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Measuring, surveying instrument brand celebrates 100th anniversary

Founded in Japan in 1920 under the name ‘Sokkisha’, Sokkia this year has marked its 100th year of manufacturing survey and measurement instruments for the surveying, construction and geospatial sectors.

Technological innovation has evolved since the company’s first instrument – a 30cm Wye level (below left) – was introduced in 1920. Sokkia has since developed a reputation for high precision and quality manufacturing of its survey instruments.

Sokkia’s first instrument – a 30cm Wye level – was introduced in 1920.

The 1980s was a period of rapid technological development for the company, including the release of the Sokkisha SET electronic total station, SDR electronic fieldbook and the RED electronic distance measuring system (EDM).

“Sokkia was the theodolite of choice in the 1980s and the company was at the forefront of innovation with both optical instrument and field controllers,” said Garry MacPhail, the geospatial manager for Position Partners, Sokkia’s main Oceania distributor.

“They also made extremely compatible data formats that you could import into most desktop software programs,” he added. “Often it was easiest to reprogram data into Sokkia’s SDR format because it would work reliably.”

More recently, Sokkia’s development of the RED Tech reflectorless EDM was a world first in the use of a digitally modulated beam. It continues to form the basis of the company’s total stations, including robotic instruments.

Today Sokkia’s portfolio includes robotic total stations, multi-constellation GNSS, monitoring solutions and field controllers. Acquired by Topcon Corporation in 2008, the brand is sold worldwide via a global distribution network.

In Australia and New Zealand, Position Partners distributes Sokkia products for the geospatial, construction and mining sectors, with a team of specialists that have worked with the brand for many years.

“This year marks my 30th year working with Sokkia products,” Alex Felgate, Position Partners’ New Zealand director, said. “I began working as a service technician for Sokkisha New Zealand back in 1990.”

Hugh Gerdes, the founder of Sydney-based Total Survey Systems, which was acquired by Position Partners in 2017, also has extensive experience with the brand.

“Along with my colleague Paul Koren, I’ve worked with Sokkia products for many years both directly for Sokkia and later as a distributor when the distribution model changed,” he said. “We continue to support customers with high levels of technical and application knowledge across the product range.”

The Sokkia 100 SET2C total station.

Sokkia total stations and auto levels purchased in 2020 feature a 100th anniversary graphic to commemorate this milestone year for the brand.

Position Partners is the Australian distributor of Topcon machine control and positioning systems. Complementary solutions from other leading technology innovators such as Sokkia include 3D laser scanners, remotely piloted aircraft, machine weighing and proximity detection systems and a range of deformation monitoring options. Advanced hardware systems are powered by sophisticated software platforms that enable customers to analyse, monitor and design efficiently.

To learn more, visit the Position Partners website.