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I – INTRODUCTION

introduction and definition of surveying is distance or length of lines. We need distance not

only to determine the dimensions of natural or artificial objects on earth surface of but also to

know location, position of these objects on the surface of earth. This is accomplished by

measuring

a) horizontal distance from a known (control) point and

b) direction or orientation from a known reference direction.

From these, coordinates of points on a specified reference surface can be computed. Of course

some surveys are carried out under the surface of earth and some other surveys above the

surface of earth.

II – DEFINITIONS

If we have two points A and B on the surface of earth, we can talk about

a) distance from A to B, or

b) the length of line AB.

The first definition is vectorial one and includes a direction; namely from A to B. In this

course we are defining quantities on a plane surface, but actually distances on a curved

surface (of earth) will vary depending on at what elevation they are measured. The distances,

for example measured in Ankara, which is about 1000 m above sea level, will appear larger

(more) than if they are measured at sea level (say Samsun). So in projects, where long

distances or large areas are covered, a sea level reduction is made to plane distance values to

correct for curvature error.

The distance between two points or length of the line can be defined in three ways as seen in

the figure:

surface of earth. Obviously this is an horizontal

irregular distance, depending up shape of the distance

B

surface. G is used in walking, pacing to find

or to locate points on the surface.

S surface of

earth

2) Slope Distance – S: Slope distance, as

seen in the figure, is the length of straight ∆H

G

line joining two points (A and B here). The

magnitude of slope distance will increase A

with the increasing elevation difference D

between points (∆H). Accordingly in horizontal

line

specifying slope distance (S), we should also vertical

give (determine) the elevation difference

between points.

1

3) Horizontal Distance – D: This is the distance between verticals passing through A and B,

along a horizontal line (on a horizontal plane). Horizontal distance is the shortest distance

between points A and B. When we say distance, without specifying type, we mean horizontal

distance. Horizontal distance is the distance used in maps, plans, projects, Geographic

Information Systems (GIS).

Slope distance is sometimes used in lay out, but especially slope distances are measured in

modern EDM (Electronic Distance Measurement) instruments. EDM instruments after

measuring the slope distance from EDM unit to the reflector (on the other end of line) can

make conversion to horizontal distance, as well as computing elevation difference (∆H)

between points, if the slope (∆H) is known and input into the instrument.

Amount of slope or inclination can be expressed in different forms, and civil engineers use

slope expressions in their project work, design and in quantity surveying.

-αA

1) Vertical Angle – α: This is the angle up or down

from a horizontal line at one of the points. As seen in S

the figure vertical angle is +α from A to B and –α horizontal

(down) from B to A. α seems to be logical way of + αB line

A

expressing the slope since it is directly proportional to

the amount of slope or elevation difference; but the + up (αB)

minus or plus sign makes α somewhat confusing and α 0 horizontal

for this reason modern EDM instruments prefer to use

Z (zenith angle) as will be explained below. α has - down (αA)

subscript of target.

Zenith

vertical plane from zenith line to our slope line (AB).

Zenith line

Zenith line (başucu doğrultusu) at a point is opposite of

line

vertical line at the same point; i.e. zenith line goes

upward, opposite of vertical line. As seen in the figure, ZA

Z has subscript of end point of the line. If you are at A B

and sighting (target) B, you use B as subscript; and if at ZB S

B use A as subscript. As Z increases the elevation

A

difference or slope of the line decreases; this is

inversely proportional and somewhat contradicting the vertical

logic but Z is preferred to α since there is no sign (of +

or -) in zenith angle (Z) compared to α. If you prefer to

< 900 (100g) up

use α in your computations, you can use Z + α = 900 Z = 900 (100g) hor.

(100g) expression for conversion of Z to α. > 900 (100g) down

2

3) Elevation Difference – ∆H: Slope can be expressed B

also in terms of elevation difference between points A

and B, but in this case either slope distance (S) or S ∆HAB

-∆HBA

horizontal distance (D) must also be provided. As seen

in the figure ∆H elevation difference may be upward

(+) or downward (-), and of course 0 (zero) if

A D

horizontal.

