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We combine this technology with expertise in using the latest technology,including Ground
Penetrating Radar(GPR) equipment, and we know how to overcome any limitations to ensure
clients receive through, detailed and accurate results.
Technics uses the latest technology with expert methods to explore detectable features
underground. With a suite of technology, including Ground Penetrating Radar(GPR) and
Electro-Magnetic Locators(EML), we can analyse reflected signals from structures, services,
buried objects and layers beneath the ground. With statutory record plans,visual inspections of
all lifted service covers on site. Technics creates an accurate plan of subsurface environment
in multiple formats including 3D.



 Reduce project planning time

 Minimise risk
 Gain confidence before excavation works
 Comply with health and safety regulation
 Avoid surprises
 Comply with bsi standard – PAS 128 Surveys
Project planning can be significantly reduced to minimise risk and in turn save money if all
utilities are detected in advance of any below surface works.
A Utility Mapping Survey will provide you with the confidence to progress with your project
and ensure the are ‘no surprises’.
Adhering to all health and safety regulations,this will also ensure you are following best
practice for your company and your employees.
Identify ‘safe’ areas for excavation or confirm the route for purposed utilities.
To minimize the risk to your workers,neighbours and the public before any excavation works
are undertaken.the ability to check as-built information and verify that utilities were laid to
What is an Electro-Magnetic Locator?

An electromagnetic locator, or, pipe and cable locator, is used for tracing utility lines and
metallic pipes, and clearing excavation and drilling locations. These utility locators consist of
two main parts, a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter emits a frequency selected by the
operator that induces onto nearby pipes and cables. The receiver detects these radio
frequencies, and the operator is able to accurately locate and trace the pipes and cables.
Underground utility locating requires the use of a few different methods in order to accurately
mark buried lines.

What is an Ground Penetrating Radar?

GPR is a equipment that can detect underground utility objects and consequently produce
cross-section plans or can record surface features underneath the ground without dredging or
drilling.Profiles generated by GPR will be used to assess the location and depth of embedded
objects. An accurate, fast and high-resolution geophysical technique for subsurface
investigation. Non-invasive, non-destructive and completely safe. The only non-intrusive
method capable of accurately locating non-metallic subsurface features and utilities (eg. clay,
concrete, fibreglass, PVC conduits or fibre-optic cables). A geophysical surveying technique
based on transmitting pulsed electromagnetic (EM) energy into the subsurface and measuring
the strength of the reflected energy. Successful where a sufficient contrast in material
properties (dielectric permittivity) between a buried target and its surroundings exists. Used
by Scantech to detect and map buried pipes, cables, structural reinforcement, voids, disturbed
ground, material degradation, subsurface layers and buried objects. Acquired using
transmitting and receiving antennae which can be mounted on a cart, skid plate or vehicle, or
can be hand-held. A technique which requires qualified and experienced personnel to acquire
high quality survey data and geophysical expertise to process and interpret the results.

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and Electromagnetic Location (EML) are totally different

 GPR works by sending a signal into the ground and listening for reflections from that
signal, and contains its own transmitter and receiver within the unit.
 EML works by detecting the electromagnetic signal that is emitted by power cables, or
the energy from nearby power cables which has ‘coupled’ onto metal services.
Alternatively, in the case of a metal service which is not a power cable, it can be induced
to emit a signal by accessing the service and clamping a separate transmitter onto it.
Both types of survey need to be approached in a logical way and require training and experience
to produce the best results.

Based on our experience and controlled experiments, Ground Penetrating Radar will recover
the locations of more underground utilities compared to Electromagnetic Location methods
(within the penetration and resolution limitations of a GPR) in in a like for like test with no
manhole access.

The missing information from a GPR utility survey is the information which is recovered by
the site reconnaissance phase of a survey (by lifting manholes and identifying services) which
is usually performed alongside an EML survey as part of the process of clamping onto services
to induce a signal. The other difference is that by inducing a known signal onto a specific utility
which is then traced by tracking that signal and service specifically, therefor EML enables
services to be positively identified and tracked compared to just located by GPR.

A summary of the advantages and limitations of each method:

 GPR provides its own transmitter and is able to detect services without a power source
 GPR is able to detect most types of utilities including plastic and other non-metallic
services, as well as metal
 GPR will also detect other below surface features (rebar, voids, structural information)
 GPR does not require manhole access
 GPR cannot identify services
 EML can detect and identify power cables
 EML can detect metallic services which have had a signal induced onto them
 EML can track a specific, induced signal and therefor identify can individual services
 EML requires manhole access
 EML cannot recover any other below surface information.
These differences mean that the final drawing from a GPR only survey will differ from the
final drawing of an EML (and site reconnaissance) only survey with the GPR detecting
underground features and utilities and recovering more below surface information but unable
to identify the different utilities. Whilst in the EM survey results (combined with the crucial
information from site reconnaissance) services will be identified, but the drawing will lack the
additional details recovered by the GPR and would not be able to detect any non-metallic
services or services for which there is no manhole access.
The best utility survey is one which combine the strengths of both methods as detailed both in
PAS128 and the TSA utility survey guidelines.


