Downloading data from a Nikon Total Station TS415 – a (necessary!) step-by-step guide

Whilst on fieldwork recently I was tasked with downloading spatial coordinate data from a Nikon TS415 Total Station. Turns out it is not as easy as it should be! And the available guides on the internet aren’t particularly helpful either. But, after a few hours I managed finally to get the records off the machine and into an excel spreadsheet. For anyone else who is having similar difficulties, a handy guide to the way I managed to do it in the end…

  1. Download the free software “Trimble” from When you run the setup wizard, you will be asked whether you want to install “Mapping and GIS devices” as well as “Land Survey Devices”. You only need to download “Land Survey Devices” (the one that says it is for getting data from survey equipment).
  2. Connect the Total Station to your computer via the serial cable. You will probably need a serial-USB adaptor for this. If so, connect the serial-USB adaptor, and then on your computer under Control Panel>View devices and printers, make sure all the drivers for the serial connector are downloaded and updated.
  3. Then search your control panel for “device manager” and open the PORT settings. Something like “USB port COM4” should be displayed.
  4. Leave this open on your computer and now go to COMM settings on the Total Station (under Menu>Settings>Comm).
  5. Make sure all the PORT settings on the computer and the COMM settings on the Total station match.
  6. Also set the computer Flow Rate to XOn/XOff.
  7. Close the PORT settings on your computer.
  8. Now, open trimble.
  9. Click Devices>New>Nikon/TS415.
  10. Select port COM4.
  11. Give the total station a name like NIKONTS.
  12. Trimble should now say that the Total Station is CONNECTED and the green button should be “depressed”.
  13. Now click DEVICES> properties, and check that the settings there match both your PORT COM4 settings on the computer and the COMM settings on the total station.
  14. I had to restart the computer at this point.
  15. Go back into Trimble.
  16. Click ADD.
  17. Select Data Collector file(s).
  18. This should now appear in the “name” box.
  19. Under “files of type”: select “Nikon Coord files”
  20. Choose a destination folder
  21. Click Open
  22. Now click “Transfer All”
  23. Navigate on the Total Station to Menu>Comm>Data download
  24. Set the top line to “Nikon” and the lower one to “Coord”
  25. Press ENT and then GO.
  26. You should now see that the data is being transferred from the total station to the computer, as a .csv file.
  27. Simply navigate to the file (in the destination folder you picked earlier) and open it in excel.

Hope that helps you if you are ever in a similar situation!