Workshop 2012 (Spring) - Mapping from Total Station data in Arcmap 10

This workshop walks through the process of generating maps from Total Station data in Arcmap. It is developed on ArcGIS 10.0 (sp4) and therefore tools and procedures may be different in other versions. The basic procedure involves saving the SDR file generated by SokkiaLink into a Point shapefile, then using the Points to Line and the Feature to Polygon tools in ArcToolbox Data Management Tools to convert these points into polygons. Finally we generate a map using these data.

Note that as an alternative method (for instance, if your Total Station download software doesn't generate Shapefiles) you may export your data as XYZ  text file, preferably in CSV (Comma-separated values format) and then use the Add XY Data... command in Arcmap to convert those to an Event theme. Finally use Data > Export Data... to convert the Event theme to a Shapefile or GDB feature class.

Going from Points to Polygon Shapefiles from the Total Station

For the most efficient conversion, use the following methods while mapping with the Total Station
1. proceed around the features as if you were digitizing a perimeter line so that the integer field indicating the order of shots (1,2,3) can be used to connect the dots Arcmap. The Sokkia shows this integer as NAME and the values are logged in the OBJNAME field in output Shapefile.
2. Use the SOkkia CODE field to differentiate discrete themes in your map so that the polygons will not overlap in practice. Each CODE group you use will output into its own Point shapefile which, in turn, will be converted into lines and optionally merged into overlapping polygons. Thus, you can put all Hearths in one CODE "HRT" for example or separate them into HE1 and HE2 and HE3 CODES but then merge them into a single Polygon feature class or shapefile in the final step. This works provided the Hearths do not overlap in space or the polygons will be bisected.

On the bright side, it's possible to batch process much of this.

Points to Line

As mentioned, the shapefiles provided from SokkiaLInk are Point shapefiles which means that for each feature in the total station it is necessary to link the points in a "Connect-the-Dots" fashion with as a temporary Line feature before generating polygons. The sequence of shots in the Total Station is indicated by the OBJNAME field, and this field is used to indicate how to proceed around the points.

Open ArcToolbox (red toolbox icon in top toolbar) and ensure that it's docked to the right side of the Arcmap window. Browse to "Data Management > Features > Points to Line" tool. Clear your selection (with a selection only selected records will be included).

SINGLE FILE: Choose the POINT shapefile. Provide an output Line feature name or use the default which will output to your default GDB. Use OBJNAME as the Sort field and check the Close box.
BATCH MODE: Right click the Point to Line tool in the toolbox and choose Batch. Select all the Point files in question in the first column, in the second column provide output Line names. Skip to the Sort column (#4) and choose OBJNAME and for Close choose True. Note that Batch dialogs in Arcmap can be Cut/Pasted from Excel so if you have dozens of these it's better to build up a big operation Excel using the Fill Down commands and then Paste it into the Batch dialog. Note that you need enough empty rows so hit the + button many times to ensure you have the space for the Paste command.

How does the Output look? Assuming everything went without errors (green check mark in the result window) proceed by clearing the selection:
Under the Selection menu choose Clear Selected

Feature to Polygon

In the ArcToolbox just above the Point to Line tool you'll find Feature to Polygon. Convert each Line file to a Polygon. Note that you can aggregate multiple Line files at this point, so if you have Hearths HE1, HE2, and HE3 delimited as Line shapefiles you can create a single Polygon layer called Hearth. One important problem is that because the CODE attribute is the filename instead of an attribute, the CODE values (the labels distinguishing the Hearths) are lost.

I would like to find a way to avoid losing these attributes but one solution is to export to CSV as well and perhaps use a Spatial Join to pull the CODE values over as an attribute field.


File ARF2012_TotalStation_pts.csv
File ARF2012_collections.csv