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GEOMATICS ENGINEERING

TACHEOMETRY

What is tacheometry??
Easy and cheap method of collecting much
topographic data.
Tachymetry (or tacheometry) also called
stadia surveying in countries like
England and the United States
means fast measurement; rapid and
efficient way of indirectly measuring
distances and elevation differences

Figure 1 shows the set-up of a tachymetric measurement.

Tacheometry
Concept
Determine distances indirectly using triangle
geometry
Methods
Stadia
Establish constant angle and measure length of
opposite side
Length increases with distance from angle
vertex

Stadia System
The theodolite/auto level is directed at
the level staff
the distance is measured by reading the
top and bottom stadia hairs on the
telescope view.

Measurement
Electronic Tacheometry:
Uses a total station which contains an
EDM, able to read distance by reflecting off
a prism.
Subtense Bar system:
An accurate theodolite, reading to 1" of
arc, is directed at a staff, two pointings
being made and the small subtended angle
measured

Equipment
Measurement can be taken with
theodolites, transits and levels and stadia
rods
While in the past, distances were
measured by the surveyors chain or
tape
This can be done easier and faster using a
telescope equipped with stadia hairlines in
combination with a stadia rod (auto level
and staff)

Tacheometry: Stadia

L1

L2

0.5L1
d1
tan(0.5 )

d1
d2

0.5L 2
d2
tan(0.5 )

Stadia Readings

Upper Hair

Middle Hair

Lower Hair

A,B rod intercepts


a, b stadia hairs
S = rod intercept
F = principal focus of objective lens

Stadia Principles

c
b
a

b'
a'

S
F
B

f = focal length
i = stadia hair spacing
c = distance from instrument
center to objective lens
center

K = stadia constant
C = f/i = stadia interval factor
d = distance from focal point to rod
D = distance from instrument center
to rod

Stadia Equations
From similar triangles
d S

f
i

f
d S KS
i

D CS K

Horizontal sights
H CS K

V 0

usuallyC 100,K 0
H 100S

Inclined sights
H CScos2 Kcos
H 100Scos2

V CS 12 sin2 Ksin
V 100S 12 sin2

Constant determination
In practice, the multiplicative constant generally
equals 100 and the additive constant equals zero.
This is certainly the case with modern
instruments by may not always be so with older
Theodolites.
The values are usually given by the makers but
this is not always the case.
It is sometimes necessary to measure them in an
old or unfamiliar instrument.
The simplest way, both for external and internal
focusing instruments, is to regard the basic
formula as being a linear one of the form:
D = C.S + K

For example:
Distance

Readings

Intervals

(m)

upper
Stadia

Centre

Lower
Stadia

upper

lower

total

30.000

1.433

1.283

1.133

0.15

0.15

0.30

55.000

1.710

1.435

1.160

0.275

0.275

0.55

90.000

2.352

1.902

1.452

0.450

0.450

0.90

D
=C.S + K
30.00 = 0.300 * C + K
90.00 = 0.900 * C + K
therefore C = 100 & K = 0
Any combination of equations gives the same result, showing
that the telescope is anallatic over this range, to all intents
and purposes.

Case of inclined sights

Vertical elevation angle:

S
h

hi
A

L = C S cos + K ,

D = L cos
Then ;
D = CS cos2 + K cos ;
V = L sin = ( C S cos + K ) sin
= 1/2 C S sin 2 + K sin ;
L = h i + V h = R.L. of B - R.L. of A
Where : h is the mid hair reading

Vertical depression angle:

hi

V
A

D = CS cos2 + K cos ;
= 1/2 C S sin 2 + K sin ;
L = - h i + V + h = R.L. of A - R.L. of B

Where : h is the mid hair reading ;


may be elevation or depression

Example
From point D three points A, B and C have been observed as
follows:
Staff
points

bearing

Vertical
angles

Stadia readings

85 30

5 12

(1.10,1.65,2.20)

125 10

(2.30,2.95,3.60)

104 30

9 30

(1.45,2.15,2.85)

If the reduced level of D is 150.10 m. , hi = 1.40 m. and the


tacheometeric constant = 100 , find:
i) the horizontal distance to the staff points and their reduced
levels.
ii) distance AB , BC , and CA.

