What is Utility Locating
Utility locating is usually required when managing a large civil project or building properties in an environment with underground utilities. This is especially the case if you plan to perform an excavation. However, despite the wide use of excavation work, opening the earth in this way can be much riskier than most people think.
Critical utilities are located underground, including gas lines, telephone lines, and water pipes, to name just a few. Therefore, locating underground utility services accurately is vital in excavation work, and there are several technologies used to help you detect and map underground services.
What is utility locating?
Utility locating, also known as underground utility mapping or utility detection, involves using high-tech equipment to create a detailed map of what is going on under the surface. Then, a utility locator can verify existing infrastructure and manage safe excavation practices rather than risking damage to underground pipes and cables.
There is a range of different tools on the market for businesses from San Diego to Washington State, each designed to perform these tasks, with modern equipment based on electromagnetic induction (EMI) technology and ground-penetrating radar (GPR).
How does utility locating work?
While hydro excavation and other soft digging equipment can be used to excavate the ground safely, the ability to map utilities prior to opening the earth is critical. EMI technology is one of the most popular location services, with this technology generating, sending, and receiving an electromagnetic radiofrequency through the ground.
This technology is ideal for locating utilities that contain metal and other conductive materials, such as electric lines, telephone lines, and gas lines. However, EMI technology is not without cons and cannot locate plastic pipes or anything more than 5 meters underground.
GPR is another popular tool that can be used to supplement EMI equipment. This non-destructive testing method is beneficial on most sites and allows the operator to detect non-conductive services and metallic ones.
The GPR emits high-frequency radio pulses into the ground and provides results based on how the pulses are reflected by different objects underground. GPR is also useful for finding buried chambers, voids, manhole extents, and underground storage tanks.
What is utility locating used for, and why is it important?
Utility and asset detection and buried cable locator services are required prior to many excavation jobs to help reduce risk and ensure safety. Utility location typically concerns public utilities and can also locate underground services in homes and commercial establishments. Cable location services are often carried out alongside safe excavation services, including vacuum excavation and hydro excavation.
An underground locator helps reduce the potential damage from hitting and breaking underground pipes and other services. Pipe locator technology is also essential for health and safety, with accurate underground mapping to reduce exposure to dangerous electric wires and waste-water pipes.
What are the most common projects?
Underground utility mapping technology is used for residential, commercial, and civil applications in Southern California and across the state. While this technology can be cost-prohibitive for small residential jobs, it is widely used by private building companies and government organizations involved with infrastructure projects.
From new apartment building complexes through to highways and parkland, having the ability to identify, locate, and protect underground services is a crucial part of many excavation projects.
Are you looking for reliable utility locating contractors?
AirX Utility Surveyors INC is a California-based company involved with a range of utility locating services. Established in California almost 20 years ago, AirX Utility Surveyors INC dreamed of becoming California's leading utility mapping and non-destructive excavation experts.
Along with their extensive excavator and utility locator hiring options, AirX Utility Surveyors INC also has access to resources, including 85 vacuum excavation units, five electronic detection crews, and the only independently operated 3D radar system in California. So, if you are looking for trusted and experienced utility mapping experts, AirX Utility Surveyors INC is ready to give your project the scope and safety it deserves.