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Instruments

The instrument primarily used for leveling is the (engineer's) level in association with a graduated rod
known as leveling rod or leveling staff.
Level
A schematic diagram of an engineer's level is shown in Figure 11.1. An engineer's level primarily
consists of a telescope mounted upon a level bar which is rigidly fastened to the spindle. Inside the
tube of the telescope, there are objective and eye piece lens at the either end of the tube. A
diaphragm fitted with cross hairs is present near the eye piece end. A focussing screw is attached
with the telescope. A level tube housing a sensitive plate bubble is attached to the telescope (or to
the level bar) and parallel to it. The spindle fits into a cone-shaped bearing of the leveling head. The
leveling head consists of tribrach and trivet with three foot screws known as leveling screws in
between. The trivet is attached to a tripod stand.

Functions of Salient Parts


Telescope : used to sight a staff placed at desired station and to read staff reading distinctly.

Diaphragm : holds the cross hairs (fitted with it).


Eye piece : magnifies the image formed in the plane of the diaphragm and thus to read staff during
leveling.
Level Tube : used to make the axis of the telescope horizontal and thus the line of sight.
Leveling screws : to adjust instrument (level) so that the line of sight is horizontal for any orientation
of the telescope.
Tripod stand : to fix the instrument (level) at a convenient height of an observer.
Dumpy Level
A dumpy level is most suitable when from one setting of the instrument, elevations of several points
are to be determined. (Figure 11.2)

(a)

(b)

Figure 11.2 Two Types of Dumpy Levels


Distinctive Features of an Dumpy Level
The optical axis of the telescope of a dumpy is placed perpendicular to the axis of the centre spindle.
The axis of its level tube is permanently placed so that it lies in the same vertical plane as the optical
axis
IOP Level
(Figure 11.3) A IOP level is most suitable when only few readings are to be taken from one setting of
the instrument.

Figure 11.3 IOP Level

Distinctive Features of an IOP Level


The telescope is mounted on a transverse fulcrum at the vertical axis fitted with a micrometer screw
at the eye-piece end of the telescope.
Instrument is leveled using circular spirit level. The sensitive plate-bubble is to be leveled using
micrometer screw, at the time of taking measurement. Thus, the line of sight is made horizontal
quickly, even though the instrument as a whole may not be exactly level.
Digital level
There are fundamentally two types of automatic levels.
First, the optical one whose distinguishing feature is self-leveling i.e., the instruments gets
approximately leveled by means of a circular spirit level and then it maintains a horizontal line of
sight of its own.
Second, the digital levels whose distinguishing features are automatic leveling, reading and
recording (Figure 11.4).

The chief features of a digital level are:

A CCD (Charged coupled device) at the plane of diaphragm. It captures an image of the rod
and processes it resulting in a rod reading and a distance to the rod.
A data collector which keeps the level notes, performs checks and keeps a record of every
rod reading and elevation automatically.
A bar-coded rod having a scale represented through a series of bars of different widths.
Bars are spaced constantly or variably. The spacing and width of the bars denote the code.

Advantages of digital levels include the speed of leveling, the virtual elimination of rod reading and
calculation errors and the accuracy in reading rod.
Limitation of digital level lies in its range. Beyond a certain limit it is to be used in manual mode.

Leveling Staff
It is a self-reading graduated wooden rod having rectangular cross section. The lower end of the
rod is shod with metal to protect it from wear and usually point of zero measurement from which
the graduations are numbered. Staff are either solid (having single piece of 3 meter height) (Figure
11.5) or folding staff (of 4 meter height into two or three pieces) (Figure 11.6). The least count of a
leveling staff is 5 mm.

Temporary Adjustment of Level


At each set up of a level instrument, temporary adjustment is required to be carried out prior to any
staff observation. It involves some well defined operations which are required to be carried out in
proper sequence.
Temporary Adjustment of a Dumpy Level
The temporary adjustment of a dumpy level consists of Setting , Leveling and Focusing .
During Setting, the tripod stand is set up at a convenient height having its head horizontal
(through eye estimation). The instrument is then fixed on the head by rotating the lower part of the
instrument with right hand and holding firmly the upper part with left hand. Before fixing, the
leveling screws are required to be brought in between the tribrach and trivet. The bull's eye
bubble (circular bubble), if present, is then brought to the centre by adjusting the tripod legs.
Next, Leveling of the instrument is done to make the vertical axis of the instrument truly vertical.

It is achieved by carrying out the following steps:


Step 1: The level tube is brought parallel to any two of the foot screws, by rotating the upper part
of the instrument.
Step 2: The bubble is brought to the centre of the level tube by rotating both the foot screws
either inward or outward. (The bubble moves in the same direction as the left thumb.)
Step 3: The level tube is then brought over the third foot screw again by rotating the upper part of
the instrument.
Step 4: The bubble is then again brought to the centre of the level tube by rotating the third foot
screw either inward or outward.
Step 5: Repeat Step 1 by rotating the upper part of the instrument in the same quadrant of the
circle and then Step 2.
Step 6: Repeat Step 3 by rotating the upper part of the instrument in the same quadrant of the
circle and then Step 4.
Step 7: Repeat Steps 5 and 6, till the bubble remains central in both the positions.
Step 8: By rotating the upper part of the instrument through 180 , the level tube is brought
parallel to first two foot screws in reverse order. The bubble will remain in the centre if the
instrument is in permanent adjustment.
Focusing is required to be done in order to form image through objective lens at the plane of the
diaphragm and to view the clear image of the object through eye-piece. This is being carried out
by removing parallax by proper focusing of objective and eye-piece. For focusing the eye-piece,
the telescope is first pointed towards the sky. Then the ring of eye-piece is turned either in or out
until the cross-hairs are seen sharp and distinct. Focusing of eye-piece depends on the vision of
observer and thus required whenever there is a change in observer. For focusing the objective,
the telescope is first pointed towards the object. Then, the focusing screw is turned until the
image of the object appears clear and sharp and there is no relative movement between the
image and the cross-hairs. This is required to be done before taking any observation.
Temporary Adjustment of an IOP Level
Temporary adjustment of a tilting level requires the same operations as in case of a dumpy level
except the operations involved in leveling. During leveling, first the IOP instrument is leveled
roughly with the leveling screws till the circular bubble is in the centre. Then, the bubble of the
level tube is brought to the centre by using the tilting screw. In case of IOP level, the bubble is
required to be leveled using tilting screw before each reading is taken.