A
H1
D

H3

B
H2

C
Staff
points

bearing

Vertical
angles

Stadia readings

85 30

5 12

(1.10,1.65,2.20)

125 10

(2.30,2.95,3.60)

104 30

9 30

(1.45,2.15,2.85)

Solution
For line DA
S1 = 2.20 1.10 = 1.10 m
H1 = 100 x 1.10 x Cos2 (+5o 12) = 109.0964 m
V1 = 109.0964 x tan (+5o 12) = + 9.929 m
R.L.of A = 150.10 + 1.40 + 9.929 1.65 =159.779
m.
For line DB
S2 = 3.60 2.30 = 1.30 m.
H2 = 100 x 1.30 x Cos2 (+00.00) = 130 m.
V2 = 130 x tan (+00.00) = + 00.00 m.
R.L. of B =150.10 + 1.40 + 00.00 2.95 = 148.55 m.

For line DC
S3 = 2.85 1.45 = 1.40 m.
H3 = 100 x 1.40 x Cos2 (+9o 30) = 136.186 m.
V3 = 136.186 tan (+9o 30) = + 22.790 m.
R.L. of C = 150.10 + 1.40 + 22.79 2.15 = 172.140
m.
1 = 104o 30 85o 30 = 19o 00
2 = 125o 10 104o 30 = 20o 40
= 19o 00 + 20o 40 = 39o 40
From Triangle DAC
AC =

(109.096) 2 (136.186) 2 2 109.096 136.186 cos 190

AC = 48.505 m

From Triangle DCB


BC= (130.000) 2 (136.186) 2 2 1030.000 136.186 cos 200 40
BC= 48.133 m

From Triangle DAB


AB= (130.000) 2 (109.096) 2 2 1030.000 109.096 cos 190
AB= 83.471 m

Tangential system
Horizontal line of sight :

D = S / tan

Inclined line of sight :


1

1
2

2
S

D = S / ( tan 2 tan 1 )

Subtense bar system


1m

1m

For distance up to 80 m
Subtense bar

theodolite

2m

D = cot( / 2 )

plan

For distance 80 160 m


1

D1 = cot (1/2)

D2 = cot (2/2)

D = D1 + D2

For distance 160 350 m


Auxiliary

Theodolite 1

base

900

Theodolite 2

X = ( 2D )1/2 ;
X = cot ( /2 ) , D = X cot , D = X/2 cot /2

x/2

x/2

For distance 350 800 m


1
1

2
2

D1

X
X
D
D

D2

= 0.7( 2D )1/2 ;
= cot ( /2 ) ,
= X ( cot 1 + cot 2 ) ,
= X/2 [ cot (1/2) + cot (2/2) ]

x/2

Electronic Tacheometry
(Total Station)
The stadia procedure is used less and less
often these days, more commonly
geomatic engineers use a combination
theodolite-EDM known in jargon as a total
station.
Often these instruments are connected to
a field computer which stores readings
and facilitates the processing of the data
electronically.

Electronic Tacheometry
This instrumentation has facilitated the
development of this method of detail and
contour surveying into a very slick
operation.
It is now possible to produce plans of
large areas that previously would have
taken weeks, in a matter of days.
The math's behind the operation is very
simple, it is in effect the same as the
stadia formulae with the term for the
distance replaced by the measured slope
distance.

reflector

D
Hr
A

HI
B

S = D cos
R.L.of point A = R.L.of point B + HI + V - Hr

Tacheometry Field Procedure


1. Set up the instrument (Theodolite) at a
reference point
2. Read upper, middle, and lower hairs.
3. Release the rodperson for movement to
the next point.
4. Read and record the horizontal angle
(azimuth).
5. Read and record the vertical angle
(zenith).

Error Sources
There are 4 main sources of error:
Staff Readings
Tilt of the Staff
Vertical Angle
Horizontal Angle