Copan for Windows
Copan is a powerful tool for land surveyors and civil engineers who do field and office calculations with plane coordinates and survey measurements.
To use Copan, you must be familiar with basic Windows operations and with basic geomatics (or surveying engineering) concepts.
1. Some Conventions
Boldface words are usually menu items or dialog buttons or field names.
Monospace words usually mean folder or file names or data values.
Where it is not spelled out, please read A | B as
Select item B from the pull-down menu A.
For example, to do basic COGO, after you've opened a coordinates file,
the instruction Calculation | COGO... means
Choose the Calculation menu then the COGO... item.
- The § symbol before capitalized text (e.g., § Map Traverses) means the text is the name of another web page or printed chapter.
If you're reading this on-line, you can go to the table of contents, the previous page, or the next page via
buttons at the top or bottom of each page.
(If you have the Opera web browser, you can choose the same items on the its navigation bar.)
- To print any of this manual's web pages or chapters, you have two options:
Go to the desired web page and print it! It is already printer-friendly.
(Headings can, however, get orphaned — except in Opera.)
Open the PDF version of the manual,
(you will need an Adobe reader), and print the whole thing or just your desired pages. You can jump to specific chapters via the Bookmarks tab.
The page of this user guide that is relevant to a particular module is usually accessible via that module's Help button or menu item.
Many menu items or dialog buttons are often grayed out
— disabled — whenever their associated function or action is not appropriate at the time.
For example, until a coordinate file with points is open, most CoordFile menu items and most Calculation menu items are disabled.
Frequently, shortcuts can be made by pressing the Alt key in combination with a single letter abbreviation indicated by an underline.
For example, in the COGO dialog, press Alt-T to jump to the To point field or Alt-E to Erase lines.
Many dialogs (or windows) have a Factory button, which resets most values in the dialog to the state they were in when the program was first installed.
Also, many dialogs have a Reset button, which resets most values to the state they were in when the dialog was just opened.
Any menu item or dialog button that ends in ellipses (...), e.g., Print..., leads to another dialog or window rather than having an immediate effect.
When viewing a graphic display of a file, you can pan and zoom as follows:
If you have a mouse wheel, spin it to zoom in or out; double-press it to zoom to the full extent of the file; and hold it down and move it to pan around.
Alternatively, use the Zoom In, Zoom Out and Zoom to Extents items under the Viewing menu for their associated tasks (Zoom In requires you to drag a rectangle over your intended target), and use the scroll bars to pan around.
During calculations, all distances are assumed to be in the same units as those of the coordinates.
Input distances, however, can usually be converted via a given units factor.
When entering distances or coordinates, enter values explicitly, with a dot (.) as the decimal separator and without any thousand separators or any units.
For example, enter 12,345.678m (i.e., 12km + 345m + 678mm) as
12345.678 or enter 123 456.78ft as
In many cases enter an expression to imply, for example, the distance betweeen two known points.
(See § Distance and Offset Expressions.)
If you measure angles in degrees-minutes-seconds (i.e., 1 circle = 360°), when entering angles, always use the format
For example, you must enter 24°52'10" as
24.5210 and you must enter 30' as
0.30 (or just
If you measure angles in gons or grads (i.e., 1 circle = 400g), just enter angles as is
(e.g., enter 24.52105g as
When entering bearings (or azimuths), enter angles explicitly, as above, or (in many cases) enter an expression to imply, for example, the direction betweeen two known points. Also, enter bearings in whole-circle or quadrant form at any time.
(See § Bearing Expressions.)
2. Installing or Uninstalling Copan
If the software is not there already,
see § Installing or Updating
on how to install or update Copan on your computer.
Had enough already? See § Uninstalling
on how to remove Copan.
3. Program Settings
There are various general settings you can make which control program behavior, such as
the name and address of your compay,
the the precision of listed or displayed distances and coordinates, or
the tolerances for acceptable traverse closures.
See § Program Settings
on the various ways to customize Copan for your preference.
The most important program setting to make after installation may be to the Angle Units and Bearings (or azimuth) type.
The default Angle Units setting is Degrees Minutes Seconds, but you may choose Gons (Grads) instead.
By default, Whole-circle bearings are North-based, but you may choose South-based instead.
Also you choose to List/display bearings in Whole-circle form, by default, or in Quadrant form instead.
4. CoordFile Functions
The Copan package includes a number of different files —
some are essential and others are supplemental to using Copan.
See § File Locations
on the various files that make up the Copan package and how to change their locations.
Virtually everything in Copan involves a coordinate file, or coordfile for short.
Even if you'd like only to process coordinates from another program, you must first create a new coordfile and then import them.
Until a coordfile with points is open, most CoordFile menu items are grayed out.
A coordfile contains a single head record and a set of survey point records.
See § Coordinate Files on how to do basic coordinate file management
and § Point Records on the nature and management of point records.
See § Point Lists on listing points,
§ Bulk Point Editing on mass editing point attributes,
§ Import and Export on importing and exporting points from/to text files, and
§ Export to Total Station File on exporting points to survey instrument files.
See § Viewing and Printing Graphics
on how to graphically navigate a displayed coordinate file, how to specify paper units, and how to print graphics to scale.
5. Survey Calculations
Copan provides many geomatic data processing functions:
See § COGO Calculations on how to do basic coordinate geometry —
direct and inverse calculations, various kinds of intersection calculations, and corner angle calculations — using identified points, bearings, and horizontal distances and offsets.
See § Multiple Inverse Calculations on how to calculate bearings and horizontal distances, or distances and offsets, to many points from a single point.
For processing raw field survey data,
See § Field Data Processing on calculating and adjusting traverses and side-shots, based on sequences of horizontal and vertical angles and slope distances.
See § Field Bearings Processing on calculating and adjusting traverses and side-shots, based on sequences of bearings, vertical angles and slope distances.
See § Freestation Processing on calculating resections and side-shots, based on rounds of horizontal and vertical angles and slope distances.
For processing reduced survey data, even those describing curved boundaries or alignments,
See § Map Traverses on
calculating and adjusting traverses, areas and perimeters, based on sequences of bearings and horizontal distances.
See § Map Checks on
calculating traverses, areas and perimeters, based on sequences of bearings and horizontal distances — without coordinate points.
See § Area and Perimeter Calculations on
calculating traverses, areas and perimeters, based only on sequences of existing points.
See § Coordinate Transformations on how to mathematically transform many points based on known rotation, scale and shift parameters, or on how to calculate the best-fit transformation between one set of points and another.
Remember that for most Calculation menu items to be enabled, a coordfile with points must be open.
An exception is Map Check, which is only enabled when no coordfile is open.
6. Bugs, Crashes and Improvements
Copan is a work in progress and you may encounter some problems.
Please be patient.
See § Bugs and Other Problems regarding bugs, crashes, and error messages.
We are continuously trying to improve Copan: increasing its functionality, making it easier to use, or making it more stable.
Let us know what improvements you suggest.
Please note the software version and release date (see § Software Version) in all communications.