Permanent Adjustment of Level


Introduction
An instrument from manufacturer is generally available in perfect adjustments. However, the
instrument gets out of adjustments due to worn out and loose fittings or due to mishandling. So it is
required to check the instruments occasionally especially before any precise survey work to ensure
that the instrument is in perfect adjustment.
Fundamental Lines of a Level
There are three fundamental lines in a level instrument (Figure 12.1). These are

Vertical axis
Axis of the level tube
Line of sight

Relations among Fundamental Lines


(Figure 12.2) In a properly adjusted dumpy level, desired relations among fundamental lines are
1. Axis of the level tube is perpendicular to the Vertical axis
2. Horizontal cross hair should lie in a plane perpendicular to the Vertical axis, so that it will lie
in a Horizontal plane when the instrument is properly leveled.
3. The Line of sight is parallel to the axis of the level tube.
Also, the optical axis, the axis of the objective lens and the line of sight should coincide.

Permanent Adjustment of Level


The permanent adjustment of a level is tested by finding the relative position of fundamental lines.
Permanent Adjustment of Dumpy Level
If any fundamental relation is found to be disturbed in a dumpy level, the cross-hairs and level tube
are adjusted so that the fundamental relations get satisfied. The reference line for the adjustments in
dumpy level is the vertical line which remain fixed in direction, as it depends upon the direction of
gravity.
Axis of the Level Tube is Perpendicular to the Vertical axis
Test
After setting and leveling the level, turn the telescope through 180 about its vertical axis. If the
bubble remains central, the axis of the level tube is perpendicular to the Vertical axis. Otherwise, a
displacement of the bubble from the central position indicates that the tube is not in adjustment. The
amount of displacement is double the amount of error, by the principle of reversion (Figure 12.3).

Adjustment
Step 1: With the help of capstan screw, one end of the level tube is raised or lowered, as needed, so

that the bubble is halfway back to the centre position.


Step 2: With the help of leveling screws, the other half of the displacement is moved further to bring
the bubble at centre.
The steps are repeated until the adjustment is perfected.
Horizontal Cross Hair Should Lie in a Plane Perpendicular to the Vertical axis
Test
A well-defined point is focused along the horizontal cross hair on one side of the field of view. The
instrument (telescope) is then rotated about its vertical axis. If the point appears to travel along the
horizontal cross-hair, the instrument is in adjustment i.e., the horizontal cross-hair lies in a plane
perpendicular to the Vertical axis. Otherwise, there is a need for adjustment.
Adjustment
Let us rotate the instrument in such a way that the well defined point occupy a position on the
opposite side of the field of view, say X' (Figure 12.4). The cross hair ring is then rotated by
loosening two adjacent capstan screws. Repeat the process until the point travels along the
horizontal cross hair.

The Line of Sight is Parallel to the axis of the Bubble Tube


Test
Two pegs are set at some distance (of about 60 to 90 m) on a fairly level ground. A dumpy level is
set up on a point which is equidistant from the pegs and preferably, in a line with the pegs. Staff
readings are taken at the pegs, say the readings are a and b respectively. Then, the true
difference in elevation between the points is h = (a b). Now, the instrument is set on the line
joining the pegs near one of the pegs but opposite to the other peg, as shown in Figure 12.5. Let
D1 and D2 are the distances of the near and far peg from the instrument position. Staff readings
are again taken at the pegs, say the readings are c and d respectively. Then, the apparent
difference in elevation between the points is h' = (c d). Now, if h' is found to be equal to h, the line
of sight of the level is parallel to the axis of the bubble tube. Otherwise, an adjustment of the
bubble tube is required.

Adjustment
Step 1: The amount of error (e) associated with the observation is determined from
e = h h ' = (a b) (c d)
Step 2: The error e occurs in a distance of D = D2 - D1. Assuming the error e is positive and the
line of sight is inclined upward, the error in distance D2

Step 3: Calculate the correct staff reading at the distant peg as

Step 4: The capstan screws at the top and bottom of the diaphragm ring is then loosened and the
ring is moved vertically so that the line of sight intersect the distant staff at d'.
Step 5: To check the adjustment, read the staff reading on the near peg and it should read

If the near staff reading is not c', then repeat Step 4 and till Step 5 is satisfied.
This method is known as two peg method. In this method, due account need to be taken about
sign throughout the test.
Example
Ex12-1 A dumpy level was set up midway between two peg points 100m apart. The readings on
the staff at the two pegs were 1.650m and 1.210m respectively. The instrument was then moved,
by 10 m ahead of the second peg, in line with the two pegs. The respective staff readings were
1.405m and 0.935m. Calculate the staff readings on the two pegs to provide a horizontal line of
sight.
Solution:
Let A and B be the two peg points at a distance of 100m and the instrument position be C when
midway and D when 10m from B.
While the instrument is at C,
True difference in elevation between the peg points is obtained and is given by, d = 1.650-1.210 =
0.440m (B higher than A)
Assuming there is no error in the line of collimation of the instrument, while the instrument is at D,
If the staff reading at B i.e., 0.935 is correct. Then, the staff reading at A should be = (0.935
+0.440) m = 1.375 m (< observed reading i.e., 1.405m)
This shows that the line of collimation of the instrument is not in adjustment and it is inclined
upward.
The amount of error = 1.405 - 1.375 =0.030m in 100m
Thus, error in 10m i.e., the staff reading at B while the instrument is at D = 0.003m
The correct staff reading at B while the instrument is at D should be = 0.935- 0.003 = 0.932m
And that at A, 0.932+0.440=1.372m
(Verification: The correct staff reading at B while the instrument is at D should be = 1.405 - 0.003
x 11 = 1.372 m)
Permanent Adjustment of Tilting Level
In case of tilting level, it is not essential that the vertical axis of the instrument should be truly
vertical. Therefore, the first fundamental relation is not required to be satisfied.
The second fundamental relation is being tested and if necessary, adjusted as given in case of
dumpy level.

