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Optical and Surveying




The importance of optical instruments has been increasing in the industrial

and scientific world for about two centuries. The demands of precision, as
well as of cheap and rapid production, have led to the adaption of optical
methods in many branches of engineering today. Such methods can be used
in a variety of ways, from tool inspection on the one hand, where meticulous
accuracy is of paramount importance, to certain types of final inspection on
mass-produced articles where a reasonable degree of accuracy has to be
combined with speedy operation. The instruments based on the optical principle are being used in the field of surveying and navigation. In this chapter,
the basic operating principle of certain types of optical and surveying instruments have been discussed.



A microscope may be defined as an instrument for viewing close objects. In

order to increase the apparent size of an object, we bring it closer to the eye,
but the unaided eye cannot focus on an object which is nearer than a certain
distance which is the minimum distance of comfortable vision. The value of
250 mm is universally recognised as the standard minimum distance of comfortable vision. At this distance, a pair of lines separated by less than about
0.1 mm is seen not as a pair but only as a single, broadened line which
represents the limit of visual resolution, and it depends on the objects, the
condition of observation and on the quality of the lens. The theoretical resolution is given by the formula
Resolution =
where K =

N sin h


a constant
wavelength of the light
the refractive index of the medium surrounding the object
half the total angular size of the entrance object (pupil) as seen
from the object.


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The product N sin h is termed as the Numerical Aperture (NA) and

cannot exceed the value 1.0 when the object is in air. The value of NA is
greater than 1.0 only for an object which lies in a medium other than air.

Magnification of Micoroscope
The magnification of a microscope may be defined as the ratio of the angular
size of an image seen through the instrument to the angular size of an object
seen with the unaided eye at the least distance of comfortable vision. If the
image is projected on to a screen, the magnification m is given as:
Linear size of image
Linear size of object

Types of Microscopes

Following are the three general types of microscope in common use:

(i) Simple microscopes (monocular)
(ii) Compound microscopes (monocular or binocular)
(iii) Stereoscopic microscopes (binocular).
The Simple Microscope The simple microscope is an instrument used
for viewing close objects with a single optical system. This is popularly
known as a magnifying or reading glass.
Construction and Working It consists of a single positive (converging)
lens which is used close against the eye. The function of the lens is to allow
the eye to focus on an object nearer than the least distance of comfortable
(distinct) vision. Figure 5.1 shows a simple microscope in which L is a lens
and MI is the least distance of comfortable vision. An eye E cannot see
clearly an object O without the aid of the lens L. For clear vision, the
maximum angle is subtended at the eye by the object when it is placed at I. If
the object is brought nearer to the eye, the subtended angle a would be
larger, but the image would not be clear because MI is the least distance for
distinct vision. But, with the aid of the lens L, the image of the object OP is
formed at IR and both the object and the image subtend the same angle at the
eye placed close to the lens. Thus, the image appears both distinct and





Fig. 5.1

A Simple Microscope



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Magnification of the Simple Microscope The magnification of a simple

microscope is the ratio of the least distance of distinct vision to the focal
length of the lens. If the focal length of the lens is f, the magnification is
given as:
least distance of distinct vision
but, as the least distance of distinct (comfortable) vision is 250 mm,
m = 250
Limitations In a simple microscope, the lesser the focal length the greater
is the magnification. However, since the curvature of the surface increases
with increase in focal length of the lens, it is not possible to obtain a lens of
very small focal length. As a result a large magnification cannot be obtained
from a simple microscope.
Compound Microscope The limitation of a simple microscope is overcome in a compound microscope. In a compound microscope, to obtain a
large magnification, first of all the magnified image of an object is obtained
with the help of a lens, and then with the help of another convex lens more
magnification is obtanied. Thus, the total magnification is obtained at two
stages, which is very large.

Construction and Working A compound microscope consists of two converging (convex) lenses, L1 and L2, spaced apart and fitted co-axially in a
tube as shown in Fig. 5.2. The lens L1 near the object OP is called object
lens (or objective), and the lens L2 near the eye is called the eyepiece. The
focal length and aperture of the objective are small while they are relatively
larger for the eyepiece. The two lenses are adjusted in a tube in such a way
that the image IR formed by the objective L1, works as an object for the
eyepiece and its magnified image I R is seen at the least distance of distinct
vision D. As illustrated in Fig. 5.2, OP is an object placed in front of the






1st Image


2nd Image

Fig. 5.2

Least Distance of
Distinct Vision (D)

