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What Are the Duties of a Rodman?

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A rodman is in charge of transporting and setting up the instruments and equipment associated with surveying land and preparing the job site for a survey. While this job generally requires only a high school diploma, the task of surveying has tremendous significance when it comes to determining property lines. Just about every survey crew will have a rodman.

Survey Setup

Not only does a rodman load all needed equipment into the vehicles before heading out to the various properties that the crew will survey during the day, but he also has to clear any brush or trees away from the survey line -- typically by himself. He also lays out stakes to prepare for elevation measurements.

Assisting the Surveyor

Part of a rodman's job involves holding the prism pole steady for the surveyor to help determine elevations of different points. He also measures how far different points are from each other, using a tape or electronic equipment, and helps with the various pieces of survey equipment.

Gaining Familiarity With Equipment

Depending on the company, the rodman may need to be familiar with a magnetometer, global positioning system, gradiometer and the echo sounder. If a supervisor is present at the job site, the rodman can operate the surveying equipment with the supervisor's oversight.

Holding the Rod

The rod is one of the most important tools in completing a survey. A rodman will wipe off the rod's base before putting the rod in place to avoid interfering with the accuracy of its measurements. Then, using a level, the rodman will place the rod vertically in place -- or plumb it -- to ensure a correct starting point for the next measurement.


Leslie Renico's grant-writing career began in 2006 and her grants have brought in millions of dollars for nonprofits serving the poor and providing medical care for the needy. Renico has appeared on television and her articles have appeared in various online publications. She graduated from Saginaw Valley State University with a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice in 1997.

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