Let me just start off this post by saying it loud, clear and proud: I LOVE THE TOTAL STATION.
Once we finally started to use that piece of machinery, mapping and taking of coordinates went a lot quicker and smoother; but don't most things when you have a computer do them for you? Please don't interject here with protests of computers taking over the world.
The first couple of weeks that we were at Parc Safari, we were relegated to using a tape measure, a miniature leveling device courtesy of Colin, string and a fixed point, which was a stick at one corner of our pit. What ensued was three people trying to take the x, y and z coordinates of our first few finds. These finds consisted of bone fragments, a cigarette butt, small pieces of plastic, etc. One person would hold one end of the tape measure and the string, keeping them parallel, another would hold the other end of the tape measure, and the last person would make sure that the string was level as well as taking notes. This was cumbersome to say the least as three people would get in the way of the other people who were still uncovering artifacts and digging.
This all changed when the Total Station started to be used. Instead of three people hampering others' progress, only one would be in the pit with the prism on a large metal rod. The other two dealt with the machine itself: one person aligning the laser with the prism, and the third taking down notes. What is particularly great about the Staion is that the datum collected can then be collaborated with GIS. I think that most of us, if not all, in the class are excited for this next step.