The Compound Microscope


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objective L1, away from the focus. An image IR is formed by the objective
which is a real, magnified and inverted image of the object OP. Now, the
eyepiece is so adjusted that the image of IR is formed at the least distance of
distinct vision (I R) for an eye placed just behind the eyepiece. This image
is virtual, magnified and erect with respect to IR, but inverted with respect to
the object OP.
Since virtually no microscope object is self luminous, a means is provided
for illuminating it. For transparent objects, a condenser is used whose purpose is to concentrate a cone of light on to the object. It must be capable of
providing a cone of light at an angle which will fill the objective lens so as
to make use of the full numerical aperture (NA) of the objective. In practice,
the best results are usually obtained with a cone of light equal to about three
quarters (3/4) of the objective NA.
A practical compound microscope used in industries is shown in Fig. 5.3.
This compound microscope is provided with a fine-focusing adjustment, the
range of which is of the order of a millimeter. Only one tenth of this range is
normally used because the coarse adjustment is used to bring an object under
a high-power objective very nearly into exact focus. These focusing adjustments move the body tube which has a standard length of 160 mm. The
eyepieces are made to a standard diameter which slides into the upper end of
Binocular Eyepieces

Coarse Focusing

Binocular Body

Quadruple Rotating

Fine Focusing

Body Tube

Mechanical Stage


Clamp for Axis Joint



Fig. 5.3

Iris Diaphragm

Practical Compound Microscope

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the body tube. The objectives are provided with screw thread and fit into the
aperture of a revolving nosepiece or objective changer. The object, normally
mounted on a glass slip 75 mm 25 mm, is held by clamping fingers on the
surface of the mechanical stage. Just below the mechanical stage, controls
are provided for moving the object in two directions, at right angles. Scales
and Vernier, on the motions permit the recording of the position on the
object of a particular detail and measuring. A condenser is mounted below
the stage which carries an iris diaphragm for controlling the angle of illumination, and both are carried into a centring mount which allows the unit to be
accurately centred to the objective. The whole unit can be focused by a rack
and pinion on dovetail, in the same way as the coarse focusing adjustment.

There are two types of compound microscope:

(i) Monocular and
(ii) Binocular.
The basic prinicple and construction of monocular and binocular microscopes are the same; the only difference is that the binocular is fitted with a
binocular head which consists of two eyepieces, as shown in Fig. 5.3. The
monocular and binocular bodies are interchanged on a special slide fitted
with a cam-locking device which ensures positive and accurate alignment of
the optical axis. Adjustment for interocular separation is provided and one
eyepiece has the facility for individual focusing to adjust any difference in
the eyes of the observer.
The optical system of the binocular body is shown in Fig. 5.4. A beam of
light from the objective is divided into two equal parts (beams), one to each
eyepiece, by the centre prism, and the remaining prisms direct the light along
the two eyepiece tubes. Since the path travelled by the light is longer than in
the monocular tube, two correcting lenses are provided to correct for this
Adjustable Eyepiece

Non-adjustable Eyepiece

Outer Body

Right Angle Prisms


Fig. 5.4

Binocular Body.


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difference. The prisms and lenses do not cause any image deterioration, and
their surfaces are coated to reduce reflection losses and maintain maximum
image brilliancy. The two tubes of the binocular microscope are movable to
facilitate changing their separation to fit interpupillary distance of the observer. There is usually an arrangement for individual focusing of one of the
eyepieces. The non-adjustable eyepiece is focused in the usual way by moving the tube on the coarse- and fine-adjustment mechanisms, and then the
second eyepiece is focused to the individual eye.
Inclined bodies are sometimes furnished on binocular microscopes so that
the objectives is vertical for the examination of liquids, etc. This is made
possible through the use of another inclining prism between the right-angle
prisms (dividing set) and the objective. This inclining prism bends the beam
of light through an angle of 45 but does not invert the image.
The advantage of a binocular microscope is that eye strain is completely
eliminated, and the inclination of the eyepiece tubes gives comfort and convenience in working with the instrument in the vertical position.
Magnification Compound Microscope
compound microscope is given by the ratio,
Size of the final image
Size of the object

The magnification m of the

m = I R (from Fig. 5.2)
I R = IR I R
m = m1 m2
where m 1 = IR Magnification due to objective.

m 2 = I R = Magnification due to eyepiece
Therefore, the total magnification is the product of the magnifications of
the objective and the eyepiece.

The Stereoscopic Microscope The stereoscopic microscope is essentially a binocular instrument of low power used for observations where the
third dimension, depth, is of importance.

It consists of two similar compound microscopes of low

power with their axes inclined at an angle of about 15, as shown in Fig. 5.5.
The spacing is such that the axes intersect on the focal point. Two prisms are
provided to give erect images to avoid a pseudoscopic effect. These prisms
can be rotated about the entering axes for adjusting the eyepiece separation.
In research type of stereoscopic microscopes, inclined eyepiece tubes are
provided and the nosepiece carries three pairs of parfocal objectives which
are shrouded for protection. The stand can rapidly be split into sections so as
to adapt the instrument for special purposes.


