This article discusses the issue of improving geodetic instruments and methods for conducting alignment measurements using photoelectric and optoelectronic means of recording displacements relative to a given reference line with a laser radiation source. The relevance of the need to increase the efficiency and level of automation of cross-section measurements when performing field observations of deformations, displacements, and settlements of dams and hydraulic structures is substantiated. The table shows the main types of alignment measurements, which present the methods and means of each type used separately depending on the required accuracy and length of the alignment line. The advantages and disadvantages of each type of alignment measurement are also noted, with regard to the possibility of automating the measurement process. Based on a comparative analysis, a type of cross-sectional measurement was selected using a laser radiation source, which acts as a reference line. A brief review of modern devices and means of scanning a laser beam and photoelectric registration with respect to a laser radiation source has been carried out, providing high efficiency and accuracy of alignment measurements, on the basis of which an optical-electronic straightness deviation recorder has been developed using a fiber-optic converter of a linear-circular type. The functional and electronic diagrams of the recorder are presented. A computational assessment of the relative accuracy of the recorder’s target measurements and a calculation of the level of luminous flux in the perceived area of the analyzer were carried out. Keywords: gate measurements, device, deformation, reference line, recorder, field observations, laser beam, fiber optics.