Modern Levels: An Overview of the Latest Technologies and Applications

Modern Levels: An Overview of the Latest Technologies and Applications

A level is an indispensable geodetic instrument for determining height marks and elevation differences. It is used in construction, land management, geological exploration, and other industries. The accuracy of measurements affects the quality of work performed, so modern technologies significantly enhance the efficiency of leveling.

Types of Modern Levels and Their Features

Currently, several main types of levels are distinguished:

  1. Optical levels. Classic instruments with visual observation through a sighting tube. Highly accurate but require experience and attentiveness during readings.
  2. Digital levels. These incorporate electronic elements for automated data reading and processing. Easier to use but more expensive than optical counterparts.
  3. Laser levels. Use a laser beam instead of a sighting tube. Characterized by high accuracy, speed, and the ability to be remotely controlled. Widely used on large projects and in laser scanning of terrain.
  4. Levels with built-in theodolites. Combine the functions of a level and a theodolite for comprehensive geodetic measurements. Especially convenient for topographic surveying and staking out.

The choice of a specific type of level depends on the required accuracy, site conditions, and the availability of appropriate equipment. Meanwhile, digital technologies for reading measurements are increasingly used to enhance productivity and improve data visualization.

Digital Technologies in Modern Leveling

Thanks to the introduction of digital technologies, the leveling process becomes more efficient and convenient:

  1. The use of electronic data loggers and transmission of measurements to a computer eliminate manual input errors.
  2. Modern levels are often equipped with built-in GPS/GLONASS modules for linking marks to coordinate systems.
  3. Specialized software allows for processing measurement results and visualizing them in a convenient form (plans, profiles, 3D models).
  4. The ability to remotely control a digital level eliminates the need to reposition it when working in complex areas.

The digitization of leveling contributes to increased productivity and reduces the impact of human factors, ensuring more accurate and detailed geospatial data.

Laser Leveling and Laser Scanning

Laser Leveling

Laser Leveling

Instead of a sighting tube, a laser beam emitted in a horizontal plane is used. The beam is detected by a high-precision receiver, and all measurements are performed automatically. Advantages include:

  1. High accuracy and long observation distance (up to 1 km)
  2. Speed of measurements
  3. Operation in challenging conditions, in the presence of obstacles
  4. Possibility of remote control of the instrument

Laser Scanning

Laser Scanning

A method in which the laser rotates and scans the object from all sides with a beam, capturing a massive amount of spatial points. This allows for creating an accurate 3D model of the terrain and objects. Laser scanning is widely used:

  1. In engineering surveys
  2. For the inspection of buildings and structures
  3. In geodesy, cartography, archaeology
  4. For monitoring deformations and settlements of objects

Future Developments in Leveling

In the near future, further automation and integration of levels with other geodetic instruments are expected. This will ensure the most comprehensive data collection on objects, saving time on fieldwork.

Technologies of unmanned aerial vehicles with scanning laser equipment for surveying hard-to-reach areas will also develop.

The current trend towards miniaturization of electronic components will pave the way for the creation of ultra-compact, yet highly accurate leveling instruments with extended functionality.


Modern technological advancements significantly expand the capabilities of leveling, enhancing productivity, accuracy, and visualization of geospatial data. From classic optical to laser scanning systems, levels allow for obtaining complete information about the terrain and objects of any complexity, optimizing geodetic work.