Top Laser rangefinders are tools that are often used in combination with other equipment. A hunter, for instance, may need a rangefinder from Nikon or Bushnell. He may also need a good rangefinder scope from the same company. Depending on whether the hunter prowls at night or during the day, the hunter may need a night vision monocular. Some hunters prefer to keep it simple and avoid gadgets, while some others on the other end of the spectrum come bristling with every gadget and aide conceivable. Most however, attempt to strike the right balance.
Finance is yet another concern. You may only have money to buy a quality scope, a rangefinder, a binocular, a GPS device or something else. Binocular-rangefinder combos are relatively common.
There is also a Burris Eliminator rangefinder-scope combination that is decently priced at about $800. This appears to combine the capabilities well – with scope functionality working dually as a binocular-substitute and the rangefinder being built-in. There appears little out there that combines a true night vision capability with a rangefinder unless you are looking at mil-spec gear.
Moving towards rangefinders used for surveying, we can think of combining rangefinders with GPS devices for surveying. Most city bureaucracies use both GPS units and laser rangefinders to build and maintain their maps and databases of such diverse and mundane assets as street signs and road lengths. For a mid-sized city, they budget acquisitions at $5,000-$20,000.
It is only a matter of time before smaller cities can consider cheaper alternatives in the new generation of laser rangefinders and GPS units. Perhaps a new product targeting this market by one of the established players such as Nikon, Leupold or Bushnell can significantly lower costs and reduce tax-dollars spent tracking street signs. A combined GPS unit, laser range finder and mapping software can considerably reduce the complexity and expense of mapping.
Theoretically, a laser range finder can tell you how far, for instance, a road sign is located. Synchronized or combined with a GPS unit, it can tell you exactly how far it is from where, pinpointing its location to software that simply has to assign a name and attribute for the sign measured and place it in the map. There appears to be no reason why the job cannot be done at a small fraction of the present cost.