Portable Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) technology has existed for decades, but it wasn’t until recent years it became used for subsurface functions such as locating. In the past few years, GPR has become a mainstream method for detecting buried facilities, particularly those that are difficult or impossible to find with conventional non-intrusive methods such as electromagnetics.
GPR is the only non-intrusive method that can locate non-metallic or non-conductive underground utilities such as plastic water and gas lines, concrete, terracotta, and asphalt composite pipes, and even direct-buried fiber. GPR is a portable, user-friendly and affordable locate tool. GPR is, in principle, similar to sonar equipment found in boats. The receiver picks up the “back scattered” signal, records it, and displays it on the computer screen. Readings returned on the screen indicate the depth and the position of the pipe.
The accuracy of a GPR survey is affected by soil properties. Soils that are highly conductive can render the GPR method ineffective. There must be sufficient electrical contrast between the target and the soil material. Soils such as clay that are highly conductive make the use of GPR more difficult. GPR is just though, one of the tools used for detection of utilities. Overall success in locating buried facilities often means using a combination of methods to gather accurate subsurface information.
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