Different Methods of Levelling

The following methods are used to determine the difference in elevation of various points:

  • Barometric levelling
  • Hypsometric levelling
  • Direct levelling and
  • Indirect levelling.

Barometric Levelling

Barometric leveling, a fast and relatively inexpensive surveying technique used for determining elevations of ground stations to an accuracy of ± 3-5 ft, is a valuable tool for use in reconnaissance surveys or other similar surveys where great accuracy is not required. Elevation data were gathered for preselected ground stations using four different barometric leveling techniques, single base, double base, triple base, and leap frog. The main differences in these four methods lie only in the amount of time and equipment required and in the sophistication of the field procedures used. The data collected are analyzed to determine whether the increases in office and field time is rewarded by a corresponding increase in the accuracy of the results obtained.This method depends on the principle that atmospheric pressure depends upon the elevation of place.Barometer is used to measure the atmospheric pressure and hence elevation is computed. But it is not accurate method since the atmospheric pressure depends upon season and temperature also.

Hypsometric Levelling

The method based on the principle that boiling point of water decreases with the elevation of the place.
Hence the elevation difference between two points may be found by noting the difference in boiling point of water in the two places. This method is also used only for the exploratory survey.

Direct Levelling

It is a widespread method of levelling in all engineering projects. In this method horizontal sight is taken on a graduated staff and the difference in the elevation of line of sight and ground at which staff is held are found. Knowing the height of line of sight from the instrument station the difference in the elevations of instrument station and the ground on which staff is held can be found.

Indirect Methods

In this method instruments are used to measure the vertical angles. The distance between the instrument and staff is measured by different methods. Then using trigonometric relations, the difference in elevation can be calculated.

Terms Used In Direct Method of Levelling

The following terms are used in direct method of levelling:

(i) Plane of Collimation: It is the reduced level of plane of sight with respect to the datum selected. It is also known as ‘height of instrument’. It should not be confused with the height of telescope from the ground where the instrument is set.

(ii) Back Sight (BS): It is the sight taken on a level staff held on the point of known elevation with an intension of determining the plane of collimation. It is always the first reading after the instrument is set in a place. It is also known as plus sight, since this reading is to be added to RL of the point (Benchmark or change point) to get plane of collimation.

(iii) Intermediate Sight (IS): Sights taken on staff after back sight (first sight) and before the last sight (fore sight) are known as intermediate sights. The intension of taking these readings is to find the reduced levels of the points where staff is held. These sights are known as ‘minus sights’ since the IS reading is to be subtracted from plane of collimation to get RL of the point where staff is held.

(iv) Fore Sight (FS): This is the last reading taken from the instrument station before shifting it or just before ending the work. This is also a minus sight.

(v) Change Point (CP): This is also known as turning point (TP). This is a point on which both fore sights and back sights are taken. After taking fore sight on this point instrument is set at some other convenient point and back sight is taken on the staff held at the same point. The two readings help in establishing the new plane of collimation with respect to the earlier datum. Since there is time gap between taking the two sights on the change point, it is advisable to select change point on a well defined point.