Athletic fields

St. Charles Park District Uses GPS to Paint Sports Fields



The St. Charles Park District, which serves more than 51,000 residents of St. Charles, Illinois, has implemented a GPS-enabled paint spray system to meet the needs of community sports fields in a way more efficient and economical.


The paint spray system combines a GPS unit with an iPad mounted on a utility cart. An operator goes to each location and follows a pre-calibrated design to paint a specific field. When the carriage is properly aligned, the paint sprayer starts and stops at defined locations, while the automatic guidance system ensures lines are painted in the correct configuration. Prior to this implementation, initial field plans took about two weeks to at least three employees. The new system allows a single operator to complete the entire process in less than three days. In addition, the accuracy of the field layout is better.

In the past, some fields were painted even when not in use to ensure the lines remained visible throughout the season. Now any field can be painted at any time, saving labor and painting materials.


Working with a local supplier, the district retrofitted a utility cart with steering and guidance systems. Because the system is easy to use, staff learned how to operate in less than two weeks. Reduced labor and paint savings helped offset the cost of implementation.

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