B

4) Percent Slope – g%: g is (in meters)

is the elevation difference for 100 m gm = -g% + up

horizontal distance. Percent slope is α 0 horizontal

preferred and used in design, projects and gm = +g% - down

computation of civil engineering projects.

A 100 m

B

5) n vertical in m horizontal: 2 up in 17 means 3 up in 10

2 m upward in 17 m horizontal distance. This 3

expression is used to express steep construction A 10

slopes in civil engineering construction and 15

excavation or fill up slopes. As you can imagine A

or guess, excavation or fill up slopes are made of 7

steep so that less earthwork is carried out. 7 down in 15

B

You must know or learn three items in slope and slope expressions:

b) Conversions of slope expressions; from one to others

c) Computing horizontal distance from slope distance & vice versa.

Examples of b and c are given in next pages. You can make similar conversions for slopes as

well as for distances (D or S) by drawing a figure (very easily).

Here as an example we will show how to make conversions if slope is given in form of

elevation difference; ∆H

S ∴ D 2 = S 2 − ∆H 2 will give you horizontal distance. Let us

∆H

now try to compute the difference between slope distance

A and horizontal distance. We call this difference as “slope

D

correction”: C; to see how large C is, rewrite above

expression.

S 2 − D 2 = ∆H 2 or in partials

( S + D)( S − D) = ∆H 2

3

Now we are measuring slope distance and then computing horizontal distance. We know S,

therefore:

S−D=C small compared to S. So in measurement S − D = C , by

definition.

∆H 2

C= can be computed. ∴ D = S − C will give us horizontal distance.

2S

Now if we are making a lay out, in which we know the horizontal distance AB = D in the

project and assume we want to make a slope (S) distance measurement on the surface

(ground). Again if the slope is not very steep (<10%), C will be very small compared to

distance D

∴ S + D = 2 D + C ≈ 2 D & S − D = C by definition

in lay out:

∆H 2

Accordingly 2 D * C = ∆H 2 , C=

2D

∴ S = D + C will give slope distance to be measured.

If the slope is steep (>10%) or if the accuracy requirement is high then we can use the next

term (of Taylor expansion):

∆H 2 ∆H 4 ∆H 2 ∆H 4

in measurement: C = + in lay out: C = +

2S 8S 3 2D 8D 3

The above approach was used (preferred) in making distance measurements along a smooth

surface by putting the tape on the ground in old days. Today EDM will measure D as easy as

S by converting D to S with software in instrument. The only reason we put the method here

is to explain and clarify “THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEASUREMENT” AND “LAY

OUT”. To summarize

IN MEASUREMENT

Given (measured) S and ∆H C = S − D is correction for slope

∆H 2

required (compute) D C= ∴D = S −C

2S

IN LAY OUT

Given (project) D and ∆H C = S − D defined

required (compute) S. ∆H 2

(to be measured = S) C= ∴S = D +C

2D

4

IV – METHODS OF DISTANCE MEASUREMENTS

We have different methods of distance measurement to meet different NEEDS and different

RESOURCES. The methods vary in instrumentation, in operator requirement, and also in

cost, time and accuracies (qualities) obtained. The best method is the one which give quality

required by the project (application) in shortest time and most economical way. Selection of a

method or establishing a measuring system requires close considerations of project needs and

resources available in hand (time, money, operator, facilities etc.)

or standard deviations). So before listing methods, let us see how we express the precision of

measurement methods or instruments.

1. 1/n form; like 1/100, 1/1000, 1/5000 etc. This means there is 1 (one) error in n units of

measurement; e.g. if accuracy (precision) is 1/10000 and a distance of 300 m is measured,

its accuracy is said to be 1/10000 or in cm units

10000 m 1m

300 m 300*1/10000 = 0.03 m = 3 cm is the error in 300 m

2. ∓ form: specify the distance and its error in ∓ form. In above example D = 300 m, its error

was computed to be 3 cm, so we can write

D = 300 m ∓ 3 cm or D = 300 m ∓ 0.03 m

This form is used when distance & its error must be given together.

