Engineering the Digital Civilization

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Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Leveling Setup & App Preview

Leveling, Stakeout & Measurements! 


Levels are an important aspect on site and managing it is a difficult task. Even I managed levels for a project on site & it was then that I noticed that I need to develop a system to manage the works. My goal was to manage the levels & maintain the FFL & excavation levels. Initially, I used the Casio fx-911ES to compute the levels & staff readings like with a little programming to save the terms such as HI & RLs of the TBM but the problem was that I had to remember the variable that I used to store the value and it was difficult to explain to people the stuff you did on the calculator. What if I'm not at the site and someone else had to perform the task that I did, as a solution I decided to devise a system that could be easily understood and operated by others. 

As said by Scott Adams, "Goals are for Losers, Winner have Systems"

Here is the system that I devised to manage the works. 
First and foremost you need to have a control system, We'd initially done a contour survey using total stations and established the benchmarks & TBMs on the plot where the building was to be constructed. The Benchmark was marked on a kerb near the entrance of the site so I made the BM as my primary Benchmark with RL as 100m which was as per the drawing.

Here's tour of the setup I implemented on my Site:
Recorded, Edited & Uploaded from My Xiomi MI Y2, here's my affiliate link

Next, I had an Automatic-level which I used to transfer levels to different points on the site. I did fly leveling & established TBMs nearby and marked the RLs on the compound walls. 1 established 3 TBMs with RLs such as 97.90m, 97.65m & 98.90m. Now, whenever I had to set the machine I just use these TBMs which are nearby instead of always backsighting the 100m RL BM which is at a distance. 
All this was about the setting up of the equipment, the next item is about the calculation. I've been a superuser of the Calculator Casio fx-911ES

A post shared by Er. Shadaab SAYYED | شاداب سيد (@sayyedshadaab) on


Check out this video I made on how to program your calculator to use it as a software!  


My workflow was something as follows:
  1. Ask someone to hold the leveling staff at one of the TBMs. Suppose the person is holding the staff at TBM with RL 97.65m then I save this value 97.65m in the variable as A.
  2. Then I read the staff reading which is usually around 0.7-1.5 m and then I add this value to the variable value I stored in A, this new value obtained is called the Height of Instrument often known as HI & I store this value in the variable B.
  3. Now if I have to find the level of any place on the site I simply ask someone on the site to hold the staff & I take the reading, after having the reading I just subtract the reading from variable B. This gives me the RL of that point. Now suppose the staff reading at that point is 0.945 so I type the syntax as B-0.945 and press equal on the calculator, it simply returns back with the RL of that point. 
  4. Another scenario, I know what Level I need to have on the field and then I calculate the staff reading that I should have in order for that point to have the desired level. This is simple, just subtract the level from HI and you'll get the required staff reading. I usually save this value in variable C so that I can recall this to refer and continue my leveling works. Typically the calculator is capable of saving the variable values until you remove the batteries or clear the memory.
All the above process seems quite difficult & troublesome also sometimes it seems to be confusing if you forget which variable you used or if by any error you modify the values of the variables. But it worked quite well for me as I've been used to this technique & practiced the calculator for almost all the 4 years of my engineering. Now, it is essential that I devise a system so that other people on the site with less experience on the implementation of concepts of surveying can work on the leveling tasks. 


The solution was developing a calculator that just suits the requirement with minimal clutter. I searched on the internet for already existing tools but couldn't find anything that was useful & finally I set on my quest towards developing a new software of my own.

Now, I've been a great user of Mircosoft Excel and do pretty much of all my coding related stuff on it. I'd once coded an Excel-sheet & linked it with Google forms to take input and provide the results with the output but this was time-consuming & required internet also it had a few errors associated with the lag.

Next option was to prepare a static web-app which I frequently use on this website to prepare small calculators but I discarded this because it couldn't save the terms such as HI & TBM RLs to be able to recalled instantaneously for fast work. You simply cannot afford any delay in computation on construction sites, every minute costs! 

So wanted something better & something that works without internet, something local. What could be better than an android application! I started working on preparing & developing the App on a Sunday when there was less work on site. The first working model was ready in around 4 hours but it had quite a lot of errors. (The app development & debugging would take up an entire blog post, let us keep it for a new post). So the app is almost ready and would be soon publishing it on the Google Play store once I'm done testing & tweaking it for minor adjustments. 
Here are a few screenshots:
App Preview
It is a simple application just able to compute levels and prompt how much you need to raise or lower the staff (the ground or any object) inorder to meet the desired RLs.

App while working
This is how you can input values and compute the outputs. It is fast handly & could be used by anyone, even the masons on my site are now able to transfer & estimate level differences using this application. It is like a little software revolution on the site.

We still keep to evolve and develop Insha Allah with many such ventures up ahead, stay tuned & like our facebook page so that you receive updates about the app release.

As always, Thanks for Reading.


-Sayyed Shadaab
The Engineer for the Digital Civilization

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