Staff And Rod

Staff and rod both are useful tools in different industries and have been in use for centuries. Staff and rod have their own specifications and functions, which we will be discussing in this article. We will also compare them in detail and address some FAQs at the end.

What Is a Staff?

A staff is a measuring instrument that is commonly used in land surveying. It is a long and slender pole, which is typically around 3m in length. Staff is generally made of wood, aluminum, or fiberglass. It has horizontal markings drawn across its length, with each marking indicating a unit of measurement.

Land surveyors use staff with theodolites or total stations to measure the heights of trees, buildings, and other objects. Staff is also useful in leveling, contour mapping, and measuring the slope of the land. It helps in determining the elevation of a specific point by measuring the vertical distance between the point and the measuring instrument.

What Is a Rod?

A rod is another measuring tool that is often used in land surveying. It is a shorter and thicker instrument than staff, usually around 16 feet (4.9m) in length, and a diameter of 5/8 inches. Rod is made of aluminum or fiberglass, which makes it durable and lightweight.

Unlike the staff, the rod has an adjustable section, which can increase or decrease its length. This allows the surveyor to measure heights without being constrained by the length of the rod. Center of the rod has a bubble level that allows the surveyor to ensure that the rod is vertical.

Rod is widely used in land development and construction projects, where precision measurement is essential for accurate construction work. Its primary function is to determine the difference in height between different points on a building site or a construction project.

Staff vs. Rod

Staff and rod may seem similar, but there are some fundamental differences between them. Some of the notable differences are:


Staff and rod are both made of different materials – Staff is generally made of wood, aluminum, or fiberglass. On the other hand, Rod is made of aluminum or fiberglass.


Staff is usually longer than the rod, with a typical length of 3m compared to the rod’s standard length of 16 feet (4.9m).


Staff and rod have their specific usage – Staff is commonly used in land surveying to measure heights and mapping, while rods are used in construction projects to measure differences in height.


The design of rod and staff is also different. Staff is usually a long, slender pole with horizontal markings, while rods have an adjustable section, bubble level, and can be lowered or raised to match the measurement requirement.


Q: Can a rod be used in land surveying?

Yes, rods are commonly used in land surveying, especially in construction projects where accuracy is critical.

Q: What is the maximum length of the staff?

Staff’s length can vary, but it is typically around 3m. However, some manufacturers may produce staff longer than this.

Q: How does the rod’s adjustable section work?

The adjustable section of the rod works through a locking mechanism that allows the surveyor to change its length as required. The surveyor can use the bubble level to ensure that the rod is vertical before taking measurements.

Q: What is the difference between a staff and a rod?

The primary difference between staff and rod is their usage. Staff is used in land surveying to measure heights and map the land, while rods are used to measure differences in height in construction projects.


Staff and rod are valuable measuring tools that are commonly used in different industries. Although they have similar functions, they have some fundamental differences. Staff is usually longer and used in land surveying, while rods are thicker, adjustable, and used in construction projects. Both tools are essential for precise measurements, especially in the construction industry. Ultimately, the tool you choose will depend on your specific measurement needs.