Mapping with a Differential

by Charles M. Fralinger, Head GPS Coordinator; Albert A. Fralinger, Jr., P.A., Bridgeton, NJ,
Joyce P. Maxwell, Head of Research; Albert A. Fralinger, Jr., P.A., Bridgeton, NJ,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1997, Vol. 67, Issue 4, Pg. 50-52

Document Type: Feature article


A southern New Jersey landfill is using Differential Global Positioning System topographic surveying to cut costs and turnaround time on annual mapping and volume certification. Modern health, environmental, economic and aesthetic concerns have turned lowly refuse into a multi-billion-dollar international industry as well as a social and political hot button. The volumes of laws and regulations governing sanitary landfill operation alone could probably fill the old town dump. Although pile it up over there and we'll bury it later is still the fundamental idea behind a landfill, modern operations are increasingly sophisticated facilities that need state-of-the-art technologies for effective control and monitoring. Fralinger engineers recently used the Differential Global Positioning System to obtain the topography of a landfill. The results were obtained faster and were more accurate and economical than those from standard aerial photography techniques. Although last year's mapping cost slightly more than aerial photography, the additional expense will be recovered on this year's update, with annual savings projected after that. What's more, the greater accuracy provided by DGPS allowed our client to delay a $2 million construction project, saving over $150,000. And DGPS's faster turnaround time trimmed a two-month process to two weeks.

Subject Headings: Landfills | Mapping | Topographic surveys | Project management | Global positioning systems | Global navigation satellite systems | Economic factors

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