Ground Penetrating Radar For Utility Locating Services

Ground Penetrating Radar - Utility Locating

The method of using radar to search for and locate objects beneath the ground’s surface is known as ground penetrating radar or GPR. Radar waves penetrate the ground until they reach the object that is being searched for and then the waves are bounced back once the waves make contact with the object. GPR enables the accurate locations and mapping of subterranean objects prior to the start of any digging. Many companies today will use ground penetrating radar for utility locating services so that cables are not severed and pipes carrying hazardous, unhealthy materials are not ruptured.


If digging commences prior to the use of GPR, pipes can easily be hit and broken, which could easily result in costly repairs or the need for more expensive replacement parts. The breaking of any underground pipes can be extremely dangerous as the contents of them would then leak into the surrounding environment. Whether it is natural gas, oils, sewage, or water, those substances were meant to stay within the confines of those pipes. Otherwise, they could pose potential health hazards to any individuals who are exposed to them and incur costly class action lawsuits in the process.


GPR is a more advanced and innovative technology that has replaced the sole use of sketches that were created when those utilities were first installed. Although sketches were commonly used before ground penetrating radar was available, it was too easy to make mistakes based on inaccuracies or changes such as new utilities being laid or modifications that occurred to existing utilities that weren’t shown on the original sketches. Therefore, you were at a much greater risk of causing damage to underground pipes, encountering delays in the services that those pipes provide to commercial and residential properties, and incurring huge repair or replacement expenses. GPR has minimized the likelihood of those type of occurrences and increased the accuracy of utility location in general.


Another common use of ground penetrating radar is in archaeological digs where it is utilized in locating extremely precious objects underground. The use of GPR conserves labor and time, but most importantly, it enables archaeologists to locate artifacts, bones, or underground structures without having to estimate or guess their actual location. This has also eliminated wasting several months worth of digging with nothing being found in the process. As a result, GPR prevents wasting energy and time, especially in those geographic areas where archaeological digging can only be conducted certain months during the year due to extreme climates and bad weather.