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3.1
Introduction/definition
Leveling is a method of surveying used for

determination of the difference of elevations or


levels of various points on the surface of the earth.
The elevation of a point is its vertical distance
above or below a reference level, called datum.
Leveling is an important method of surveying for
many engineering works and construction projects.
Leveling is needed for the design of
highways,
railways, and
Canals etc
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1. Station: a point whose elevation is to


be determined where the rod is held
2. Elevation: vertical distance above or
below the datum
3.
Benchmark
(BM): a fixed in
point of
Basic
definitions
reference with assumed or known
levelling
elevation.
4. Back sight (BS): the 1st staff reading
from a point of known elevation; +
sight. To obtain HI
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5. Fore sight (FS): the last staff


reading from a point of unknown
elevation; - sight
6. Intermediate sight (IS):
other staff reading b/n BS and FS
from a point of unknown elevation
7. Turning point (TP)(CP): a
point where both BS and FS
readings are taken. Shifting of
the instrument
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8. Height of instrument (HI): the relative


elevation of line of sight compared to
elevation of the BM when the instrument is
leveled.
9.Balancing of sights: When the distances
of the stations where back sight and fore
sight are taken from the instrument station,
are kept approximately equal, it is known as
balancing of sights.
10.Reduced level (R.L.): Reduced level of
a point is its height or depth above or below
the assumed datum. It is the elevation of the
point.
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11. Line of sight : It is a line joining the intersection


of the cross hairs to the optical centre of the
objective an itscontinuation.
Since in levelling the line of sight should remain
horizontal while making the sights, the line of
sight when horizontal.

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3.3 General Leveling

There are several methods for measuring


Methods

vertical distances and determining the elevation


of points. Traditional methods include:

Barometric levelling, ....indirect


method
b) Trigonometric levelling .....
c) Differential levelling .......direct method
d. Profile levelling...................
e. Crossectional levelling........
f. Reciprocal levelling ............
a)

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a) Barometric levelling : By using special barometers

(altimeters) to measure air pressure (which


decreases with increasing elevation), the
elevations of points on the earths surface can be
determined.
This method is useful for doing a reconnaissance
survey of large areas in rough country and to
obtain preliminary topographic data.

b) Trigonometric levelling; is an indirect procedure;


the vertical distances are computed from vertical
angle and horizontal or slope distance data.
It is also applied for topo. work over rough terrain
or other obstacles. For accomplishing this kind of
levelling a theodolite or transit is required the
distance are taken by stadia method or by means
of EDM methods.
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1. Simple levelling: - It is the simplest operation


in levelling, when it is required to find the
difference in elevation between two points,
both of which are visible from a single position
of the level.

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2. Differential levelling :- Determining the difference


in elevation between two or more points without
any regard to the alignment of the points is called
differential levelling.
It is used when
(a)two points are at large distance apart
(b)the difference in elevation between the two points
is large and
(c)some obstacles intervene between the points

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3.4.1 types of Levels:


There are four main types of levels which can

be used for Differential Levelling:


1.
2.
3.
4.

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Dumpy Level
Tilting level
Automatic Level
Digital Level

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1. Dumpy Level : This level was commonly


used in surveying work until the last few
decades.
Although these excellent, strong, and long
lasting devices have very largely been replaced
with more modern instruments,

Dumpy level
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2. Tilting Level:

A tilting level is one whose telescope can be

tilted or rotated about its horizontal axis.


The tilting level has a special arrangement of
prisms that enables the user to center the
bubble by means of a split or coincidence
bubble

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3.

Automatic or Self levelling Level:

Automatic levels are the standard


instruments used by todays surveyor.
This type of level is very easy to set up
and to use and is available with almost
any desired range of precision.

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Automatics
Levels from
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3.4.2 The Staff or Level Rods:


The levelling staff is used to
determine the amount by which
the point where staff is held is
above or below the line of sight.
The levelling staves are made of
wood or aluminium and marked
with graduations in meters and
decimals or feet and decimals.
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3.4.3
A tripod is a three- legged stand used to
Tripods
support
a level or other surveying instrument
during field measurements.

Tripod

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fixed leg tripod

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1.Setting up: Set up the tripod at a convenient


height and press the tripod feet firmly into the
ground. The tripod head should be
approximately horizontal. Fix the instrument on
it.
2. Levelling up: Level the instrument with the
foot screws until the circular bubble is in the
centre.
3. Focusing: First focus the eyepiece until the
cross hairs appear sharp and clear then point
the telescope towards the object (staff) and
focus until you see clearly the graduation of
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the staff.

Benchmark Example TP
When both

benchmarks cannot
be reached from one
instrument position,
turning points must
be used.
Because a turning
point is a temporary
benchmark, it must
be a stable structure.