The third fundamental relation is tested and if necessary, adjusted as given in case of dumpy
level, with following modifications after Step 3.
Step 4: The tilting screw is used to bring the line of sight to intersect the distant staff at d'.
Step 5: The bubble is then brought to the centre by means of the capstan screws on the bubble
tube.
Step 6: The test and adjustment is repeated till the bubble remains central when the staff
reading is d'.
Note:
In case of a dumpy level, the line of sight is moved by adjusting the diaphragm but in case of
tilting level bubble is centred by adjusting capstan screws on the bubble tube.
Permanent Adjustment of Automatic Level
In case of automatic level, prior to leveling, the circular bubble and the activity of the
compensator are required to be checked. In this case, after setting the instrument, the circular
bubble is brought to the centre of the engraved circle. Then, the instrument is rotated through
180 or to a direction in which the displacement of the bubble is maximum. If the displacement
is less than half the diameter of the bubble, the instrument is in adjustment. Otherwise, an
adjustment is necessary.
Adjustment is performed in two steps by reducing the horizontal and vertical components of the
displacement and bringing the bubble to the centre of the engraved circle. First remove the half
of horizontal component of displacement using the appropriate level screws.and then remove
the remaining half by manipulating the adjusting screws. Next, one-half the vertical component
of displacement (Figure 12.6) is then removed by the level screws and the remainder is
compensated using the adjusting screws to bring the bubble to the center of the engraved
circle. Turn 180 and check the bubble. Repeat the entire procedure until the bubble remains
centered in all positions.
To check the compensator, sight a target about 30 m away. Center the bull's-eye bubble. Next,
tap one tripod leg with a hand. The image of the target will appear to swing in the field of view
but the target will return to its original position. Next, turn a level screw, causing the line of sight
to slope slightly. Once again the target will appear to swing but will return to the original
Position. This indicates that the instrument is in adjustment. Otherwise, an adjustment is
necessary.
For automatic level also, the third fundamental relation is tested by two peg test but for
permanent adjustment manual of the instrument is required to be referred.

Basic Principle of Leveling


The fundamental principle of leveling lies in finding out the separation of level lines passing through
a point of known elevation (B.M.) and that through an unknown point (whose elevation is required to
be determined).
With reference to Figure 13.1, let X represents a point of known elevation (Hx) or a B.M. and Y be a
point whose elevation is required to be determined. To find out the unknown elevation of Y, a level is
set up at L in between X and Y. A leveling staff is first held at X and a reading hx is observed, by
sighting the staff (held vertical to the line of sight of the level). The staff reading at Y, say h y is then
observed. The elevation of the point Y (say Hy) is thus given by Hx + (hx ~ hy) i.e., known elevation
(Hx ) added to the separation of level lines (hx ~ hy) passing through the points.

Methods of Leveling
Direct Leveling : Direct measurement, precise, most commonly used; types:
Simple leveling : One set up of level. To find elevation of points.
Differential leveling : Numbers of set-ups of level. To find elevation of non-intervisible points.
Fly leveling : Low precision, to find/check approximate level, generally used during reconnaissance
survey.
Precise leveling : Precise form of differential leveling.
Profile leveling : finding of elevation along a line and its cross section.
Reciprocal leveling : Along a river or pond. Two level simultaneously used, one at either end.
Indirect or Trigonometric Leveling : By measuring vertical angles and horizontal distance; Less
precise.
Stadia Leveling : Using tacheometric principles.

Barometric Leveling : Based on atmospheric pressure difference; Using altimeter; Very rough
estimation.
Differential Leveling
Applied to determine the elevation of point which is some distant apart from B.M i.e., the unknown
elevation of a point cannot be determined in a single set up of an instrument. Thus, in this method,
instrument gets setup number of times to observe reading along a route in between observed points.
For each set up, staff readings are taken back to a point of known elevation (first sight from the B.M
and forward to a point of unknown elevation) final sight to the terminal station.
Procedure
Let us consider a station B whose elevation is to be established with reference to a B.M station A,
quite a distant apart. In establishing the station B as B.M., differential leveling is carried out starting
from A and terminating at B. In order to carry out the leveling, first the instrument is set up at some
location, say I1 (Figure 13.2), in such a way that backsight reading taken on A can be read clearly.
The staffman is then directed to move forward towards B and choose a point, say S 1 which is firm
and stable. It is preferable that the distance of S1 from I1be the same as that of station A from I1.
After proper selection of the point S1, staff is held to take the foresight reading for this instrument set
up. The instrument is then shifted to some other position in forward direction, say I2 towards B and
take the backsight reading on S1. Thus, point S1 is used as a turning point. From I2 foresight reading
is taken to another well chosen (as followed in S1) turning point S2. Finally, from I3 backsight is taken
on S2 and last sight at the terminal point B.

Field Book
A field book, also called level book is being used for taking down each staff reading during leveling
and subsequently, used for finding out the elevation of points/ stations. There are two types of level
books (Table 13.1 and Table 13.2). Usually, level book contains columns of both the types together
(Table 13.3) and it is for a surveyor to use only the relevant columns only.

Reduction of Level
The observed staff readings as noted in a level book are further required to be manipulated to find
out the elevation of points. The operation is known as reduction of level. There are two methods
for reduction of levels:
1. Rise and Fall method and
2. Height of instrument method.

Rise and Fall Method


For the same set up of an instrument, Staff reading is more at a lower point and less for a higher
point. Thus, staff readings provide information regarding relative rise and fall of terrain points. This
provides the basics behind rise and fall method for finding out elevation of unknown points.

