In the world of underground utility location, there are a wide variety of tools that professionals use to identify what’s below the surface. One of these tools is ground-penetrating radar, or GPR. GPR is an excellent resource, but is it always the right tool for the job?

Let’s take a look at exactly what GPR does, and when it should be used for underground utility location.

What is Ground-Penetrating Radar?

Ground-penetrating radar is a technology that uses radar pulses to identify what is underneath the ground’s surface. GPR is useful in underground utility location because it is non-destructive; utility lines and other structures that are underground can be found without disrupting the earth or existing buildings. GPR is also used in sciences like geology and archaeology, and the military uses ground-penetrating radar to locate things like underground tunnels or landmines.

When should Ground-Penetrating Radar be Used?

It’s easy to talk about what GPR is, but determining when it should be used for underground utility location is more difficult. Ground-penetrating radar is often the right tool for the job, but it does have limitations.

Soils that are heavily clay based are highly conductive, which affects the performance of the radar. Rocky soil is also limiting for GPR, because the rocks can cause the radar signal to scatter. Experienced utility location professionals understand limitations like these and can determine if ground-penetrating radar is the right method for utility detection.

Is Ground-Penetrating Radar the Right Tool for My Project?

Ground-penetrating radar is a useful tool that makes underground utility location easy and safe. We make use of it often at Baker Utility Partners, but it’s one of many resources in our toolbox.

We don’t believe in a “one size fits all” approach to utility location. We assess each project to determine the right tool for the job. Each client we work with has unique needs and challenges; we want to respond to those needs in the right way. It’s all part of our dedication to the highest level of service every time.

Do you have underground utility location needs? We’d love to learn more about your project and determine exactly what you need for success. Contact us today for a quote.