A back sight is taken on BM1.


The 4.31 is added to the elevation of

the bench mark to find the height of


the instrument (104.31).

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Benchmark Examplecont.

In this example the benchmark elevation

is 850.47 m and the backsight is 3.56 m.


The height of the

instrument is:

HI = 850.47 m + 3.56 m = 854.03 m


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Benchmark ExampleThe instrument is


cont.
rotated until
it is

aligned with the


second
benchmark.
A rod reading
(foresight) is
recorded for the
The rod reading is subtracted from the
second
height of the instrument to find the
benchmark.
elevation of the second benchmark.
In this example the The elevation is:
foresight is 5.21 ft.
BM1 is 1.65 feet higher
than BM2.

Elev = HI - FS
= 854.03 m - 5.21 m

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= 848.82 m

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HI FS = ElevB

HI = ElevA + BS

ElevB = ElevA + BS FS = HI - FS

BS (+)
1.037m

FS (-)
0.895m

elevA = 103.459m
A: known
elevation
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HI = 104.496m
Datum: elev = 0.000m

vertical distance measurement

elevB = 103.601m
B: unknown
elevation
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Prepare the levelling field book and determine the elevation of BM2?
Note: While taking the readings the staff rod has to be held vertically!
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1.055m
S1
BM A
(elev.
134.685m)

1.451m
0.927m
S1

S2
TP1

1.295m
S2

0.713m
TP2

S3

1.835m
S3

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Level field books and


A level field book or a level book is used for
arithmetic
check
booking and reducing the levels of various
points on the surface of the earth.
The arithmetic involved in reduction of the
levels is used as check on the computations. The
following rules are used in the two methods of
reduction of levels.
(a) For the height of instrument method
(i) B.S. F.S. = Last R.L. First R.L.

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(ii) [H.I.(No. of I.S.s + 1)] I.S. F.S. =

R.L. First R.L.


(b) For the rise and fall method
B.S. F.S. = Rise Fall = h = Last R.L.
First R.L.

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Comparison of line of collimation(height


of instrument)Method with Rise and Fall

Height of Collimation Rise and fall method


Method
1

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Method
It is more rapid and It is laborious as the staff
saves considerable time reading of each station is
compared to get a rise or fall.
and labor.
is
well
adopted
for
It is well adopted for It
reduction of levels for determining the difference in
construction work such levels of two points where
precision is required.
as longitudinal or cross
sectioning
leveling
operation
There is no check on There is a complete check on
reduction of R.Ls. of the reduction of R.Ls of
intermediate stations.
intermediate stations.
There are only two There are three arithmetical
arithmetical
checks checks i.e. the difference
i.e.
the
difference between the sum of the back
sights and the sum of fore
between the sum of
sights must be equal to the
the back sight and difference between the sum of
fore sights
be the rises and the sum of falls
verticalmust
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Table 1 rise & fall method

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Table 2 Height of instrument method

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Example 3.1. Reduce the levels of the stations from the readings given in by
the rise and fall method.

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Cont.

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Check: 1.757 7.494 = 1.152 6.889 =

52.513 58.250 = 5.737 (O.K.

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Check: 1.757 7.494 = 1.152 6.889 = 52.513 58.250 =


5.737 (O.K).
Example 3.2. Reduce the levels of the stations from the readings given
in the Example 3.1 by height of instrument method. .

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Example 2:The following consecutive readings


were taken with a level on continuously sloping
ground at a common interval of 20 m. The last
station has an elevation of 155.272 m. Rule out
a page of level book and enter the readings.
Calculate
(i)the reduced levels of the points by rise and
fall method, and
(ii)(ii) the gradient of the line joining the first
and last points.0.420, 1.115, 2.265, 2.900,
3.615, 0.535, 1.470, 2.815, 3.505, 4.445, 0.605,
1.925, 2.885

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Solution:
Since the readings have been taken along a line
on a continuously sloping ground, any sudden
large change in the reading such as in the sixth
reading compared to the fifth reading and in the
eleventh reading compared to the tenth reading,
indicates the change in the instrument position.
Therefore, the sixth and eleventh readings are
the back sights and fifth and tenth readings are
the fore sights. The first and the last readings are
the back sight and fore sight, respectively, and
all remaining readings are intermediate sights.

