A dumpy level, builder's auto level, levelling instrument, or automatic level is an optical instrument used to establish or verify points in the same horizontal plane. It is used in surveying and building with a vertical staff to measure height differences and to transfer, measure and set heights.
The term dumpy level endures despite the evolution in design. A dumpy level is an older-style instrument that requires skill to set accurately. The instrument requires to be set level in each quadrant to ensure it is accurate through a full 360° traverse. Some dumpy levels will have a bubble level intrinsic to their design which ensures an accurate level.