Measuring Equipment Modification Ideas

General discussions of measurement techniques and the results of testing of techniques and equipment.

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Matt Markworth
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Measuring Equipment Modification Ideas

Post by Matt Markworth » Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:34 pm

Hi All,

It's amazing how much of a difference a slight modification can make. Here are some things that have helped me. The velcro idea and the wallhanger idea came from Steve Galehouse (thanks Steve!). I'd be interested to hear about other ideas too, even if it's on other equipment.

Attaching the Suunto Clinometer to the Nikon 440 makes the measuring process a little more efficient for me. If I find some trees that I want to take some extra time on with the tripod, then having the two together makes it a lot easier so that I'm not constantly switching them in and out. There's a slight bevel on the side of the Nikon 440, so I built that small section up with a little bit of electrical tape so that it's a flat surface. I attached them with Velcro, with the fuzzy sided piece on the clinometer.
DSCN1316.jpg
DSCN1327.jpg
Some tape measures don't have a hook on the end, but this wallhanger does the trick . . .
DSCN1324.jpg
Nikon 440 attached to the tripod plate with electrical tape . . .
DSCN1322.jpg
The part on the tripod head that holds the tripod plate has been flipped, so that the handle is pointing away from the measurer. When it points towards the measurer, it can get in the way. I'm sure there are other tripod heads that allow the handle to be attached to either side. This modification on this particular tripod head makes it more difficult to attach a camera, but that's a secondary concern for me.
DSCN1319.jpg
- Matt

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John Harvey
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Re: Measuring Equipment Modification Ideas

Post by John Harvey » Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:52 pm

I may have to try this. Thanks for the photos. Sure beats carrying them around in my pockets.
John D Harvey (JohnnyDJersey)

East Coast and West Coast Big Tree Hunter

"If you look closely at a tree you'll notice it's knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is that beauty and imperfection go together wonderfully." - Matt Fox

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Don
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Re: Measuring Equipment Modification Ideas

Post by Don » Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:05 pm

Matt-
Great ideas! Especially the tripod mount!!
I've been trying to come up with a stable mount for a pen-sized 5x telescope on an iPhone with the Clinometer App...I'm trying to get the accelerometer based Clinometer mounted with a targeting system (the 5x telescope). I'm very interested in comparing the iPhone (or Haglof's HEC II) accelerometer-based clinometers with the liquid-filled gravity based Suunto/Brunton clinometers...I believe them to be much more sensitive than the old standbys...
-Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
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Will Blozan
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Re: Measuring Equipment Modification Ideas

Post by Will Blozan » Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:29 am

Matt,

Looks like a useable setup. No diss intended ;) but as I mentioned in Ohio- I am not sure the tripod will give you any significantly better results than hand held. Due to the coarse resolution of the Nikon and inherent error of a few 1/10ths of a degree in the clinometer, even at click-over with dead-on calibration the result may not be any more accurate than hand held results. You could test this with measuring a known height (tape drop from a window or roof) and compare. I could be wrong here of course, but the extra bulk in the field is a pain!

For me, a fanny pack (with open side pockets) turned to the front works great to keep all the gear stowed and ready.

My $.02...

Will

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Matt Markworth
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Re: Measuring Equipment Modification Ideas

Post by Matt Markworth » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:35 am

Will,

Yeah, lugging that tripod around in the forest is a nightmare. This winter I'm only going to take it if I'm remeasuring a personal height record. If I'm in a cemetery or an open field where I'm not moving around too much it's enjoyable to use, especially when there are a bunch of different candidates for the true top.

I've been trying to think of a way to tape drop a distance that would allow me to test my accuracy. I could also compare my tripod results vs. my handheld results. The roof is a good idea, or I might even be able to find a walkway bridge that would get me to at least 50ft. When I tape a twig to the handrail of the bridge I should get some interesting stares :)

- Matt

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Matt Markworth
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Re: Measuring Equipment Modification Ideas

Post by Matt Markworth » Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:21 pm

. . . actually, I think a fire tower would be even better for testing purposes, that should get me close to 100ft.

