Proper Equipment Care Keeps Surveying Measurements Accurate

Good maintenance practices begin with storage and transport of surveying equipment
Proper Equipment Care Keeps Surveying Measurements Accurate

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When you’re prepping for work on a job site, your measurements must be precise. That means it’s important to take care of the surveying equipment charged with acquiring those accurate measurements.

“The reason you want to care for this technology is so you don’t make a mistake in positioning when you’re out on site,” says Scott Crozier, business area manager for site positioning solutions at Trimble. “You think you’ve positioned something correctly that you haven’t — that’s when it will cost you money.”

Caring for surveying equipment begins with proper storage and transport. While the equipment is designed for durability with the knowledge that it’s going to be put to work in construction environments, that’s not an excuse to treat it carelessly, Crozier says.

“I think people sometimes don’t treat the instruments with as much care as they should and typically it’s because they’re accustomed to using less precise, less expensive technology. So they treat these instruments just the same.”

Total stations in particular are high-precision devices that can be easily knocked out of calibration if not handled carefully. When being stored or transported, Crozier says the instruments should always be in their carrying cases.

“They should be treated as precision devices,” he says. “Any time you knock them around or drop them, they have a chance of getting knocked out of calibration. GPS receivers, on the other hand, are more robust and don’t have the same kind of mechanical precision to them, so they don’t need quite the same level of care.”

However, the rod on a GPS receiver is something to keep an eye on.

“There’s a little bubble on the rod that tells you when the rod is level or vertical. If that gets knocked around some, it may not give you a level rod anymore, which would give you inaccurate positioning,” Crozier says.

When transporting the equipment, using the carrying case is important, as is the location where you keep the case. Crozier recommends keeping it inside the cab of a service vehicle instead of a trailer or truck bed, where the case is more likely to get jostled around.

“If you do keep it back there, make sure that carrying case is very well strapped in,” he says.

Not only can the equipment get knocked out of calibration, but components could become loose and lead to future problems. “If things are loose, over time that causes wear and they could potentially bust,” Crozier says.

He also recommends not storing the equipment in a humid environment and avoiding significant temperature swings.

“You want to keep the equipment at an average storage temperature within the specifications,” Crozier says. “Not too hot and not too cold. You don’t want it in an environment where it can rust or corrode due to thermal cycling. At Trimble we try to make it more resistant to corrosion, but you still have to protect these devices as much as possible.”

Another tip for preventing moisture from harming the equipment is to always make sure it is dry when returning it to the carrying case. Crozier says surveying equipment typically fits snuggly in the case with little room to spare, so putting it away wet is not a good idea.

“If it’s not dry, leave the lid open. Let the moisture out first,” he says.

For more information on how to care for surveying equipment, check out "10 Tips on Caring for Your Surveying Equipment."


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