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  1. #1
    Platinum Member rdam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    North Florida
    Kubota 3240 DT

    Default Survey Equipment

    Having reently purchased 15 acres in North Florida, I decided to look into some simple survey tools. Primarily, I am wanting to determine how high the land is relative to the paved frontage street.

    I saw a survey tripod and "measuring pole" at a garage sale for $10.00 and purchased it. The pole appears to be graduated in feet and inches. It's extendable to roughly 20 feet or so. It's pretty beat up.

    The tripod is yellow with heavy duty metal pointed "feet". At the top is a round metal base about 7 inches across. There is a 2 3/8 inch hole in the center. No threads or anything else.

    Is this thing of any use? Is the base "standard"? Can anyone recommend the proper "implement" to attach to the tripod (transit, laser level)?.

    I really just need to determine heights relative to the road. Any help appreciated.



  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2003
    Putnam, CT

    Default Re: Survey Equipment

    Hi Rick,
    First off, by a basic surveying book. Ebay has lots, There's one called Applied Field Surveying by King Royer ( John Wiley and Sons 1970 ), which is a good basic book, printed before everything was electronic. If your going to do it yourself, you probably will want a simple optical level or transit.
    Your measuring rod is probably usable. Check and see if it is really inches, or if it is in tenths of a foot. If it is in tenths then it can be used with certain levels to estimate distance ( stadia method ).
    Your tripod probably is missing a 5/8" - 11 threaded piece which would move within the large hole you describe. I don't know if you can get one or not.
    Most of the older levels and transits have a 3 1/2"- 8 thread so they would need a different tripod, or the missing piece and an adapter.
    A basic new optical level with tripod and stick can be had from Home Depot, Northern Tool and others. If you do not need to turn angles ( like property corners ) with precision, then they would do fine.
    There are also a number of levels and transits available from ebay. Be careful though since they can have a LOT of problems.
    Good Luck!

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003

    Default Re: Survey Equipment

    I did well buying a Nikon AZ-2 automatic level from EBay, complete with a spherical head tripod and plum bob and a rod measuring in feet and tenths, for about $270. The only thing missing is the stadia marks (AZ-2S), but we're using a $30, 300' fiberglass measuring tape which is probably more accurate, anyway. I didn't know beans about surveying, and probably still don't, but we've managed to start with 3 known points (stakes on neighboring land) and plot our 5 acres pretty accurately. It's especially good for setting elevations. Just a couple of days ago I used it to check the elevations for a new driveway culvert, and I'll use it to set the pipe when it is delivered.

    We've done a complete site plan with house location, barn location, pool, septic, well, road locations, pond, elevations for everything, location of major landscaping, drainage, etc. etc. We made all the drawings on TurboCad. The health department and the building department have accepted them in lieu of a certified survey. I have no idea what all that's would have cost but others have told me it would be many, many hundreds, if not thousands. When we're done, I'll sell it on EBay again, maybe even for a profit!

    If all you want to do is set elevations, a basic transit is probably good enough and a lot cheaper. You may be able to rig up the mounting screw for your tripod. It basically slides around so you can level the optical device and then tighten the screw.

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