Studies of municipal solid waste collection systems have traditionally relied upon information collected from time and motion studies or truck logs. This type of data collection has been expensive, the volume of data collected has been small, and the reliability of the data has been suspect. A recent project in Hamilton, Ontario, monitored five municipal solid waste collection vehicles using a global positioning system (GPS) as an alternative to traditional data collection methods. The study found that the GPS data are reliable, accurate, and suitable for a range of solid waste planning purposes. Data collection was automatic and relatively inexpensive. Analysis of the data identified significant differences in the performance of the vehicles on different routes. Data collection using GPS is an improvement over traditional data collection methods, but the large volume of data generated will provide challenges for waste managers. Key words: data collection, global positioning system, municipal solid waste, refuse collection, automatic vehicle location.