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Fig. 5.5

Optical System of Stereoscopic Microscope.


Stereoscopic microscopes are used for the following purposes:

(i) They are generally used as surgical microscopes to aid the surgeon in
certain delicate operations.
(ii) They are also used in the adjustment and assembly of small mechanisms and in the checking of small components.



The telescope is an instrument through which objects situated at large distances can be seen. Because of the distance from the observer, the apparent
size of the object under observation becomes small and the telescope increases the visual angle of the final image without altering the accommodation of the eye. Telescopes may be classified into two classes:
(i) refracting telescopes
(ii) reflecting telescopes
In refracting telescopes, the objective consists of a converging system of
lenses of large focal length and large aperture, while in reflecting telescopes
the objective is generally a paraboloidal mirror. Here, only refracting telescopes will be discussed in detail.

Refracting Telescopes

Refracting telescopes are mainly of three types:

(i) Astronomical telescope
(ii) Terrestrial telescope
(iii) Galilean telescope
Astronomical Telescope The astronomical telescope was developed in
the year 1911 by a Danish astronomer, Kepler, and that is why it is also
known as the Keplerian telescope.
Construction and Working

It consists of two converging lenses, an objective O and an eyepiece E which are mounted co-axially in a tube, as
shown in Fig. 5.6. The objective O has a large aperture and a large focal


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Fig. 5.6 Astronomical Telescope

length, while the eyepiece E has a short focal length. Since the objective has
to collect sufficient light from the distant object, its aperture must be sufficiently large. Thus the eyepiece should also be large to receive all the rays
coming from the objective. When parallel rays from a distant object become
incident on the objective, the first image PQ which is real, inverted with
respect to the object, and small in size is formed at the focal plane of the
objective. The image PQ is finally magnified by the eyepiece E.
To adjust the telescope for normal vision, the telescope is focussed to
infinity and the position of the eye E is adjusted so that image PQ is formed
at its focal plane. Thus, the rays emerging from the eyepiece E will all be
parallel and the final image which is magnified, virtual and erect with respect to the first image is seen infinity by the eye placed behind the eyepiece.
In this case, OP is the focal length fo of the object and EP is the focal length
fe of the eyepiece. Thus, for normal adjsutment, the tube length of the
antronomical telescope should be (fo + fe).
To see the image of an object at the least distance of distinct (comfortable) vision the eyepiece E is slighlty pushed towards the objective so that
image PQ is formed within its focal length fe. A virtual and magnified
image, which is inverted with respect to the object, is formed at the least
distance of distinct vision.
When the object is situated at a finite distance, the first image is formed
beyond the focal plane of the objective O and hence, for clear vision of the
final image, the eyepiece is slightly pulled away from the objective.
Magnification of Astronomical Telescope

The magnification (or magnifying power) of the astronomical telescope is defined as the ratio of the
angle subtended by the image at the eye to the angle subtended by the object
at eye. Thus, from Fig. 5.6, the magnification m is given as:

where b = the angle subtended by the image at the eye
a = the anlge subtended by the object at the eye



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tan b PQ / EP OP
tan a PQ /OP EP
But OP = fo, the focal length of the objective
and EP = fe, the focal length of the eyepiece.
m= e
When the instrument is adjusted to form the final image at the least
distance of distinct vision D, the magnification is given by





1 +


Terrestrial Telescope Terrestrial telescopes are used for observing terrestrial objects, e.g. in navigation, surveying, etc. where an erect image is essential. Since an inverted image is produced by an astronomical telescope, it
can not be used for the observation of terrestrial objects. In the terrestrial
telescope, a convex lens is added to the eyepiece so as to convert the inverted image into an erect image.
Construction and Working

Figure 5.7 show a diagram of a terrestrial

telescope in which a convex lens L is placed between the objective and the
eyepiece in such a way that distance of the image PQ from the lens L is
twice the focal length (2 fL) of the lens L. Thus, a real and erect image P1Q1
equal to the size of PQ is formed at the distance 2fL on the other side of the
lens L. The eyepiece E is adjusted so that the image P1Q1 is formed just
within its focal length and a virtual magnified image P11Q11is seen at the
least distance of distinct vision.
Q 11




Convex lens


2f L

2f L


Fig. 5.7 Terrestrial Telescope.

