Abstract

Electronic distance meters are routinely used to accurately determine the distance between two points. To reach relative measurement uncertainties of 107, the average temperature along the beam has to be known within 100 mK since it is a key component in determining the refractive index of air. Temperature measurements at this level are extremely challenging over long distances and especially in an outdoor environment. This paper presents a thermometer for accurate temperature measurements over distances up to a few km. The thermometer is based on direct laser absorption spectroscopy of oxygen near 770 nm. The thermometer yields a spatially continuous measurement of air temperature, and it can provide spatially and temporally well-matching data with an actual distance-measuring laser beam. A field measurement campaign at the 864-m Nummela standard baseline demonstrates applicability of the developed thermometer for improving the refractive index compensation of current high-performance electronic distance meters.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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