The need to take measurements of large areas calls for serious equipment. A ruler or a tape measure works perfectly for small items, but anything larger than a DIY remodel requires land surveying equipment. You can rent or purchase this surveying equipment, but you may not know exactly how to use it if you haven’t been properly trained.

Among the different types of land surveying equipment is the theodolite. This tool measures horizontal and vertical angles between two given points. Using a theodolite does require a basic knowledge of trigonometry, which may not work for every layperson. This is where a robotic total station comes in handy. Total stations measure the same angels as theodolites but they are automated to perform the trigonometric calculations for you. In addition, robotic total stations automatically record the collected data.

Before you can use the total station, you will need to know where the angles are that you wish to measure. Those angles must be marked. Enter the known coordinates into the total station, which will then calculate the distance for you. You will then position the reflector at the appropriate location and let the total station do the rest. This type of surveying tool is easy to use, but there is some room for error in that you have to ensure the total station is in the appropriate location. You must also make sure the coordinates you have included are correct.

instrument of measurment in the field

A non-digital theodolite has a slightly different way of functioning. First, you must physically mark the base point for setting up the theodolite with a surveyor’s nail. With the tripod set to eye-level, make sure it is firmly in place and cannot be moved. Even the slightest movement can cause measurements to be inaccurate. Likewise, you will need to measure the height at which the theodolite rests.

With the theodolite in place, set the sights so that the crosshairs are directly pointed at the first point that needs to be measured. While a total station will record this figure for you, when using a theodolite you must record the figure yourself.

Theodolites and total stations are not the only land surveying tools you might need when undertaking large construction projects. A magnetic locator is needed to find underground objects with ferrous metal content. A magnetic locator can determine where and how deep these objects are buried. Pipe and cable locators are needed as well in order to find water, gas, cable, power and telephone lines.

Magnetic, pipe and cable locators are simple to use. You simply need to know the area that will require any digging, and then use the locator to scan the entire area. You can mark the areas where the metal objects are buried with flags that are color-coded to reference the type of lines or metal objects that are located underground.

Just as important as the equipment are the accessories that make surveying easier. At a minimum, you will need a construction laser, construction level, tape measure, and mounting bracket. Sometimes these items make surveying simpler but often they are also necessary for the job you are trying to do.

Data collectors hold the information you need. These come in a variety of styles, from handheld data collectors to android phones or tablet-style equipment. These easy-to-use devices provide the perfect platform to record data and to calculate locations. They can hold surveying applications that do much of the work for you. Anyone who has used a phone or tablet should be able to immediately pick up a data collector and get to work. Using handheld devices like this helps you to get the most out of all of your surveying equipment.