We are discussing practical methods here. No one is going to measure the straights with a laser, and then measure the turns with a tape. Once you've got your tape, you just measure the whole thing and you're done.
I wouldn't say laser is impractical, particularly on a course like McAlpine where you have some significant straights. It's fast, accurate, and if you put down survey markers at each end you have a nicely documented segment that can be revalidated (and reused in the event of course wear or construction).
Electronic measurement is approved by USATF, and is a great way put set up a permanent calibration course. The measuring team for the Atlanta Olympics used laser measurement to lay down the tangents for the blue line (and they also had a team that did the overall measurement over those tangents with bikes (yes, multiple measurers)).
Even in cases where it's impractical to measure the majority of the course electronically (too much of a PITA when a lot of turns) it's a wonderful tool for laying out the fair start boxes.