Proper Care of Land Surveying Instruments

By their very nature land surveying instruments must be accurate, reliable and durable. Land surveying instruments are often exposed to harsh field conditions during use and must be regularly transported over rough roads and terrain. This drives reputable manufacturers to produce products that are rugged and durable. However, because land surveying instruments (particularly lasers) may be designed to withstand impacts, this does not mean that calibration will be preserved or that other problems will not develop later. While surveying instruments may be good quality, poor care and handling can be costly in terms of downtime, excessive repair costs and costs associated with premature replacement.

Below are some simple steps you can take to help ensure that your land surveying instruments remain in service, with minimal downtime, for many years to come.


  • Handle your land surveying instruments with care like you would handle a newborn baby. Do not jar or drop an instrument. Just because a manufacturer claims that their instrument can survive a drop from a certain distance, this does not mean that the claim should be tested. The user should take the claim as a statement of quality and not a license for rough handling. An instrument may “survive” a fall, but calibration may be lost and/or other problems or failures may develop in the future.
  • Even though quality land surveying instruments are designated as weather resistant and sometimes weatherproof, do not allow instruments to be exposed to excessive dust, heat or moisture. If possible, clean after each use.
  • Try to ensure that an instrument set-up in the field is protected from inadvertent impact by heavy construction machinery, vehicles and personnel. Set up the unit in an out of the way place if possible, and if not use traffic cones, barriers or flags to provide a buffer from traffic.


  • Always properly place your land surveying instruments in storage cases before transporting, ensuring that it is cushioned properly. Make sure the inner foam is complete (chunks not missing or removed) and the foam is secured to the outer case. Put all cords receivers, chargers, spare batteries, clamps, etc and any other accessories in their proper place. Never encroach on instrument space with accessories or the case will not be able to serve its intended purpose.
  • Just because land surveying instruments are properly placed in storage cases, it does not mean that you can handle the case roughly. The case and instrument should never be dropped or impacted.
  • When you are transporting land surveying instruments in a vehicle, make sure it is secured properly so it does not slide or bang around. The best way to protect your instrument during transportation is to place it on a piece of foam in a storage bin and secure in place with bungee cord to keep the case from banging around against the truck or compartment body.


  • Keep land surveying instruments clean
  • Keep land surveying instruments calibrated and serviced
  • Keep the battery terminals clean and free of corrosion. Do not leave batteries in the unit for an extended period when not in use.