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A few years ago, a geopal of mine turned me on to the ‘magic box’…a laser rangefinder from LaserTech Inc. It was a little bulky and came in a box so padded that you were reluctant to keep it out of it for long…also, it cost several $1000. Nonetheless, I coveted that device from afar and borrowed it for several months.

On a more recent excursion, a different geopal pulled out a nifty little yellow number from LaserTech that made all of the same measurements (slope distance, vertical distance, horizontal distance, inclination, height) but came in a much smaller, more rugged package.

Turns out they got the thing on my advice several months prior when I scoffed at their use of a Jacob staff to measure several 100 meters of section (flat-lying rocks). More importantly, it turns out that the smaller, more rugged version is also less than $1000!

Damn right I got one. Maybe you should have one too. This little number could change your life if you sketch a lot of strat sections and guesstimate unit thicknesses or otherwise conjure up various spatial dimensions on the fly. With a little extra thinking, you can also construct an accurate cross section in the field if you are so inclined.

I used mine in the field over the weekend and was thoroughly satisfied with the results.

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