3. Check and Adjust

There are a few things to keep in mind and some cautionary notes for surveyors who will attempt adjusting equipment.

Where multiple checks and adjustments are described, perform them in the order presented. Some checks are dependent on others already being compensated otherwise maladjustment may be difficult to isolate.

Before making an adjustment, repeat the check to see if it is consistent. If it isn't, then either the check was not performed correctly, a previous adjustment or compensation was not done, or it is not systematic and should be sent to a repair facility.

Modern equipment, when treated with care, maintains physical adjustment quite well. In some cases, electronics compensate for maladjustments.  An instrument's operating manual will describe specific checks and adjustments which can be made. While some adjustments can be performed by the surveyor, most are best left to qualified repair facilities. Equipment cost and complexity, particularly those with onboard electronics, require specialized equipment and conditions. Trying to repair maladjustment on your own can make the situation worse, if not disabling an instrument entirely.

Because they are a large capital investment and critical to a surveyor's livelihood, a formal maintenance program should be adopted for each major instrument. This should include an annual trip to a repair facility for cleaning and adjustment. Consider this preventative maintenance.

So if adjustments on your own are not encouraged, why include this topic?

- Understanding instrumental error determination helps new surveyors appreciate why we use particular measurement processes.

- There are some pieces of equipment the surveyor should check and adjust on a routine basis. A few of these tend to slip between the cracks, but their importance should not be overlooked.

Never assume an instrument is in perfect adjustment allowing you to cut corners when measuring. Rather, assume it is maladjusted, and use procedures which compensate error if it is present.