3. ppm = parts per million: The error of modern methods and instruments are given in this

form, usually ppm and also a constant (fixed) error resulting from sophisticated hardware

and software systems in modern instruments. Example:

Precision of a total station (TS) is (10 mm + 5 ppm) or ∓(10 mm + 5 ppm) (with ∓ sign)

* 1,000,000 5 mm

400,000 400,000*5 / 1,000,000 = 2 mm

∴ 6 mm + 2 mm = 8 mm = ∓ 8 mm or D = 400 m ∓ 8 mm, in form (2)

* 8 mm 400000

1 mm n = 400000 / 8 = 50000 ∴ 1/n = 1/50000, in form (1)

5

Methods of Distance Measurement:

1. DIRECT METHODS:

Here a standard distance (pace, tape, chain) is used to measure the length of line by scaling

(comparing, counting) the number of pace, tape or chain. This is the oldest and most

classical, standard method of distance measurement. There are two methods used today,

though modern electronic and space methods are replacing them: 1) Pacing 2) Taping.

In pacing, number of paces along the distance to be measured are counted and multiplied

by the length of pace to find the distance. Accuracy of pacing is in the range of 1/100 –

1/300 depending on ground surface and experience of the person. Pacing is a handy and

readily available method (paces are always with you!!!) and can be used in reconnaissance

surveys, site visits, to find and locate points approximately.

Taping – we will talk about taping in some detail after this section. Taping has accuracies

ranging from 1/1000 to 1 to 1 million depending on procedure, talent, skill, patience and

experience of operator; or taping accuracy can be expressed also 1 cm + 250 ppm. See

table for errors & precisions.

2. INDIRECT METHODS:

These are called also optical or tacheometric methods and the distances are determined by

using an equation, indirectly. Two most commonly known indirect methods are

1) substance bar and 2) stadia method.

In substance bar a 2 m long bar is placed over the end point of the line perpendicular to the

line and horizontal. The angle subtended between the ends of the bar is measured from (at)

the other end of line as seen in the figure.

2m

A α B

D

but α is usually very small as a result of long

distances. In this case effect of error in

horizontal angle on distance becomes very

large and produces a large error. For example for D = 250 m, mD = ∓1 m (see problem 12

in errors). So this method is not suitable for long distances.

Stadia method uses stadia hairs on the objective of telescope in theodolites. Accuracy of

stadia ranges from 1/300 to 1/1000 depending on accuracy of stadia readings on level rod.

Stadia gives accuracies which may be sufficient for low accuracy works like mapping of

small areas, hydrographic, topographic surveys. In old days (before EDM & GPS; before

1960’s) all detail surveys, to make topographic maps, were carried out by stadia surveys.

But nowadays, detail surveys are carried out faster and more accurate by versatile EDM

and GPS instruments. But let us write here at least stadia equations (expressions) to

determine horizontal distance (D) and elevation of points (H)

6

u: upper stadia hair reading on level rod leveling

m: middle stadia hair reading on level rod rod u

ℓ: lower stadia hair reading on level rod Zenith m s

Z: zenith angle (for inclined) of line of sight

ZB ℓ

K: stadia constant of instrument

K=100 usually

s: stadia interval B

D: horizontal distance

H: elevation of point a

a: height of instrument D

A

stadia interval: s=u−

(or s = 2(m − ) = 2(u − m) in case)

Horizontal distance D is given:

AB = D = K .s. sin 2 Z

Elevation:

1

HB = HA + a + K .s. sin( 2.Z )

2

D = K .s HB = HA + a as a special case.

EDM method or instruments employ and use electromagnetic energy (speed in vacuum

300,000 km/sec) to measure distances. The method as an idea was on the scene after

determination of speed of light in 1860. But the problem was how to measure time of such

small amount accurately. Let us see now, what was difficulty. Say you want to measure a

distance of 300 m by using electromagnetic energy (could be light) with a speed of

300,000 km/sec.!! If t is the time which the light takes to go along the line and to come

back (reflect):

t t

300m = v. , 300m = 300,000,000m. ∴t = 2 * 10 −6 sec

2 2

This is a very very small amount and can only be measured in a laboratory with very

heavy, sophisticated instrumentation. The difficulty will increase if we consider now

precision. Say we want to measure 300 m distance with a precision (accuracy) of ∓ 1 cm

(1/30,000). Then ∆t accuracy required in time will be:

2 * 10 −6 2

∆t = = * 10 −10 sec ,

30,000 3

Then how EDM’s overcome this difficulty in measuring time of travel of electromagnetic

energy? EDM instruments do not measure time elapsed for signal to go and come back

7

from reflector, but rather they measure phase difference between going (emitted,

transmitted) and reflected (coming back) signals. A wave makes a complete phase or cycle

in 2π (3600, 400g).

