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An automatic system controls the machine hydraulics. The machine control system decides where grade is - based on a predefined design, level or slope - and maintains the blade position by automatically adjusting it, as the operator concentrates on driving. The operator can always override the automatic system if they need to.
An indicate (or manual) system simply shows the operator what to do, as a reference tool. The operator is responsible for moving the blade in the order to maintain grade.
Both automatic and indicate control can be used in 2D or 3D machine control systems, depending on the machine type. Excavators, for example, only ever work in indicate mode, as operation of these machines involves complext movement of multiple components.
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