Since an extra erecting lens is used in the terrestrial telescopes, the cost
and size of the instrument is increased. Also, absorption of light will be more
in the optical system. The length of the instrument is also inconveniently
increased due to the addition of an erecting lens.
Galilean Telescope

The disadvantage of the large length of a terrestrial

telescope is avoided in the Galilean telescope. The convergent eyepiece is


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replaced with a concave eyepiece. This telescope gives an erect image without the use of an erecting lens.
Contruction and Working It consists of a convergent lens (objective) O
of large focal length and a concave lens E as eyepiece, as shown in Fig. 5.8.
The concave lens E (eyepiece) intercepts the rays coming from the objective
O before they reach the image PQ, and so the rays emerge from it as a
practically parallel pencil. The eye sees a virtual, erect and magnified image
P1Q1 at infinity, provided the distance EP is equal to the focal length of the
concave lens E. The distance EP is the focal length of the eyepiece E while
the distance OP is the focal length of the objective O.




Concave Eyepiece

Fig. 5.8

Galilean Telescope.

Since the eyepiece of the Galilean telescope is a divergent lens, the image
is practically formed only by those rays which pass near about the centre of
the lens, the marginal rays being mostly lost. As a result of this the final
image is faint, i.e the field of view is limited. Due to this limitation, the
Galilean telescope is not generally used.


Optical Square

The optical square is an instrument used in surveying to find out the foot of
the perpendicular from a given point to a line, and to set out right angles at a
given point on a line in the field. It is particularly useful in the case of offsets which are too long to allow their direction to be judged by the eye alone.
5.4.1 Construction

An optical square consists of a small cylindrical metal box, about 5 cm in

diameter and 12.5 cm deep, in which two mirrors M1 and M2 are placed at an
angle of 45 to each other and at right angles to the plane of the instrument.
A diagrammatic view of an optical square is shown in Fig. 5.9(a). The mirror
M1, known as the horizon glass, is half-silvered and half-unsilvered, while
the mirror M2, known as the index glass, is wholly silvered. The horizon
glass M1 is fitted in a frame which is rigidly attached to the bottom plate of


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Metal Box




60 M 1





Index Glass

Horizon Glass



Fig. 5.9 (a), (b) & (c). Principle of Optical Square.

the box, while the index glass M2 is fitted in a frame which is attached to the
bottom plate and adjusted by a special key placed behind it, whenever necessary. In some instruments, the mirrors are permanently fixed by the maker
and so cannot be easily adjusted. Three openings are provided in the rim of
the box and cover: a sight hole h1 for the eye, a small rectangular window h2
for horizon sight opposite to h1, and a large rectangular window h3 for index
sight at right angles to line joining h1 and h2. The whole instrument assesmbly
is provided with a metal cover which slides round to cover the openings and
thus protects the mirrors from dust when not in use.

Working Principle

The optical square belongs to reflecting instruments which measure angles

by reflection. The working principle of an optical square may be stated as
If there are two plane mirrors whose reflecting surfaces make a given
angle with each other, and if a ray of light in a plane perpendicular to the


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planes of both the mirrors is reflected successively from both, it undergoes a

deviation of twice the angle between the reflecting surfaces. In other words,
the angle between the first incident ray and the last reflected ray is twice the
angle between the two mirrors. In the case of the optical square, the angle
between the two mirrors is 45, while that between the first incident ray and
the last reflected ray is 90.
As shown in Figure 5.9 (a), the eye E is positioned at sight hole h1 and the
object at C is observed through the lower unsilvered part of the mirror M1.
Usually, EC lies along the chain line and C is the pole towards which the
chain line was being ranged. An object D is placed at the large rectangular
window h3, approximately at right angles to EC. While looking from the
sight hole h1, a ray of light from the object D, on the line DM2, strikes the
index glass (M2 ), and is reflected along M2M1. The reflected ray again strikes
the silvered portion of the horizon glass M1 and is reflected along M1E.
Thus, the object D is seen at C directly through the unsilvered portion of the
horizon galss M1 and at the same time the image of the object D is seen in
the top silvered portion of the mirror M 1. When the angle DOC is exactly
90, the image of D will be seen immediately above that of C [Fig. 5.9(b)],
the rays being as shown by full lines in Fig. 5.9 (a). When angle DOC is not
a right angle, however, the image of D will be seen to one side of C [Fig.
5.9(c)], the rays being as shown in dotted lines in Fig. 5.9(a).
If D is a fixed point and it is required to find where the perpendicular
from this cuts the chain line, the optical square is held to the eye while the
surveyor walks along the chain line towards C. When the two images appear
on the same vertical line, the point immediately
below the instrument will be the foot of the perpendicular required. The optical square must be
kept horizontal when observations are being made,
so its use is restricted to moderately level ground.
An optical square used in surveying is shown
in Fig. 5.10. In some optical squares, prisms are
Fig. 5.10 Optical Square.
also used in place of mirrors.

