The purpose of precision utility mapping is to assess the precise location of things such as underground wires and pipe systems. This is a critical element of any civil engineering task, and it helps produce savings of money as well as time by preventing unnecessary delays resulting from an unexpected encounter with a utility installation. When a project planner is in possession of a valid utility map, it is much easier for them to make an accurate projection of an endeavour’s true cost.
Of course, that is not to say that there are not obstacles in the way when it comes to securing an accurate utility map. Surveyors have often faced challenges in this realm, given the number of hidden objects that tend to lurk underground these days.
How Technology Can Aid In Utility Mapping
In recent years, advancements have been made in the process of spotting and mapping utility infrastructure, in large part due to the Subsurface Utility Engineering sector. It is now possible to use geophysical technologies in conjunction with less technical methods such as analysis of historical data to collect the greatest amount of underground infrastructure insights as possible.
Common Technologies Used In Utility Mapping
Electromagnetic induction, also referred to as EMI, is a useful alternative to the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) technique that is sometimes used. EMI utilizes electrical currents sent via transmitter to promote a primary magnetic field. Then, a receiver will be tuned to the appropriate frequency, deflections of the magnetic pull are spotted, and this helps in locating underground utility infrastructure. This is helpful in areas for which GPR would be blocked by excessive moisture, though it can be rendered ineffective where metal objects can cause interference.
Ground penetrating radar (also known as GPR) is the gold standard for those engaged in utility mapping work. This equipment serves to send out electromagnetic waves, both in the GHz and MHz ranges, using the subsequent signal return to spot the location of underground infrastructure.
Benefits Of GPR For Accurate Utility Maps
There can be no doubt that GPR offers a great deal of accuracy as well as the ability to spot both non-metallic and metallic infrastructure. Many surveyors opt for GPR in their utility mapping work because of the speed with which it collects data, its relatively low cost, and the high-quality images it produces.
But because GPR may be impacted by moisture in the soil and other factors, GPR sometimes works best in conjunction with other methods, including radio detection, and the end result can therefore offer truly accurate survey outcomes.