As with any new technology, LiDAR comes with its limitations. Collecting data is weather dependent. While you can collect LiDAR data during day or night, you cannot operate during rain, snow or fog as water absorbs most near infrared light. It also cannot penetrate through clouds. Skilled operators with previous survey experience are also required to fly the drone or plane, take shots, run base stations, and check benchmarks.
While total station is the “gold standard” and has come with great advancements over the past few decades, it also comes with limitations and safety concerns. The accuracy of a total station survey is lower when measuring longer distances. It is also hard to get accurate ground-level measurements under a forest canopy or under vegetation. There is still a lot of manual work that needs to be done with total station, meaning the survey is susceptible to human error. Surveying using a total station is also time and labour-intensive, and can pose safety concerns to surveyors, especially in and around steep topography. Total stations require line-of-sight between the instrument and the target, which can be obstructed by natural obstacles. This can make data collection cumbersome and sometimes impractical.