What is theodolite?

  • (noun): A surveying instrument for measuring horizontal and vertical angles, consisting of a small telescope mounted on a tripod.
    Synonyms: transit


A theodolite (/θiːˈɒdəlaɪt/) is a precision instrument for measuring angles in the horizontal and vertical planes. Theodolites are mainly used for surveying applications, and have been adapted for specialized purposes in fields like metrology and rocket launch technology. A modern theodolite consists of a movable telescope mounted within two perpendicular axes—the horizontal or trunnion axis, and the vertical axis. When the telescope is pointed at a target object, the angle of each of these axes can be measured with great precision, typically to seconds of arc.

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Some articles on theodolite:

Heinrich Wild
... He bought a small theodolite and took thereby after short time independently expanded measurements of the flow of the river Linth ... with the high mountain triangulation with a theodolite of conventional design he already tried 1905 to design a new theodolite with rotable circle with coincidence circle-rea ... of levelling instruments and designed later also a new theodolite, the Th I ...
Ramsden Theodolite
... The Ramsden theodolite is a large theodolite that was specially constructed for use in the first Ordnance Survey of Southern Britain ... It was also known as the Great or 36 inch theodolite ... The theodolite was commissioned from Jesse Ramsden, a leading Yorkshire instrument maker, who had developed an accurate dividing engine for graduating angular scales ...
Theodolite - Gyrotheodolites
... The gyrotheodolite comprises a normal theodolite with an attachment that contains a gyroscope mounted so as to sense rotation of the Earth and from that the ...
Archaeoastronomy - Source Materials - Alignments
... horizon it faces The azimuth is usually measured using a theodolite or a compass ... A theodolite can be considerably more accurate if used correctly, but it is also considerably more difficult to use correctly ... There is no inherent way to align a theodolite with North and so the scale has to be calibrated using astronomical observation, usually the position of the Sun ...
Principal Triangulation Of Great Britain
... In 1782, General Roy had commissioned the building of the Ramsden theodolite from leading instrument maker Jesse Ramsden ... The Ramsden theodolite for the first time divided angular scales accurately to within a second of arc ... during that work, together with the new theodolite, served as the basis for the planning and execution of the subsequent work on the Principal Triangulation ...