GPS in Landfill Management

GPS in Landfill Management

GPS systems pretty much eliminate the need to stop and ask directions, plus they can track your lost dog and help you and your kids find geo-caches. One place you may not have heard that GPS systems are making a huge difference is in landfill management.

Landfill workers have to track the compaction and density of waste, and for decades they’ve done it with aerial photography backed up by ground surveys, two labor-intensive, time consuming methods. But now, GPS systems are revolutionizing the operation of landfills.

Workers have installed GPS systems on heavy equipment only to discover that they had been making mistakes in filling landfill cells – mistakes that before might not have been caught until it was too late to go back and fix them.

Typical landfill GPS setups include on-board computers and GPS units in the cabs of dozers and compactors, plus a wireless connection to a computer in the office, and a base station plus antenna on-site.

The fact that the on-board and base units can calculate elevation has been a huge time saver for landfill operators.  Compaction machines are now able to keep track of their exact elevations so that the operators know the compaction rate of the waste. These real-time measurements of compaction let landfills conserve fuel and reduce equipment wear. Now that operators know exactly when they have reached the necessary degree of compaction, they can stop right then.

Staking out grades when expanding landfills can now be eliminated. The on-board computers show 3-D grade lines right on the screen so the equipment operators know exactly where they are as well as their elevation.

Because GPS systems download data twice a day, operators are able to track activities and generate reports much more easily, without having to wait for land or aerial surveys.

To benefit most from a GPS system, landfill owners need to have a complete site survey and build-out ready to upload to the GPS system’s computer. They also need enough radio repeaters to cover the whole landfill. And they need to have lots of hard drive space – the larger the landfill, the larger the disk space needed for reports.

These systems are making a huge difference in the efficiency of landfill operations. In fact, a new GPS system for a landfill can pay for itself within a month in labor savings.

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One Response to “GPS in Landfill Management”

  1. Jonathan
    September 30, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    good to see alternative uses for GPS 🙂

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