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Traversing with
theodolite Er Raju Sharma
Department -
civil engineering
Traversing with
 theodolite
Traverse may be define as series of
connected lines from the frame work
having the direction and length.theodolite
is used to find out direction of lines and
measuring tape is used for measuring
length in case of theodolite traversing.
There are mainly two method for plotting
 By measurement of angles between two
successive lines (by direct observation of

 By direct observing the bearing of the

survey line.
Traversing by direct
In this method the angle between the
successive line are measured and the
bearing of the starting line is observed.
The bearing of the remaining lines are
then found from the observed bearing
and the measured angles. Traversing
by this method is done either
 By the method of included angles.
 By the method of direct angles
 By the method of deflection angles
(a) Traversing by method of
included angles
 In a closed traverse the angle measured either
interior or exterior according as the traverse is
run in a counter clockwise direction .genrally
closed traverse in anti –counter clockwise
direction. the angle can be measured by
repetition so as to desired degree of accuracy is
 Procedure : for running the traverse ABCDEFG
 Set up the theodolite at 1ST station A and
observed the bearing of the line AB.
2. then measure the angle GAB.
Shift the instrument to each of
the successive station B,C etc.
and measure the angles
ABC,BCD etc. F E
3. Measure the line AB,BC,CD etc. D
and take offset to locate the
required detail G C
after this check is applied for N
interiors angles it is (2n-4)x90º,
And for exterior angles it is A
(2n+4)x90º S
n = number of sides of the
 By the method of direct angles :
this method is used for open traverse. set up the
theodolite at the starting station P and observe
the bearing of line PQ . Shift the theodolite to Q.
set the venier A to zero, take a back sight on the
preceding station P.unclamp the upper plate, turn
the telescope clockwise, take a foresight on the
following station R, and read both verniers. the
mean of two vernier reading is the required angle
PQR. take other angles in the similar manner.
chainN the line and take the necessary offsets.


 By the method of deflection angle:
 This method is also used in open traverse. this is ,much
suitable when the survey line makes small deflection
angles with each other survey roads railway, pipe line
etc .set up the thedolite at the starting point P and
observed the bearing of line PQ. shift the instrument to
station Q. set the vernnier A to zero and take a back sight
on P. then transit the telescope ,loosen the upper clamp
,turn the telescope clockwise and take a foresight on R.
read both verniers, the mean of these readings is the
required deflection angles of QR from PQ. Also note down
its direction. then set up the theodolite at each successive
station R,S,T etc. and observe the deflection angles.


Traversing by direct observation
of bearing
 There are following three method
 direct method when the telescope is transited
 Direct method when the telescope is not
 Back bearing method
(a) Direct method when the telescope
is transisited
 Set up the theodolite at A and level it. set
the vernier A to zero. point the telescope
towards the north
 Loosen the upper clamp and bisect B by N
using the upper clamp. read the vernier A
which gives the bearing of AB. B
 Shift the instrument and set up at B. N
 With the help of lower clamp and tangent N
screw ,back sight on A. transit the C
telescope ,loosen the upper clamp and A
turn the telescope and bisect C ,with the
help of upper clamp and tangent screw S S
,read both verniers which gives the
bearing of line BC E D
 Sift the instrument at ‘c’ and repeat the
whole process.
 For check at the end FB and BB of line EA
differ exactly by 180º.this will show the
correct observation
Direct method when telescope is not

This is the same method as discussed in the above
the difference is that the telescope is rotated
about horizontal plane.
 Back bearing method : set up the instrument at
A and observe the fore bearing of line AB N
 Shift the instrument and set it up at B
 Set the vernier A to back bearing of AB B
 With the vernier A kept clamped at the same N
reading, back sight on A by using the lower clamp N
and its tangent screw. when the line of sight is
directed towards the BA ,the instrument is in C
correct orientation. A
 Unclamp the upper plate and turn the telescope S S
until c is sighted. bisect C exactly by using the
upper clamp and its tangent screw.
 Read the vernier A which gives the bearing of BC E D
 Repeat the process at each of the subsequent
Latitude and departure
 Both terms are introduced with plotting
the traverse. latitude and departure both
are required for plotting the position of
different point w.r.t y-axis and x- axis. y
axis and x axis are known as reference
line and are also known as the co-
ordinates. N Ø
Reference axis- y axis Departur
Easting = Reference axis- x axis
Departure +
Westing= -ve

Southing= -ve

Latitude and departure
 Latitude of line =l cos Ø
 Departure of line = l sin Ø

 If N 30 º S is the bearing of a any

given line N show that its latitude
and S shows departure of the line.
The following rules will be much useful while
solving problems on traverse surveying
 If l is the length of a line and Ø is its
reduced bearing. Then

L cos Ø=
latitude l

L sin Ø

 (i) Latitude = l cos Ø
Departure = l sin Ø

(ii) Tan Ø= departure

Ø = tan¯1 departure

(iii) l = (latitude)²+(departure)²
(a) l = latitude x sec Ø
(c) l = departure x cosec Ø
 Q: 1 The coordinates of two
points A and B are as follows.
Find the length and bearing of

 Let l = length of AB
Ø = the reduced bearing of AB. points Co-ordinates
LATITUDE of AB = 840.78 – 500.25=
DEPARTURE of AB = 315.60-640.75= Northing
tan Ø = departure 325.15 = .
9548 A 500.25 640.75
latitude 340.53

