments into the used market.

But what are the key elements you should think about when buying used survey equipment? We provide here our most important five key things to consider.

1. The Physical Condition of the Surveying Equipment

You can get a good indication of how well a piece of equipment has been treated by the condition of the paintwork and glass. So it often pays to do a full visual inspection.

Surveying equipment should always be handled with care and respect. So if you discover indications of poor treatment e.g. scratches or chips in paintwork it may be worth searching elsewhere.

Frequently used surveying instruments are sold online but this should not stop you requesting some close-up photos of the equipment..

2. The Year of Manufacture

This is usually shown on the instrument and will tell you the age and capability of the instrument.

The year of manufacture is an important factor going forward for confirming the availability of servicing and spare parts.

If the instrument is being sold on-line it is worth asking for close-up photographs of the manufacturers identification mark. As this will hold all the evidence you require to exactly identify the survey equipment.

3. The Model Number

It is very important to know the exact device model number as this will determine the actual specification of the equipment. It is not uncommon for the specifications of surveying equipment to be modified within a year. So 2 apparently identical total stations both manufactured within the same year could have different capabilities.

4. Software on the Survey Equipment

Many instruments use onboard software these days and this is a key area to pay attention to. Total Stations come with a large variety of available programs all with differing capabilities. So you should check this aspect. The top end GPS systems have to interface with other devices so it is worth checking that there are up-to-date software licenses in place.

5. The Service History and Warranty of the survey equipment

It is worth mentioning that all the leading survey instrument manufacturers have a system of registered electronic repair workshops. All equipment that is repaired by them will be recorded to provide a complete service history. So if you have the Model Number you should be able to access the records for a particular instrument.

Purchasing second hand survey equipment from a registered dealer of the manufacturer usually means that a warranty will be included. However, some dealers are more generous than others in this respect so its worth checking.


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