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Clinometer or Inclinometer

Updated on February 3, 2015

Clinometer or Inclinometer are the same

Sometimes people get a little confused when the words clinometer and inclinometer are uses, because they don't know they're the same thing.

After going around in circles looking for the difference between them, you finally realize and come to the conclusion that they're the same.

So if you're in need of or trying to find out about them, keep that in mind so you don't spend a lot of time in confusion and uncertainty.

You can find all the scientific jargon anywhere when you search for these terms, but let's keep it simple so it's easy to understand.

I'm just going to use the term clinometer so I don't have keep doing something like the inclinometer or clinometer does this or that. We'll just stay with clinometer so there no confusion. Just remember they're the same. 

What is a clinometer?

Ok. So what is a clinometer? While there are different types for different purpose, they all have the basic function of measuring slope angles, elevations and heights above horizon. The only difference is the scales being used, not the overall general purpose.

A number of compasses also have built-in clinometers to serve dual purposes.

Used with a compass, the difference is it reports results in degrees and not percents, while a standalone clinometer will report in percents.

If you choose a compass clinometer, you'll need to have the manual available so you can covert it to the percentage you need to know.

Uses from inclinometers or clinometers

Oops! There I used the term inclinometer again. Oh well, a little repetition doesn't hurt I guess, as long at it doesn't happen too much.

Anyway, most of us don't know what a clinometer is when we see one, but when we talk about the work it does, then we understand what's being used to perform it.

Probably the most obvious one is when you see surveyors doing their jobs. What they're doing is finding out what the angle of a certain elevation or inclination is.

So see, you actually have seen one in action, but you didn't know it.

Another use is when we see workers in a forest with an instrument we're not quite sure what they're using it for. In this case it's to estimate the height of a tree or possibly a mount or hill.

It can also be used in a similar fashion in reference to buildings.

If you've ever seen those huge boom cranes operating, for lack of a better word there's a spotter nearby monitoring the boom angle of the crane.

Finally, it's also used to figure out the pitch and roll of aircraft and boats.

Clinometer tandem compass

Dozens of uses for clinometers

Because most of us don't think of these things, we don't understand that there are dozens of uses around us all the time that we're unaware of.

The clinometer or inclinometer has become a powerful tool in a great many situations that help with safety and numerous other circumstances. 


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