A dumpy level is a surveying tool that measures horizontal lines. It is used to determine relative height and distance among different locations. In modern times, it is most commonly used to obtain measurements for buildings rather than to gather information on large tracts of land.
The dumpy level must be situated horizontally. The apparatus is connected to a tripod and raised to eye level. There is a bubble marker on one the side of the device. The instrument must be adjusted until the bubble is in the center of its frame, which indicates the mechanism is level. An assistant holding a staff stands at a location, and the distance is measured.