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Seven Quality Checks for Measurement

Performing quality checks

Many factors can influence the accuracy of a measurement. While some factors can be compensated for, others are out of your control, no matter how sophisticated your equipment. Here are seven tips to help you get the most accurate measurement possible when working with any theodolite instrument.

Check #1: Did you read the manual? Always read the manual before starting to measure. If you don’t read the manual, you won’t know if you’re using the instrument correctly. Time spent up front learning about the instrument and settings is a worthwhile investment.

Check #2: Do you have the right accessories? When it comes to accessories, don’t skimp – the quality of your setup is important. Elements like a bad tripod, for example, can significantly diminish the quality of the measurement. It’s worth the money to buy good accessories!

Check #3: What's the weather like? Never underestimate effects caused by temperature changes or direct sunlight. Even the best materials are unpredictable in rapidly changing environmental conditions. Allow the material to settle to external temperature conditions before you begin working. Under any sunlight, try to keep your instruments and tripod in the shade.

Check #4: Is heat a factor? If you look through the telescope and see the air shimmering because of sunlight heating the ground, watch out! Measure twice and compare the results. If the results don’t match, consider changing your setup in a way that allows shorter distances between the target and instrument.

Check #5: What's the orientation of your horizontal angle? As mentioned above, the effects can never be fully excluded, even if you are being cautious. Sight a known point and remember the Hz value, which is easiest if you are able to sight the zero direction precisely. After a certain period of time – 30 minutes or so – check to see whether targeting the known direction gives you the same angle reading. In case there are significant differences, set up again and check your already measured points in reverse order. (Measure the last point again, then the second to last point, and compare the results. Continue only if you're sure the change of orientation didn't influence the measurements.)

Check #6: Did you take more than one measurement? You should conduct overlapping checks. Measure several points again, setting the instrument up at a different location. Do the results match within the specified accuracy?

Check #7: What instrument are you using to check your measurement? Don’t try to check a measurement using a less accurate tool. It makes no sense to check an electronic distance measurement shot over 130 feet using a steel tape, for example. But it does make sense to check a distance 6 feet or less with a folding ruler or tape.

By performing these seven quality checks, you'll be able to have more confidence in your measurements on every project. If you need help setting up or calibrating your instrument or understanding special features, please contact us. Our knowledgeable staff will be happy to assist you.