Oregon moves to tablets for no-stake 3D design

February 8, 2017  - By 0 Comments

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is embracing the growing trend in highway construction to go “stakeless” and push to full 3D design.

With more contractors using automated machine guidance applications, ODOT’s construction personnel are being asked to inspect projects with fewer stakes and visual indicators for line and grade. Employees are seeking to use the same data and information to determine line and grade when building or fixing stretches of road.

ODOT inspectors Jorge Jimenez and Mike Stennett at Multnomah Falls, preparing for a night-time paving operation. (Photo: Chris Pucci)

ODOT inspectors Jorge Jimenez and Mike Stennett at Multnomah Falls, preparing for a night-time paving operation. (Photo: Chris Pucci)

To address this need, rugged tablet maker DT Research worked closely with ODOT to design purpose-built Inspector Positioning Tablets that run GPS locating and 3D modeling applications, and take advantage of the Oregon Real-Time GNSS Network.

“MicroSurvey Field Genius surveying software is used to read XML files directly, allowing the inspector to work with the same files that the contractors received from the roadway designers,” said Chris Pucci, ODOT Construction Automation Surveyor.

The tablets enable ODOT to fully use its knowledge of the Oregon Real-Time GNSS Network and expertise in survey-grade RTK GNSS to achieve accuracies of +/0.05 feet.

The model DT391GS tablets have 9-inch touchscreens. The tablets can be used as handhelds or with an external antenna and pole. ODOT purchased one of four GNSS options offered by DT Research for the DT391GS tablets. The options enable inspectors and construction crews to employ a combination of GPS locating and 3D modeling to guide construction workers.

The goal is to allow the inspectors to make the same checks they would have made if there had been traditional construction staking on a project, not to make inspectors into surveyors, Pucci noted.

A one-day training is provided to train construction personnel before they are issued a tablet. “The tablets have been very well received by our construction inspection personnel,” he said.

The tablet project is now in the pilot phase with 20 tablets deployed to eight construction offices and more than 70 construction personnel having been trained. “We also just placed an order for 22 more tablets for the upcoming 2017 construction season,” Pucci said.

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Tracy Cozzens

About the Author:

Tracy Cozzens has served as managing editor of GPS World magazine since 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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