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Exercise1 :The following readings were taken with a


level and 4 m staff. Draw up a level
book page and reduce the levels by the height of
instrument method.
0.578 B.M.(= 58.250 m), 0.933, 1.768, 2.450, (2.005
and 0.567) C.P., 1.888, 1.181, (3.679 and 0.612) C.P.,
0.705, 1.810.
Exercise2:the following staff readings were observed
successively with level, the instrument having been moved
forward after the second, fourth and eighth readings.
0.875, 1.235, 2,310, 1.385, 2.930, 3.125, 4.125, 0.120,
1.875, 2.030, 3.765. The first reading was taken with the
staff held upon a benchmark of elevation 132.135. Enter
the readings in level book-form and reduce the levels.
Apply the usual check.
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Profile leveling
The process of determining the elevation of

points at short measured intervals along a


fixed line is called profile leveling.
The need of profile leveling arises during the
location and construction of
highways,
railroads,
canals, and
sewers
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Cont.

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Sample Field book for profile


leveling

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Draw a straight line AB to represent a total

horizontal distance between the end stations to a


Plotting
the profile
convenient scale.
The distances between the consecutive points are

marked there on. Verticals are drawn at each point


to and their elevations plotted along these verticals.
Each ground point is thus plotted by a Cartesian
coordinate's i.e. horizontal distance as X- coordinate
and elevations as Y- coordinates.
The end points of all verticals are joined by straight
lines to show the profile of the ground.
Generally, horizontal scale is adopted as 1cm=10m
and the vertical scale is kept 10 times the horizontal
scale i.e. 1cm=1m so that the inequalities of the
ground may be shown clearly.
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Cont

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Cross sectional leveling

Cross sections at right angles to the center line


are run on either side for the purpose of
determining the lateral lay out line of the
ground surface.
The cross sections are taken at every 20m or
30m stations depending up on the nature of the
ground.
The distances are measured right or left from
the center line peg.
The lengths the cross section also depends
upon the topography of the ground and the
type of the project.

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Contt

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Cont

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Reciprocal leveling
When a line of levels crosses a broad body of

water it is impossible to balance the back


sight and foresight distances, it is necessary
to take sights much longer than permissible.
To obtain the best results we should have to
use the procedure termed as reciprocal
leveling. It is used when:
instrument can not be setup between the
two points due to an obstruction such as
valley, rivers etc

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The elevation of survey point A is to be

determined by leveling from BM1. At a set up


near BMl, a back sight is taken on BM1 and fore
sight on A.
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Assuming that atmospheric refraction remains

constant during the time between the two set


ups, the correct differences in elevation is
computed as the mean of the two measured
differences

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Curvature and
The nature of the earth's curvature and
Refraction
atmospheric refraction affect leveling
operations. The magnitude of the curvature C
in relation to the radius R of the earth and the
tangent distance d can be derived as follows

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with the value with the value of C in meters,


when D is in kilometers.
b) Refraction
Refraction usually takes place in a direction
towards the earth surface. The line of sight is
bent towards the earth surface by 14% of the
effect of curvature.
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Natural Errors
Curvature and refraction errors
(Equalize BS and FS distances;
set up the level as high as possible
from the ground)
Temperature variations (avoid heat,
take shorter sights)
Wind (not to level on windy days)
Settlement of the instruments
(avoid soft grounds, read quickly)
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Personal Errors
Bubble not centred (check the
bubble before and after each sight)
Parallax (move the eye up and
down, check focusing)
Rod handling (pay attention to
bubble; be careful
while rotating on the turning
point)
Poor turning point selection
Mistakes

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Instrumental Errors
Incorrect rod length
Loose screws on tripod legs
(fix them)
Non-horizontal crosshair (read
at the centre)
Non-horizontal line of sight
(TILT ERROR)
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Instrument not correctly levelled


Telescope not correctly focused
The wrong cross hair reading
recorded (e.g. top instead of middle)
Staff incorrectly read or not held
vertical
Staff incorrectly booked
At all above are mistake (blunders)
and cannot be corrected unless
the work is repeated.
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Field Errors
Staff not vertical
Use pond bubble on staff
Rock staff and take minimum
reading
Unstable equipment
Watch out for soft ground under
tripod or
staff
Dont touch (or kick) tripod while
doing

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Reading and Booking Errors


Keep sightings short to
estimate mm on staff accurately
Double check all readings
Write clearly
Carry out calculation checks
Weather
Wind causes level to vibrate,
heat
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The readings given in Table were recorded in a

levelling operation from points 1 to 10. Reduce


the levels by the height of instrument method
and apply appropriate checks.
The point 10 is a bench mark having elevation
of 66.374 m. Determine the loop closure and
adjust the calculated values of the levels by
applying necessary corrections. Also determine
the mean gradient between the points 1 to 10.

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Since there are three change points, there will


be four instrument positions. Thus the total
number of points at which the corrections are to
be applied is four, i.e., three C.P.s and one last
F.S. It is reasonable to assume that similar
errors have occurred at each station. Therefore,
the
correction for each instrument setting which
has to be applied progressively, is

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