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How to Prepare to Measure with a Leica Level


A level is a telescope that can turn 360 degrees. This allows you to create a horizontal line of sight for figuring out height differences and doing stakeouts. To record transverse profiles, use the horizontal circle for setting out right angles.

Levels can measure distances optically to within 0.1 and 0.3 meters.
To set up your level, first extend the tripod legs as far as needed and tighten the screws firmly. Check to see that the tripod plate is as close to horizontal as possible and that the tripod legs hold fast in the ground. Once you are certain of a secure horizontal platform, place the level on the tripod plate and secure it with the central fixing screw.
Now, as you watch the bulls-eye level, turn two of the foot-screws in opposite directions at the same time. Use the third foot-screw as needed to center the bubble in the bulls-eye level. Rotate the instrument 180 degrees and check the bulls-eye level again. Fine-tune adjustments as needed until the bubble stays centered.
Finally, check to see that the compensator can swing freely. The compensator is a tiny mirror suspended by a thread. It points the light beam to the center of the cross-hair even when residual tilt affects the telescope. To check it, lightly tap one leg of the tripod. If the bulls-eye level is centered, you should see the line of sight swing around the staff reading, always steadying itself at the same point.