The fusion of Global Positioning System technology with heavy equipment sparks a revolution in construction site automation.
By Phillip Glenn Koski
From cavemen to Copernicus, humankind has looked up to the sky
and pondered its rich complexities and precise mechanics. Today,
it is the sky, or more precisely the constellation of GPS satellites
suspended within it, that enables grading and excavation contractors
to reshape the earth's surface with awe-inspiring accuracy.
For decades the professions of landscape architecture, civil engineering,
and surveying have been awash in the constant evolution of digital
technology. GIS has expanded the scope of available electronic topographic
information to a global scale. CAD drafting programs have increased
the ease and precision of drafting site plans. And laser-based robotic
survey equipment has quickened and improved the practice of local
topographic measurement. Yet, until recently, the construction industry
has relied exclusively on blueprints and wooden stakes to navigate
the bulldozers and scrapers through the tabula rasa of the construction
site. The introduction of GPS-guided heavy-equipment systems completes
the digital loop-from survey to design to construction.
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