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What is the difference between an auto level and a theodolite?

Auto Level & Theodolite

Surveying equipment: it comes in all shapes and sizes, and there’s lots you’ll need to have on hand to be fully prepared for your next construction project. When you shop for leveling and measuring equipment, you’ll have to browse through various pieces of equipment with similar names and appearances but very different functions. The difference between automatic levels and theodolites is a common source of confusion for new engineers and surveyors. Let’s take a look at their similarities and differences so you can shop with confidence instead of confusion.

A theodolite is used to measure both horizontal and vertical angles. It is an important tool for individuals specializing in triangulation networks and geolocation work. Beyond the fields of surveying and engineering, theodolites are useful in creating floor layouts and working with concrete slabs. You may also need a theodolite for work on golf courses, swimming pools, landscaping, or road design. Theodolites can be used to measure elevations, but auto levels will do this more accurately over long distances.

An auto level is a professional-grade leveling tool used by builders and surveyors who depend on accurate leveling at every turn. They are fast, easy to use, and help to conserve financial resources during a variety of projects. Some auto levels sold at Engineer Supply come in kits that include a grade rod and tripod for convenience and ease of use. Auto levels need to be leveled by hand at first, but they have a built-in system that allows you some margin for error and takes over the process to create an automated, accurate measurement. An auto level cannot measure vertical angles and has limited accuracy in measuring horizontal angles. If your project requires those measurements, make sure you have both an auto level and a theodolite on hand.

Auto levels and theodolites are both great tools to increase accuracy and ease in almost any surveying or construction project. It’s important to understand the benefits and limitations of both instruments and plan accordingly to make the most of your time, effort, and budget. The experts at Engineer Supply are here to help you with any questions you may have about surveying equipment and getting the job done right!

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