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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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