What is the difference between conventional and modern surveying instruments?

survey equipment for sale by Bench Mark

During surveying, there are many different types of equipment used. Some include a Total Station, a Gyro-theodolite, and a Dumpy level. These instruments are used to help the surveyor to determine measurements that are important in the surveying process.

Land surveying vs hydrographic surveying

Whether you are planning to undertake a new construction project or have an existing one underway, it is important to know the difference between land surveying and hydrographic surveying. Hydrographic surveying involves using special equipment to collect and analyze data on a body of water. The information from these surveys is used to design structures and dredging projects, provide information for anchoring, and study the fish habitat.

Hydrographic surveying is an important part of coastal navigation. Traditionally, hydrographic surveys were conducted by ships using sounding lines. Today, surveys are conducted by aircraft or survey vessels, often equipped with cranes and winches.

Surveys are conducted with high accuracy over large areas. They are also used to study the shape and size of the Earth. Aside from surveys, commercial entities often install power cables and submarine communications cables.


Theodolites are specialized instruments used to survey inaccessible ground. In fact, theodolites are one of the most important tools used by surveyors. Modern theodolites are lightweight, but more importantly, they can reduce measuring time by 60%. They are also equipped with integrated electro-optical distance measuring devices, which allow for complete three-dimensional vector measurement.

In addition to measuring angles, modern theodolites can perform other specialized functions. They can also be used to save data into internal registering units. The term “total station” is often used to describe these devices. They are designed to perform various operations while collecting data, including quality control, recording, and analysis.

Theodolites have been designed to provide precise horizontal and vertical angles for triangulation. They are used in surveying for setting out works and levelling construction sites. They are also used in the mining industry, where a gyro-theodolite is necessary for surveying the underground environment.

A gyro-theodolite is composed of a gyrocompass, mounted on a theodolite. The gyroscope can be used at the surface or underground. It is also possible to operate the gyro-theodolite at the foot of the shafts. It is also used in the construction of the Channel Tunnel.

Gyro-theodolites are used for surveying in tunnel engineering. They are used to determine the true north of the meridian. It is important to note that gyro-theodolites are unsuitable at poles.

Dumpy level

During site surveys, the dumpy level measures the difference in heights at the base and the top of a slope. It is a basic surveying instrument that uses a telescope-like device mounted on a tripod. This instrument is considered one of the most commonly used surveying instruments.

There are several types of optical instruments used in surveying. These include surveying chains, tapes, measuring wheels and theodolites.

Some dumpy levels also have a bubble level. It is a similar instrument to the bubble tube. It can be adjusted by using the levelling screws. It can also be flipped 180 degrees.

There are several automatic levels on the market. These levels are costly. They also can be slow and tedious. However, they are preferred during construction projects. It is important to check that the instrument is auto-levelling before you use it. Once the instrument is levelled, it will automatically turn on and off again when you move it.

A modern automatic level has an integrated program allowing it to capture measured data quickly. The data is also stored on internal storage devices. This technology helps to minimize human error. Moreover, it can save up to 50% of the time needed for conventional levels.

In contrast, an older-style instrument has a telescope that is manually adjusted. 

Total station

Compared to conventional surveying instruments, modern surveying equipment has several advantages. It is lighter and requires fewer people to use. It is also cheaper. In addition, modern total stations can apply temperature and pressure corrections. These instruments also make it easy to process the measurements.

The basic idea of the total station is that distance between two points can be measured with time. The instrument comprises a microprocessor which computes the coordinates of a point. In addition, some total stations have internal electronic data storage. The resulting coordinates are then loaded into a computer and processed through geographic information system software.

Total stations and other survey equipment for sale by Bench Mark are used by land surveyors, police, private accident reconstruction, archeologists, and civil engineers. They are also used in mining surveying.

The latest generation of total stations can show a map on a touch screen immediately after measuring points. It makes it easier to check work and make adjustments to the instrument.

In addition, total stations have an internal compensator mechanism that removes variation when the instrument is close to level. Some total stations also have an auto power save feature, which turns the instrument off after a specified period.

Depending on the type of total station, the angular accuracy can range from one inch to twenty. In addition, some of the best-quality total stations can measure angles to five or ten arc seconds.