Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Thomas H. Meyer, Earl F. Burkholder, Francis W. Derby, Charles D. Ghilani, Daniel J. Martin, Gary A. Robbins

Field of Study

Natural Resources


Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


A land surveyor makes accurate measurements using knowledge, physical dexterity, and properly calibrated equipment. All measurements contain errors, but the professional surveyor is mindful of the various sources and consciously works to minimize them based on experience and informed decision making. One such error source is the level vial, a standard component of numerous survey instruments and accessories. This paper derives expected miscentering error from a circular sprit level with an example using a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) range pole as commonly used for real-time kinematic positioning. We demonstrate that when the length of a 2-m, 40 min:2 mm, GNSS range pole is well known (standard deviation of range pole length = ±1mm) and the observer has a decent centering ability (standard deviation of vial centering ability = ±1mm), the most probable error magnitude for a single observation is 8 mm.

Major Advisor

Thomas H. Meyer