The optical square is used in surveying work for the following purposes:
(i) To find out the foot of the perpendicular from a given point to a line.
(ii) To set out right angles at a given point on a line in the field.
(iii) To determine rectangular off-sets which are more than about 50 metres.
(iv) For overcoming obstacles to measurement along a chain line.
(v) For determining the area of a plot where perpendicular off-sets are


Prismatic Compass

Prismatic compass is an instrument commonly used for measuring angles in

survey work. It measures the angle, called the bearing, between the magnetic
meridian and the line. It is very useful for rough survey work where speed
and not accuracy is the main consideration.


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5.5.1 Construction

A prismatic compass, shown in Fig. 5.11, consists of a circular metal box

about 6 cm to 16 cm diameter, in the centre of which a circular disc attached
to magnetic needle and graduated to degrees and half degrees (30) or even
less than half degrees (20) is balanced on an agate bearing. The disc can be
raised off its bearing when not in use to prevent undue wear. The graduations on the disc start from zero, marked at the south end of the needle and
run clock-wise so that 90 is marked at the west, 180 at the north, and 270
at the east. At one edge of the box a hairline sight vane consisting of a
hinged metal frame is fixed, which may be folded down over the dial when
not in use, while diametrically opposite to this is fixed a prism which may
also be folded over on the outside edge of the box. A small spring knob is
provided for damping the oscillations and quickly bringing the needle to rest
while taking a reading. The graduations of the scale on the dial, when reflected to the eye from the hypotenusal side of the prism, can be read by
means of the prism. The prism can be adjusted to the eyesight of the observer by means of a stand by raising or lowering the frame carrying it. The
graduations of the scale are slightly magnified owing to the shorter sides of
the prism being made a little convex. A spring is provided near the hinge of
the metal frame so that the needle is automatically raised from its pivot
whenever the frame is folded over the dial. The top of the box is covered
Adjustable Mirror

Horse Hair

Hinged Sun Glass

Object Vane
Lifting Pin
Glass Cover


Spring Brake
Lifting Lever

Prism Cap
Magnetic Disc

Focussing Stud
for Prism


Compass Box

Fig. 5.11 Prismatic Compass



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with a glass lid so that the whole dial with graduations is visible. Alternatively, a dial may have a metal cover that reveals only the small area under
the prism. This cover also protects the instrument from dust. Sometimes dark
glasses are provided when sighting a luminous object or taking sun observations. Some instruments are provided with a mirror which can be adjusted to
any angle in a vertical plane and can be slid on the hinged frame which
carries the hair line sight. With the help of a mirror, an object of considerable elevation or depression can be sighted directly by relfection.
The compass is generally held in the hand, as near as possible over the
station point at which an angle is required, but for better results it is usually
mounted on a tripod which carries a vertical spindle in a ball and socket
joint, to which the box is screwed. With the help of this arrangement, the
instrument can be quickly levelled and also rotated in a horizontal plane and
clamped in any position. A general view of a prismatic compass used for
survey work is shown in Fig. 5.11.
5.5.2 Working

To determine the angle (bearing) of a line AB from station A, the compass is

centred over station A and levelled. Now the eye is positioned over the slit in
the prism-holder and the prism is lowered or raised in its slide until the
graduations on the dial reflected in the prism are clearly visible.
The hair line is directed to the object (or ranging rod) at station B and, by
turning the compass box, the circular disc attached to the needle is allowed
to swing freely into the meridian. When the needle comes to rest, the reading
at which the hairline appears to coincide with the object is noted. This
reading gives the required bearing of the line AB. The object and the graduations can be seen simultaneously.
When the bearing of the line AB (i.e. direction of the needle) points due
magnetic north, the reading under the prism should be 360 (i.e. zero) so
that, in consequence, the 360 graduation of the disc is placed at the south
end of the needle. Similarly, when the needle points due east, the prism
which would be on the western side of the dial during the observation should
be over the 90 graduation of the disc.


The prismatic compass is used for the following purposes:

(i) For preliminary survey of a road work.
(ii) For rough traverses.
(iii) For the filling in of detail on topographical surveys.
(iv) For military purposes, both for sketching and night marching.
(v) For surveys in woody country.
5.5.4 Limitations

The limitations of the prismatic compass are:

(i) Commonly used for rough surveys where speed, not accuracy, is the
main consideration.

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(ii) Less accurate than a theodolite.

(iii) The presence of iron or other magnetic substances near the stationpoint may seriously affect the reading. If the bearing of each line is
observed twice, once at either end, any error due to local attraction can
be detected.



Theodolite is the most accurate instrument used in surveys for measuring

horizontal and vertical anlges. It is most useful to a surveyor for conducting
precise surveys. It has got two distinct motions for merasuring angles, one in
the horizontal plane which can be measured on a graduated horizontal circle
by means of a Vernier, and the other in the vertical plane which can be
measured on a graduated vertical circle by means of a Vernier.