With reference to Figure 13.2, when the instrument is at I1, the staff reading at A (2.365m) is more
than that at S1 which indicates that there is a rise from station A to S1 and accordingly the difference
between them (1.130m) is entered under the rise column in Table 13.1. To find the elevation of S1 (
101.130m), the rise (1.130m) has been added to the elevation of A (100.0m). For instrument set up
at I2 , S1 has been treated as a point of known elevation and considered for backsight (having
reading 0.685m) . Foresight is taken at S2 and read as 3.570m i.e, S2 is at lower than S1 . Thus,
there is a fall from S1 a nd S2 and there difference (2.885m) is entered under the fall column in Table
13.1. To find the elevation of S2 ( 98.245m), the fall (2.885m) has been subtracted from the elevation
of S1(101.130m). In this way, elevation of points are calculated by Rise and Fall method.

Height of Instrument Method


In any particular set up of an instrument height of instrument, which is the elevation of the line of
sight, is constant. The elevation of unknown points can be obtained by subtracting the staff readings
at the desired points from the height of instrument. This is the basic behind the height of instrument
method for reduction of level.

With reference to Figure 13.2 and Table 13.2, when the instrument is at I1, the staff reading
observed at A is 2.365m. The elevation of the line of sight i.e., the height of instrument is 102.365m
obtained by adding the elevation of A (100.0m) with the staff reading observed at A (2.365m). The
elevation of S1 (101.130m) is determined by subtracting its foresight reading (1.235m) from the the
height of instrument (102.365m) when the instrument is at I1 . Next, the instrument is set up at I2.
S1 is considered as a point of known elevation and backsight reading ( 0.685m) is taken . The height
of the instrument (101.815 m) is then calculated by adding backsight reading ( 0.685m) with the
elevation (R.L.) of point S1 (101.130m). Foresight is taken at S2 and its elevation (98.245m) is
determined by subtracting the foresight (3.570m) from the height of the instrument (101.815 m). In
this way, elevation of points are calculated by Height of instrument method.

Ex13-1 Data from a differential leveling have been found in the order of B.S., F.S..... etc. starting
with the initial reading on B.M. (elevation 150.485 m) are as follows : 1.205, 1.860, 0.125, 1.915,
0.395, 2.615, 0.880, 1.760, 1.960, 0.920, 2.595, 0.915, 2.255, 0.515, 2.305, 1.170. The final reading

closes on B.M.. Put the data in a complete field note form and carry out reduction of level by Rise
and Fall method. All units are in meters.
Solution :
B.S. (m)
1.205
0.125
0.395
0.880
1.960
2.595

F.S. (m)

Rise (m)

Fall (m)

1.860
1.915
2.615
1.760
0.920

1.040

Elevation (m)
150.485
149.830
148.040
145.820
144.940
145.980

2.255

0.915

1.680

147.660

2.305

0.515

1.740

149.450

1.170

1.135

150.535

0.655
1.7290
2.220
0.880

Remark
B.M.

B.M.

Arithmetic Check for Reduction of Level


In case of Rise and Fall method for Reduction of level, following arithmetic checks are applied to
verify calculations.

B.S. - F.S. = Rise - Fall = Last R.L. - First R.L.


With reference to Table 13.3:

B.S. - F.S. = 4.795 - 7.145 = - 2.350


Rise - Fall. = 1.130 - 3.480 = - 2.350
Last R.L. - First R.L.= 97.650 - 100.000 = -2.350
Table 13.3 Field book for Reduction of level
Staff Reading (m)

R.L. (m)

Remarks

102.365

100.000

B.M.

101.815

101.130

T.P.1

2.885

99.990

98.245

T.P.2

2.340

0.595

102.365

97.650

7.145

3.480

101.815

B.S. I.S.
2.365

F.S.

S1

0.685

1.235

S2

1.745

3.570

4.795

in
H.I (m)

Points
A

Difference
elevation (m)
Rise
Fall
1.130

Ex13-2 Carry out the arithmetic checks for Reduction of level of Ex13-1.

Solution :

B.S. = 11.720 m; F.S. = 11.670 m


Therefore B.S - F.S. = 0.050 m

Rise = 5.595 m; Fall = 5.545 m


Therefore Rise - Fall = 0.050 m
Last R.L. - First R.L. = 150.535 - 150.485 = 0.050 m.

B.S - F.S. = Rise - Fall = Last R.L. - First R.L.


Ex13-3 Complete the differential-level notes and determine the error of closure of the level circuit
and adjust the elevations of B.M.2 and B.M.3 assuming that the error is constant per set up.
Level book note for Level Net
Staff Reading

Height of Instrument R.L. (m)


(m)

Points

B.S (m)

B.M.1

2.125

T.P.1

1.830

2.945

T.P.2

2.100

3.225

T.P.3

1.650

3.605

B.M.2

2.365

2.805

T.P.4

2.885

2.530

T.P.5

3.065

2.350

B.M.3

3.855

1.100

T.P.6

3.270

1.660

T.P.7

3.865

2.110

B.M.1

F.S.(m)

3.455

Solution :
Staff Reading
Points

B.S (m)

B.M.1

2.125

Height of Instrument R.L. (m)


(m)
F.S.(m)
102.125

100.000

T.P.1

1.830

2.945

101.010

99.18

T.P.2

2.100

3.225

99.885

97.785

T.P.3

1.650

3.605

97.93

96.280

B.M.2

2.365

2.805

97.49

95.125

T.P.4

2.885

2.530

97.845

94.960

T.P.5

3.065

2.350

98.56

95.495

B.M.3

3.855

1.100

101.315

97.46

T.P.6

3.270

1.660

102.925

99.655

T.P.7

3.865

2.110

104.680

100.815

B.M.1

3.455

101.225

Error of closure = 101.225 - 100 = + 1.225 m


There are ten (10) set up for the instrument. Thus for each set up, there is an error of 0.1225 m.
Therefore correction for each set up = - 0.1225 m
Adjusted elevation of B.M.2 = 95.125 - 4 x .1225 = 94.635 m
Adjusted elevation of B.M. 3 = 97.46 - 7 x .1225 = 96.603 m
Level Net
To establish a set of bench marks, each B.M. is also used as a turning point. Elevation of B.Ms are
checked by terminating to a previously established bench mark or by returning to the initial bench
mark. A line of levels that ends at the point of beginning is known as level net. The final observation
in a level net is thus a foresight on the initial B.M. The elevation of each B.M. is to be kept checked
within the prescribed limit of error.
Tale 13.4 Permissible limit of error in level net
Order Class Limit (mm) Remark
First

