Measuring Equipment

Surveying Equipment: Tools of the Trade

Surveying is the science of taking accurate measurements of Earth’s surfaces — including distances, angles, and elevations. It’s essential in planning and executing different construction projects, determining land boundaries, and creating maps. From survey tripods to compasses, surveyors utilize various instruments to carry out their tasks.

Here are some of the most common tools of the trade.

Surveyor Compasses

Most people know the compass as a tool for navigation. A surveyors compass is also important in identifying distances between two points and taking horizontal angle measurements. These measurements are taken relative to the magnetic north. The data that a compass will gather is utilized when building a structure like a home or barn.


Surveyors use clinometers to determine the angle of a slope. With it, you can determine the elevation or depression of an object with respect to the direction of gravity. You can use it to measure the height of poles, trees, and even buildings. The different types of clinometers include pendulum clinometers, optical clinometers, and drum clinometers.

Chains And Tapes

These are the basic tools for taking small- and large-scale distances. You can use pocket tapes to measure small distances, measuring wheels for longer ones. Chains and tapes are made of various materials, depending on their purpose. For instance, nylon-coated tapes are designed to measure distances amid harsh weather conditions.


If you need to measure angles in horizontal and vertical planes, you’ll need a theodolite. It’s one of the oldest yet most important a surveying instruments for sale. Even without tapes, you can calculate distances using this tool. As theodolites are bulky, you will need to rely on transits for certain applications.


A transit level helps surveyors find the true horizontal line and take angles of inclination. Auto levels are more economical versions of transit levels. Both can perform various tasks apart from angle-taking. For instance, if you use a transit level with a calibration rod, you can determine the seconds of inclination relative to a true horizontal line.

Total Stations

Surveying tools have become more sophisticated over time. Total stations have a theodolite to calculate angles in horizontal and vertical planes. But they also have an electronic distance meter and data collection and storage system that allows users to store accurate readings.

Surveyor Tripods

Some tools of the trade are handheld devices. But if you need the instrument to be stable, you have to mount them on a tripod. Survey tripods aid in taking stable readings. Some tripods are made of wood, while light weight tripods use a composite material. The latter is more resistant to moisture changes, while the former reduces vibrations.

Magnetic Locators

You’ll need special equipment to determine the location of ferrous materials like steel pipes, utility covers, and underground tanks. You can count on magnetic locators to help you accurately and efficiently do this task.

Safety Gear

Apart from surveying instruments that aim to take measurements, surveyors need safety gear to protect themselves from various elements. Their safety arsenal typically includes headwear, high-visibility gear, thermal jackets, and utility vests.

Tags: , ,

No comments yet.

Add your response