Classifications of Theodolites

Theodolites may be classified as:

(i) Non-transit Theodolites In non-transit theodolites, the theodolite cannot be rotated on its horizontal axis to observe an angle. To observe the
angle, its telescope is to be removed from its supports and turned from end
to end.
There are two types of non-transit theodolites:
(i) Wye or plain non-transit theodolite
(ii) Everest non-transit theodolite.
These non-transit theodolites have become practically obsolete after the
invention of transit theodolites, only wye is sometimes used due to its compactness.
(ii) Transit Theodolites In transit theodolites, the telescope can be revolved through a complete revolution about its horizontal axis. This theodolite is most commonly used. The types of transit theodolites are:
(i) Wild universal transit theodolites:
(ii) Zeiss transit theodolite
(iii) American transit theodolite
Theodolites are also classified as Vernier and micrometer theodolites,
depending on whether Vernier or micrometer is used to read the angles.
Sometimes, theodolites are differentiated according to the size of the diameter of the graduated circle on the lower plate, which varies from 10 cm to
25 cm. The smaller instruments are used for engineering work and survey,
while the large ones are used for more precise (triangulation) work.

Parts of the Theodolite

The essential parts of all classes of theodolites are the same. Figure 5.12
show the sectional view of a transit theodolite (Vernier type), the main parts
of which are described below:
(a) Telescope

The telescope of the theodolite is of the terrestrial type,

including a reticule. It is fitted with an object lens, eyepiece and a


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Bubble Tube for Setting
of the Telescope

Vertical Circle

Horizontal Axis

Diaphragm Screw



Vertical Circle
Tangent Screw

Graduated arc
Lower Plate
Tangent Screw

Upper Parallel
Levelling Screw
Lower Parallel

Fig. 5.12

Transit Theodolite.

diaphragm, and is usually focussed by moving the object lens on rack and
pinion. This method eliminates parallax error for close objects. Now-a-days,
telescopes are the internal focussing type, and their eyepiece are screw-or
spiral-focussing type, for easy and perfect adjustment. The reticule of the
telescope is mounted on a cell which is interchangeable with other telescopes.
The telescope is mounted on the horizontal axis, at right angles, and can
be rotated around it. The length of the telescope is limited by the height of
the standard.
(b) The Standard

Two uprights in the shape of the letter A are called

standards, which stand up on the Vernier plate to support the horizontal axis.

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The telescope is supported by means of a transverse axis at right angles to its

length on this A frame.
(c) The Vertical Circle The vertical circle is rigidly attached to the telescope and moves with it. It is usually divided into four quadrants and the
graduations in each quadrant are numbered from 0 to 90. In some instruments it is graduated continuously clockwise from 0 to 360. By means of
the vertical circle clamp and tangent screw, the telescope along with the
vertical circle can be accurately set-up at any desired position in a vertical
(d) The Horizontal Circle The horizontal circle consists of two parts, the
circle and the Vernier plate. The circle rotates inside the Vernier plate and is
graduated through 360 on the upper face, usually in 1/2 marks. The Vernier plate has a Vernier scale for reading angles on the circle. The Vernier
usually has 30 divisions, reading to 1 of arc. The Vernier plate carries the
pillars for the telescope and the compass box. Both table and plate rotate on
conical bearings, and clamps and tangent screws are provided on both. The
Vernier is usually read through a window in the plate assembly so that dust
and moisture may be kept away from the scales and bearings.
Certain theodolites, known as direction instruments, are of extremely high
precision and are equipped with micrometers instead of Verniers. The horizontal circle is rotated by a worm-wheel mechanism instead of a tangent
(e) The Upper Plate or Circle

The upper plate carries the standards

which carry the telescope, and is capable of rotation about the vertical axis.
It is provided with Verniers (or vernier plates) which may be two or three
in number.

(f) Lower Plate or Circle The outer axis is attached to the lower plate
having its edge bevelled. The edge (or limb) is silvered and graduated from
0 to 360 in a clockwise direction into degrees and half-degrees, degrees
and third of a degree, or degrees and sixths of a degree, depending upon the
size of the instrument. The diameter of the circle designates the size of the
instrument, e.g. 10 cm, 12 cm, 20 cm, etc. The lower plate is provided with a
clamp-tangent screw by means of which it can be fixed accurately at any
desired position.
(g) Upper Clamp

The upper clamp is used to fix the upper plate or circle

to the lower plate or circle.

(h) Upper Tangent Screw

The upper tangent screw is used to move the

upper circle slowly over the lower circle, provided the upper clamp is fixed.
The screw is protected from dust and wear by proper fittings.

