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Success Stories
Ed Worrell, Riverview Land Preserve Ed Worrell, Lead Operator
Riverview Land Preserve, City of Riverview, MI.

Question: “Why did Riverview Land Preserve decide to purchase a GeoLogic Landfill GPS System?”

Answer: “When we started shopping for a GPS system we looked at several different systems. For instance, we looked at Caterpillar’s CAES system on two different landfills. We could see that it directed you to make a certain number of passes on a particular spot. If you put in new garbage on that same spot, it didn’t always matter, depending on how much you put there. I just didn’t look to us like a very good system. When we looked at the GeoLogic system, they brought over a computer and GPS and showed us on our site how it calculated compaction based upon deflection. If you roll over trash and it doesn’t move, you’ll be able to see that. Seeing it work really helped us make up our minds.

We talked to a lot of different people at other landfills and at trade shows about their GPS systems. Like all of our other equipment purchases, word-of-mouth recommendations from colleagues are very important. Between good word-of-mouth and an on-site demonstration by GeoLogic of their compaction software, we decided this was the best system out there.“

Question: “Can you talk about how you have been using the GeoLogic system to reclaim airspace due to settlement?”

"The GeoLogic system allows you to fill to your waste limit, then go back out there, and check it again and track settlement. I’ve got my top-of-waste design loaded up in the system. If I’ve built the hill up to top-of-waste before and the hill settles, I can go back and check spots on say, an outside edge, and see if it is worth filling again. If it has settled 2 feet, it might not be worth it, but if you check it and it has settled 4 or 5 feet, then it is worth it to strip the cover dirt back off and reclaim the airspace. For example, our west slope sat for five years, we measured it, and we were able to reclaim ten feet of airspace."

Question: “How are you using the GeoLogic system to improve your compaction practices?”

"A lot of times, you can look at a slope, and it looks compacted. However, when you drive over it with the system, you check the deflection and sometimes find it isn’t actually fully compacted, because maybe the operators put the trash in a little too thick in that spot. You know that you have to work on it.

Before GPS, the old way of doing things was to just continuously run over the trash. With the GeoLogic system, we now can see in the compactor cab when the trash is not compacting anymore and it’s doesn’t do any good to keep rolling over it. I’d rather see somebody sitting and saving fuel, than continue moving just for the sake of moving, which ends up putting extra wear and tear on the machine and costing us more money on maintenance.

We use the system’s daily compaction information to know which machines or which techniques work best, such as whether vertical box-pattern packing, a 1-on-4 grade or a 1-on-6 is best. Compactor manufacturers all have their own operating tips, and operators have their opinions on what works. I’ll give every idea at least one week if it helps compaction. With this system, you can actually try each technique, and see numbers that show you which one works better.

We also use the daily compaction information to monitor progress. If my daily density starts to drop, I’ll check the machine idle time statistics. If I see, say, 42% idle time, I then know what the problem is. If, however, the density is getting a little light, and I check the machine idle time and it turns out to be reasonable, then I look at other things, such as the amount of moisture in the trash. The system helps me decide what to do next. It’s a diagnostics tool."

Question: “Have you seen your compaction numbers improve since you started using the GeoLogic Landfill GPS System?”

“Oh, absolutely. Our compaction has improved quite a bit. Before we used the GeoLogic GPS, you could try different ways to compact, but you didn’t know if they were working or not. This system allows you to test out different techniques individually to check how well they work, then start adding what works together. On average, I would estimate we saw an increase of about 300 to 400 pounds per cubic yard since we began using the GeoLogic GPS system. Right now our waste density is measuring about 1600 to 1800 pounds per cubic yard. Of course, that varies depending on the changes in our waste stream and where we are working in the cell."

Question: "How do you use the construction features of the GeoLogic System?"

“The stakeless grading is priceless for finding finished slopes and checking settlement. We use it to help us check grades when building new cells and it’s a nice little add-on to the compaction features of the program.”
Art Baldwin, B&V Construction Art Baldwin
B & V Construction

Art Baldwin works for B & V Construction, Wixom Michigan. He has worked 41 years in construction, 14 with Michigan DOT in the Construction Division, 1 year as a foreman for B & V and the remaining years in the Engineering Department at B & V. He has worked with lasers, flat and steep slope on three light display equipment as well as with more traditional survey equipment. B & V has 200 owned pieces of heavy earth moving equipment owned with 50 - 75 rented. B & V moves 1/4 million yards of dirt per week.

I work 75 sites per year. Some I go back to every week or twice a week. Three years ago, we got a robotic total station. This was a huge improvement over how we were doing things before then. It has been a year now that I have been using the GeoSite Manager System. The system is awsome. Its ten times more productive than the robotic total station. I have not quit marveling about it, I'm still in the dazzled stage. The system also gives me more confidence than I had with a laser. Each time I am back on a job, I can easily check back on critical points to make sure that the elevation wasn't pumped up by a scraper driving by. It takes out the worry that maybe you made a mistake.

I use the survey package for topoing, point finder field based grade checking and station based grade checking. Yesterday, I collected 1900 points in 4 hours on a 60 acre site, doing as-builts. With a total station, you have to stop on each point and I walk at about 2 miles per hour. On the bike, I don't stop, I can drive up to 12 miles per hour.

Pointfinder is just awsome. I was putting in a building this morning. You can see the points. I could see that there was something wrong. I could see that I reversed the coordinates on the points, on screen. If I had points on a data recorder, I would never have seen it.

