The application of GPS systems in construction surveying

24 March 2017
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

Construction is one of the leading business sectors in the world. Bridges, roads, malls, houses and multiple other construction projects call for accurate data assessment of the location where these projects are intended to be put up. This is where construction surveyors come in handy by collecting crucial data needed to plan a complete construction project without any prospect of construction anomalies or defects. Today, construction surveyors use mainly GPS for various undertakings including the elevation, grading, mapping, staking and site inspection. This article looks at how the use of GPS by construction surveyors has revolutionized construction surveying.

An overview of traditional construction surveying

Conventional techniques of construction surveying involved a group of surveyors using mechanical equipment to survey a given area. Some of these devices included compasses, measuring tapes and levels among other similar instruments. The calculations were most done manually thus producing error probabilities. Additionally, tracking the elevation was easier said than done especially when the surface area was not level. As such, it required a lot of effort from a number of people to undertake a construction survey. Furthermore, this took a few days to complete. Nevertheless, all this hardship is considered history thanks to the advent of GPS surveying devices. 

GPS use in construction surveying 

Today, construction surveyors use GPS surveying instruments that eliminate any guesswork to guarantee accurate measurements. Basically, GPS devices provide measurements in 3D which allows the surveyor to perform accurate measurements for any location in the work site. These devices obtain radio signals in the form of latitude, longitude, and elevation from sea level from GPS satellites which helps the surveying devices display precise measurements. It would take only around 5 minutes at each location in the work site being surveyed for the surveyor to collect all data from the GPS satellites and showcase the results.

In contrast to traditional surveying, you only need one person to hold the hand-held GPS surveying device for a couple of minutes at the work site and record the exact measurements as displayed by the device. This does away with the need for many hands to carry out the survey. 

Line of sight is a key criteria in traditional surveys given that majority of the measurements are done manually. As a result, construction surveyors would have to wait for good weather in traditional construction surveying. On the contrary, line of sight plays no role when the construction survey is reliant on GPS. This means that the GPS devices can work under any climatic conditions.