The Survey Field Notebook

A Durable Design




I was almost astonished to come across this survey field notebook in a bookshop. This little notebook that costs only around 200 yen has a dark green hardcover, printed on it is the words “LEVEL BOOK” in gold. The paper in the notebook is comparatively thick, smooth and sturdy. Featuring a very solid sewn binding, the manufacturing technique is of an observably high quality. Why is this well-made notebook sold at such a low price? Who are supposed to be the target customers?

The survey field notebook was produced by Kokuyo, the notebook manufacturer behind the hugely popular Campus notebook. It was first sold back in 1959. Ten years before the birth of this notebook, Japan enacted the Surveying Law in 1949. Practitioners of the industry were then required to provide a more detailed documentation of the construction field. Seeing the demand for a durable and portable notebook, Kokuyo began to work on producing the pocket-sized survey field notebook.

The paper quality has been improved over the years, otherwise, the notebook nowadays is exactly the same as how it was first sold 50 years ago. In this society where new products are constantly launched to attract the curious customers, the unchanged survey field notebook is of an invaluable existence.