Field (& Some Lab) Equipment

3DR Arducopter Hex

Successful payload:  Canon S95, 195 g, but could carry more weight for shorter flights.

Research or educational use requires a FAA-certified remote pilot on the field team and project approval by the SFSU UAS Review Board.


Payload capacity:  800 g.

Research or educational use requires a FAA-certified remote pilot on the field team and project approval by the SFSU UAS Review Board.


3DR Solo with Canon S95 strapped on

3DR Solo UAS with Canon S95 strapped on. 

Also see:


RedEdge Sensor on 3DR Solo Quadcopter

Configured as a platform for the MicaSense RedEdge 5-band sensor, shown here with downwelling light sensor and GPS mounted above.


4.5 inch Transit, David White

For the mechanically-minded, non-powered types:  not electronic -- no batteries -- completely opto-mechanical.  Takes patience and practice, but you can get accuracy to minutes of horizontal and vertical angle.

Most have metric on one side, feet on the other.  


Binocular 7X-45X zoom stereo microscope on a single-arm boom stand, with 30mm widefield, 10X eyepieces, single-arm boom stand, 45 degree inclined binocular oculars, 6.5:1 magnifying zoom range and 4" (100mm) working distance

Sokkia Abney Level
Sokkia Abney Level with 5x Magnification
Abrams Stereoscope

To be used for viewing a stereoscopic pair of separate images.


Alidade to be used with Plane Table.

Analog soil thermometer

Analog soil thermometer with readings in both F and C.

Auto Level

Telescopic (optical) level.  Use tape or stadia readings for distance.  

Used with stadia rod in meters or feet.

Convex top autolevel tripod, for quick setup of optical autolevels.


Handheld barometer with an analog face. 

Public Bicycles

Available for checkout.  See Map Librarian.

Brunton ADC Summit handheld meteorological instrument

The essential functions of the Wind, with more capacity to inform and warn. Enhanced tools help you forecast weather, set warning signals, and let you time, track, log and download more performance data.

Brunton Pocket Transit

Brunton pocket transit combines a compass and clinometer. 

Brunton and tripod

Tripod improves accuracy over handheld use.

Brunton Sherpa handheld meteorological instrument.  Measures wind speed, temperature, air pressure, altitude, time,....

Brunton Survey Master Duo

Similar to the Suunto Tandem, the Brunton Master Duo combines a clinometer and a compass. 

Canon S95

The Canon S95 is a versatile but inexpensive camera with a global shutter, so it works well with on a UAV platform.  Run the CHDK intervalometer to take pictures at regular intervals.  We have three of these, one unaltered, the other two with the

Caving Helmets

Petzl caving helmets.  Some are available with a helmet lamp. 


7.5 in chisel for collecting samples. 

Core Sample Holder

Core sample holder that can be used with Increment Borers.

DBH Tape

Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) tape. Tape 2 is 10m, the rest are 8m.

DJI Phantom 3 Professional

DJI makes easy to fly UAV's that are a good option for mapping in RGB and capturing video.

Phantom 4 Advanced

The DJI Phantom 4 is a popular, easy-to-fly UAS that  integrates a decent camera (1" CMOS 20 Mpixel 100-12800 ISO, FOV 84° 8.8 mm (24 equiv) f/2.8-f/11, autofocus) on a gimbal.  One advantage over the Phantom 3 is locking propellers. 

dji Spark

The 300-g dji Spark can't be programmed to fly autonomously, but it has a decent camera that can be used to map using GCPs and manual flying even with no GPS.  The procedure uses Free-Flight mode in Pix4Dcapture, which triggers the camera at speci

Dwyer Wind Meter

Wind meter for collecting wind speeds from 2-66 mph.

Eijkelkamp Gouge Auger

This auger comes with a dead-blow mallet and a bent spatula.  It can be used for hard soils.

Folding trowel

Folding trowel for soil sampling.  Can attatch to belt. 


For Loss-On-Ignition studies of organic matter content of soil samples.  In this lab, use a relatively low-temperature (360 to 375°C) protocol. 

Garmin handheld GPS.  3-5 m accuracy.


GoPro Hero 3+ Silver Edition

GPS backpack

Backpack with standard 5/8" mount for external antenna like the Trimble Zephyr with antenna cable.

GPS Range Pole with Bipod, for Benchmarking.


hand lens

Various hand lens' available.  Most 10x magnification

Hand Level

Hand level for use in surveying.  1x, 2x and 5x models.

Handheld Radios

 Motorola handheld radios.

Hanna Thermocouple w/Probe

Hanna thermocouple with probe can measure temperatures from -50 to 250 C.  The probe is 10mm in width and 500mm in length and can tackle the toughest soil.   Thermocouple comes in a hard case. 

range poles in feet and meters

Available in feet (left) or meters (right).  Used with hand levels.  

increment borer

Increment borers for sampling softwood trees.  Requires training. Sample Holder available.


K&E Tripod

Wooden tripod, so a bit more stable (though heavier) than aluminum. 


