Tripod knowledge for accuracy

Hello Surveyors, I’m looking to get a tripod to hold the base so I can do some far from home ppk.

What pitfalls can be encountered?

What material is superior?

What options to look for or avoid?

Why are aluminum tripods lower priced than wood?

Are the tripods you see left on the side of the road free? Lol


I would recommend spending the money on a fixed height tripod. SECO makes a great one. I wouldn’t go cheap on something like this: Heavy-Duty GPS Antenna Tripod - Flo Yellow - SECO Manufacturing

It’s around a grand but I don’t think you would regret spending the money on this for stability and peace of mind.


You’ll get the best answers at There are a few here though that should help. @EBE111057 @chascoadmin among them

I hear WOOD are preferred, but see what they say.


I agree with Zach, if you have the money a fixed height tripod would be great.
Here are a couple other choices that are usually recommended that might also work for you.

CRAIN Tri-Max Standard Dual Clamp Instrument Tripod - 90553
of which I own one and have good results with.

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Fragile clamping system / not 5/8" compatible were my first ideas.

Wood is, because it holds better to temperature variations and direct sun light.

For a PPK base maybe you are not forced to go with the most expensive, unless your base device is very heavy. Some tripods are made to hold a 20kg device. Reach RS2 is 1 kg though.

Probably less expensive to build, and also, answer #2 above.

Absolutely :sweat_smile: :rofl:


We have several different qualities, materials, and brands of classic tripods here. I always go back to the Leica GST120, it’s definitely the best we have of the lot, objectively. I found that the clamping system on others often slip, especially for the alu legged tripods.


For GNSS observations, we use fixed height tripods as Zach mentioned. If your doing a large network and the data will be submitted to a government agency, most require this type tripod. They are a little cumbersome for transport and for setting up, but they are worth it.

You’ll appreciate the fixed height when PP and there’s no confusion in receiver heights. For terrestrial traverse with total stations and robots, the tripods mark1st.john mentioned are excellent, we have two. Very stable and are recommended by the robot manufacturers.

When I can escape from AutoCAD land and I’m able to go out in the field, I usually use my bipod/GNSS rod with my receivers. These are fairly lightweight compared to the fixed height models and are great when trekking through the woods. Most if not all models have a 2.0 m
mark to lock the rod height at.

If you can find a local surveying equipment dealer, they will usually have the best prices. However, Tiger Supplies, Hayes Instruments, Duncan Parnell have a great online presence for supplies.


So I got a used deal on a Leica GST120, and another very similar one with a telescopic mast both together for $200Cdn from a government liquidator.

Thanks everyone for your input. There are many more types of tripods than I thought existed.

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I have 3 tripods. One heavy duty aluminum, one light aluminum and one Leica wooden tripod.
I hate the heavy duty one because it is heavy and is prone to temperature changes.
Wooden tripods are best for total stations but for GPS base I’d prefer a light duty aluminum tripod.
The solution on the rover isn’t going to change so much if the aluminum tripod is affected by the heat or direct sun light condition. Unless you are going to solve a very accurate gps network is not necessary to have the best of the best tripod.

GCSurplus or provincial? That’s a really good deal that’s almost unheard of anymore on GCSurplus, lol.

It was provincial im pretty sure, they were originally bought from the spatial technologies store in Edmonton according to the stickers.

The plan is to record ppk in the same field, compare the pass to pass accuracy of gps guidance systems. Compare Emlids result to advertised accuracy, and what is displayed for offline error.

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