CHAPTER 2

Leveling

General Terms
• Leveling is the procedure for determining
differences in elevation between points that
are some distances from each other

• Elevation is the vertical distance above or
below a reference datum. Elevations can be
determined using techniques such as leveling,
total station, GPS or remote sensing.

Leveling Concepts

General Terms
• Horizontal line is a straight line perpendicular
to a vertical line.

• Level line is a line in a level surface. A level
surface is a curved surface parallel to the
mean surface of the earth.
• A level surface is best visualized as being the
surface of a large body of water at rest.

It is assigned a vertical value (elevation) of 0. It is also referred to as a plumb line or a line of gravity. • Mean sea level (MSL) is the vertical reference datum. . General Terms • Vertical line is a line from the surface of the earth to the earth’s center.000 ft or 0.000 m.

all of which are mounted on a sturdy tripod. . or spirit level tube. • Surveyor’s level consists of a crosshair-equipped telescope and an attached circular bubble. Theory of Differential Leveling • Differential leveling is used to determine differences in elevation points that are some distance from each other using a surveyor’s level together with a graduated measuring rod.

. Theory of Differential Leveling • Surveyor can sight through the telescope to a rod graduated in feet or meters and determine a measurement reading at the point where the crosshair intersects the rod. • All rod readings taken with a surveyors’ level contain an error c over a distance K.

0007 m in 100 m). . Theory of Differential Leveling • Divergence between a level line and a horizontal line is quite small.002 ft. for a distance of 300 ft. over a distance of 1000 ft. divergence is 0. (0. • For example.024 ft. divergence is only 0.

Leveling Process .

.Effects of Curvature and Refraction • When considering the divergence between level and horizontal lines. one must also account for the fact that all sight line are refracted downward by the earth’s atmosphere.

Effects of Curvature and Refraction .

0206M2 (c + r)ft in feet M in thousands of feet .Effects of Curvature and Refraction (c + r)m = 0.0675K2 (c + r)m in meters K in kilometers (c + r)ft = 0.574K2 (c + r)ft in feet K in miles (c + r)ft = 0.

8 km .Effects of Curvature and Refraction Example 2.7 miles d.500 ft b.1 • Calculate the error due to curvature and refraction for the following distances a. 400 ft c. 1. 2. 2.

Types of Surveying Levels • Automatic level • Digital level • Tilting level .

• More precise values can be obtained by using optical micrometer.01 m. • Foot rod can be read directly to 0. whereas the metric rod can be read directly to 0.01 ft. metal or fiberglass and are graduated in feet or meters. . Leveling Rods • Manufactured from wood.

or three-piece rods graduated in either feet or meters. Leveling Rods • Most precise work requires the face of the rod to be an invar strip held in place under temperature—compensating spring. . • Most leveling surveys utilize two.

. • The zero mark is at the bottom of the metal plate. • The rods are graduated in a variety of patterns. Leveling Rods • Sole of the rod is a metal plate that can withstand the constant wear and tear of leveling.

Leveling Rods .

. Definitions • Benchmark (BM) is a permanent point of known elevation • BMs are established by using precise leveling techniques and instrumentation • BMs are bronze disks or plugs usually set into vertical wall faces that resist vertical movement due to settling or upheaval.

but available in field notes. • Elevations of TBMs are not published. nails in the roots of trees. . • TBMs can be flange bolts on fire hydrants. top corners of concrete culvert headwalls. Definitions • Temporary benchmark (TBM) is a semipermanent point of known elevation.

• Backsight (BS) is a rod reading taken on a point of known elevation to establish the elevation of the instrument line of sight. • Height of instrument (HI) is the elevation of the line of sight through the level. Definitions • Turning point (TP) is a point temporarily used to transfer an elevation. .

• Intermediate sight (IS) is a rod reading taken at any other point where the elevation is required. . benchmark. or temporary benchmark to determine its elevation. Definitions • Foresight (FS) is a rod reading taken on a turning point.

Important formulae Existing elevation + BS = HI HI – FS = new elevation Starting elevation + ∑BS .∑FS = Ending elevation .

Leveling Procedure – One Setup .

Leveling Procedure–Multiple Setups .

Leveling Field Notes .

Profile and Cross-Section Leveling • Plan view of route location is the same as if we were in air-craft looking straight down • Profile of the route is a side view or elevation in which the longitudinal surfaces are highlighted • Cross-section shows the end view of a section at a station and is at right angles to the centerline. .

Example of Profile Leveling .

Profile Leveling Field Notes .

Topographic Relief .

Peg Test (is line-of-sight horizontal?) .

946 .075 Rod reading at B. a2 = 1.2 What is the error in the line of sight for the level used to take the following readings? First Setup Rod reading at A. a1 = 1.247 Second Setup Rod reading at A.783 Rod reading at B. b2 = 1. b1 = 1. Peg Test Example 2.

b2 = 1.075 Rod reading at B.946 Apparent difference in elevation = 0.172 Second Setup Rod reading at A.009 . a2 = 1.247 True difference in elevations = 0.163 Error (Δ e2) in 60 m = 0. Peg Test Solution: First Setup Rod reading at A.783 Rod reading at B. a1 = 1. b1 = 1.

Trigonometric Leveling .

Trigonometric Leveling V = S sin α Elevation at station + hi ± V – RR = elevation at rod .

Trigonometric Leveling Example 2.29 + 4. 18 sin 30° 22’ = 4.3 (refer Fig 2-30 pg. 52) Determine the elevation of the instrument.54 – 4.00 = 320. Solution: V = S sin α = 82.47 .72 – 41.54 ft Elevation at station + hi ± V – RR = elevation at rod 361.

• If the error in a level loop is acceptable. Level Loop Adjustments • If the error in a level loop is unacceptable.4 . that error is distributed according to the distances leveled (or the number of instrument setups). See Example 2. the leveling must be repeated.

elevations of new BMs 201. and 203 were determined. .4 A level circuit is shown. 202. A survey is needed for a local engineering project. Level Loop Adjustment Example 2. It starts at BM 20. and then the level survey is looped back to BM 20.

Level Loop Adjustment BM Loop Distance: Field Elevation Cumulative (km) 20 186.242 202 2.7 186.273 201 0.4 182.227 20 4.297 203 3.8 184.0 184.258 .

Level Loop Adjustment .