Wooden tripod (a bit more stable but heavier than aluminum tripod).  Used with total station, digital level, laser level.

laser level

Laser level.  Used with laser sensor (in laser level box) mounted on suitable rod, such as the Direct Reading Laser Leveling Rod


Direct-reading Leveling Rod

"Direct-Reading" style, meaning it reads from the top downward.  Metric.

Laser Sensor

For use with Laser Level, and stored in its box.

Laser Technologies Impulse 200 laser rangefinder

Laser Technologies Impulse 200 Laser Rangefinder, with compass module.  Best used on a range pole for steady readings.

LaserAce Rangefinder

MDL LaserAce Rangefinder with compass module.  


Trick on communicating with Terrasync, from Pete Christian:

Leica Sprinter digital level

Digital level in two models:  100M and 250M.  Both have memory so ids, heights and distances can be downloaded.  Used with "bar-code" stadia rod.

Leica 503 Total Station

The Leica Builder 503 Total Station is a relatively easy-to-use instrument, but has exceptional accuracy: 3 seconds of angle horizontally and vertically.  See the SFSU Guide for a shortened version of the manual focused on our uses, which are goin

RedEdge sensor

The MicaSense RedEdge 5-band sensor was designed primarily for precision agriculture applications, where farmers can look for moisture and other stress on their fields, but also works well for vegetation mapping.  It captures narrow bands of blue

mirror stereoscope

Mirror stereoscope for measuring and mapping features on stereo pairs of aerial photography.

painter pole

Extends to 7 m, to be used for an elevated platform for photography.  Includes camera mount.  Only appropriate for light-weight cameras at its full extent.

Nexus tablet with R1 GNSS collector

Using Collector for ArcGIS Online, receives data from a Bluetooth-connected GNSS Receiver such as the Trimble R1.

Opti-Logic Laser Rangefinder

Easy to use laser rangefinder, accurate to 1 m.  Reads distance & vertical angle, with built-in settings for horizontal and vertical distance, and tree height.  

Plane Table

For drawing accurate maps in the field.  Note:  do not overtighten on tripod -- will become impossible to remove.


Plane Table Tripod

To be used with the plane table

Pocket Penetrometer

Used to test the strength of soils.


Used with total station and

Prism Pole:

Prism Rod

Used with total station and prism.

Seco Prism Rod

Extends to 4.65 m.  Marked in meters for water depth reading.  Used with



Total Stations

quadrat frames

PVC frames, various sizes.

rain gauge

Measures in mm as well as in. It can either be mounted or put in soil.

refractometer for salinity measurement

refractometer for salinity measurement

U.S. Navy Bureau of Navigation Mark II Sextant

U.S. Navy Bureau of Navigation Mark II Sextant

Sharpshooter shovels are good for exposing a vertical soil profile.


Similar to the Brunton Sherpa, this device can measure windspeed, temperature, relative humidity and barometric pressure. 

Sling Psychrometer

Used to measure relative humidity.

Sound Meter

Used to measure noise pollution. 

Spherical Densiometer

For measuring canopy cover percentage from the ground.

Suunto Clinometer

ID number is last three digits of serial number, engraved in the aluminum body.

Suunto Compass

ID number is last three digits of serial number engraved on the back of the instrument.

Suunto Tandem

Similar to the Brunton Master Duo, the Suunto Tandem combines a clinometer and a compass. 

Swoffer Flow Meter

For use with Swoffer Rod for measuring depth and positioning propellor  at optimal depth for velocity average with depth.

Telescopic Stadia rod

For use with optical level.  Metric and Imperial (decimal feet) versions.  Round telescopic style.


Topcon GTS 235 Total Station

Topcon 5-second total station.  

Requires prism and prism rod:


Prism rods:

Topcon Yellow Flat Top

Aluminum.  Used with total station, digital level, laser level.  

Tree Caliper

Tree calipers are more efficient than DBH tapes for measuring large numbers of smaller trees.  

Trimble GeoXH GPS Receiver

Submeter GPS running Terrasync, capable of accuracy to 0.1 meter under optimal conditions, using Zephyr external antenna (requires antenna cable) on

Trimble Juno SB GPS

Trimble Juno SB Level 1 (code) GPS Receiver 3-5m accuracy with SBAS differential correction, uses Terrasync.


Trimble ProXH GPS Receiver with Recon

Submeter GPS, separate GPS and Recon datalogger.

Trimble R1 GPS receiver

A small, rugged GNSS receiver capable of submeter accuracy in real time when used with SBAS correction -- no display:  connects via Bluetooth to a tablet or phone (Android, iOS, or Windows) running apps:


Has standard 1/4" phone plug, plugs into rod.  Used with USGS Flowmeter.

USGS Flow meter mounted on rod

For use with USGS Flow Rod for measuring depth and positioning the meter at the right depth of flow.

Vegetation Sampling Tools:

Shears, trowel and metric ruler

YSI Multiparameter

Our kit comes with a combination pH/ORP probe, DO membrane kit, conductivity/temperature probe, a 4 meter cable, and a PC interface cable.  There is also buffer solution available for calibration. 

YSI pH Meter

YSI Model 60 handheld pH/temperature system.  Micro-processor based, digital meter with an attached pH and temperature probe (10 ft).