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Is there an accurate phone app altimeter ?

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#1 DavidGraves

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 10:24 PM

Howdy

 

Can anyone recommend a pretty accurate cell phone app altimeter ?

 

I have a long gravity flow domestic water line and I need to do some regrading.....need elevation data along about 1/2 mile of pipeline.

 

Many thanks

 

David Graves


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#2 Taku

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 11:52 PM

There are many free apps for both iPhone and Android. Might just load a few up and try them out to see what works best. Some require cell connection, some don't


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#3 PaulT

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Posted 20 October 2019 - 04:37 AM

David,
Problem is not app related but GPS related. Altitude is not measured as accurately with civilian gear. Another option is barometric altimeter.

Beg, borrow or buy one. Perhaps, your local Airplane Owner & Pilots Association can provide one removed from an aircraft, or you could get one from REI.

A lot depends on what accuracy you need and over what time frame. Over a period with steady barometric pressure, you could do fine, but if a storm is approaching or leaving, the barometric pressure may change over a short time period that could make your readings less useful.

I would check with an avionics repair facility to see if they have something that would work for you.

For what you want to do, one cheap approach may be to use the pipe and add a transparent section of hose with measured markings.
Attach to pipe and hold vertically on the downhill end. Fill the pipe with water on the uphill side. The height of water in the downhill side is the same elevation as the top of the water in the uphill side. Read the height in the marked transparent tube to know the elevation difference,

Paul
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#4 DavidGraves

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Posted 20 October 2019 - 05:05 AM

Thanks Paul

 

Half a mile or more of pipeline and wooded hilly terrain.

 

I have a transit but cannot make sightlines for trees and such.

 

I will look into a barometric app.

 

david


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#5 Wandering Sagebrush

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Posted 20 October 2019 - 06:37 AM

David, I agree with Paul on the phone apps.  GPS is all over the place..  You might be able to rent a barometric altimeter from an outdoor program or an outfitter.  The better (?) multifunction watch style are in the $200+ range.   I believe Brunton still offers an anemometer + altimeter.  I would loan you my really old Brunton , but it gave up the ghost years ago after a nasty fall. 


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#6 PaulT

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Posted 20 October 2019 - 08:03 AM

david,

 

Use the pipe you are laying as the level tube unless it is one piece. If you have to join pieces, it should be possible to cobble something together to work.  At the starting end, attach a short vertical piece to the pipe with a funnel into which to pour the water.

 

At the down hill end of the first section, make an adapter using something like a bicycle inner tube to atttach to the pipe with a hose clamp and also attach the vertical measuring tube.

 

Pour water into the funnel until it is full. Go to the downhill end and read the height on the transparent vertical tube. Now you know the delta in elevation.   Remove the vertical tube and join the next section. Reattach the vertical transparent tube to the new downhill end.

 

Repeat the filling operation until done.

 

You are using the half mile pipe as the level.

Alternatively, use a 100 ft length of garden hose and do the work in 100 ft sections.

 

https://en.wikipedia..._level_(device)

 

I checked specs on a $200 barometric altimeter and it gave accuracy as within plus or minus 50 ft

This one says 3 ft resolution but that is not accuracy.

 

Anyway, good luck and full flowing water.

Paul


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#7 ntsqd

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Posted 20 October 2019 - 03:59 PM

Suggest adding both a surfactant (soap could work but there are other options) to eliminate or reduce the meniscus, and some food coloring to the water.


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#8 DavidGraves

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Posted 20 October 2019 - 04:35 PM

Thanks all for the wonderful suggestions.....I have been building homes and shop work for the last 58 years and I understand that water runs downhill.

 

My aim here is more simply to check the altitude of two fixed points, about 1/2 mile apart up a mountain creek....and at my home.

 

I hoped some of them new fangled smart phone thingys would make it simple.

 

The water line has existed since 1942.....I have been working on it since 1999.

 

It is sort of an Oregon Vortex thing with lots of ups and downs and a huge low swing below the road bridge and then back up to my domestic tanks at the house....grown men plumbers have sat and wept trying to get it all to work....one went mad and jumped in the creek.

 

David Graves


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#9 rando

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Posted 20 October 2019 - 04:49 PM

Wouldn't it be easiest just to measure the pressure at the bottom end of the pipe?   

 

If the inlet is a stream - just measure the pressure at the outlet with a  faucet pressure gauge.     The elevation change between the two ends of the pipe (in meters) is the pressure (in bar)/0.0981.

 

Otherwise your iPhone does have a barometric altimeter built in - but I am not sure a barometric altimeter will be any better than an augmented GPS:

https://apps.apple.c...pro/id923043780


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#10 pvstoy

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Posted 20 October 2019 - 05:21 PM

I would take the time and run a level moving it down the route. Each movement forward would back sight back two spots to confirm sighting then sight foward. Since putting this much effort would use lath to mark elevations and stations along the way. Good note keeping to do the math is a must. Not the quickest way but with patience and accuracy you can get a accurate profile of the run. Then it is a matter of cut and fill along the way.

If you have a hand held inclinometer can work in two person team and work your way down the slope noting elevation changes in short runs distances.

Half a mile worth best to use lath, flagging and a marker to write on the lath as soon you will forget the details to work on later.

Good luck... yea as we learned in school...water runs downhill;)

If you do have some uphill sections could consider some self venting stations along the way.
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