I
II
I

Second
II
Third

K is the distance in km

Ex.13-3 Data from a differential leveling have been found in the order of B.S., F.S..... etc. starting
with the initial reading on B.M. (elevation 150.485 m) are as follows : 1.205, 1.860, 0.125, 1.915,
0.395, 2.615, 0.880, 1.760, 1.960, 0.920, 2.595, 0.915, 2.255, 0.515, 2.305, 1.170. The final reading
closes on B.M.. Put the data in a complete field note form and carry out reduction of level by Height
of instrument method. All units are in meters.
For Exercise 13
Ex.13-3
B.S. (m)
1.205
0.125
0.395
0.880
1.960
2.595
2.255
2.305

F.S. (m)
1.860
1.915
2.615
1.760
0.920
0.915
0.515
1.170

Rise (m)

Fall (m)
0.655
1.790
2.220
0.880

1.040
1.680
1.740
1.135

B.S. - F.S. = 11.720 - 11.670 = 0.05 m


Rise - Fall = 5.595 - 5.545 = 0.05 m

Elevation (m)
150.485
149.830
148.040
145.820
144.940
145.980
147.660
149.400
150.535

Remarks
B.M.

B.M.

Profile Leveling
Profile leveling is a method of surveying that has been carried out along the central line of a track of
land on which a linear engineering work is to be constructed/ laid. The operations involved in
determining the elevation of ground surface at small spatial interval along a line is called profile
leveling. The route along which a profile is run may be single straight line, as in case of a short
sidewalk; a broken line, as in the case of a transmission line or sewer; or a series of straight lines
connected by curves, as in case of a railroad, highway or canal.
Stations
The line along which the profile is to be run is to be marked on the ground before taking any
observation. Stakes are usually set at some regular interval which depends on the topography,
accuracy required, nature of work, scale of plotting etc. It is usually taken to be 10 meter. In
addition, stakes are placed at locations where marked changes in slope occur; a change in direction
occur; at critical points like culverts, bridges and other features crossing the alignment. The
beginning station of profile leveling is termed as 0+00. Points at multiples of 100m from this point
are termed as full stations. Intermediate points are designated as pluses. For example, a point that
is 153.25m from the beginning point of the survey is station 1+53.25 i.e., the point is 53.25m
beyond the first full station.
Procedure
In carrying out profile leveling, a level is placed at a convenient location (say I 1) not necessarily
along the line of observation (Figure 14.1). The instrument is to be positioned in such a way that
first backsight can be taken clearly on a B.M. Then, observations are taken at regular intervals
(say at 1, 2, 3, 4) along the central line and foresight to a properly selected turning point (say TP 1).
The instrument is then re-positioned to some other convenient location (say I2). After proper
adjustment of the instrument, observations are started from TP1 and then at regular intervals (say
at 5, 6 etc) terminating at another turning point, say TP2 . Staff readings are also taken at salient
points where marked changes in slope occur, such as that at X.
The distance as well as direction of lines are also measured.
Field Book Note
The notes of profile leveling are recorded in a level note book where backsights, intermediate
sights and foresights are placed in independent columns. The distances of points as well as
direction of lines are also noted in separate columns (Table 14.1).
In case of profile leveling as shown in Figure 14.1, for instrument position at l1, the first backsight
(B.S) is taken at B.M and the reading of 3.005m is placed in its column in the row of station A
(Table 14.1). Then, intermediate sights 2.285m, 1.560m, 1.785m, 2.105m respectively at stakes
1,2,3,4 are placed in the corresponding row. The first foresight 3.105m taken at station B is
placed in its row. From changed instrument location l2, a backsight 2.875m is taken at B and it is
entered in the B.S. column in the row of B. Thus, at station B, both backsight and foresight
readings are entered. The intermediate sights 3.465m, 3.955m, 3.120m, 3.015m, 2.580m, 1.955m
respectively at stakes 5, X, 6, 7, 8, 9 are placed in their corresponding row. The foresight 1.465m
taken at station C is placed in its row.

Table 14.1 Field book for Reduction of Level

Pegs Distance(m) Direction

Staff Reading (m)


B.S

I.S

F.S

Difference
Elevation (m)
Rise
Fall

3.005

in
H.I (m) R.L(m) Remarks
108.620 105.615 B.M.

0+00

2.285

0.720

106.335

0+10

1.560

0.725

107.060

0+20

1.785

0.225

106.835

0+30

2.105

0.320

106.515

0+40

0+50

3.465

0.590

104.925

0+53.35

3.955

0.490

104.435

0+60

3.120

0.835

105.270

0+70

3.015

0.105

105.375

0+80

2.580

0.435

105.810

0+90

1.955

0.625

106.435

1+00

2.875

3.105

1.000

1.465 0.490

108.390 105.515 T.P.1

106.925 T.P.2

5.880

4.570 3.935

2.625

Calculation of Reduced Level


Reduction of levels can be done either by height of instrument method or by rise and fall method.
In Table 14.1, computations have been carried out by both the methods and subsequently their
checks are done.
Table 14.1 Field book for Reduction of Level

Pegs Distance(m) Direction

Staff Reading (m)


B.S

A
1
2
3
4

0+00
0+10
0+20
0+30

0+40

5
X
6
7
8
9

0+50
0+53.35
0+60
0+70
0+80
0+90

1+00

I.S

F.S

Difference in
Elevation (m) H.I (m) R.L(m) Remarks
Rise
Fall

3.005
2.285
1.560
1.785
2.105
2.875

0.720
0.725
0.225
0.320
3.105

3.465
3.955
3.120
3.015
2.580
1.955

5.880

1.000
0.590
0.490

108.620 105.615 B.M.


