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How to Shoot a Grade With a Transit

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Transits are important tools that are used in a variety of different ways in surveying. They can help surveyors find the boundaries of a specific section of land. Transits can also be used to “shoot a grade.” Shooting a grade refers to finding how level a section of land is relative to the surrounding area. Using a transit to shoot a grade is a simple process that requires carefully setting up and using the transit properly.

Pull open the legs of the tripod on the bottom of your tripod. Place them on the ground and tighten the knob that connects the legs to the transit body.

Find the hanging level underneath the transit. Adjust the position of the tripod and the legs with the knobs attached until the transit is level.

Give the grading rod to your partner and place them at the end of the area where you are shooting the grade. Instruct them to place the rod on the ground, standing perpendicular to the ground.

Tell your partner to adjust the position of the marker on the grading rod. Adjust the position by loosening the knob on the receiver and raising or lowering the marker.

Point the transit at the grading rod and look through the transit view piece. Place the grading rod in the direct center of the vertical line on the transit.

Tell your partner to stop adjusting the position when the marker is in the direct center of the horizontal and vertical transit lines.

Read the height measurement on the side of the transit view screen and write it down. Change the position of your partner to a different section of the area for which you are shooting the grade.

Find the height at the front, middle and back of the area and along the left, right and center of each section. Record each height.

Examine the height to see where the ground is inconsistent in height. For example, a reading of 3 foot on the front and 2 foot on the back indicates your area slopes downward from the front to the back.


Eric Benac began writing professionally in 2001. After working as an editor at Alpena Community College in Michigan and receiving his Associate of Journalism, he received a Bachelor of Science in English and a Master of Arts in writing from Northern Michigan University in Marquette.

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