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Augmented reality view of building on greenfield site

April 7, 2022 | Dan Michiels

Augmented Reality Pivotal in Greenfield Project

Brown County in Wisconsin is part of a tri-county partnership with Outagamie and Winnebago Counties. Counting approximately 625,000 residents between them, the counties are in an agreement to support the solid waste diversion requirements of the communities in East Central Wisconsin. After sharing the use of the landfills in Outagamie and Winnebago, it was Brown’s turn to provide the active landfill.

While the Brown County South Landfill is set to open in early 2022, the planning process began decades ago. Originally permitted in the 1990s, some unique characteristics set the project apart, namely that it’s constructed on a greenfield, never-been-developed site, which makes it the first landfill project in the area to be constructed on such a site in more than 30 years. When Foth was brought on as the design engineer, we immediately began thinking about how technology could help stakeholders envision the project.

An Augmented Project Plan

The landfill and supporting infrastructure are on a 330-acre site. Being a greenfield site, the design needed to include everything from the underground infrastructure for power and utilities, to entrance roads, traffic and routing lanes, a scale house, and vehicle weighing stations, in addition to the landfill itself which covers 26.4 acres. It takes a full team to manage the day-to-day operations of a landfill, so the design also included a facility with offices, restrooms, vehicle maintenance bays, and pumps and large tanks to collect liquid waste.

Looking out into an empty field, it’s difficult for anyone, including the engineers behind the design, to imagine how it will look when construction is complete. At Foth, we are continuously analyzing the latest technology to find opportunities to better support our clients, which we were able to do with the Brown County South Landfill Project.

We selected Trimble SiteVision as the best augmented reality solution for this project because of its ease of use and ability to incorporate survey and geospatial data. Trimble SiteVision speaks a language similar to that of Foth’s civil designers, so the integration of the design was seamless. Being a mobile application, the renderings come to life handily on a phone and tablet.

Augmented Reality in Action

Using augmented reality on the South Brown County Landfill Project allowed us to improve communication with project stakeholders, including those who could never physically be at the site, and receive critical feedback. Beyond the feedback about the enjoyability and ease of the experience, the biggest value we received was in validating the design before construction.

We were able to identify items such as maintenance issues that might arise as a result of certain design options and solve those challenges in the design phase, giving all involved peace of mind going into construction. With Trimble SiteVision’s geospatial capabilities, we were able to show our client the underground facilities in relation to important constraints like property boundaries. Beyond design and construction, augmented reality is an excellent tool for maintenance in that it allows users to quickly identify the location of important underground infrastructure.

Finding the Right Solution for Your Next Project

Identifying and using the right technological solution produces bottom line benefits. Technology improves communication between all stakeholders prior to construction by overlaying existing and proposed data in the real world. Clients see subsurface and proposed features, which trigger questions and drive insights that make the project better thought out. These insights mitigate risks, ensure accurate cost estimates, guide subcontractors better, and ultimately lead to a higher quality project potentially at a reduced cost.

At Foth, we are technology agnostic. We’re continuously staying up to date on the latest technologies to understand how we can do things differently and deliver better for our clients. Contact us today to learn more about how augmented reality can help ensure the quality of your next project.

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