surveying calculator


I would like to know what the opinions are on which is the best HP calculator for working in the field of surveying


Depends on your preference. I prefer my 42S and my 48GX as back-up.


What would be the best calculator for field calculations, I'm new to the field work and would like to know the best calculator for me to work with.


The classic HP surveying calculator, until a few years ago, was the HP48GX. Several vendors sold expansion cards with surveying software for this model. An HP48GX with the right software could be used for both data storage and field calculations. The 48GX had a serial port for interfacing with survey instruments and PCs.

But the 48GX has been discontinued by HP. It's only available used on eBay or elsewhere, and it tends to be rather expensive. However, it's still the first choice of many surveyors, if available.

HP now markets two successor models, the 48GII and the 49G+. However, these models don't accept the 48GX software cards, and I don't think that much (if any) commercial surveying software has been ported to the newer models. Many surveyors now use PocketPC handhelds rather than calculators, or they use instruments with built-in data storage and calculating capabilities.

For more info, you might want to check out:

None of the 48 or 49 series models can be used on LSIT or PLS exams. Best option for those is the HP-33S. The 33S has has no ports and cannot interface with surveying instruments or PCs.


Depends on what you are going to do, really. Data collect and calc numbers then a 48GX but if you are just crunching numbers the 32sII and if you are seriously crunching, go to a HP42s.
I have TDS survey Pro in my 48, 32sII for field calcs. The 32 & 42 fit in a shirt or vest pocket well. I have a 42s on the way due to job advancement.


Whatever your boss uses is the best because he knows everything.

Also see


As indicated by db, Software by D'Zign currently markets surveying software for the HP49G+ (not clear if it runs on the 48GII). Their software is available at:

Another company markets a package called SurveyWorks, which is apparently compatible with both the 48GII and 49G+. See:

And yet another company markets a package called Survey Stakeout, which is apparently compatible with the 48 and 49 series. This company also markets a version for the HP-33S; the 33S version is specifically designed for use on the LSIT and PLS exams, where 48s and 49s are not allowed. See:

Several companies that historically marketed surveying cards for the HP48GX, such as TDS, SMI, and RAMSS, are apparently not supporting the 48GII or 49G+. Their software cards may still be available, but they will only work with the discontinued 48GX.

Edited: 7 Aug 2004, 4:09 p.m.


Tim Wessman and John Evers have developed their new 49G-based Data Collector. See for more info. They also have a forum page if you have questions for them.



There is a full version that is designed for intefacing with various equipment brands, as well as a software only version (with optional fabric case that gives you a place for extra batteries and a hand warmer (for cold weather locations). The software only version with a calculator and the case should run <$300, <100$ for the software only. We haven't set final price because we are still changing slightly the cases and other hardware components. The software only version is identical to the more expensive one, but can't communicate with instruments due to the lack of a serial port on the 49g+. It stores data manualy, but has all the calculation capabilites as the other one. You will be very pleased.


Hi Tim,

I'd be interested in getting one of the cases and internal PSU and comms modules for my 49G+...will they be avaialble separately? (I'm not a surveyor but I do use my calcs in the field)





Concerning the I/O module, I'd be surprised if Tim and John aren't using the Wolftek Design board.

The position of the two LED's (IR receiver/transmitter) appear to be in the same relative location on both units .


BTW.. I want one too.


Edited: 12 Aug 2004, 2:25 p.m.


He actually started making it for us. The board you see is the original prototype, but the final design will be a little more compact.

I'm glad you want one. . . =)


Check out our message board we've got set up (the cheap add supported kind) at . Yes the stuff will be availible seperately. Pricing is not availible yet.

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