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Fig. 211

C, 1789. D,1845

A,1715. B,1765


In the above figure the horizontal and vertical lines represent true East and North lines; and the two upper lines running from left to right represent the two lines set out by the surveyors and in the years, there named.

(323) Remedy for the evils of the Secular change. Tho only complete remedy for the disputes, and the uncertainty of bounds, resulting from the continued change in the variation, is this. Let a Meridian, i. e. a true North and South line, be estab lished in every town or county, by the authority of the State; monuments, such as stones set deep in the ground, being placed at each end of it. Let every surveyor be obliged by law to test his compass by this line, at least once in each year. This he could do as easily as in taking the Bearing of a fence, by setting his instrument on one monument, and sighting to a staff held on the other. Let the variation thus ascertained be inserted in the notes of the survey and recorded in the deed. Another surveyor, years or centuries afterwards, could test his compass by taking the Bearing of the same monuments, and the difference between this and the former Bearing would be the change of variation. He could thus determine with entire certainty the proper allowance to be made (as in Art. (321)) in order to retrace the original line, no matter how much, or how irregularly, the variation may have changed, or how badly adjusted was the compass of the original survey. Any permanent line employed in the same manner as the meridian line, would answer the same purpose, though less conveniently, and every surveyor should have such a line at least, for his own use.*

This remedy seems to have been first suggested by Rittenhouse. It has since been recommended by T. Sopwith, in 1822; by E. F. Johnson, in 1831, and by W. Roberts, of Troy, in 1839. The errors of re-surveys, in which the change is neglected, were noticed in the "Philosophical Transactions," as long ago as 1679



By the Third Method.



(324) THE TRANSIT and THE THEODOLITE (figures of which are given on the next two pages) are Goniometers, or Angle-Measurers. Each consists, essentially, of a circular plate of metal, supported in such a manner as to be horizontal, and divided on its outer circumference into degrees, and parts of degrees, Through the centre of this plate passes an upright axis, and on it is fixed a second circuar plate, which nearly touches the first plate, and can turn freely around to the right and to the left. This second plate carries a Telescope, which rests on upright standards firmly fixed to the plate, and which can be pointed upwards and downwards. By the combination of this motion and that of the second plate around its axis, the Telescope can be directed to any object. The second plate has some mark on its edge, such as an arrow-head, which serves as a pointer or index for the divided circle, like the hand of a clock. When the Telescope is directed to one object, and then turned to the right or to the left, to some other object, this index, which moves with it and passes around the divided edge of the other plate, points out the arc passed over by this change of direction, and thus measures the angle made by the lines imagined to pass from the centre of the instrument to the two objects.

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(325) Distinction. The preceding description applies to both the Transit and the Theodolite. But an essential difference between them is, that in the Transit the Telescope can turn com pletely over, so as to look both forward and backward, while in the Theodolite it cannot do so. Hence the name of the Transit.*

This capability of reversal enables a straight line to be prolonged from one end of it, or to be ranged out in both directions from any one point. The Telescope of the Theodolite can indeed be taken out of the Y shaped supports in which it rests, and be replaced end for end, but this operation is an imperfect substitute for the revolution of the Telescope of the Transit. So also is the turning half way around of the upper plate which carries the Telescope.

The Theodolite has a level attached to its Telescope, and a vertical circle for measuring vertical angles. The Transit does not usually have these, though they are sometimes added to it. The instrument may then be named a Transit-Theodolite. It then corresponds to the altitude and azimuth instrument of Astronomy. As the greater part of the points to be explained are common to both. the Transit and the Theodolite, the descriptions to be given may be regarded as applicable to either of the instruments, except when the contrary is expressly stated, and some point peculiar to either is noticed.

(326) The great value of these instruments, and the accuracy of their measurements of angles are due chiefly to two things; to the Telescope, by which great precision in sighting to a point is obtained; and to the Vernier Scale, which enables minute portions of any arc to be read with ease and correctness. The former assists the eye in directing the line of sight, and the latter aids it in reading off the results. Arrangements for giving slow and steady motion to the movable parts of the instruments add to the value of the above. A contrivance for Repeating the observation of angles still farther lessens the unavoidable inaccuracies of these observations.

It is sometimes called the "Engineers' Transit," or "Railroad Transit," to distinguish it from the Astronomical Transit-instrument. In this country it has almost entirely supplanted the Theodolite.

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