Tips for maintaining surveying equipment

Tips for maintaining surveying equipment

Posted by Hitechniques Team on 3rd Sep 2021

Surveying equipment is often exposed to extreme weather conditions, used in dusty construction areas and is subject to bumpy transportation. Poor care and handling can be costly in terms of downtime, excessive repair costs and costs associated with premature replacement. Make sure it remains in service, with minimal downtown, for many years to come with our simple tips.

Keep your instrument clean and dry

While your instrument is robust and designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, it is not indestructible. Dust particles and water can still damage your equipment. Especially if you don’t take time to clean it after each use.

To clean your instrument use alcohol cleaning wipes or a bit of soap and water. If you have an optical instrument be sure there is no hard dust or grains on the lens and use the special cleaning cloth for optics to avoid scratching it. Do not loosen or attempt to clean the internal surface of any lens!

Keep in mind that even though surveying instruments usually have waterproofing certificates, you should never dunk it in water. Use rain shields if possible, when working in rain to keep moisture from getting into mechanical joints. And when you’re done for the day, carefully wipe everything dry, including the carry case. Take special care of the battery compartment.

If you think there might still be some moisture in the hard to reach elements or the case got wet, it’s best to bring the instrument to the office and take it out, leaving the case open to let it dry completely. Keeping the instrument locked when it’s not completely dry can cause serious damage. Waterproof doesn't mean condensation proof. Moisture condensation is dangerous to the electronics the same way as the water is.

Storing and transportation

Just because your instrument’s manufacturer claims it can survive a drop from a certain distance, this doesn’t mean you should test that claim. It should be taken as a statement of quality not a licence for rough handling.

When on site, never carry a tripod-mounted theodolite or EDM equipment on your shoulder. It should be taken off the tripod first.

When not in use, always keep the instrument in it’s storage case, making sure the inner foam is complete and secured to the outer case. Put all the elements in their designated compartments and double check everything before shutting the case close (you really don’t want to hear that cracking sound).

When you’re transporting your equipment, make sure it is secured properly and doesn’t slide or bang around. Keep other things you may be storing in the car secured as well, so they don’t fly around. Even in the storage case your instrument can get damaged, so why take a risk.

It’s good practice to regularly check for cracks and dents.

Look out for problem warning signs

Keep an eye out for any parts that seem looser or tighter that they were before - hinges, battery compartment covers, screws and bolts.. Anything that seems out of the ordinary should warrant further inspection. Keep in mind though, that attempting to make repairs to your equipment out in the fields is not a good idea. If a screw comes loose, go ahead and tighten it. But other than that we recommend you call the manufacturer or supplier. Surveying equipment is not designed to be repaired at the customer level. They’re precision instruments and as such should always be repaired by trained technicians in authorised service centers.

Service and calibration

Just like your car, your surveying instrument needs a professional tune-up at least once a year. You don’t want to make a mistake in positioning when you're on site and the service center can catch any calibrations drifting away from their specs before it becomes a problem.

Service your instrument annually and bring it in for calibration regularly. Especially if there’s any doubt about the results you’re getting.


Hitechniques is an authorized service center of Cable Detection, GeoMax, Laserliner and Mikrofyn. We calibrate and repair other manufacturer’s equipment as well. To get in touch call us at 01 257 2323 or email