Who Invented the Theodolite?


Quick Answer

Leonard Digges invented the theodolite in 1551. Digges was known for improving many tools for surveyors, carpenters and masons. He also invented the refracting and the reflecting telescope.

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Full Answer

A theodolite is a surveying tool with a rotating telescope that measures horizontal and vertical angles. In older texts, the term diopter is used as a synonym for theodolite. The first time the word theodolite was recorded was in a surveying textbook called "Pantometria." The book was authored by Leonard Digges and was published posthumously by his son in 1571.

A theodolite is a calibrated optical instrument that is used to decide relative position in surveying, navigation and meteorology. It has a telescope mounted on a tripod fitted so that it can swing freely on its horizontal and vertical axes. Graduated scales then measure the amount of rotation.

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