An effective method of assessing the location of underground wires and other utilities is to use utility mapping. This is a key element of civil engineering processes, and it can save significant time as well as money on expensive repairs and lengthy delays that stem from the accidental striking of utilities during excavation.
Of course, that is not to say that utility mapping is perfect. Surveyors have long faced challenges in terms of records accuracy, and it can be difficult to spot every type of hidden object that is underground.
Technologies Used In Utility Mapping
In recent decades, numerous methods of clearing the hurdles posed by finding and mapping underground utilities have been developed b y the Subsurface Utility Engineering Sector. For instance, geophysical technology can be combined with non-technical modes of research including review of historical records to assemble a full picture of a given area’s subsurface infrastructure.
One common technology used in this realm is electromagnetic induction (EMI), which is an alternative to the commonly-used method known as Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). EMI makes use of electrical current sent by a transmitter to generate a primary magnetic field. Then, a receiver will be set to an appropriate frequency, and it is then possible to identify deflections of that magnetic field in order to pinpoint the location of subsurface utilities.
Ground Penetrating Radar, A.K.A. GPR
The process of GPR surveys is the gold standard for mapping utility infrastructure. It sends directional electromagnetic waves in GHz and MHz frequencies, and the returned signal is used to spot the location of subsurface infrastructure.
Why Choose GPR?
The fact is that GPR offers impressive accuracy as well as the ability to locate non-metallic and metallic utilities under the ground. Many surveying professionals opt for GPR when conducting utility mapping work because it offers swift acquisition of data and generates high-resolution images.
It should be noted that GPR may, on occasion, be impacted by moisture conditions of the soil and other factors, but when used together with other technologies including radio detection, it can yield a far more accurate utility mapping result.