“Laser” is an acronym that stands for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.” Ever since its invention, the laser has found literally thousands of industrial, medical, scientific, and construction uses. Whether it is as a simple laser pointer used in classrooms and business presentations, bar code scanners, a surgical tool, or powerful lasers used as weapons of war or to cut through metal, the laser has become a very versatile tool. One of its most useful applications is in the field of surveying and construction as a range finder and level. Most dramatically, lasers can be used to measure the distance from the Earth to the Moon. But it is as a tool for distance measurement and level guidance on the construction site where lasers have become indispensable in the earthwork engineering.
On the job, laser levels operate by the simple action of a self leveling, spinning floating mirror set in a protective housing that send rapidly rotating beams of laser light extending up to 300 yards. The rapid rotation, in effect, turns the one-dimension beam into a two-dimensional flat plane of laser light set at a given elevation. This plane of light intercepts a sensor mounted on a surveyors rod or piece of equipment which emits an audible beep or flashes a signal light when it is at the exact elevation as the laser beam. In addition to GPS locational systems, laser guidance allows for fine grading with small changes in grade. It allows for raising and lowering of construction equipment as it advances along the roadway. Overall accuracy is approximately 1 millimeter.
Credit for Article: Foremaster Magazine