This week I have spent the majority of my time surveying Poggio Colla using a Total Station (pictured above). The instrument uses a laser to measure the precise coordinates of artifacts and site features on the hill. Once this data is collected in the field it can be uploaded to a computer and rendered using 3-D animation software (some of the same programs we use in architecture).
Operating the Total Station is a two-man job. One person runs the station itself, aiming the lens and registering the points, while the other person stands at the target with a prism directed back toward the base point. The prism is at the top of a pole which must be held perfectly vertical. Whenever I’m doing this I feel like one of those street performers who make their living by standing still.
The similarity is uncanny.