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M.W.Taylor
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Re: Measuring Equipment Modification Ideas

Post by M.W.Taylor » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:05 pm

Hey Matt,

Check out these similar gadgets I've made over the years. My favorite is the Bosch850-with scope and digital inclinometer. I like using digital inclinometers because they are less expesnive, accurate and for me, easier to read angles than on that Suunto . The slopeview digital inclinometer reads directly to 1/100th a degree and has a built in laser level with RS-232 output option. You just mount it and calibrate the digital readout such that zero degrees is level.

When mounted to a laser ranger-finder, you can press the hold button while putting laser crosshair on the target. This will store the correct angle reading....so you can use hand-held.. You'll lose that angle reading when moving to the new eye-piece, while being handheld.

Michael Taylor
Attachments
macroscope with digital inclinometer that dispays directly to .05 degrees
macroscope with digital inclinometer that dispays directly to .05 degrees
slopeview on 40x scope and inclinometer on Bosch850 laser rangefinder with 20x scope.
slopeview on 40x scope and inclinometer on Bosch850 laser rangefinder with 20x scope.
slopeview on vortex with centralized pivot
slopeview on vortex with centralized pivot
first digital transit. Works great ! Cost $40
first digital transit. Works great ! Cost $40
Last edited by M.W.Taylor on Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dbhguru
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Re: Measuring Equipment Modification Ideas

Post by dbhguru » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:37 pm

Michael,

Your inventiveness and creativity never cease to impress me. The combinations you put together that give the best angle measures are especially impressive.

BTW, Delivery of LTI's new TruPulse 200X has been delayed until November. So, I can't give reports on how well the gate function works, but hopefully it will bring this model into competition with the Nikon Prostaff 440 for being able to hit targets through clutter.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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Matt Markworth
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Re: Measuring Equipment Modification Ideas

Post by Matt Markworth » Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:46 pm

Don, I just downloaded the free Angle Meter iPhone app and will play around with it. Is there a certain app that you've been testing?

Michael, All I can say is . . . Rad!

- Matt

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Don
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Re: Measuring Equipment Modification Ideas

Post by Don » Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:41 am

Matt-
I'd been trying to attach a pen-sized telescope (Zeiss has a nice one, search on Zeiss MiniQuick 5x10) to my iPhone 4S to serve as a targeting mechanism, to take advantage of the Apple App called Clinometer, an accelerometer-based clinometer with surprisingly sensitive measuring capacity...superior to the Suunto, Brunton, etc. liquid filled gravity based clinometers. I've actually been in contact with their engineers and suggested the use of the low volume button as a locking mechanism once you had the bottom or top lined up.
That's still worth fooling with, but I have just committed myself to another direction tonight...I'd been looking at another Apple App called Theodolite ($3.99, https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/theodol ... 56242?mt=8). It's incredible, and I encourage you to check it out. It has but one weekness as I see it, it relies on the iPhone camera for it's viewfinder, and trying to identify twigs 150' away wasn't going to happen.

Serendipitously, I ran into a new Sony (DSC QX10,$250), well it's part camera, mostly lens...a 'tweener'. It is a 25mm to 250mm (10x) telephoto, essentially 2/3rds of the Sony DSC W300. It mounts onto an iPhone, or just about any smartphone, and connects to the iPhone by Wifi (or if your smartphone has NFC, it just takes a 'bump'). You look into your iPhone screen and see what the Sony QX10 sees, zoom in, zoom out, with included software to control the numerous features it retains from the W300.
Point is, it works with Theodolite, and now I'll be looking with a 10x telephoto at tree tip top twigs...Theodolite has an accelerometer-based clinometer (based on iPhone's three accelerometers), a flux gate compass, a GPS (iPhone's) to display lat/longs, and get this>>>>>>>>>>
it can log all the data from the above features, and email it, send to a printer...and should you want to capture the twig that you're measuring, it can capture an image, and save it either to the QX10's storage, or the iPhones.

Or just be a camera taking stills and videos while on vacation...
Okay, enough already, I'm jazzed...
It is cool though.
-Don


Matt Markworth wrote:Don, I just downloaded the free Angle Meter iPhone app and will play around with it. Is there a certain app that you've been testing?

Michael, All I can say is . . . Rad!

- Matt
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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