Sokkisha Wye Level

Measuring and survey instrument manufacturer (Sokkia) celebrates its 100th anniversary. The company was founded in Japan in 1920. Sokkia’s main distributor in Oceania, Position Partners, reflects on the brand’s technology journey.    

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

Technological innovation has come a long way since the company’s first instrument, a 12-inch Wye level that was introduced in 1920. In subsequent years, Sokkia developed a reputation for high precision and quality manufacturing of its survey instruments.

Innovating in the 80s

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,” recalls Garry MacPhail, Geospatial Manager for Sokkia’s main Oceania distributor, Position Partners.

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

Local expertise in Australia and New Zealand

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 working with Sokkia products – I began working as a Service Technician for Sokkisha New Zealand back in 1990,” said Alex Felgate, Position Partners New Zealand Director.

Hugh Gerdes, 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.”

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

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