GIS Platforms: A Cornerstone for Reducing Construction Waste

GIS Platforms: A Cornerstone for Reducing Construction Waste

Geographic Information System (GIS) technology is at the forefront of the push towards sustainability in the construction industry. The reuse and recycling of construction materials – also known as circular construction – is becoming more common by the year, and GIS technology offers precise tools for measuring, mapping, and managing these materials. GIS platforms enable contractors to optimize their use of resources, thereby reducing waste and enhancing efficiency.

In 2018, the United States generated an estimated 600 million tons of construction and demolition debris, more than twice the amount collected from residential areas annually. Out of this, 143.8 million tons ended up in landfills. In the European Union, where over a third of all waste stems from construction and demolition, protocols are in place to ensure that at least 70% of this waste, by weight, avoids landfills. This aligns with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, particularly "Responsible consumption and production."

Cement production, responsible for up to 8% of global human-made carbon dioxide emissions, has seen significant scrutiny. Many top builders and developers in the U.S. are now opting for sustainable materials and practices, including the use of low-carbon cement, to mitigate these environmental impacts.

Illustration of GIS data over a cityscape.
Geographic Information System (GIS) technology is at the forefront of the push towards sustainability in the construction industry.

Digital Tracking and Asset Management

Managing construction debris efficiently requires overcoming challenges related to the age, origin, warranty, and value of materials. Here, GIS technology becomes indispensable. Construction officials use GIS to create digital records—sometimes referred to as materials banks or passports—that map every asset in a building. This digital mapping ensures that when a building reaches the end of its lifecycle, an exact inventory and location of each asset is available. This level of detail allows for assets like light fixtures to be returned to manufacturers for warranty and reuse.

Precision and Efficiency in Practice

The precision provided by GIS and drone technology not only aids in accurate measurement but also in meticulous planning. For the foundation placement of the project in Vancouver, drone imagery was used to pre-plan the positioning of trucks and pumps. This ensured that the process, which involved over 500 ready-mix trucks over 12 hours, proceeded without hassle or on-site coordination issues. As Bilal Yasir from PCL remarked, "everything fit like a jigsaw puzzle with precision and accuracy."

A construction worker holding a tablet.
SiteMap® (patent pending), powered by GPRS, is a cloud-based project & facility management application that provides accurate existing condition documentation to protect your assets and people.

The Path to Sustainability

The call for sustainability in construction is made tangible using GIS and related technologies. By enabling precise location and measurement of materials and assets, these tools help contractors achieve a new level of sustainability. This is not only beneficial for keeping waste out of landfills but also for reducing costs and improving operational efficiency.

The integration of GIS into construction practices is a clear step towards a more sustainable future, where every material is valued and nothing is wasted unnecessarily. As we continue to embrace these technologies, the dream of a circular construction economy inches closer to reality, paving the way for a greener and more responsible world.

SiteMap® (patent pending), powered by GPRS, is a cloud-based project & facility management application that provides accurate existing condition documentation to protect your assets and people. It features GIS functionality and can support data portability for your existing GIS platform of choice.

What sets SiteMap® apart from traditional GIS platforms is that it’s built on the field-verified data collected by GPRS’ SIM and NASSCO-certified Project Managers, which is layered and modeled by our in-house Mapping & Modeling Team to suit your needs.

GPRS’ SiteMap® team members are currently scheduling live, personal SiteMap® demonstrations. Click below to schedule your demo and see how SiteMap® will help you plan, design, manage, dig, and build better today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a GIS Platform?

GIS stands for Geographic Information System. It is a technology used to gather, manage, and analyze geographic data. GIS platforms help users understand spatial patterns and relationships through maps and 3D scenes, enabling decision-making processes in various sectors like urban planning, environmental management, transportation, and more.

Key features of GIS platforms typically include:

  • Mapping: Visualizing geographic data on a map
  • Spatial Analysis: Analyzing the spatial location and relationship of geographic data
  • Data Management: Storing and organizing data in a way that is easily retrievable
  • Geocoding: Converting addresses into geographic coordinates
  • Routing: Calculating optimal paths between locations
  • Remote Sensing: Integrating and analyzing data from satellite images and other remote sources

What are the Benefits of Underground Utility Mapping?

Having an updated and accurate map of your subsurface infrastructure reduces accidents, budget overruns, change orders, and project downtime caused by dangerous and costly subsurface damage.

How does SiteMap® assist with Utility Mapping?

SiteMap®, powered by GPRS, is the industry-leading infrastructure management program. It is a single source of truth, housing the 99.8%+ accurate utility locating, concrete scanning, video pipe inspection, leak detection, and 3D laser scanning data our Project Managers collect on your job site. And the best part is you get a complimentary SiteMap® Personal Subscription when GPRS performs a utility locate for you.

Click here to learn more.

Does SiteMap® Work with my Existing GIS Platform?

SiteMap® allows for exporting of data to SHP, GeoJSON, GeoPackage, and DXF directly from any user’s account that either owns or has a job shared to their account. All these file formats can be imported and utilized by other GIS packages if manually imported by the user. More information can be found at