Theodolite

Overview

**theodolite**is a precision instrument for measuring angle

Angle

In geometry, an angle is the figure formed by two rays sharing a common endpoint, called the vertex of the angle.Angles are usually presumed to be in a Euclidean plane with the circle taken for standard with regard to direction. In fact, an angle is frequently viewed as a measure of an circular arc...

s in the horizontal and vertical planes. Theodolites are mainly used for surveying

Surveying

See Also: Public Land Survey SystemSurveying or land surveying is the technique, profession, and science of accurately determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional position of points and the distances and angles between them...

applications, and have been adapted for specialized purposes in fields like metrology

Metrology

Metrology is the science of measurement. Metrology includes all theoretical and practical aspects of measurement. The word comes from Greek μέτρον , "measure" + "λόγος" , amongst others meaning "speech, oration, discourse, quote, study, calculation, reason"...

and rocket launch technology. A modern theodolite consists of a movable telescope mounted within two perpendicular axes — the horizontal or trunnion axis

Trunnion

A trunnion is a cylindrical protrusion used as a mounting and/or pivoting point. In a cannon, the trunnions are two projections cast just forward of the centre of mass of the cannon and fixed to a two-wheeled movable gun carriage...

, and the vertical axis. When the telescope is pointed at a target object, the angle of each of these axes can be measured with great precision, typically to seconds of arc.

**Transit**refers to a specialized type of theodolite developed in the early 19th century.