Underground mapping is getting more attention than ever. Accurate underground mapping prevents damage to existing underground utilities that can result in infrastructural and economic damage, as well as possible injury or even death.

Why Does Underground Mapping Matter?

Underground mapping is necessary in order to protect underground utilities and other subsurface infrastructure that could possibly be damaged during excavations or other digging work.

Not knowing the location of subsurface utilities and other buried assets can lead to all kinds of practical problems. Moreover, as urban areas continue to develop, more and more pipes, cables, and other utilities are being stashed underground. This increases the risk of unintentionally hitting submerged assets and causing a range of potential problems.

How bad is the issue? It is estimated that in the US one utility is struck every minute on average. The accurate mapping of underground utilities, cables, and utility pipes is essential to the future of urban construction.

The Benefits of Underground Mapping

Accidentally striking an underground asset can lead to increases in construction costs and unpredictable project delays.

For example, underground utility damage, repair, and relocation is the most common reason for delays in road construction. Most of the strikes that occur during road construction are electrical and telecom cables that are not properly identified before excavation.

Striking underground utilities also results in extra construction costs. A 2016 study by the University of Birmingham found that in the UK striking an electrical utility can result in nearly £1000 in direct costs such as assessment and repair. Additionally, strikes also cause indirect costs such as injuries, traffic, and disruptions to businesses.

Strikes may also result in personal injuries and potentially even death. Accurate underground mapping can protect the lives of workers and even protect companies from lawsuits.

Research indicates that the benefits of underground mapping far outweigh the costs. Numerous studies have shown that the costs of underground mapping produce positive returns on investment.

A 1999 study by Purdue University found that every $1 spent on underground mapping resulted in savings of roughly $4.62 in avoided costs. A 2004 study by the University of Toronto reached a similar conclusion, indicating that for every $1 invested in mapping there were approximately $3.41 in savings.

Underground Mapping Before Digging

It’s important to have an accurate site map before doing any work. However, a site map must be up to date in order to be useful. If the map is months, or even weeks, out of date then the area must be scanned before beginning work.

Mapping underground utilities is crucial to preventing delays, soaring costs, and even injuries. Underground utility strikes can be prevented with accurate mapping. Developing a good practice of underground mapping before digging will be critical to the future of urban and road construction.

Want to find out more about utility mapping or how we can help you get it done? Contact us today!