With the robotic transit, I could do one job a day, now I do 2 or 3. With a robotic total station, you had to be an octopus to run a survey. If you could put in one bundle of stakes a day, you would be doing good. Now, I do two or three sites a day with a bundle on each. With the bike, all the stuff on it is a big plus. I didn't have to figure out what I was going to need.

Slope staking is probably the most awsome feature of anything I have ever seen. When you graduate from line of sight to radio waves, its like a blind man being given sight. Multiple setups, what are they? Once in a while, for the most part. I have even gone to another nearby job leaving my base set up on the previous job.

The real savings in using this system is not just in the time. When you need a stake, you don't have to just go around the area till you get stakes. The foremen are able to call me for stakes and not have a 72 hour lead time. Now they do not hesitate to call me and say to me, "how soon can you get here." I keep all of their jobs loaded on the computer so I can drive there, set up in a few minutes and go to work.

In the long run, we are going to want to use this for job costing. We have the ability to do the as-builts quickly and whenever we want. We can track what foremen worked on what jobs and what engineers designed them. We will be able to see if certain formen have problems with certain kinds of jobs or in certain areas of jobs. If the problem is the engineer, we can bid those jobs higher. If a foreman shows that he has trouble in certain areas, maybe he falls down on finish grades or on wet jobs, we can bring in another foreman who is good at that particular area to give him help and training to make him more efficient.

If there is any limitation on this system so far, its me. If I was more computer savey, it would have been easier to learn. Now, I wonder what the problem was. I especially like the keyboard button menu. I use the 1 & 2 keys all the time. It is very easy to put a point descriptor in. I wish it was as easy in Autocad. The guys running Autocad sure don't put them in.

The system is quite forgiving. If you go into a screen wrong or exit wrong, you usually can get control again. Its very important to read the manual. It gives you insight into the program.

I can't get on a job without a surveyor drooling all over it. I haven't found a surveyor who has found fault with it.
Rhonda Rhodabaugh, Nagy Excavating Rhonda Rodabaugh
Nagy Excavating

Rhonda Rodabaugh is a grade checker for Nagy Excavating out of Fenton Michigan.

I work for Nagy Excavating. Nagy is a mass grading company with 10-15 employees, including the office. We build subdivisions, schools, apartment complexes, banks, etc. We built the expansion to Bishop airport.

I have worked for 5 years in construction. My first three were running loaders and laboring. My last two before this season were as a grade checker. For 2 years, I did it the old fashioned way, with a hundred foot tape, a ruler, a laser and an eye level. I love this new GeoLogic system, it is so much faster, quicker and easier. Before the system was dropped off here on the site, I knew nothing about it. I received three days of training on site and off I went.

Before we got our GeoLogic system, we always had to wait for the engineers to come on to the site and put in their stakes. Then we would offset them to build our grade. A typical stake would take me 15 minutes to put in. With the GeoLogic system, a stake takes me seconds to put in and I can put them in anywhere on the site whenever I want them. With the engineers doing the staking, the problem would be that we would move to a site and then find out that the engineers hadn't staked it yet and we would be on hold for a week. That doesn't happen any more. We just need the plans on a disk and the control points and we can go to work.

The GeoLogic system saves us a ton of time. When I had to stake the old fashioned way, I could be in the cut or the fill but never both. The staking took too long to be in both areas. Now, I can stake the cut so fast that I have time to run over the the fill and stake that as well. We don't double haul dirt now because of it.

In the cut, we used to have stakes standing on a mound of dirt that was so steep that I could hardly climb up it. I then had to do a double offset so that I could remove the stake, let the guys remove the mound of dirt and then accurately put it back. This was a real pain and it took a long time. Now I tell them to run the stake over. I can put a new one in so fast that it doesn't matter. Now nobody gets upset over a knocked-down stake. You never have to worry that one that accidentally got knocked down and got put back into the ground but in the wrong spot or with the grade mark in the wrong place.

Having the plans on screen and being able to put in stakes where we want helps a lot. Before, we could see the stakes put in by the engineers but it was real hard to tell where they were on the plans. It made planning for the people in the field difficult. Now, you stand at any point and you can see the rest of the job on the screen.

This helps in dealing with the engineers. They design a site, often without knowing what it will look like in the field. I go on the site, stake it and then we can see the problems before we start. We are working on a job at the Hartland Middle school now. When I staked it, I could see that the design called for us to cut a bunch of big old oak trees next to the property line. I knew that the neighbors didn't want those to go, so I called the engineers. They came out, saw the problem and redesigned the project to save them. We would never have been able to do that before. Everybody will be happier as a result.

I have not seen any resistance on the part of the engineers to working with this system. For the most part, they want to see how it works. They have been happy to listen to my comments and requests for changes on jobs - and there have been a lot of changes on this job, as it has gone along. Most have not been requested by us. Each time there is a change, I get a new disk and then it only takes a few minutes to re-mark the grades and we can get going again almost immediately.

I spend about half of my time using Point Finder (GeoPoint) and half using Field Based Grade Checking (GeoField). On this job, I might spend a couple hours staking out the pond then go check the cut and fill areas. I have so much time now, Al has me doing the stakes for the underground contractor.

As far as I am concerned, this is the only way to build a job. It is so much faster to stake that it keeps the guys from ever having to wait for stakes, plus being able to see the plans in relation to the stakes prevents a lot of errors.
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