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CIVL 1101 Surveying - Introduction to Differential Leveling 1/6

Differential Leveling Differential Leveling


Importance of Vertical Positions Importance of Vertical Positions

A vertical position is the height of a point relative to some Surveyors created the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of
reference surface, such as mean sea level, a geoid, or an 1929 (NGVD 29, the predecessor to NAVD 88), by
ellipsoid. calculating the average height of the sea at all stages of the
tide at 26 tidal stations over 19 years
The roughly 600,000 vertical control points in the U.S.
National Spatial Reference System (NSRS) are referenced Surveyors extended the control
to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88). network inland using a surveying
technique called leveling.

Differential Leveling Differential Leveling


Importance of Leveling The Level

A level consist of a high-powered telescope


The determination of elevations is called leveling
The level is attached to a spirit or bubble level that keeps
Measuring relative elevations changes is a comparatively the line of sight of the telescope horizontal
simply process

Precise and accurate control of


relative elevations are critical to
most construction projects

Differential Leveling Differential Leveling

Level Instrument Level Instrument


4.70

4.60

4.50

Red numbers indicate


foot intervals
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Differential Leveling Differential Leveling

Level Instrument Definitions

4.60 4.59
4.58
4.57
4.56
BS = 6.32 ft HI = 106.32 ft FS = 3.10 ft
4.55 4.54
4.53
Point B
4.52
4.51
4.50

Point A
Elevation = 103.22 ft

Starting point
(elevation 100.00 ft)

Differential Leveling Differential Leveling

Definitions Definitions

Bench mark (BM) - relatively permanent


point of known elevation

BS = 6.32 ft HI = 106.32 ft FS = 3.10 ft BS = 6.32 ft HI = 106.32 ft FS = 3.10 ft


Point B Point B

E = BS - FS
Point A Point A
Elevation = 103.22 ft Elevation = 103.22 ft

Starting point Starting point


(elevation 100.00 ft) (elevation 100.00 ft)

Differential Leveling Differential Leveling

Definitions Definitions

Backsight (BS) - a sight taken to the level rod Height of instrument (HI) - the elevation of the
held at a point of known elevation line of sight of the telescope
(either a BM or TP)
BS = 6.32 ft HI = 106.32 ft FS = 3.10 ft BS = 6.32 ft HI = 106.32 ft FS = 3.10 ft
Point B Point B

Point A Point A
Elevation = 103.22 ft Elevation = 103.22 ft

Starting point Starting point


(elevation 100.00 ft) (elevation 100.00 ft)
CIVL 1101 Surveying - Introduction to Differential Leveling 3/6

Differential Leveling Differential Leveling


Computation of Elevations Find Elevation of BM2
Definitions

Foresight (FS) - a sight taken on any point to


BS
determine its elevation 12.64 BM2

BM1
BS = 6.32 ft HI = 106.32 ft FS = 3.10 ft HI = BS + Elevation
Point B Elevation 100.00

Point BS HI FS Elevation
BM1 12.64 112.64 100.00
Point A
Elevation = 103.22 ft

Starting point
(elevation 100.00 ft)

Differential Leveling Differential Leveling


Computation of Elevations Find Elevation of BM2 Computation of Elevations Find Elevation of BM2

BS
BS FS BS FS 10.88
12.64 3.11 12.64 3.11

BM1 BM1
TP1 HI - FS = Elevation TP1
Elevation 100.00 Elevation 100.00

Point BS HI FS Elevation Point BS HI FS Elevation


BM1 12.64 112.64 100.00 BM1 12.64 112.64 100.00
TP1 3.11 109.53 TP1 10.88 120.41 3.11 109.53

Differential Leveling Differential Leveling


Computation of Elevations Find Elevation of BM2 Computation of Elevations Find Elevation of BM2

