HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE ACCURACY MAPPING ELEVATIONS WITHOUT LEASER IN SUCH AN AREA?

What will be the most appropriate survey instrument to employ when mapping for elevations on a hill with a lot of forest cover without a laser instrument? 

The forest cover is so think not only at the top but at the butttom as well making it impossible for you to walk through.

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Establish or find a geoid model for reference.

Wherever you can find an open space set a reference point and observe it with GNSS for a few hours trying to establish a GNSS network between them.

Then you must use traditional levels or theodolites to measure between.

Coarse elevation differences may be gotten by employing a precise aneroid arometer.

JAC

Thanks Anthony, I had to result to employing some locals to cutting lines with a machete up the hill. 

We did a topo on 80 acres of pine forest, it was so also so thick you couldn't walk through it and the pines were 25' high so couldn't get above them. We ended up having two guys with chain saws cut lines from one end to the other and running traverses up and down the cut lines. 

If it is a big area, then with a LIDAR-dron. If it is an small area, then saw cut and traverse. GPS will give you positioning but I wouldn´t trust in levels.

Thanks David, I had to result to employing some locals to cutting lines with a machete up the hill. 

Thanks Scott, I had to result to employing some locals to cutting lines with a machete up the hill. 

Joseph -

Not exactly sure what you mean when you say "...without a laser instrument...".  Do you have an EDM on you total station??  If so, the best way I have found in conditions like that is place a peanut (small) prism on top of a 25-foot rod.  This will let you raise or lower the rod until your instrument operator can see the prism through a small window through the foliage, the collect (measure) the point, recording the "customzied" height of the rod.  The rod person and the instrument operator must have communication.  Typically, the rod person will raise the rod all the way up.  Then, once extended, he will "waive" the rod back and forth until the instument operator can see the rod.  Once he sees the rod, lower the rod until the prism comes into view.  Then, steady, shoot, record the height of the rod.

After a few times, they both get the hang of it, and the hard part will be the rod person navigating to the next shot.

If you instrument does not have an EDM, then I like the idea of opening up the lines as Scott suggested.

Good Luck!!!  Hope this helped.

--JTH

Thanks Todd, I had to result to employing some locals to cutting lines with a machete up the hill.

Ortophoto...

Drone+camera, software for high resolution ortophoto, dang! You'll get cm accuracy both horizontal and vertical. The only problem you'll get just the top of the foliage. But if you'll have cutouts on enough places (even randomly) you'll get the hill.

Cost from 1500US to 6000US

http://www.service-drone.com/en/applications/surveying

Thanks Jozsef, I had to result to employing some locals to cutting lines with a machete up the hill. I will have to take sometime to read over my photogrammetry notes and reeducate myself of photo modelling software to get into drone application in survey.

One possibility is the use of machete and brush hook to clear traverse lines.

If you have the budget this link might offer possible solutions.

Brush clearning tools

Thanks Phil, I had to result to employing some locals to cutting lines with a machete up the hill. 

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