(i) Lower Clamp

The lower clamp is used to fix the lower plate or circle

to the base of the instrument.
(j) Lower Tangent Screw The lower tangent screw is used to turn the
lower circle round the vertical axis, provided the lower clamp is fixed.


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(k) Level Tubes On the surface of the vernier or upper plate, two level
tubes are fixed at right angles to each other. In addition, there is a long and
sensitive bubble tube which governs the setting of the telescope for taking
angles of elevation.
(l) Telescope Clamp It is used to fix the telescope to prevent it from any
movement in a vertical plane.
(m) Telescope Tangent Screw

It is used to turn the telescope slowly in

a vertical plane, provided the telescope clamp is fixed.

(n) Spindles or Axes

There are two spindles or axes which are situated

one inside the other. The outer axis is hollow and its interior is ground
conically to take the inner axis which is solid and conical. These two axes
have a common axis which forms the vertical axis of the instrument.
(o) Levelling Head It consists of two circular parallel plates, known as
the upper parallel plate and the lower parallel plate, which are connected by
a ball and socket joint. The lower plate has an aperture in its centre through
which a plum bob may be suspended. The upper parallel plate is supported
by three or four levelling screws for levelling the instrument. The four-screw
arrangement is not preferred because, due to uneven distribution of pressure
on the screws, the wear of the screw is excessive. Generally, the three-screw
arrangement is preferred as the instrument can be levelled more quickly and
it is less liable to be damaged by over-strain. From the point of view of
stability also, three screws are as good as four screws.
(p) Index Bar (T-Frame)

The index bar (or T-frame) is fixed in front of

the vertical circle on the horizontal axis. It carries two Verniers on its two
arms. The vertical leg of the T-frame is known as the clipping arm and the
two horizontal ends as index arms. The vertical leg is provided with a fork
and two screws called the clip screws, at its lower end, to fix it to the bottom
horizontal member of the index bar.
A long sensitive bubble tube is attached either on top of the T-frame or on
the telescope.

(q) The Plum Bob

To centre the instrument exactly over the station mark,

a plum bob is suspended from the hook fitted to the bottom of the central
vertical axis.

(r) Tripod The theodolite is supported on a tripod when in use. It consists

of three legs which are fitted at their lower ends with pointed steel shoes in
order that they may be firmly pressed into the ground.

Some Definitions

The following terms should be well understood when using a transit theodolite:
(a) Centering Centering means the setting of the theodolite exactly over
the station mark, which is done with the help of a plum bob suspended from
a small hook attached to the bottom of the vertical axis of the theodolite.

Optical and Surveying Instruments


(b) Transiting

Transiting is the process of turning the telescope over the

horizontal axis, through 180 in the vertical plane, so that the eyepiece of the
telescope comes exactly in the opposite direction.
(c) Face Left Observation

When the observations for vertical or horizontal angles are made through the telescope of a theodolite with the vertical
graduated circle on the left-hand side of the observer, it is known as face left
(d) Face Right Observation It is an observation made with the vertical
circle on the right side of the observer.
(e) Changing Face It is the operation of bringing the vertical graduated
circle of the theodolite from one side to the other.
(f) Back Sight

It is usually the first sight taken after the transit is set-up

over a station. It should preferably be a sight to the left-hand side station.

(g) Fore Sight The second and further sights taken while meausring horizontal angles are called fore sights.

Permanent Adjustments of Theodolites

Following are the permanent adjustments for a theodolite:
(i) The axis of the parallel plate levels must be perpendicular to the vertical axis.
(ii) The horizontal axis of the telescope must be at right angles (perpendicular) to the vertical axis.
(iii) The line of collimation must be at right angles to the horizontal axis.
(iv) The axis of the altitude level (or the telescope level) must be parallel
to the line of collimation.
(v) The vertical circle Vernier must read zero when the telescope level is

Precautions in the Use of Theodolites

The following precautions must be taken while using a theodolite:

(i) After centering a theodolite, do not fix the locking nut of the head too
tightly while using the shifting head.
(ii) Place the telescope vertical with the clamp slack and release the lower
clamp while carrying a theodolite.
(iii) The vertical arc should never be touched with the fingers as it will
(iv) The telescope of the theodolite should be set vertically with the eyepiece down. In wet climate a waterproof hood should be used.
(v) When placing the transit in the box, special care should be taken so
that the telescope does not touch the sides of the box, and that all
clamps are tightened so that the telescope cannot swing against the
sides of the box during transport.

Applications of Theodolites

Theodolites are used for the following purposes in the field of surveying:


Industrial Instrumentation and Control

(i) For the measurement of angles, e.g. horizontal angles, vertical angles,
and deflection angles.
(ii) For the measurement of the magnetic bearing of a line.
(iii) As a levelling instrument.
(iv) As a tachometer.
(v) To establish a line at a given angle with a line.
(vi) To refer a point or line.



