Securing Base against theft

It really makes me nervous setting up the base on a SSM, often on the side of the road, and then roving off for the day.
So has anyone designed a way to lock the Base GPS to something? Even if it just made it hard for an opportunist. Like needing an Allen-key to detatch it from the extension tube because I can cable lock the tube.

Ideally someone from Emlid can specify the drill point position (height from base and approach angle from say the centre of pwr button so as to avoid the ‘molded in nut lip’ , or hit it square on.
In the meantime I have camo painted the tripod and made a nice little Ghillies suit for it :rofl:


I like an option to secure it too. I was thinking of something like an adapter that would just let the receiver spin around and you would need a specific tool to losen it.


What if the thief takes the whole system with the tripod? You need to secure the tripod also.
Recently a guy took my total station case that was in a side of a road.
The only secure option is to leave a person to watch the base station.

There are a number of survey tripod security systems such as this:

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Would like to see a thief stealing this pole… :sweat_smile:


Hey thanks James. While there are more bits that make a gps head harder to lock down than a TS, you have given me a number of ideas with that link.

I do like the feature in the product that James linked to. It stops the tripod from being folded up so its awkward to put in a vehicle.
My plan is to use the cable locked to a short star picket belted into the ground…it can stay behind.

The tricky bit is locking the GPS head to the extension pole. I can figure the rest out.

I was thinking of something similar to this. Nothing fancy but you would need a special tool to unlock it. The way it works is the nut would just spin around if you try to unmount it, even the receiver would just spin around. You would need this special tool to unmount it.

My advice is hire a baby sitter, place in a secure area (ask neighbor for permission) or keep within visual site of the base or robot. We’ve always followed this and haven’t had a problem yet (knock on wood). Game cams are also a good solution placed nearby in a secure place for video evidence pointed at instrument. Another idea we use is magnetic mount on top of vehicle. With software localization, it’s easy to set your base up this way.

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Nice and compact but I cannot get my head around how it attaches. No videos? also noted supply has minimum order qty.
Why dont Emlid and alike mold into the heads a thru hole / ring a cable lock can go through??? so simple. I’m not o worried about a tripod getting knicked.

Seriously thinking about this product.
Thanks James

Even a 12 mm wire cable can be cut in seconds, and a 15 mm hardened steel shackle can be cut in under a minute with a battery-driven angle grinder.
If you leave the base unattended in a remote location, nothing can effectively secure it for more than a few minutes.


Yep since the battery angle grinder debut, nothing is safe from padlocks to warehouse cladding. I just wanna delay/ make bloody hard or awkward for the opportunist. The guy that has no idea what it is but figures he can get $100 at the pub for it.
Anyway, just made a lock for it today. Locks it to extension tube, weaving a cable lock through the rest to an anchor point. I will add a 120db motorcycle disc lock for eardrum pain.

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Perhaps if you are using the SIM card you could do a feature request like a “find my phone” app.

The problem is that a total station or GNSS receiver is stolen most of the time by someone who’s in the industry (construction worker or similar) and will use it himself. Most professional thieves know what is easy to fence and serialized tools aren’t. Around here, entire trade tools closed trailers are hitched and carried away.

No amount of protection will make an unattended piece of equipment safe. Just like bikes, if someone wants your stuff, he’ll look at the protection, go get the required tools, and come back to steal it, hoping you’re not done working.


Agree. I have been a kickstart adopter of the now popular ‘Tile’ personal stuff tracking devices, keys, wallet etc. They cost about $25 here in Australia. Whilst it is BT based, it is probably enough to be installed in the Emlid.
I know other brands like Trimble are putting GPS chips in which is great.
So it is clearly not hard and not expensive to have some sort of electronic solution embedded.
I guess I am luck as a drone survey operator (I’m careful not to say ‘Surveyor’ :wink: My gear is only on site for a short and random period. Often with no workers around.

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Maybe a trip wire with a booby trap could do the trick. 12 gauge without the lead in it will still make most thieves shit their pants.

Easy to do and nobody will ecpect that. Plus you ll know when its set off from a distance :slight_smile:

Like this:

And probably break a few laws in the process :wink:

I think without the lead you d be fine :).