(Istituto Internazionale di Studi Liguri, Gruppo Ricerche, Genova, Italy)

After the trowel, the most common archaeological tool is the Total Station. The main problem about total station isn’t necessarily related to proprietary downloading software but the potential to be locked into a single operating system. You shouldn’t be obliged to use any of them in particular, but you should be free to work just on the one you need and you commonly use for all the others applications.
To fulfil this wish we have developed Total Open Station(TOPS).
TOPS is an open source software, of course. It’s written in Python and it’s released under GNU GPL 3 licence. We have expressively designed it to be a multi-platform (Unix-Mac-Win) release, with this we could provide the archaeologist with what they need; an “open hardware” Total Station.
TOPS allows to load the raw data from a number of total stations and to export the data in several formats(txt, gml, dxf, etc.), according to the program you need to use. Extra station models can be catered for by coding a simple parser using provided instructions.
Hardware support goes even further and beyond total stations; TOPS has been tested to run on a variety of hardware platforms, most noticeably the Openmoko mobile telephone. Archaeologists then are not bound to traditional computing hardware, but can use their Open Total Station with a variety of hardware; freeing both geospatial data and themselves.

Keywords: Open source, open hardware, GIS, surveying