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GPR Surveys for Utility Mapping

Project planners use utility mapping to know the location of utilities, such as wires or pipework, under the ground. This is an important part of the civil engineering process. It can save both time and money since you do not have to spend time and money on the expensive reparative work. Therefore, project planners can use utility mapping to accurately estimate the cost of the project.

However, there are disadvantages to using utility mapping. In fact, surveyors usually have problems with the accuracy of mapping and records. In addition, it is difficult to accurately map the location of the hidden utilities.

What Are the Technologies Used for Utility Mapping?

The Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) sector uses different ways to tackle the challenges of locating and mapping the location of the underground utilities. They mostly use geophysical technology and non-technical means, like historical records, to get the information of the subsurface infrastructure.

Even though the technologies used vary, here are the most common technologies:

Electromagnetic Induction (EMI)

It is an alternative to Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) method. It induces a primary magnetic field using an electrical current. A transmitter supplies the electrical current. The user sets the receiver to the right frequency and identifies the deflections of the magnetic field to locate the underground utilities.

If high-moisture soil hinders the use of GPR, then the user can use EMI to identify the underground utilities. However, overlying metal objects can affect the use of EMI.

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)

One of the best methods for utility mapping is GPR. It identifies the location of underground utilities by emitting directional electromagnetic waves in GHz and MHz frequency range and using the signal return.

Why Use GPR for Utility Mapping?

GPR is not only accurate. It can also locate both non-metallic and metallic utilities. Surveyors prefer to use GPR to locate the location of underground utilities. This is because of the following reasons:

High-resolution imagery

Low operation cost

Rapid data acquisition

However, soil moisture can sometimes affect the use of GPR. Therefore, it is much better to use GPR with other technology, like radio detection, to provide an accurate location of the underground utilities.



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