Differential Leveling

Differential Leveling is a process that allows you to determine the difference in elevation between two points. This series of videos are a great tutorial for anyone wanting to learn the basics of this surveying skill.

Setting Up the Automatic Level

Reading the Level Rod & Rounding

Lesson 1 – Introduction, Equipment, and Terms

Lesson 2 – Basic Process of a Leveling Surveys

Lesson 3 – Error, Closing the Loop, Taking Notes

Lesson 4 – Closing on 2nd Point, Sideshots

Lesson 5 – Quality Control, Peg Test & Calibration

Differential Leveling is a simple way to obtain differences (hence differential) in elevations between two points. Most equipment rental stores carry carpenters or construction levels that can be rented for minor construction tasks. But, if the project is very important or critical that it is right, you should hire an experienced land surveyor to help you. Personally, these are the type of jobs I like to go out on myself and help out folks.

Surveyors who are performing an elevation survey will most likely get out the surveyors auto level at some point on the job. The Auto Level is a relatively inexpensive piece of equipment, with a pretty good one running under $1000. That’s not really inexpensive but compared to $15-20,000 for a total station and $20-30,000 for a GPS receiver, you understand me saying “relatively inexpensive.”

Another routine use for the auto level by land surveyors is a construction survey. One of the main elements of doing construction surveying is to get the elevations right. An auto level is a very handy and simple tool for this type work.

I want to thank the Illinois Professional Land Surveyors Association (IPLSA) for putting together these videos. They are very high quality and do a very good job of explaining this subject.