Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is “Data”?

Any type of layout or machine control needs 3D points to connect and make a surface. Whether it is a road or a site, 3D points will be linked to form a surface, sometimes referred to as a TIN, model, or 3D surface. This TIN guides the operator to the correct grade by displaying real-time Cut or Fill values on the operators control box.

Isn’t data available from the engineer who designed the project?

Engineers are paid to produce a set of plans in 2 dimensions and print them on paper. Currently there are some engineering firms attempting to produce 3D data. We find the extra set of eyes, (yours or ours), reduces the chance for error and yields better results.

What does Data cost?

Since each job is different, we bid each project individually. The value of every 3D model or takeoff is determined by a combination of size and detail, along with the quality of information provided. We are happy to quote any project before beginning work. Just send us the civil PDF plan set (and CAD drawings if available) and we will return an estimate as soon as possible. It’s that easy.

How do I submit a project?

You’ve asked for it, so we built it. We have a portal on our site that allows users to create an account, login, create a work order, and submit the civil PDF plan set (and CAD if available). You’ll receive automated messages to let you know your files have been uploaded. This really simplifies the process and provides a way for you to quickly get us data and provides you an opportunity to monitor progress.

How long does it take to have TOPS process my data?

With a full-time staff of professionals, we can get you up and running quickly. We will review your project and get you a timeline for completion before ever starting work. Our team has 20+ years in the industry and we use that experience to accurately quote and schedule each project. 

What if the data is wrong?

Whether it’s bad engineering, poor plans, or missing information, we make every effort to catch the discrepancies in plans. We will fix obvious mistakes, and point out the issues that need attention from the engineer. Once we receive the changes, we can update the model. This is another reason to have us prepare data instead of the engineers; another set of eyes will help eliminate problems in the field later. 

What about changes?

We know changes can come at any time during the construction process, and often at the last minute. Just provide the plans (and CAD if available) and we will revise your model as quickly as possible. Depending on the nature and scope of the changes, we likely will be able to complete the revision at no cost.

What brand of system is the best?

If we only had a nickel for every time the question was asked. My recommendation is to go with the dealer that will give you the best service.

How long will it take me to learn to process data?

This depends entirely on the individual. With a strong background in engineering, advanced AutoCad type programs, computers and construction. Many students start doing basic projects  after a five day site class. Roads and highways take significantly more time to learn. We build more data in a week than most of our clients do in a year, experience cannot be taught. We can get you correct information quickly, and correctly.

Can I use my takeoff as data?

The answer is easy to give and difficult to understand. If your takeoff is good enough to use as data, you spent WAY too much time on it. A good takeoff is a balance between speed and detail. A takeoff good enough to get a dirt number still needs some work to  provide a fine grade surface model for machine control. 

What else can I do with the data?

The data is not just for the machine control system; once the model is prepared it can easily be exported to your grade-checker or surveyors data collector. Whether it’s Survey Controller, Survey Pro, Pocket 3D, SurvCE, SCS900 or others, we can provide you with data.

Take a topo of the site, send it to us, and we will provide you with accurate reports of the amount of dirt moved to date, and what else is left. Take as-built shots, send them to us, we will process them and print them on plan size paper for submission.

Does the system I use affect the price of my data?

All of our models are built the same way and exported for the correct machine control type. We will provide data in any format required, with additional formats at no charge.

How will I receive my 3D model or takeoff?

Project files will be emailed directly and uploaded to your client dashboard on our website. If the files are too large for email, we’ll include a link to your dashboard for easy access. Along with the 3D model and/or takeoff, we include comprehensive construction notes describing the attributes of the data. Communication is key and we’ve learned how to get our clients what they need from over 20+ years building data. 

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What our clients say

Your staff caught things the engineer missed. You have saved us thousands.

CK, Arkansas

You guys are the “Easy Button” for all things Data!

CE, Maryland