If you travel, GPS systems are most likely a part of your everyday life. You use it to get you from point A to point B using the quickest route, even avoiding active road construction, or maybe the scenic route if you are feeling nomadic. But how is GPS changing the construction industry, and how can it be used to improve operations?
The first global positioning system was launched in the late 1970s for military applications, was released for civilian use in 1983, and became fully operational in 1995. Since then it has completely changed the way that we go about our daily lives – from replacing paper maps to aviation and commercial applications for business just like your construction company.
Monitoring Construction Activities
GPS is used to determine where a jobsite or service site is, and then can be used further to plan the most effective route between sites for the worker, saving them time, fuel and ultimately money. As workers move from site to site, managers are now able to track employees’ movements and current locations using the vehicle’s GPS or the GPS on a mobile device and construction software applications like Acumatica or Sage Service Operations. This gives you greater leverage on your business, as you are able to contact the worker nearest to where you need someone, drastically improving efficiency and your bottom line. This also allows you to ensure that all workers are where they should be throughout the work day and see if they are on the most efficient route possible.
Ensuring Accurate Time Punches
In addition to GPS tracking, mobile time clock apps such as ExakTime use GPS when an employee punches in and out, ensuring their location at the time of the punch. This is called geofencing and does require that the employee has their GPS location enabled on the mobile device that they are using to punch.
A New Way to Survey and Map Sites
Yet another advanced use of GPS technology is mapping software, like EagleView (formerly Pictometry) that allows you to figure area on a job site or property in order to provide an accurate quote. This technology would also allow you to visually map out areas on a construction site for planning your project.
Likewise, drones are used on construction sites to replace tradition survey equipment, which dramatically speeds up the process and allows crews to get started on construction earlier than they would typically be able to. Drones can use GPS receivers within the navigation and control loop to do a position hold, which allows the drone to maintain position at a fixed location and altitude, allowing for less costly and more accurate surveying.
Never Lose Another Asset
GPS devices can also be installed on your equipment, whether that be heavy equipment, construction vehicles, computers or large tools, so that you can see where your assets are in real time and then track them if they are lost or stolen.
If you aren’t using GPS in your construction business today, you are missing out on huge benefits and time savings. From surveying to fleet management and geofencing, GPS can keep you informed through every step of your construction projects and boost your efficiency and profitability.