Measuring Equipment

Retro Survey Equipment for Land and Sea

Surveying is a field that dates back to ancient times. And over the years, the world has seen the emergence of various tools that aid surveyors in their work. These include the tried-and-true compass, tripod, and brass sextants.

Below we’ve listed some survey equipment that dates back years:

Surveying compass. Originally named “circumferentor,” the surveyors compass allows surveyors to measure distances between two points. It also provides angle measurement, with the magnetic north as the reference.

Theodolite. This device has helped surveyors for many years to obtain vertical and horizontal angle measurements. It’s part of an equipment system that also includes a telescope, an objective lens, mirrors  and digital mechanisms have a readout screen. Today, digital theodolites are available for taking more accurate information.

Surveyors tripod. Tripods support surveying tools so that accurate and precise reading can be attained. Back in the day wooden surveyors tripods dominated the market. There are also those made of fiberglass dowels and cast aluminum hardware.

Nautical alidade. This marine instrument is used to measure an object’s angle and distance. It’s a sighting device that can be used for navigation, surveying, and even astronomy.

The Sextant. Sextants are designed to measure the angle of a celestial body with the horizon as the point of reference. It provides data to determine longitude and latitude.

Surveying Tools to Spruce Up Your Home

These instruments provide more than just technical functionalities. If you’re a surveyor or a nautical enthusiast living by the shore, you can incorporate your passions into your interior design to make your home uniquely yours.

Especially now that going retro is all the rave, it’s a great idea to put that vintage brass sextant or that analog theodolite on display.

Here are some tips on successfully using surveying equipment from the past to spruce up your house.

Create a focal point. To avoid making your space look cluttered with often-bulky retro instruments, first, you must establish a focal point — a huge map as wall art above your fireplace or a bookshelf containing all your surveying books would work.

Cluster things that go together. Do you own tools that you still use occasionally? Consider displaying them all together in one open shelving display. Do you have a collection of globes? Showcase one in the corner of your room.

Know that proportion and scale are key. It can be tempting to put all your retro tools on display. We recommend you don’t overwhelm the room with too many artifacts. To keep your room functional, follow the rules of proportion and scale. Create a sense of flow and throw in some neutral colors to balance out the other more eye-catching elements.

Light your space up. When decorating just about with measuring instruments for land surveying, lighting is something that you shouldn’t forget. Try installing vintage lamps to match the vibe — all while giving your space adequate light sources to keep it functional and safe.

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