Measuring Equipment

Land Surveying Tools of Today & Yesterday

In any land development project, surveying is one of the first important things to undertake. Using tools like a compass for land surveying, a surveyor is tasked to identify three-dimensional location points. By knowing where these points are, together with the angles and distances between them, maps and property boundaries can be produced and determined. 

There are different types of surveying. You can survey land to know the appropriate depth when you’re erecting the foundation of a commercial property. Researchers also use surveying to measure large lands of the planet. 

From then until now, surveyors have relied on various devices to perform their tasks with accuracy and precision. Here are some of the most used land surveying tools of today and yesterday. 

Ropes and human body parts. Have you ever wondered how Egyptians were able to build their world-famous towering pyramids? Thousands of years before businesses that offered custom designs for alignment tools, they were able to build such architectural wonders only with ancient tools. Experts consider the rope one of the most essential measuring tools used by Egyptian surveyors. They also measure things with arms, fingers, and palms. 

Theodolites and transits. In the 19th century and even today, these tools are being used to measure both vertical and horizontal angles. While they perform the same function, surveyors consider theodolites to be more accurate (they can measure an angle to an accuracy of 1/10 of a second). 

Compasses and clinometers. Compass for land surveying is another old tool that’s still widely used by surveyors today. Whether you’re simply orienting your current location on a map or surveying an unchartered territory, compasses are your go-to device. These can also be used to measure distances between two points. Clinometers meanwhile determine the angle of sloped lands. 

Chains and tapes. If the Egyptians before had relied on ropes and human body parts, modern surveyors have chains, tapes, and laser devices to take more accurate measurements. This category of surveying tools comprises various devices that can be used to determine small- and large-scale measurements (e.g. Pocket tapes, fiberglass tape measures). 

Levels. While clinometers are used to measure angles of slopes, levels are utilized to read an elevation and help surveyors identify elevation differences between two points. Today, these levels can be digital or mechanical. 

Prisms and reflectors. Surveyors use prisms, reflectors, optical magnetic mirrors and electronic distance measuring instruments for the precise processing of distances at a comfortable and accessible height. 

Poles and tripods. Levels and prisms are used with tripods. Tripods, mounts, and an engineering staff ensure that surveying tools like levels are stable. Without stability, a surveyor is more prone to take erroneous measurements. 

Magnetic locators. Today, several items like manhole covers, iron pipes, and underground tanks can be found hidden under the visible layers. To determine if metallic obstructions exist under the surface, magnet-equipped locators are needed. With the advancement of technology, modern magnetic locators can now be used to quickly and accurately determine the position of various ferrous materials. 

Safety gear. Suppliers that offer custom designs for incline measurement tools also provide safety gear, which is vital to be part of any surveyor’s arsenal. Surveyors mustn’t only perform their tasks with accuracy, but they should also be mindful of their and other people’s safety. The basic surveying safety kit includes thermal jackets, utility vests, hats, and other protective headwear.

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