More than one year has passed since the first release of Total Open Station (TOPS). Version 0.3 already brought support for multiple data formats and devices, the ability to export your data to common standard formats and a programming library to create scripts around the core functionality of TOPS. We were very proud when TOPS was added to OpenSUSE and it is now being added to Debian and Fedora, three among the most popular GNU/Linux distributions.
Feedback from users of TOPS 0.3 has not been as significant as we would have expected, even though we have been providing a stack component for survey professionals that was totally missing on GNU/Linux and on Mac OS too in many cases. Nevertheless, we have continued developing TOPS, admittedly at a slower pace.
TOPS 0.4 is going to feature support for new raw data formats (including initial support for the popular Leica GSI) and the core data types are being completely rewritten in order to allow handling of polylines and polygons. The lines of code are fewer, making it easier to find new bugs and to start hacking on your own if you want. Thanks to our contributors, we will make more languages available for the program interface.
Being a volunteer-driven project, developer time is a critical resource, but we found out that user feedback and involvement is actually the most valuable resource. With this in mind, we are going to change the project governance to make the role of contributing users more prominent.
If you use a total station as part of your daily work and you care about software freedom, please consider donating to support the development of TOPS, and submitting a bug report about the models and formats you need.
Total Open Station is a free and open source program to download, manage and export survey data from total stations. It runs on all major operating systems and supports a growing number of raw data formats.