106.335
107.060
106.835
106.515
108.390 105.515 T.P.1

0.835
0.105
0.435
0.625

104.925
104.435
105.270
105.375
105.810
106.435

1.465

0.490

106.925

4.570

3.935

2.625

B.S. - F.S. = 5.880 4.570 = 1.310m


Rise- Fall = 3.935 2.625 = 1.310m
Last R.L. - First R.L.= 106.925 - 105.615 = 1.310m
Plotting of Profile
Plotting of profile leveling provides a graphical representation of the ground points on a
longitudinal section along the alignment. It is being used to determine the depth of cutting or filling
on the proposed gradient (for highways, railways, canals, etc.), to study grade crossing problems,
to select appropriate grade, to locate depth of sewer, tunnels etc. In this, a datum line is drawn
along which distance of the stakes are marked and reduced levels are plotted along vertical lines
drawn on the marked points. Segmented straight lines joining the reduced level points represent
the longitudinal profile of the ground surface. Profile is generally drawn so that the vertical scale is
much larger than the horizontal scale in order to accentuate the differences of elevations.

Figure 14.2 shows the longitudinal section of the profile leveling (Figure 14.1). In this, the datum
and ground lines are drawn in black and the ordinates in blue. The value of the datum line is
given and the reduced levels are written against ordinates.

Cross Sectioning
In many projects, terrain information transverse to the longitudinal section (through profile leveling) is
also required such as for highways, railways, canals etc. In those cases, surveying is carried out at
right angle to the central line, generally, at regular interval is being carried out and is termed as
cross- sectioning. If, for any reason, a cross-section is run in any other direction, the angle with the
centre line is required to be noted. The observations are then recorded as being to the left or right of
the centre line. The notes of the readings are maintained as shown in Table 14.2 for taking a crosssection along the stake point 4. Reduction of levels, Plotting etc. can be done as in case of profile
leveling. A plotting of the cross section at stake 4 is as shown in Figure 14.3.
Table 14.2 Field book for Reduction of level
Staff reading (m)
Pegs Distance(m) Direction
B.S.
A

I.S.

F.S.

3.005

Difference
in
elevation (m)
H.I (m) R.L (m) Remark
Rise
Fall (m)
(m)
108.620 105.615 B.M.

:
4

B
:

0+30

0+40

2.105

2.875

0.320

106.515 0m

1.850

106.770 2m left

1.725

106.895 4m left

1.680

106.940 6m left

1.985

106.635 2m right

1.875

106.745 4m right

1.780

106.840 6m right
3.105

1.000

108.390 105.515 T.P.1

Ex14-1 Following staff readings were taken with a level. The instrument having been shifted after the
4th, 7th and 10th reading. R.L. of the starting B.M. is 100.00 m. Enter the reading in the form of a
level book page. Find the R.L. of stations and apply usual checks.
2.665, 3.745, 3.830, 2.275, 2.645, 0.385, 0.960, 1.640, 2.845, 3.845, 2.680 and 3.265
Solution :
Observation Station
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

B.S.(m) I.S.(m)
2.655
3.745
3.830
2.645
0.385
1.640
2.845
2.680
3.265
9.620

F.S.(m) H.I.(m) R.L.(m) Remark


102.655 100.00 B.M.
98.910
98.825
2.275
103.025 100.380 CP1
102.640
0.960
103.705 102.065 CP2
100.860
3.485
102.900 100.220 CP3
99.635
9.985

B.S. - F.S. = 9.620 - 9.985 = - 0.365 m


Last R.L. - First R.L. = 99.636 - 100.00 = - 0.365 m
Ex.14-1 The following consecutive readings were taken with a level and a 4 m staff on a
continuously sloping ground at a common interval of 30 m.
0.780; 1.535; 1.955; 2.430; 2.985; 3.480; 1.155; 1.960; 2.365; 3.640; 0.935; 1.045; 1.630 and 2.545.
The reduced level of the first point A was 218.750 m. Rule out a page of a level book and enter the
above readings. Calculate the reduced levels of the points by the collimation method, and rise and
fall method. Also, calculate the gradient of the slope.
For Exercise 14
Ex.14-1
Objective B.S. (m) I.S. (m)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

F.S. (m)

Rise (m) Fall (m)

0.780
1.535
1.955
2.430
2.985
1.155

3.480
1.960
2.365

0.935

3.640

0.755
0.420
0.475
0.555
0.495
0.805
0.405
1.275

R.L. (m) Remarks H.I. (m)


A. Bench
218.750
219.53
Mark
217.995
217.575
217.100
216.545
216.050 CP2
217.205
215.245
214.840
213.565 CP2
214.500

10
11
12

1.045
1.630
2.87

2.545
9.665

0.110
0.585
0.915

213.455
212.870
211.955

B.S. - F.S. = 2.870 - 9.665 = -6.795 m


Rise - Fall = - 6.795 m
Last R.L. First R.L. = -6.795 m
Gradient (fall) = [6.795 / (11 x 30)] = 1 in 48.565 (downward from A)

Reciprocal Leveling
To find accurate relative elevations of two widely separated intervisible points (between which levels
cannot be set), reciprocal leveling is being used.
To find the difference in elevation between two points, say X and Y (Figure 15.1), a level is set up at
L near X and readings (X1 and Y1) are observed with staff on both X and Y respectively. The level is
then set up near Y and staff readings (Y2 and X2 ) are taken respectively to the near and distant
points. If the differences in the set of observations are not same, then the observations are fraught
with errors. The errors may arise out of the curvature of the earth or intervening atmosphere
(associated with variation in temperature and refraction) or instrument (due to error in collimation) or
any combination of these.

The true difference in elevation and errors associated with observation, if any, can be found as
follows:
Let the true difference in elevation between the points be h and the total error be e. Assuming, no
error on observation of staff near the level (as the distance is very small)
Then, h = X1 ~ (Y1 - e) [From first set of observation]
and h = (X2 - e) ~ Y2 [From second set of observation]

Thus, the true difference in elevation between any two points can be obtained by taking the mean of
the two differences in observation.