BS
9.72
BS FS BS FS
BS FS 10.88 2.56 BS FS 10.88 2.56
12.64 3.11 12.64 3.11

BM1 TP2 BM1 TP2

TP1 TP1
Elevation 100.00 Elevation 100.00

Point BS HI FS Elevation Point BS HI FS Elevation


BM1 12.64 112.64 100.00 BM1 12.64 112.64 100.00
TP1 10.88 120.41 3.11 109.53 TP1 10.88 120.41 3.11 109.53
TP2 2.56 117.85 TP2 9.72 127.57 2.56 117.85
CIVL 1101 Surveying - Introduction to Differential Leveling 4/6

Differential Leveling Differential Leveling


Computation of Elevations Find Elevation of BM2 Computation of Elevations Find Elevation of BM2

BS FS BS FS
9.72 3.10 9.72 3.10
BS FS BS FS
BS FS 10.88 2.56 BS FS 10.88 2.56
12.64 3.11 BM2 12.64 3.11 BM2

BM1 TP2 BM1 TP2

TP1 TP1
Elevation 100.00 Elevation 100.00

Point BS HI FS Elevation Point BS HI FS Elevation


BM1 12.64 112.64 100.00 BM1 12.64 112.64 100.00
TP1 10.88 120.41 3.11 109.53 TP1 10.88 120.41 3.11 109.53
TP2 9.72 127.57 2.56 117.85 TP2 9.72 127.57 2.56 117.85
BM2 3.10 124.47 BM2 3.10 124.47

Differential Leveling Differential Leveling


Computation of Elevations Find Elevation of BM2
The initial backsight (BS) is taken to a point of known
elevation
Check the summation of the backsight and the foresight
with the change in elevation The backsight reading is added to the elevation of the
known point to compute the height of the instrument
Point BS HI FS Elevation (HI)
BM1 12.64 112.64 100.00
TP1 10.88 120.41 3.11 109.53 The level may be moved to a temporary point called a
TP2 9.72 127.57 2.56 117.85 turning point (TP)
BM2 3.10 124.47
+33.24 -8.77 The elevation of a point is the height of the instrument
(HI) minus the foresight (FS)
Change in elevation = 33.24 - 8.77 =24.47

Differential Leveling Differential Leveling

Computation of Elevations - Group Problem 1

TopHat Problems Prepare a set of level notes for the survey illustrated
below. What are the elevations of points TP1 and TP2?

BS FS
1.27 4.91
BS FS
2.33 6.17
BM
Elevation 356.68

TP1
TP2
CIVL 1101 Surveying - Introduction to Differential Leveling 5/6

Differential Leveling Differential Leveling

Computation of Elevations - Group Problem 1 Computation of Elevations - Group Problem 2


BS FS Prepare a set of level notes for the survey illustrated
1.27 4.91
BS FS
below. What are the elevations of points TP1 and TP2?
2.33 6.17
BM
Elevation 356.68 BS FS
BS FS 8.78 3.06 BS FS
TP1 1.02 5.67
6.46 3.11
TP2

Point BS HI FS Elevation BM1 TP2

TP1
Elevation 110.42 BM2

Differential Leveling Differential Leveling

Computation of Elevations - Group Problem 2 Common Mistakes


BS FS
BS FS 8.78 3.06 BS FS Misreading the rod - reading 3.54 instead
1.02 5.67
6.46 3.11 of 3.45
BM1 TP2

TP1
Moving the turning point - use a well-
Elevation 110.42 BM2 defined TP

Point BS HI FS Elevation
Field note mistakes - work within your
group to check you records

Mistakes with extended rod - make sure


the leveling rod is fully extended

Differential Leveling Differential Leveling

Common Mistakes Suggestions for Good Leveling

Level rod not vertical Anchor tripod legs firmly

Settling of leveling rod Check the bubble level before and after each reading
Leveling rod not fully extended or Take as little time as possible between BS and FS
incorrect length
Try to keep the distance to the BS and the FS equal
Level instrument not level
Instrument out of adjustment Provide the rodperson with a level for the rod
Environment - wind and heat
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Differential Leveling

Any Questions?