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what do you use for topo measuring in the field?

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I find myself doing a lot of topo measuring recently, both to site the building on the lot and to do some landscape design.  I typically use my old pls laser, which has the drawback of being very hard to see in daylight, and no ability to measure angles or heights.  I'm considering buying a Leica Disto, and wonder if anyone has used this or other methods or tools.  Ideally I'm looking for an efficient way to measure terrain and object (house, tree) height and distance.  I would like to set up in a couple locations, and then pick spots with the tool which would create a file showing the distance and height relative to my setup.

 

Thanks

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I just don't do field topo maps, I tell the client they need someone else to do it if necessary. I just do the house

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I suggest using a professional land surveyor - they have the equipment and the expertise. You can tell them exactly what you want, and they can supply the electronic data in a variety of formats. I think DIY isn't worth the liability.

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I think DIY isn't worth the liability

 

Why liability ?

 

you should never represent yourself as a "surveyor"

 

disclaimer or contract should clearly statement "any/all measurements are for planning purposes only"

"if accuracy beyond planning is needed, please consult a surveyor"

 

but yes, they would probably have the best equipment

 

if you have the desire to do this type of site work then check into how much the proper equipment costs

 

check into zip level - that may work for you ???

 

I have a builders grade rod and would put the disto on a monopod or tripod and shoot to the grade rod

to get basic "ballpark" heights

 

check out methods to do "triangular irregular networks" TIN

 

never oversell your skills

 

Lew

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2 hours ago, lbuttery said:

I think DIY isn't worth the liability

 

Why liability ?

 

you should never represent yourself as a "surveyor"

 

disclaimer or contract should clearly statement "any/all measurements are for planning purposes only"

"if accuracy beyond planning is needed, please consult a surveyor"

 

but yes, they would probably have the best equipment

 

if you have the desire to do this type of site work then check into how much the proper equipment costs

 

check into zip level - that may work for you ???

 

I have a builders grade rod and would put the disto on a monopod or tripod and shoot to the grade rod

to get basic "ballpark" heights

 

check out methods to do "triangular irregular networks" TIN

 

never oversell your skills

 

Lew

I'm with Lew !

 

I use this PLS with detector but only for the purpose of the lot elevations...if I need absolute sea level elevations we hire someone

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David, the Distos generally are very accurate for distances, but less so for heights with the tilt sensor. (+/- .1 deg.) So for a 50' distance, the height accuracy could be off by 1", or 2" at 100'. Not sure how accurate you feel you need to be. I have a Nikon surveyor's level with a basic decimal rod, which is cheaper than a top end Disto. I like to use the client or the client's kid to hold the rod (which they find fun) and I get more accurate measurements than with a Disto. I also have a bipod that I can attach to the rod if I have to do it single-handed. I think you should have a Disto in any event, but maybe your PLS is fine. You can tape a piece of cardboard to the rod and get distances. There are special glasses you can get to let you see the laser dot much more easily. http://www.tigersupplies.com/Products/Leica-GLB30-Red-Laser-Glasses__LEI780117.aspx

 

If you just need approximate (within a few inches, say) distances, the surveyor's level also has stadia lines, where you measure between the lines on the rod and multiply by 100, if you don't want to mess with a laser, too.

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The quote from my friends dad "Why do you want to be an architect? Don't be an architect. Everyone thinks they can do their own architecture. Be a surveyor. No one does their own surveying."

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Does everyone realize you can just geo-locate-grab topo in apps like Sketchup?  Other apps do too, but its fairly accurate and you can just reference your source on your plan file with a reminder to verify with surveyor if the client wants to.

 

Dont get me wrong, there are projects where I insist upon a current survey and topo from surveyor, but for less critical sites or simple projects the geo-located topo is good enough and fast.

 

 

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Johnny:

 

Holy S**t !!!

 

wow that is impressive

 

I can use this big time for my friend to model Niagara Falls and Goat Island where my ancestor built Terrapin Tower

and the Niagara Whirlpool and gorge where another ancestor built the Buttery Elevators

 

Yippee :)

 

thanks for posting

 

Lew

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I like where they are going with drones in this area 

 

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