The earliest versions of alidades were used in the field of astronomy. Fast forward to today, a telescopic alidade remains one of the many essential tools needed to perform surveying tasks.
Alidade Uses and the Similarities of Surveying, Astronomy, Navigation, and More
Alidades are sighting devices used for navigation and determining directions. They can also be used to measure angles. Here are some of this device’s most common applications.
Surveying. Surveyors use a telescopic alidade alongside a plane table to map and survey topographical conditions. The alidade is used to calculate land topography measurements accurately. To further ensure accuracy, the plane table should be mounted onto a tripod. Alidades and plane tables are part of the components of theodolites, which measure both vertical and horizontal angles. When surveying smaller parcels of land, these tools come in handy for surveying professionals. For larger sites, theodolites are utilized.
Astronomy. In the early 19th century, astronomers relied on alidades to plot the location of stars. In those times, the alidade is part of a circular device called an astrolabe, which is primarily used to make constellation maps. The two-dimensional model of the celestial sphere was also used in the early days to tell time.
Navigation. Astrolabes with alidades are not just beneficial for astronomers. Explorers including Christopher Columbus also used them. Navigational equipment like a global positioning system (GPS) is considered a modern iteration of these devices. While there have been significant advancements in technology, there are still explorers who use alidades. Now, this device is one of the critical components of giant radio telescopes, which study naturally occurring radio light emitted by astronomical objects. Alidades can also be found in navy ships and other seafaring vessels. These are used to view objects from a distance. As much as they’re helpful on seas, they also have applications in the air. For example, people aboard an aircraft carrier can use an alidade to identify the position of an object below.
Fire safety and support. Lookout towers are essential in looking for fires in wilderness areas. One of the sighting devices found in these towers is the alidade. Alidades in lookout towers have a compass mounted on them. The purpose behind the attachment of compasses is to precisely locate the starting point of a fire — along with the direction to which it is spreading.
The Advantages Of Renting Surveying Equipment
Surveyors need to rely on top-quality alidades, theodolites, and other optical alignment equipment to properly perform their assignments. In some cases, renting instead of buying them is the smarter choice.
Some of the biggest reasons for this include eliminating the need to store them on a long-term basis, maintain and/or repair them, and dispose of them once they reach the end of their working lifespan. Besides these, you can also better control your expenses and prevent losing your services’ overall value caused by owning obsolete equipment.
When you rely on a theodolite rental, for instance, you’d also get access to a wide selection of models and units. With this, you can cost-effectively find the right tool for the particular job you’re doing.