Ground Penetrating Radar: Utility Mapping


One of the major uses of Ground Penetrating Radar is to locate most utility lines, big or small. This is not only to find them in case of repairs, but also for construction site digs so that they are mapped out and easily avoided to avoid unnecessary damage which, in turn, avoids unnecessary costs.

  • Utilities GPR Can Locate

  1. Communications and Data Lines – Whether in a residential or commercial setting, it is highly recommended that these utilities are located to prevent unnecessary downtime and unnecessary costs. Communication and Data lines include, but are not limited to, phone lines, high speed internet lines, cable television lines, and the like.
  2. Gas, Water, and Sanitary Lines – Even more important than communication and data lines, all sorts of gas, water, and sanitary lines are able to be located with the correct equipment. Successful mapping of these lines will ensure that digs can be made in the correct areas to make necessary repairs, or so that these lines can be avoided altogether to avoid damage. As you know, if one of these lines is hit during a dig, thousands of dollars in repairs could be the result.
  • GPS Mapping of Utilities Located

  1. Once said utilities are located underground using GPR equipment, a GPS unit is able to be attached to the unit itself. Using the most groundbreaking software, it is possible to map out the utilities. Once these utilities are mapped out, not only can specific coordinates be provided, but a mapping system compatible with Google maps is also possible.

Ground Penetrating Radar: The Unique Applications

Gobekli Tepe is an archaeological site at the top of a mountain ridge in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey, approximately 12 km northeast of the city of Sanlıurfa.

While The Most Ideal Application is Locating Voids and Utilities, GPR Goes Above and Beyond

When used in unison with the standard Ground Penetrating Radar equipment, equipment such as leak detectors, electromagnetic induction, and the like allow technicians to discover leaking pipes, trace and map utility lines with GPS, assist in archaeological digs, assess changes in the environment (soil contamination), and assist law enforcement without destroying evidence, among many others.

1. Archaeology

When Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is used with Electromagnetic Induction, technicians are able to assist archaeologists with digs. Using non-invasive techniques, historic sites can be ‘uncovered’ simply by utilizing these imaging systems. The crucial part of all of this is that these historic sites remain underground and protected.

Most recently, scientists, with the assistance of GPR technicians, were able to discover a holocaust escape tunnel without destroying or interrupting it.

2. Forensics

Again, with the key part of Ground Penetrating Radar being that it is non-invasive, technicians are easily able to assist law enforcement with investigations. Since non-invasive techniques are utilized, evidence will not be at risk for contamination or destruction. Buried weapon caches, evidence, or even clandestine burials are among the applications that technicians are able to properly locate and identify.

A great story recently came out of Vietnam where individuals are utilizing GPR to locate and return the remains of Vets missing in action from years ago.

3. Mars

Yes, Mars! Aboard  NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a Ground Penetrating Radar system was utilized called the Shallow Subsurface Radar. This system was able to ping toward Mars more than 700 times per second. This system allowed scientists to see beneath the surface of Mars revealing that it had gone through an extreme ice age that would have put Earth’s ice age to shame. This system also revealed to the scientists that, after creating a 2d map of the subsurface, there is a lot of H2O and CO2 trapped.

In summary, it is clearly becoming more and more obvious that these Ground Penetrating Radar systems are becoming more and more important in the world of science, investigations, and even environmental monitoring. This is yet another nondestructive testing method that can not only teach us more, but do so noninvasively and safely.