GNSS on the Construction Site Satellite navigation technology & its benefits for building layout By Shane Zysk Precision Laser & Instrument, Inc. o many contractors, the acronyms GPS and GNSS often mean very little. Seen as technical terms from the complementary yet separate and complex worlds of surveying and mapping, their true origins and practical applications for construction layout are usually far from the forefront of a general contractor’s thoughts. T As is often the case, though, a tech-nology or practice within one discipline often has the ability to benefit others as well. Furthermore, the time spent in refinement for the primary industry that this technology has served has meant a smoother, simpler, more user-friendly solution for all. Utilizing its own unique attributes through a system of proven accuracy and tie-ins that now exist for seasoned workers, tailored towards their own unique industry, the GNSS receiv-ers of surveyors today may just find a welcome home as part of the construc-tion professional’s arsenal. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technology is a solution that uses coordinated satellites, such as the United States’ Global Positioning System (GPS), in conjunction with ground stations and receivers to pinpoint a user’s exact loca-tion on the earth. The advantage of using an entire system of satellites is that it reduces the risk of error and increases their collective availability and precision. Due to their nature, GNSS receivers can operate anywhere with a clear view of the sky, and this can be of great value for contractors. A busy construction site often means movement and clutter, two things that heavily impede common line-of-sight instruments, such as total stations. Rather than having to move and repeat setup each time an obstacle moves between such an instrument and the layout points, a GNSS receiver can simply continue on as normal, regardless of who or what passes by. Pulling from a system of satellites, the precision of today’s GNSS receivers is truly no joke either. The professional-grade GNSS receivers in use today are leagues above the satellite positioning many associate with the technology that has been used to navigate in vehicles www.propertiesmag.com 81 Photo courtesy of Precision Laser & Instrument, Inc.