Machine Control

Does anybody know of any android apps that could be used for simple, manual, machine control?

Mainly thinking about this being used for excavating in a straight line with depth reading.

Ideal Workflow:

  1. Shoot 2 points - Start and end for the desired trench to follow.
  2. Shoot desired depth
  3. Excavate to line
  4. Check trench depth by placing boom in same configuration as the desired depth was shot at.
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Should have looked through the forum first. Looks like this is already being discussed…
So is Field Genius my only option?

Very good option , works awesome on our scraper

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We just bought a couple of Komatsu 360’s with controlled GPS and I can tell you that excavators are particularly tough because of all the geometry that must be accounted for. For real cut/fill notification you really need to be able to calibrate to the tip of the bucket or teeth. With Komatsu we calibrate all the way around the bucket so that it can dig and compact. You could place the antenna on the stick and then measure from that point to the tip of the bucket when it is in line. This would at least give you indicate ability.


I read through your posts that looks really awesome!
I haven’t ever used Field Genius. I am assuming you can put a slope on it as well?

Yeah I know, it would just have to be a close indicator. Getting close to the same position every time would be good enough for my use.

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Yes slope works aswell . you can collect a point on one spot then go to the other spot that you want the slope at, then connect the 2 points with a line then click on that line , then your ready to stakeout that line


FieldGenius is one of the most involved pieces of software for surveying etc. It is really good. For a new user though it is a bit daunting compared to the simpler ones like Trimble or Leica’s software. Once you use it enough, it’s no problem, it’s just the using it enough part depending on the amount of work that uses it. it’s technical, but it’s for technical jobs and good at it.

And now that an Android version is on the horizon, it will be just that much easier… i.e. rugged tablets. Versus using a delicate Surface Pro…but there are pricey rugged Windows tablets also…but the Android will probably have much better battery life and cooler operating temps, where a Windows tablet may get hot quick etc in the middle of summer.

I think a 7" display tablet is minimum required for FieldGenius Android? You would think you could still use a high resolution large cell phone also like the Note, but not sure yet.

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also, I really like FG for what I do, so I am bias, but it seems there are many “other” solutions for grade indicators etc. I know @davehofer1993 is getting this all to work with FG, but there is so much out there, that may be really simple to use, where it really has to be for heavy machine operators.(9obviously without getting too expensive, but if your into heavy machinery business, then you have $$$ they figure)

So you are grading to that line… Do you have to create a new line for every pass that is not on that original line? If you were grading a large area does it take a whole bunch of lines?

Sorry to pester you with questions, this is super interesting. Probably should just break down and buy FG.

@apg Just get their demo for free! Up to 30 points per project…wide open! Then buy it if it works for you! I’d see what else is out there first. YouTube has lots of info on these systems…it’s just going to get down the price obviously.

I would but dont have their surface tablet. I will wait till they release android.

I really appreciate all your input.

Trust me, if you think you will use it, I wouldn’t waste time waiting for an Android version. It does have a little bit of a learning curve. So by time the Android version is released, then you’ll be able to jump right on board and wonder how much you learned by time then. Just my 2 cents.

You can install on any Windows device such as desktop, laptop etc. They do have cheap Windows Tablets also… even the Surface Go. (hell, Ebay has tons of older Surface Pros you can get for $100 and work perfectly fine with it, if you drop it, who cares!) Luckily they provide this demo free and FULLY functional.

(use the Generic NMEA driver for the RS2 and Bluetooth)

I think they are releasing it this week.
When you are using FG are you connecting to Reach through Bluetooth or through RS232.
Just curious if Bluetooth is solid enough for you.


You can use either. Generally Bluetooth. But I have the Emlid RS232 serial cable just in case for whatever reason… which I can use also on a Data Collector.

You can use USB cable also (COM port)… but Bluetooth is just fine. (within 30 feet which your rover should be anyways)


When your grading on that spot you can grade untill you get to desired level with that one line
if you move to the next spot you can do it all again from the start , or you just put in a slope for the whole project.

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Any good systems that use the “MAST-LESS” GNSS systems? That use IMU mounted to the body of the machine instead of the mast(s) on the blade?

I dont quite get that . You have to have the GNSS in clear skyview.

Our mast is mounted on the side of the machine but always in relation of the blade.