Although they have long been regarded as obsolete, classical electronic theodolites, which are made as standalone angle-measuring instruments, are still being produced and widely used throughout the world. This paper provides a comprehensive overview of the historical development of these instruments over the previous 60 years. A detailed analysis of the theodolite's purpose, accuracy, construction, capabilities and functionality has resulted in the determination of three main groups of these instruments; a brief description of each category is provided.

Key words: electronic theodolite, development, classification, survey technology