Cover of Leveling and Vertical Location

Leveling and Vertical Location.

Volume 3 of Surveying: Foundation of Geomatics


by John D. Bossler

and N.W.J. Hazelton


ISBN 978-0-9961230-0-6

About 700 pages, plus Glossary, etc.

Landscape, Portrait and Scrolling (iPhone) Modes.

See the book's page in the iBooks Store.


Viewable in iBooks on Macintosh, iPad and iPhone


Price:       $ 9.99  (USD, equivalent prices elsewhere)

Current Version: 1.0.5

Other Platforms

This book is also available for non-Apple platforms as an ePub3 eBook (it will also run on Apple platforms in iBooks and other readers). The text and images in the two versions are the same. See this webpage for more details.

About the Book

This new textbook series for surveying and geomatics programs builds on the venerable Surveying text by Harry Bouchard, Frank Moffitt and John Bossler. It is a complete revision and restructuring of that book to take advantage of the latest textbook technology, and the latest advances in surveying and geomatics. Presented as an iBooks Textbook, also known as Multi-Touch, it includes video, animations, slideshows, interactive illustrations, full color text and figures (as appropriate), and hyperlinked text. Audio of pronunciations of certain terms has also been included. This volume, Leveling and Vertical Location, is a stand-alone textbook on its subject, but also fits into the series to provide a comprehensive overview of the discipline.

Primarily for students in surveying, geomatics and engineering, at 2-year and 4-year programs, it is also a suitable reference for educators, working professionals, and anyone who needs to understand vertical location. Designed to be easily read and understood, it has a strong practical orientation, while also including advanced topics. Videos show how to do field work; text and illustrations work through field work in detail; field note recording is covered, step by step, in slideshows that the reader paces. Readers can also add highlights, notes and bookmarks to the text, which will propagate across all their devices where their book is held.

While covering leading-edge topics (e.g., LiDAR, UAVs, Locata, digital photogrammetry, IfSAR), the historical foundation of current methods is included, together with the rationale for certain methodologies.

The book can be viewed in the Apple iBooks application on Mac computers, iPads and iPhones, the last with iOS 8.4. We have tested the book on the iPad, iPad Mini, and on the iPhone 5, as well as Mac computers running iBooks. By running the book on these devices, the full accessibility capabilities of the device are available. Text can be read aloud, areas of the screen can be enlarged, and the colors have been optimized for color-blind readers.

Purchase entitles the buyer to unlimited free updates and use across all their compatible devices. Buy once: it lasts forever, through every update, big or small!

Book Design

There are many ways to slice a surveying curriculum. In this book, we have covered leveling from its most basic through to precise leveling. But we have also covered the very many ways in which the vertical location of a point can be achieved. This includes GNSS, photogrammetry, LiDAR and SAR, as well as older technologies. In one book there is not only material for the foundation surveying courses, but also material on more advanced material that builds on and connects with the foundations. So Least Squares Adjustment of leveling is covered, together with quality measures for many different technologies, the importance of rigorous checking, error propagation in leveling, and a wide range of other relevant topics.

Several full-page views are shown here, as well as a several small parts of pages, to give you a feel for the book.

Digital Photogrammetry Pictures

Within the book, we have included several videos. In addition to the introductory video (check it out by clicking the menu item Intro Video), there are videos describing and showing how to set up an automatic level, how to remove parallax, how to do a two-peg text, and the basic leveling process. Several Interactive Illustrations show how various processes work, such as this discussion of the process of leveling.

Interactive Image on Leveling

In order to take the student through the processes of recording and reducing leveling data in a field book, this is implemented in three slide shows, which guide the student at their own pace through the processes. Another slide show covers the development of and variation in surveying instrument telescopes over the past century.

Slideshow Image

Several diagrams are animated, so that the student can see how the item actually works. Bubble tubes, split-bubble reading systems, electronic level sensors, parallel-plate micrometers and micrometer in the Zeiss Koni 007 level are presented as animations, together with the operation of a vernier and the availability of satellites in the GPS constellation.

Split Bubble Animation

Color illustrations and photographs are used liberally through-out the text. The text is extensively cross-linked to form a hypertext document. An extensive glossary is available at any point in the book (tap or click on a bold-face word to bring up the glossary entry as a pop-up), as is search and a topical index. References are linked to locations on the Internet, where available.

Glossary Pop-up

Students can also take advantage of the fact that the devices can all run office applications, e-mail, web browsers and other educational support tools. This is all available in the one device, whether iPhone, iPad or Mac. This allows the student to take a comprehensive computational tool with them, as well as their textbooks. The iPhone allows video to be checked in the field using a compact device.

Zeiss NI002 Precise Level Diagram

In the current version, the book contains the following:

  • 200 (or more) color photos
  •   14 back and white photos
  •   92 color illustrations
  •   52 black and white illustrations (where any color used wasn't critical to the illustration)
  •   66 tables (some with color annotations)
  •     4 screen shots describing the update process
  •     8 animated illustrations
  •     4 interactive figures
  •     4 slide shows and
  •     6 videos.

In the early versions of the books in this series, we have built in a number of features that are simply not possible in conventional paper textbooks. We see no reason to stop there, and are planning how to use the power of these computational platforms to advance technical and professional education in this field.



With an electronic book, the idea of an edition seems to become meaningless, as the book can be updated at any time, and the updates propagated to all previous buyers. One month after the book's initial release, we had already made four updates. So we are using 'Version' to describe these versions of the book, starting with Version 1.0.0 as the first public release.

There will be other volumes in the series, and these will be 'Volumes,' But what about the same book, tailored to different nations and readerships? In most parts of the world, metric measurements are all that are required, and different vertical datums are used in many countries. As a result, we are terming the same book tailored for different markets 'Instantiations.'

This instantiation is tailored for North America and written in English, hence it's the North American English Instantiation.

Because each instantiation is a separate book, with its own ISBN identifier, and they are tailored for specific markets, there is little point in buying more than one instantiation of each volume. So choose your instantiation carefully!


Table of Contents


Driving Instructions

1.  What You Need to Know First


     Basic Statistics


     Distance Measurement

     Traversing, Triangulation and Trilateration

      Map Scales

      Technology, Systems and Revolutions

2.   Theoretical Matters

      Basic Definitions and Concepts

      Surveying Telescopes and Basic Optics

      The Earth and its Impact on Vertical Location

3.   Leveling Equipment

       The Bubble Tube

       Leveling Rods


       Marks and Monuments


       Optical Squares

4.    Leveling Procedures


       Height of Collimation Method

       Rise and Fall Method

       Grid Leveling Method

       Point Leveling

       Line Leveling

       Area Leveling

       Additional Basic Field Techniques

5.    Errors, Accuracy and Precision

       Sources of Error

       Error Propagation

       Orders of Leveling

       Closures and Misclosure

       Precision and Accuracy of Leveling

       Basic Checking and Adjustment

6.    Other Methods

       Water Level Methods

       Trigonometric Methods

       Tacheometric (Stadia) Methods

       Photogrammetry, LiDAR and Similar Methods

       Other Methods

       Scale It From a Map

7.     Advanced Leveling Topics

        Precise Leveling

        GNSS and Related Leveling

        Other Radio-Based Location Systems

        Least Squares Adjustment of Leveling

        Vertical Positional Accuracy Standards


        Barometric Methods

        Plane Table Methods


       Topical Index

       Table of Figures