Kemp Engineering
Chartered Land & Engineering Surveyors
Kemp projects Kemp projects Kemp projects Kemp projects Kemp projects
Kemp Engineering
Kemp Surveys
Seeka Utility Surveys

Kemp are skilled at working with the latest machine control technology and in forming the digital terrain models required. If you have any questions about our work please do not hesitate to contact our office.


1D One Dimension Machine Control: This is essentially a system that employs the same technology as the tried and tested rotating laser and sensor employed on most construction sites. A sensor is fitted to the blade of the dozer or arm of the excavator. The sensor picks up the rotating laser and LED lights indicate whether the blade should be raised or lowered. The driver is responsible for moving the blade to the correct levels, there is no automation of the controls.


1D Machine Control offers basic machine guidance. 1D Systems cover excavators, dozers and graders. It is claimed that 1D Solutions can offer up to a 10% increase in productivity per job as well as saving on the setting out of a large number of profiles and banksman time or requirement.

Under construction

2D Two Dimension Machine Control: Using sophisticated sensor equipment, coupled with control box technology, 2D machine control builds on the benefits of 1D to bring you increased levels of guidance and control. 2D control increases accuracy and allows for more complicated cuts and grades to be achieved with more speed and less fuss.

Some of the other benefits of the 2D system are for example when coupled with a 360 excavator the driver can reference the bucket to say the edge of a plateau and then set a grade of say 1:3 to cut away from. He will then be able to see in the cab his bucket position as he trims the batter without rails or a banksman. The system will however require re referencing to either the plateau, a set out stake/datum or a laser when the machine tracks however. In this scenario it is important that the setting out surveyor communicates required batter angles or relative depths to the driver, or supervises grade and depth inputs.

3 Dimension Machine Control: 3D Solutions deliver the highest level of machine guidance benefits, using data provided from Global Positioning Satellites (GNSS) and working to accuracies of around 2cm. Robotic Total Stations in lieu of GNSS will allow accuracy to come to 5mm or better.

3D machine control relies upon a digital terrain model to be loaded to the machines computer. Using the positional information provided by the GNSS or Robotic Total Station coupled with the same sensors that the 2D system employs the bucket or blade position can be calculated in real time, compared with the digital design model on the computer to compute a depth of cut or fill. This can be displayed geographically for the operator or converted to signals that control the machines hydraulics. 


It is not cost effective or necessary for all machines to be equipped with machine control. If you consider bulk excavations where there are say two or three machines forming a road cutting, only one of the excavators will require machine control. This machine can excavate two pits or trenches and allow the other machines to bulk out between them. The excavator with machine control acts as the setting out engineer for the other machines to work too. 

The reduction in setting out stakes make it very difficult for works managers and clients representatives to firstly visualise the works to be carried out and secondly for it to be checked that it has been carried out correctly. It is therefore often necessary to provide some basic or bulk setting out such as stakes at 40m intervals along significant proposed features such as centre lines or break lines with a simple amount to cut or fill written on them. This gives works staff a “feel” for the job at the start. Surveyors can also load DTMs to their survey equipment and accompany works staff on a site drive through whereby depths of cut and fill can be identified on the screen as they progress around the site. It often depends on the works staffs preferences.

The big savings with machine control are not so much with the setting out although there are undoubtedly savings here but in the accuracies and efficiencies that can be achieved by the machines. No longer is sub-base right at the pins and wrong in between, it is right everywhere and it was achieved quicker without interruptions from banksmen dipping or boning. Machines can be moved from area to area without the need for detailed setting out (although the models must be formed) hence giving a great deal more flexibility to work with sudden weather changes or design alterations preventing work continuing in the desired or planned location.


Kemp Chartered Land & Engineering Surveyors
Datum House
8 Barncoose Industrial Estate
TR15 3RQ

Telephone: 01209 214687