If you are in the business of locating utilities, you know how serious and challenging it can be to find pipes and conduits. Replacing and rerouting underground infrastructure is often very costly, it can be time consuming, it disturbs the environment and causes traffic delays. Accurate assessments using GPR means more efficient use of space, time and resources. It is less invasive in that it can locate pipes and serve as a powerful visual aid in their diagnosis without digging, probing, or drilling of any kind.
There are many methods of locating utilities, but many of them have their limitations:
Electromagnetic locators don’t work well beyond 10-15 feet of depth and do not detect non-metallic materials.
Vacuum excavators, while providing indisputable visual confirmation, are not entirely efficient. They do not work without damage to soil and pavement, they require regular refill of compressed air or water in the case of hydro-powered excavators, and require the maintenance and transportation of heavy equipment. Not to mention, they are far more costly than GPR systems to rent or purchase.
Acoustic pipe locators receive weaker signals from plastic pipes (PVC and PE), whereas GPR units do not discriminate. Acoustic locators are tedious to operate; pulses must be manually generated and therefore do not give continuous reads the way GPR does.
Dowsing has been proven to be potentially unreliable. Many engineers see it as nothing more than a parlor trick.
While we encourage utility locating crews to use as many technologies as possible to ensure for precise data corroborated across a variety of detection mechanisms, anybody who uses GPR understands quickly that it is the most powerful and efficient tool in the detection business, as it is often used by location crews as their primary resource of underground information.
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