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A simple, interactive GIS tool for transforming assumed total station surveys to real world coordinates – the CHaMP transformation tool
Computers&Geosciences (2012)
  • Joseph M. Wheaton, Utah State University
  • Chris Garrard
  • Carol Volk
  • Kelly Whitehead

Increasingly, geoscientists and biologists are monitoring the natural environment with total station and terrestrial laser scanning surveys. Due to the remote nature of many of the sites monitored (e.g., streams, rivers, glaciers, etc.) the surveys are often done in unprojected, Cartesian, local, assumed coordinate systems. However, without the survey data projected in real world coordinates the range of possible analyses is limited and the contextual power of existing imagery, elevation models, and hydrologic layers can not be exploited. This requires a transformation from the local assumed to the real world coordinate systems. We present a simple interactive interface, as an ArcGIS Add-In, that allows a user to transform unprojected total station data into real-world coordinates using three benchmark coordinates, which can be collected from a hand-held GPS (available at

  • GIS tool,
  • CHaMP transformation,
  • Geoscience
Publication Date
May, 2012
Publisher Statement
Citation Information
2012. Wheaton JM, Garrard C, Volk C and Whitehead K. A Simple, Interactive GIS Tool for Transforming Assumed Total Station Surveys to Real World Coordinates -­‐ The CHaMP Transformation Tool. Computers & Geosciences. 42: 28-­‐36. DOI: 10.1016/j.cageo.2012.02.003.