Thus, total error in observations can be obtained by taking the difference of the two differences in
observation. The total error consist of error due to curvature of the earth, atmospheric errors (due to
temperature and refraction) and instrumental errors (due to error in collimation) etc.
Example
Ex15-1 In order to transfer reduced level across a canyon, a reciprocal leveling campaign was
conducted. Simultaneous readings were observed using two levels one at each side of the canyon.
Each of the levels are having same magnifying power and sensitiveness of level tube. With
instruments interchanged during leveling operation yielded the following average readings:
Instrument

Average
near Average
distant, R.L of X = 101.345 m
readings, meter
readings, meter
Distance, XY = 1.025Km
1.780
2.345

2.435

station

1.870

e curvature = 0.0785 XY 2

Find out the R.L. of unknown point. Comment on the errors associated with observations.
Solution :
The difference in elevation between X and Y is

= 0.565 m (Y lower than X)


R.L. of Y (unknown Point) = R.L. of X - h = 101.345 - 0.565 = 100.780 m
Since two leveling rods are used and the elapsed time between reading in a set observation is little,
the error due to change in atmospheric condition can be neglected. Moreover, since readings were
taken with instruments interchanged, instrumental errors get cancelled between different set of
observation. As the observations are repeated and averages of the readings have been considered
for further calculation, it is expected that error associated with observation is minimized thus
removed. Only error present in the observation is that associated with the curvature of the earth.

Trigonometric Leveling
For rapid leveling or leveling in rolling ground or for inaccessible points, trigonometric method of
leveling is being used. In this method, theodolite (an instrument which can measure angle) is being
generally used as an instrument for taking different measurements.

Let us consider two stations T and X on rolling ground whose difference in elevation is required to be
determined (Figure 15.2) by trigonometric method of leveling. At T, a theodolite instrument is set up.
TT ' is the height of the instrument above the point T (to be recorded at the time of observation). A
leveling staff is held at X. At the vertical angle of elevation of the actual line of sight , let x1 is the
observed staff reading. The difference in level between T and X is given by

where xt' xh is deviation of the horizontal line of sight due to curvature of the earth and refraction of
light (given by 0.0675 T' x h2 ). xh x1is T' x1 sin or T' x h tan , T' x1 is the inclined distance from the
instrument to the staff and T' xh is the horizontal distance between the points, x1 X is the staff reading
at X.
Examples
Ex15-2 In order to eliminate the uncertainty due to refraction, observations for vertical angle are
made at both ends of the line as close in point of time as possible. The vertical angle at the lower of
the two peaks to the upper peak is +3 02' 05"?. The reciprocal vertical angle at the upper peak is 3 12' 55"?. The height of instrument are kept to be same in all observation. The slope distance
between two mountain peaks determined by EDM measurement is 21,345m. Compute the
difference in elevations between the two peaks.

Solution :
Average vertical angle = (3 02' 05" + 3 12' 55") / 2 = 6 15' 00 "
Difference in elevation = 21.345 sin 3 07' 30 " + 0.0675 (21.345 cos 3 07' 30 ")2
= (1.163 + 30.662) m
= 31.825 m
Ex.15-1The following reciprocal levels were taken on two stations P and Q:
Instrumentstation Average
near Average
distant,
readings, meter
readings, meter
R.L of P = 101.345 m
P

2.165

3.810

2.335

0.910

Distance, PQ = 1645 Km

Determine the elevation of Q and the error due to refraction when the collimation error is 0.003m
downward per 100m.
Ex.15-2 In order to reduce the error in measurement of vertical angle a set of measurements are
taken and find the average angle as 9 02' 05? form a height of instrument as 1.565m to a target
height 2.165m. If the elevation of the instrument station is 189.250m above mean sea level, find the
elevation of staff station. Assume any data, if required.
For Exercise 15
Ex.15-1 99.810 m; 0.063 m
Ex. 15-2 204.134 m (Hints : Assume, tacheometric observation fitted with anallactic lens and having
fixed target of height 1 m)

Errors, Mistakes and Precautions in Leveling


Instrumental Error
Error in permanent adjustment of level : For any major surveying work, instrument needs to be
tested and if required, gets to be adjusted. For small works, bubble of the level tube should be
brought to the centre before each reading and balancing of sights are to be maintained.
Staff defective and/or of non-standard quality : The graduation in staff may lack standard
distance and thus may cause error in reading. In an ordinary leveling, the error may be negligible but
in the case of precise leveling, the graduations are to be standardized with invar tape.
Error due to defective level tube : The bubble of the level tube may remain central even though
the bubble axis is not horizontal due to its sluggishness or it may take considerable time to occupy
central position, if it is very sensitive. Also, there may be irregularity in the curvature of the tube
causing delirious effect.
Error due to defective tripod : The tripod stand should be strong and stable otherwise it causes
setting of the instrument unstable and considerable time is required to make it level. The nuts
provided at the joints of the legs to the tripod head should be well-tightened before mounting the
instrument. The tripod should be set up on a stable, firm ground.
Personal Error
Due to imperfection in temporary adjustment of the instrument
These errors are caused due to careless setting up of the level, improper leveling of the instrument,
lack in focus of eyepiece or/and objective and error in sighting of the staff.

Careless set-up of the instrument: If the instrument is not set up firmly, it gets disturbed
easily. If the ground is not firm, it may settled down and on hard ground, it may get slipped.

Imperfect leveling of the instrument : Due to improper leveling of the instrument, bubble
does not remain at the centre when the sights are taken resulting error in reading. To avoid
the error, the bubble should be brought to the centre before each reading.

Imperfect focusing . If either the eye-piece or the objective or both are not properly
focused, parallax and thus error in the staff readings occur. Due to movement of eyes if
there is any apparent change in the staff reading the eye-piece and objective need proper
focusing.

