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Endangered Art of Chaining Hub is for, Land Surveyors United members to discuss the Gunter's Chain and the endangered art of chaining in the land surveying profession. Share your best experiences and tips for chaining in land surveying.

Gunter's chain (also known as Gunter’s measurement) is a distance measuring device used for surveying. It was designed and introduced in 1620 by English clergyman and mathematician Edmund Gunter (1581–1626). It enabled plots of land to be accurately surveyed and plotted, for legal and commercial purposes. Gunter developed an actual measuring chain of 100 links. These, the chain and the link, became statutory measures in England and subsequently the British Empire.
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Glossary of Antique Surveying Tools

I found this helpful glossary of Antique Surveying Tools [via] which may come in handy for those who are interested in learning the old school methods.  Anybody have any pictures of these by chance?


ABNEY HAND LEVEL - Measures vertical angles.

ALIDADE - Used on a Plane Table to measure vertical and horizontal angles & distances.

ALTAAZIMUTH INSTRUMENT - Measures horizontal and vertical angles; for position "fixing".

ASTRONOMIC TRANSITS - Measures vertical angles of heavenly bodies; for determining geographic position.

BAROMETER, ANEROID - Measures elevations; used to determine vertical distance.

BASE-LINE BAR - Measures horizontal distances in triangulation and trilateration surveys.

BOX SEXTANT - Measures vertical angles to heavenly bodies.

CHRONOGRAPH - Measures time.

CHRONOMETER - Measures time.

CIRCUMFERENTER - Measures horizontal directions and angles.

CLINOMETER - Measures vertical angles.

COLLIMATOR - For adjusting and calibrating instruments.

COMPASSES - Determines magnetic directions; there are many kinds, including plane, vernier, solar, telescopic, box, trough, wet, dry, mariners, prismatic, pocket, etc.

CROSS, SURVEYORS - For laying out 90 and 45 degree angles.

CURRENT METER - Measures rate of water flow in streams and rivers.

DIAL, MINER'S - A theodolite adapted for underground surveying; measures directions as well as horizontal and vertical angles.

GONIOMETER - Measures horizontal and vertical angles.

GRADIOMETER - Also known as Gradiometer level, it measures slight inclines and level lines-of-sight.

HELIOGRAPH - Signalling device used in triangulation surveys.

HELIOSTAT - Also known as a heliotrope, it was used to make survey points visible at long distances, particularly in triangulation surveys.

HORIZON, ARTIFICIAL - Assists in establishing a level line of sight, or  "horizon".

HYPSOMETER - Used to estimate elevations in mountainous areas by measuring the boiling points of liquids. This name was also given to an instrument which determined the heights of trees.

INCLINOMETER - Measures slopes and/or vertical angles.

LEVEL - Measures vertical distances (elevations). There are many kinds, including Cooke's, Cushing's, Gravatt. dumpy, hand or pocket, wye, architect's, builder's, combination, water, engineer's, etc.

LEVELLING ROD - A tool used in conjunction with a levelling instrument.

LEVELLING STAVES - Used in measuring vertical distances.

MINER'S COMPASS - Determines magnetic direction; also locates ore.

MINER'S PLUMMET - A "lighted" plumb bob, used in underground surveying.

MINING SURVEY LAMP - Used in underground surveying for vertical and horizontal alignment.

OCTANT - For measuring the angular relationship between two objects.

PEDOMETER - Measures paces for estimating distances.

PERAMBULATOR - A wheel for measuring horizontal distances.

PHOTO-THEODOLITE - Determines horizontal and vertical positions through the use of "controlled" photographs.

PLANE TABLE - A survey drafting board for map-making with an alidade.

PLUMB BOB - For alignment; hundreds of varieties and sizes.

PLUMMETS - Same as plumb bob.

QUADRANT - For measuring the angular relationship between two objects.

RANGE POLES - For vertical alignment and extending straight lines.

SEMICIRCUMFERENTER - Measures magnetic directions and horizontal angles.

SEXTANTS - Measures vertical angles; there are many kinds, including box, continuous arc, sounding, surveying, etc.

SIGNAL MIRRORS - For communicating over long distances; used in triangulation surveys.

STADIA BOARDS - For measuring distances; also known as stadia rods.

STADIMETER or STADIOMETER - For measuring distances.

TACHEOMETER - A form of theodolite that measures horizontal and vertical angles, as well as distances.

TAPES - For measuring distances; made of many materials, including steel, invar, linen, etc. Also made in many styles, varieties, lengths, and increments.

THEODOLITE - Measures horizontal and vertical angles. Its name is one of the most misused in surveying instrument nomenclature, and is used on instruments that not only measure angles, but also directions and distances. There are many kinds, including transit, direction, optical, solar, astronomic, etc.

TRANSIT - For measuring straight lines. Like the theodolite, the transit's name is often misused in defining surveying instruments. Most transits were made to measure horizontal and vertical angles and magnetic and true directions. There are many kinds, including astronomic, solar, optical, vernier, compass, etc.

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