It is said that points along a wave are at

C different phases, or there is phase

difference between different points along a

D wave.

B

A Points A & B are in the same phase

E

because the distance between A & B is a

2π (3600)

full wavelength. The points along a wave,

λ = wave length which are not at intervals of full

wavelength (or full multiple of wavelength

(λ)) are said to be in phase differences; see figure:

Phase difference between A and C is λ/2

Phase difference between A and D is λ

Phase difference between A and E is 3λ/2

When the wave is reflected back (by (from) prism), the phase of reflected wave will not be

the same as emitted (going) wave unless the distance is full multiple of wavelength. EDM

measures this phase difference between going and reflected waves. The distance (slope

distance) to be measured then is

1

S= (n * λ + ∆λ )

2

n is determined by using different wavelengths.

Since phase difference ∆φ takes a value between 0 (zero) and 2π, it can easily be measured

∆ϕ

and ∆λ = λ will give the fraction (residual) of distance which is not a full wavelength.

2π

1) how to transmit energy,

2) how to make measurements,

both of which are important. To send energy easily and with simple instrumentation, we

should use short wavelength (high frequency) energy; while to make measurement easily

and precisely, we prefer to use long wavelength (low frequency) energies. Then, how are

we going to do this? Well, that is achieved by what we call MODULATION.

Modulation of waves combines advantages of high frequency and low frequency waves. In

modulation we use high frequency waves to transmit low frequency measuring waves. This

is very similar to radio broadcasting. There are three types of modulation of waves

1) FM; frequency modulation,

2) AM; Amplitude modulation, and

3) IM; Impulse modulation.

These are shown in figure. FM radios, for example, employ frequency modulation; to get

cheap broadcasting with clear reception but in a short (local) range. (see figures)

several cm depending on instrumentation and method of measurement. In average 5 mm +

8

3 ppm can be given. The cost of EDM instruments vary from $5000 to $20000 depending

in range and accuracy (precision).

Today EDM units are combined with theodolites and versatile Total Stations (TS) are

available in our services.

Modern Total Stations (TS) are mostly compact, one piece integrated instruments; they are

called total station because we can measure almost all geometric quantities like: distance,

length, vertical and horizontal angles, directions, azimuths, elevation and elevation

differences, coordinates etc.

1) EDM unit

2) An electronic theodolite

3) A computer

4) A software

5) A memory (disc or card)

You can store (record) data (field measurement) in memory and then plug and transfer it to

office computer; resulting an automated computing, drafting and drawing (map) system.

ERRORS IN EDM:

instrument over the point, measuring height of instrument and measuring height of target

can be mentioned.

effect because of changing temperature, humidity and pressure, variations of atmospheric

conditions along the path of signal is also important. Some instruments use correction

(models) for atmospheric effects. We should know and understand these correction model

as well as other models used in instrument to make computations and adjustments.

3) Instrumental errors: These may be reflector offset, reflector constant or scale factor or

what is called constant error. We can check some of the system or constant errors of EDM

and reflector by one of the following methods:

a) Baseline: If we have a baseline with known length, EDM instrument can be checked

regularly over this baseline to see whether there is any change in instrument constant

over the time.

b) High Quality EDM Unit: If we have a better and higher quality EDM, we can

meaure some distance by that EDM and by our’s and compare the results for any

change in instrument constant.

c) Over a Distance: We can measure a certain distance with our instrument once in one

part and once in two parts and determine the instrument constant from the difference,

of two sets as seen below:

9

L

A L1 C L2 B

L1 + C + L2 + C = L + C , ∴ C = L1 − L 2 − L

d) Any Line: Any line can be established and the length of line can be measured

periodically, so that (at least) the changes in instrumented constant (if any) can be

monitored.

p.s. The distances can be measured by EDM either 1) phase differences or 2) pulse

method. Pulse method is more widely used in tracking satellites to investigate the

geodynamical phenomena.

10

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