Errors in sighting : This occurs when the horizontal cross-hair does not exactly coincide with the
staff graduation or it is difficult to see the exact coincidence of the cross hairs and the staff
graduations. The error can be minimised by keeping the sight distance small.
Error due to staff held Non-vertical . If the staff is not held vertical, the staff reading obtained is
greater than the correct reading. To reduce the error, the staff should be held exactly vertical or the
staff man should be asked to waive the staff towards the instrument and then away from the

instrument and the lowest reading should be taken.


Errors in reading the staff: These errors occur if staff is read upward, instead of downwards, read
against the top or bottom hair instead of the central hair, mistakes in reading the decimal part and
reading the whole meter wrongly.
Errors in recording: The common errors are entering a wrong reading (with digits interchanged or
mistaking the numerical value of a reading called by the level man), recording in wrong column,
e.g., B.S. as I.S., omitting an entry, entering the inverted staff reading without a minus sign etc.
Errors in computing: adding the fore sight reading instead of subtracting it and or subtracting a
back sight reading instead of adding.
Error due to Natural Cause
Error due to curvature : In case of small sight distance error due to the curvature are negligible,
but if the sight distances are large, the error should be estimated and accounted for, as discussed
below. However, the error can be minimized through balancing of sight or reciprocal observation.
With reference to Figure 16.1, the horizontal line of sight through an instrument set at L is L' x h.
The level line passing through L' is L' x l. The correct staff reading at X is x l. Thus, horizontal staff
reading at station X, x h is associated with an error x h x l due to curvature of the earth.

In Figure 16.2, PH is a horizontal line tangent at P to the level line along the mean radius, Rm of the
earth. At station L, LH is the amount of departure of the horizontal line from level line and thus the
error due to curvature of the earth (ec). This can be calculated from the triangle OPH in which

(Neglecting ec in the denominator as it is very small in comparison to Rm ).


Assuming, mean radius of the earth as 6367 Km, and D is the distance in Km from the instrument
position to the staff station, the error due to the curvature of the earth is
ec = 0.0785 D2
It is subtractive in nature as curvature of the earth always provides increase in staff reading.
Error due to refraction: It varies with temperature, terrain and other atmospheric conditions. It is
usually considered to be one seventh times but in opposite nature to the error due to curvature. To
minimize this error, reciprocal observation at the same instant of time is required to be adopted.
In actual field condition, the line of sight through a level is not straight but it bends downward due to
the refraction of rays of light as it passes through the intervening medium. Thus, reduces the error
due to curvature of the earth by approximately 14%. With reference to Figure 16.1, the actual line of
sight of the instrument set at L is thus L' x a. The observed staff reading at station X is x a. Thus, the
compensation due to refraction is thus x h x a which is error due to refraction (er ) through
intervening atmosphere. In Figure 16.2, HA is the error due to refraction (er ).

Error due to Earth's Curvature & Refraction


The combined error due to curvature and refraction (ecomb ) is thus given by
ecomb = 0.0675 D2 m

where D is the distance in km

It is finally subtractive in nature as the combined effect provides increase in staff reading. In Figure
16.1, x l x a represents the combined error due to curvature and refraction and in Figure 16.2, it is
AL .

In most ordinary leveling operation, the line of sight is rarely more than 2 meter above the ground
(where the variation in temperature causes substantial uncertainties in the refraction index of air).
Fortunately, most lines of sights in leveling are relatively short (< 30 m) and B.S. & F.S. are
balanced. Consequently, curvature and refraction corrections are relatively small thus insignificant
except for precise leveling.

Errors due to wind: Strong wind disturbs leveling of an instrument and verticality of staff. Thus, it is
advisable to suspend the work in this condition.
Errors due to sun : Due to bright sunshine on the objective, staff reading cannot be taken properly.
To avoid such error, it is recommended to maintain a shed to the objective.
Errors due to temperature: Temperature of the atmosphere disturbs setting of parts of instrument
as well as causes fluctuation in the refraction of the intervening medium. These lead to error in staff
reading. Disturbance caused to instrument may be minimized by placing the instrument under shed.
Mistakes in Leveling
The following mistakes (blunders) may occur if the surveyor is not careful and attentive.

Mistakes in Reading
Mistakes in Recording
Mistakes in Computations
Improper Holding of the Staff

Mistakes in Reading

Reading the staff in the wrong direction. It should be read in the direction in which the
graduations increase.

Reading the stadia hairs instead of the central horizontal hair.

Reading the wrong figure of meter and other decimal components.

Reading the wrong graduations or omitting a zero from a staff reading. For example,
reading 1.250 m instead of 1.025 m.

Mistakes in Recording

Recording the reading in the wrong column of the level book.

Recording the reading with the digits interchanged. For example, 2.425 for 2.245.

Omitting the recording of an entry altogether.

Recording remarks against a wrong line.

Recording a reading different from the one called by the instrument man.

Mistakes in Computations
The mistakes in computation can be detected by applying arithmetic checks. As far as possible,
the rise and fall method should be used
Precaution in Leveling
While leveling, the following precautions should be taken:

The staff should be held vertical while taking the reading;

The bubble in the level tube is to be brought to central before taking any reading;

Readings should be taken in the proper direction depending on the type of staff;

Balancing of sight is to be maintained as far as possible;

Reading and recording of observation correctly.

Error Propagation in Leveling


The propagated error in level of a line varies as the square root of the number of instrument set up
or as the square root of the distance leveled and the square root of the lengths of the sights.

Ex.16-1 A surveyor standing on seashore can just see the top of a ship through the telescope of a
levelling instrument. The height of the line of sight at instrument location is 1.65 meter above msl
and the top of ship is 50 meter above sea level. How far is the ship from the surveyor?
The following notes refer to the reciprocal levels taken with one level:

Instrument Station

Remarks

Staff Readings on
Near Station

Further station

1.03

1.630

Distance PQ = 800 m

2.74

0.950

R.L. of P = 450 m

Find (i) the true R.L. of Q;

combined correction for curvature and refraction

the error in collimation adjustment of the instrument.