Paperless Cave Surveying
DistoX2 Hardware Version 1.2 (2020/10/01)
The “paperless system” is an integrated electronic cave surveying tool. It consists of two parts: A combined Disto/compass/clinometer and a PDA based program to store and manage the measured data and to draw sketches directly on the screen. The two devices are connected by a wireless Bluetooth connection. Measurements are visible on the PDA screen within seconds. Results can be transferred to PC based cave surveying applications and graphics editors.
- Less errors (no typos, no sighting errors, no mud covered paper …)
- Free orientation of the device (no leveling)
- Free choice of direction (no steepness restriction)
- Free cross section measurements (no RLUD rules to follow)
- Immediate visualization of measured data
- Immediate consistency checks
- Faster and more precise sketching
Once you worked this way, you will never go back to paper and pencil!
The DistoX2 consists of a Leica Disto X310 and an upgrade kit which adds a 3-axis compass and clinometer and a Bluetooth connection. The upgrade kit consists of a PCB with a bunch of SMD components. It replaces the main board of the Disto. Up to 1000 measurements are stored in the device.
The upgrade board can easily be mounted inside the X310 resulting in a robust and waterproof device.
The DistoX can be used as a stand-alone measuring device without a PDA, but the full power of the system is only available if the two devices are used in combination.
Additional information is available in the manuals on the download page.
For a selection of videos about the upgrade see here.
DistoX2 Versions 1.0 and 1.1
Hardware Versions 1.0 and 1.1 are outdated because some key parts are no longer available.
A description of the V1.1 hardware is here.
For questions about these versions write to .
Oliver Landolt developed a new version of the hardware to avoid the obsolete parts.
A full description of the V1.2 hardware is here.
Oliver will produce and distribute a limited number of upgrade kits. To limit his workload, cavers and caving clubs are encouraged to make their own boards.
Write to for more information.
This work is not related to Leica Geosystems AG.
I do not provide complete devices. You have to buy a Disto and modify it yourself.
Opening and modifying a Leica Disto will void the manufacturer’s warranty and is done at your own risk!
Don’t bother Leica with questions about the DistoX!
The original DistoX upgrade kit for the Leica Disto A3 is no longer available.
The PocketTopo Application Version 1.372
PocketTopo is a .Net Compact Framework application running on most Windows Mobile devices including cheap PDAs and several Smartphones.
PocketTopo receives the measurements directly from the DiostoX. It allows managing survey data, reference points, and trip information. Several views are available to show and edit the data: textual representation, cave map, and sketches. The sketch views show survey shots and cross sections and allow making drawings directly on the screen, in both outline and side view.
PocketTopo allows any number of cross section measurements in arbitrary directions. This is a big help for precise sketches. All data editing and drawing operations support unlimited Undo/Redo. To prevent data loss, changes are stored continuously to nonvolatile memory.
The application also runs in a Mobile Device Simulator or directly on a Windows PC with the .Net Framework installed.
PocketTopo does not run on Palm devices. Palm owners may use the Auriga application instead.
The PocketTopo application and the manuals are available free of charge on the download page.