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3D Machine Control Support & Modelling

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Machine Control offers significant benefits over more traditional methods of earthmoving and construction; it can help to improve accuracy, productivity, safety, and documentation, while also reducing material waste and saving time and money.

Machine Control enables precise and accurate positioning of machines, leading to greater accuracy in excavation, grading, and other tasks, helping to reduce the need for rework and save time and money.

With GNSS (GPS) machine control, operators are guided by the 3D model of the site, allowing them to work more accurately and efficiently, increasing productivity and shortening project timelines.

By using Machine Control to guide machines, it is possible to minimize the amount of material that is removed or added during excavation and grading. This can help to reduce waste and save money on materials. Machine Control also improves safety on job sites by reducing the need for manual surveying and grading, which can be hazardous. Being guided by the 3D model means plant operators can more easily avoid hazards such as underground utilities, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries occurring.

It is also possible to capture data on machine performance, material usage, and other factors. This data will help improve documentation and reporting, making it easier to track progress and communicate with stakeholders.

Over the last decade, PQS Tech has built a reputation as the go-to company for Machine Control Support. As well as working with some of the largest earthworks companies in the country, we are also known for the help and guidance we provide to smaller companies just moving over to this new way of working.

Setting up a site for Machine Control requires careful planning, attention to detail, and skilled personnel. However, when done properly, it greatly improves the efficiency and accuracy of construction and other types of earthmoving projects.

Before starting any work, you need to determine the scope of the project. This involves deciding on the size of the site, the type of machines that will be used, and the specific tasks that need to be completed. 

Once you have determined the scope of the project, you will need to choose the right equipment for the job. This includes GNSS (GPS)-enabled and or LPS-enabled machines, such as excavators, bulldozers, and graders, as well as Base Stations, Robotic Total Stations, Rotating Lasers, and other necessary hardware. 

Working hand in hand with our partner, PQS Survey, we can install and calibrate Topcon GPS Machine Control equipment helping customers with:

  • Base station set ups
  • Configuring Topcon Machine Control cab kits
  • Measuring excavator buckets
  • Inputting machine files and checking positions to known points on site to ensure the machine is accurate and within tolerance

To use Machine Control effectively, you will need a 3D model of the site, this can be created using survey data, existing CAD drawings, or other sources of information. The 3D model is used to guide the machines, and ensure they are performing in line with the model’s specifications. 

Here at PQS Tech, we provide all levels of 3D model support; we can create models from start to finish, check over and convert existing information into the correct file format, and then update, monitor, and compare revised models with surveyed information over the span of the project, or provide training in these areas so that over time you become self-sufficient.

Once the system is up and running, PQS Tech can offer remote support, using systems like Topcon’s Sitelink, where we can monitor equipment and projects to ensure they are performing as expected. This may involve checking the accuracy of the GNSS (GPS) signals, monitoring the performance of the machines, and making adjustments to the 3D model as needed. 



Machine Control requires a model to work from because it uses advanced GNSS (GPS) technology and sophisticated software to control the movement and operation of heavy equipment such as bulldozers, excavators, and graders. Without a model, the machine would not know what to do or how to operate on a construction site.

PQS Tech can assist you in creating a model that is a digital representation of the site design, which can be created using specialized CAD software. The model typically contains information about the terrain such as contours, elevations, and slopes; as well as the location and layout of earthworks, roads, drains, foundations, utilities, and other features.
The machine control system uses the model to guide the equipment as it operates on the construction site. The system can calculate the precise location of the machine in real-time, and then compare it to the information in the model to determine which direction the cutting-edge needs to move in, to remain in line with the design.

benefits of using Digital Terrain models:

  • Increased accuracy
  • Improved productivity
  • Fewer errors
  • Reduced need for manual intervention
  • Reduced waste
  • Enable the construction team to plan and visualize more effectively
  • Reduce costs

When creating a digital model with DTM surfaces for GNSS (GPS) machine control, here are some of the things to consider: 

The accuracy of the DTM surfaces is crucial in ensuring that the GNSS (GPS) machine control system works effectively. The DTM should be precise enough to reflect the real-world terrain accurately. 

The resolution of the DTM surfaces should be high enough to capture all the necessary terrain details. A high-resolution DTM will provide better accuracy and more precise machine control.

The DTM surfaces should be in the same projection as the GNSS (GPS) machine control system, to ensure the machine control system will accurately interpret the terrain data. 

The DTM data should be in a format that is compatible with the GNSS (GPS) machine control system. Most GNSS (GPS) machine control systems use standard file formats such as DWG, DXF, or LandXML. 

The DTM surfaces must be compatible with the specific type of machine control equipment being used. Different GNSS (GPS) machine control systems have different requirements, and the DTM must be tailored to the specific system being used. 

The DTM surfaces should include all terrain features that are important for machine control, such as elevation, slope, and contours. The DTM should be updated regularly to ensure that it reflects any changes to the terrain. 

The quality of the data used to create the DTM surfaces is crucial. The data should be collected using accurate and reliable surveying methods and equipment to ensure that the DTM surfaces are as accurate as possible. 

The DTM surfaces should be stored in a secure location and backed up regularly to ensure that the data is not lost. It is also vital to have a clear and organized data management system to ensure the data is easy to access and use. 

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