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Smart Rod

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Effective Projects and Experiments in Instrumentation and Control

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1302.1 - 22.1302.10



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Paper Authors


Mohamad A. Mustafa Savannah State University

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Mohamad Mustafa is a Professor of Civil Engineering Technology at Savannah State University (SSU). He has six years of industrial experience prior to teaching at SSU. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. Research Interest is: Sensors Applications in Civil Engineering.

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Asad Yousuf Savannah State University

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Jeff Kesling

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SMART RODAbstractThe application of scientific and mathematical principles to the method of differential leveling asapplies to the Civil Engineer in the planning and design of the construction of buildings,highways, and bridges were investigated. Such planning and designing requires the surveying oflocations to determine what changes may need to be made prior to any construction or alteration.Differential leveling is the independent measurement of an unknown elevation relative to aknown elevation. In order to perform differential leveling survey, a graduated rod known asPhiladelphia Rod and an automatic or self-leveling level are needed. One of the key elements toperform accurate differential leveling is the ability to keep the rod and the instrument plumbed tothe earth. Current state of the art is to use a scope and graduated rod, both of which employbubble-levels to determine plumb.The purpose of this project is to design a device capable of determining and transmitting therod’s angle in relation to the earth. This device is called Smart Rod. The Smart Rod will replacethe graduated rod. The smart rod consists of graduated rod that employs a tilt sensor, transmitter,and Parallax Discovery board. The tilt sensor is used to measure the rods angle with respect tothe earth, and the transmitter wirelessly transmits the angle data to an automatic level that is alsoequipped with a Parallax Discovery board. The Parallax Discovery boards are used to bridge thecomponents together and run a program to interpret the angle data. In order to achieve thiscommunication a program using Basic Stamp Editor needs to be developed. The program readsthe Smart Rod’s angle data and transmits the leveling condition through an LED that is equippedto the automatic level. When the rod is plumbed with the earth, an LED that is equipped to theautomatic level is activated. Once the LED is activated the surveyor will read the rod reading.To test the effectiveness of the Smart Rod, several differential leveling surveys will be conductedusing the graduated rod with the automatic level, industry standard method, and compare theresults to the smart Smart Rod method.It is expected that the use of the smart rod to conduct a differential leveling survey will provide ahigher accuracy in the measurements and a slight decrease in the time required to conduct thesurvey.

Mustafa, M. A., & Yousuf, A., & Kesling, J. (2011, June), Smart Rod Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18748

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