Gyroscope is an instrument used for guiding airships and rockets in the right
direction. It may be defined as a spinning wheel universally mounted so that
only one point (its centre of gravity) is in a fixed poistion and the wheel is
free to turn in any direction around this point.
5.7.1 Construction

A gyroscope, which is illustrated in Fig. 5.13, consists of a rotor and axle

supported by an inner ring with bearings on which the rotor and axle can
revolve. An outer ring with bearings is attached at 90 to the rotor bearing,
about which the inner ring can revolve with its rotor and axle. The whole
Spin Vector

Inner Ring

Outer Ring

Inner Pivot


Rotor (wheel)


Outer Pivot

Fig. 5.13 Gyroscope


Optical and Surveying Instruments

arrangement is supported in a frame so that the rotor and its ring are supported on horizontal bearings. The gyroscope asssembly can turn about a
vertical axis as well as a horizontal axis.
5.7.2 Working

When the gyroscope is at rest, it is simply a wheel universally mounted and

its axle can point in any direction without altering the geometrical centre of
the whole assembly. But when the rotor is spun, the gyroscope exhibits two
important characteristics:
(i) It requires a high degree of rigidity and its axle keeps pointing in the
same direction, no matter how much the base is turned about. This is
known as gyroscope inertia.
(ii) The second characteristics is known as precession and may be illustrated by applying a force to a gyroscope about the horizontal axis and
the vertical axis. When the force is applied about the horizontal axis,
the applied force meets with resistance and that the gyroscope, instead
of turning about its horizontal axis, turns or precesses about the vertical axis in the direction indicated by the arrow F in Fig. 5.14 (a).
Similarly, when the force is applied about the vertical axis, the gyroscope turns about its horizontal axis as shown by the arrow F, in
Fig. 5.14 (b).




Fig. 5.14 Principle of Gyroscope

5.7.3 Applications

All practical applications of the gyroscope are based on the two characteristics discussed above. They are used to introduce desirable forces in (i) ships,
(ii) aircrafts and (iii) monorail cars.
They are also used in instruments for maintaining directions, such as the
A. Tick () the appropriate answer:1. A simple microscope is an instrument for viewing
(a) objects situated at large distances






Industrial Instrumentation and Control

(b) close objects with two optical systems
(c) close objects with a single optical system
(d) none of these
The prismatic compass is an instrument for measuring
(a) the foot of the perpendicular in survey work
(b) rectangular offsets
(c) angles in survey work
(d) none of the above
Theodolite is used for
(a) measuring horizontal and vertical angles
(b) guiding airships and rockets
(c) viewing an object at long distances
(d) none of these
Gyroscope is an instrument used for(a) levelling
(b) measuring angles
(c) measuring offsets
(d) none of these
In refracting telescopes, the objective consists of
(a) a paraboloidal mirror
(b) a converging system of lenses of large focal lengths
(c) a converging system of lenses of large focal lengths and large aperture
(d) none of these

B. Fill-up the blanks:

1. The resolution of a microscope is directly proportional to______ and inversely
proportional to ______.
2. The minimum distance of comfortable vision in case of a microscope is ______.
3. The stereoscopic microscope is essentially a ______ instrument.
4. The optical square is an instrument used in ______ to find out ______.
5. Gyroscope is used for ______, in the right direction.
C. State True/False:
1. The value of the numerical aperture (NA) should not exceed 1.0 when the object
lies in a medium other than air.
2. In a simple microscope, the lesser the focal length the greater is the magnification.
3. In a compound microscope, the total magnification is obtained in two stages.
4. A large magnification can be obtained from a simple microscope.
5. The optical square belongs to a reflecting instrument which measures angles by
6. Prismatic compass is more accurate than the theodolite.

1. What is the difference between a monocular and a binocular system? Describe, in
brief, the working of a level telescope or theodolite.
2. Explain with the help of sketches:
(a) the working of a compound microscope,
(b) the difference between a simple and a compound microscope. Explain the uses
of both.
3. (a) Descrbe briefly the various types of compasses used in ships and aircraft.
(b) Write the principle of operation of Gyroscope.

Optical and Surveying Instruments


4. Write short notes on the following:

(a) level indicators
(b) prismatic compass
(c) optical square
(d) theodolite
(e) gyroscope
5. What is a microscope? What are the different types of microscope? Explain any one
of them with a neat sketch.
6. What do you understand by the term resolution and magnification of the microscope?
7. Discuss the permanent adjustments done in theodolites, the precautions to be taken
while using them and the applications of a theodolite.