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  • Julien Chosson

Is GPS still the most effective technology for landfill compactors?

Good landfill compaction strategies are the cornerstone of efficient and profitable landfill management. It used to be that landfill surveyors had to jam stakes into the dirt to grade landfill density. Luckily, industry standards have evolved with the times. Today, engineers and compactors drivers can use GPS-enabled technologies to optimize compaction rates. A well-managed and properly compacted landfill will have a longer lifespan and lower risk of landslides and cave-ins. As the current industry standard, GPS-enabled technology has a proven track record with landfill compaction. It is time- and energy-efficient, allows for a better traceability of work and gives a good estimation of compaction rate, without the need to visually survey the area.


Above, a compactor equipped with GPS technology.


But, as with everything, GPS has its limitations. The technology was cutting edge when first implemented in the early 2010s. But since, geographical-surveying tools have come a long way to ensuring even more optimal compaction rates. One of the main shortfalls of GPS-enabled tools is that it is only as accurate as the number of GPS trackers in use. Even if it is an older technology, GPS is still very expensive. Therefore, a common cost-saving measure is to not outfit all equipment with a GPS. This means any feedback collected is only telling half the story and will never be fully representative of the actual compaction rates of the landfill. For this same reason, GPS also falls short in areas where compaction improves over time, but no compactor has driven on it: it can only capture data for areas where a compactor outfitted with GPS has gone to.


So, the question is, how can landfills optimize their lifespan while remaining economically responsible? What’s the ultimate cost-efficient method that will also result in profit? The answer might be to look to the sky.


Recently, drones have become much more affordable. Machines that used to cost several thousands of dollars can now be purchased at a fraction of their original price. And lower-end models cane be found at some department stores and pharmacies for a few hundred. In fact, drone technology has become so affordable it is directly competing with GPS. Because it can be controlled by one person on the ground whenever you need it, experienced drivers require fewer feedbacks to know how good their compaction is. And drones can spot everything at once, which eliminates the blind spots missed by GPS.

Above, one of the drones used by Wastack to capture key data on a landfill.


Wastack’s compaction monitoring software can help landfill owners accurately calculate their rate of compaction to a more precise degree than with the older GPS-powered tools. In terms of quality-to-price ratio, Wastack offers regular feedback loops to drivers faster without the costly implementation of GPS devices. Landfill owners can opt to use either Wastack’s drones or purchase their own and will obtain useful data for construction on their site. All in all, Wastack’s monitoring software is a powerful communication tool that is easier, more accurate and less expensive to use than the conventional and outdated GPS method.



Contact one of our representatives today to learn how you can use technology to optimize your landfill and make it more profitable.

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