Ø = 43º41’
B 840.78 315.60
Since the latitude is +ve and the N 840.78,315.60
departure is –ve ,the line AB lies in b
the fourth (N.W) quadrant.
R.B of AB = N 43º41’W 500.25,640.75
W.C.B of AB = 360-43º41’= 316º19’ a
length of AB = (L²)+(D²)
470.83 m (ans)
 Q : 2 the following are
the length and bearing
of the sides of a closed
traverse ABCD
Calculate the length and
bearing of line DA. Line Length bearing
Let length of DA= l ,R.B of
line-Ø meters
(i) Convert the W.C.B to the AB 78.2 140º12
R.B ’
R.B of AB= 180º-140º
12’=S39º 48’E
BC 198.0 36º 24’
R.B of BC=36º24’
=N36º24’E CD 37.8 338º
R.B of CD= 48’
360º-338º48’=N21º12’W DA ? ?
 (ii) find the latitude and departures of the lines
from the known length and bearing of the lines.

latitude of AB = 78.2 x cos39º48’ = -60.08(S)

latitude of BC =198XCOS 36º 24’= +159.37 (N)
latitude of CD = 37.8x COS 21º 12’= 35.24 (N)
latitude of DA = l x cosØ = l cosØ
Algebraic sum of the latitude( ∑ )
= l cosØ+35.24+159.37-60.08
= l cosØ+ 134.53
The traverse being closed ( ∑ ) should equal zero
lcosØ+134.53 = 0
lcosØ= -134.53
 Departure of AB = 78.2xsin 39º48’= +50.06 (E)
 Departure of BC = 198xsin 36º24’ = +117.49 (E)
 Departure of CD = 37.8x sin 21º12’ = -13.6 (w)
 Departure of DA = lxsinØ

 Algebric sum of departure ( ∑ )

= l sinØ+50.06+117.49-13.67
= lsinØ + 153.88
 But ∑ D =0

lsinØ + 153.88 = 0
lsinØ = -153.88
(iii) since the latitude and departure of DA are both –ve
therefore, the line DA lies in the iii (SW) quardent
now tanØ= departure 153.88
latitude 134.53
Ø =48º50’
hence reduced bearing of DA= S48º50’W
W.C.B of DA = 180º+ 48º50’=228º 50’
length of DA = (lat) ²+(dep)² = 204.40m(ans)
Error in theodolite
 These may be surveying
classified into 3 groups
 Instrumental error
 Personal error or observation error
 Natural error
 Instrumental error : (i) non adjustment of
plate level:
if the adjustment of a plate is not proper as a result,
the horizontal circle is inclined and the angles are
measured in an inclined plane instead of horizontal
plane. The error are introduced in the
measurement of both horizontal and vertical
angles. the error is serious when the horizontal
angles between points at considerably different
elevation are to be measured. the error can be
minimized by levlling the instrument with reference
to be altitude bubble.
 (ii) The line of collimation not being
perpendicular to the horizontal axis:
 if line of collimation not perpendicular to
the horizontal axis ,as a result of this the
horizontal angles when measured
between points at widely different
elevation will be incorrect
error can be eliminated by reading
angles on both the faces and taking the
mean of the observed reading
 (iii) the horizontal axis not being
perpendicular to the vertical axis
 if the horizontal axis is not perpendicular to
the vertical axis, the line of collimation not
revolved in a vertical plane when the
telescope is raised or lowerd. This causes an
angular error both in horizontal and vertical
 the error can be eliminated
by reading angles on both the faces and
taking mean of the two values.
 (iv) the line of collimation and the
axis of telescope –level not being
parallel to each other
 if this type of condition occurred ,the zero
line of vertical verniers is not a true line of
reference and as a result ,an error is
introduced in the measurement of vertical
the error can be eliminated
by taking two observation of the angles,
one with the telescope normal and the
other with the telescope inverted ,and
taking mean of the two values
 The inner and outer axis i.e the axis of both
upper and lower plate not being concentric
 the error can be eliminated by reading both verniers
and averaging the two values.
 The graduation being unequal
 The error is eliminated by measuring the angles
several times on different parts of the circle and
taking mean of all.
 Vernier being eccentric
 The zero of the vernier will not be diametrically
opposite to each other. an error will be introduced if
only one vernier is read ,but it will cancel itself ,if
both verniers are read and the mean taken.
 The vertical hair not being exactly vertical
 The error is minimised by using the portion of
the hair near the horizontal hair for bisecting
the signal.
 Personal error :
 Inaccurate centering
 Inaccurate leveling
 Working wrong tangent screw
 Slip
 Parallax
 Inaccurate bisection of the point sighted
and non-verticality of the ranging rod
 Other error such as
 mistake in setting the vernier
 Mistake in reading the scale and the vernier
 Mistake in reading wrong vernier
 Mistake while booking the reading
 Natural error : this error are due to
 High temperature causing irregular refraction
 Wind storm causing vibration of the instrument
 The sun shining on the instrument

These are negligible for ordinary survey. but the precise work is
usually performed under the most favorable atmosphere

Er Raju Sharma
Department- Civil
Yamuna polytechnic for