There are a number of accepted methods of utility detection of which the two most common
are Electromagnetic Location (EML) and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). Of these, EML is
the primary method.

1. EML

EML works by detecting specific radiated frequencies, either generated by the utility itself or
induced into the utility for the purposes of detection. By establishing the maximum signal
strength at a series of locations, underground utilities can be tracked. The main disadvantage
of EML is that it cannot be used in all cases. It is best used in conjunction with metallic pipes
and it cannot be used at all where there are other blocking transmissions in the immediate

2. GPR

GPR is a complementary technique but equally important in utility detection. The method
relies, as do all other radar detection strategies, on the emission of radio waves, in this case into
the ground. As the subsurface conditions change, portions of the signal are returned to the
receiver antenna, indicating the depth and something of the nature of the buried materials.

It is essentially a relative method i.e. it indicates where there is a change in the subsurface
materials. Every returned GPR signal is from an interface between two or more materials which
differ from each other in electromagnetic properties. Unlike EML there is no change in
technique for plastic pipes as opposed to metal ones. All that is required is that the utilities
should have different electrical and magnetic properties from those of their immediate
The scale along the top of the plot is the distance travelled by the radar. The vertical scales
show the depth below ground to the various targets. On the right hand side the measurement is
in metres and, on the right, in nanoseconds time. Radars measure very accurately in units of
time. Since radio waves do not travel at a constant speed their velocity of transmission, which
varies with the materials through which they pass, has to be known or calibrated in order for
the depth in metres to be calculated.

It is immediately apparent that not only is the subsurface as complicated in structure as one
might imagine, but the interpretation of the data requires some knowledge on the part of the
person(s) using the equipment. It should also be clear that this is one vertical snapshot but that
the operator really requires to detect the line along which the various pipes and cables lie, in
other words a horizontal view of the data is required. To achieve this, the operator records a
number of repeat parallel lines across his/her survey area, each at a set distance from the other.

In this way, a 3-dimensional data block can be built up from which the line of the various
utilities may be deduced. Horizontal time slice extracted from a 3-dimensional data block. Time
slices are effectively maps of the location of utilities and can be incorporated into AutoCad
drawings. There are interpretative software packages available, some of which are incorporated
into GPR equipment which allow the operator to produce plans in a similar manner
immediately after survey. There are, however, limits to what can be achieved with a GPR.
There are conditions for which the method is unsuitable such as any highly ionized solution
(such as sea water or certain waterlogged clays). It is also possible for one target to be hidden
by others in its immediate vicinity.

Other specialist knowledge which is not so immediately apparent is the need to know the
effects of freshwater on detection. As explained above, the transmission velocity of the radio
waves varies with the material it passes through. In air the transmission velocity is c. 0.3m/ns.
Through dry soils this velocity falls to 0.1m/ns. In waterlogged soils, the velocity may be as
low as 0.035m/ns (Utsi, 2001). An understanding of the inter-relation of frequency, target size
and depth penetration is also essential.

3. Survey Results

The final step in the utility mapping process is to produce a report and a scaled plan including
all of the results of the detection, both from EML and from GPR. This map will indicate the
type of utilities present and their measured depths, taking into account the differences in
measurement. For example, GPR measures to the top of the utility whereas EML measures to
the centre.

Other factors such as certainty (data quality), when the work was completed, by whom etc will
also be covered. It is this end product which allows further ground investigation to take place
in safety or, alternatively, for a decision to be taken to avoid the area altogether.

Direct Connection (Conduction)

This is the preferred method for locating metallic utility lines. It is the most accurate method
providing the most options for the technician locating a buried utility line.

 The transmitter is placed next to an access point for the target line being traced
(typically a valve, utility box, utility vault, or other point where direct contact
with line can be made). A connection lead from the transmitter is connected to
the target line and a second lead is connected to ground.
 The transmitter is adjusted for frequency and power output to match the
properties of the target line being traced, surrounding soil and other utilities
nearby. Application of the correct frequency is essential to prevent
electromagnetic coupling or bleed off to other metallic utilities or objects.
 The receiver is then set to the same frequency as the transmitter, gain control
adjusted accordingly, and the signal which is sent from the transmitter through
the target line is traced and marked on the surface.

Ring Clamp (Induction)

Ring Clamp Induction is used to induce a signal onto a metallic cable or conduit where direct
connection is not an option.

 A ring clamp is connected to the transmitter in place of connection leads and then
clamped around desired metallic pipe or cable. Signal travels from transmitter to
a coil within the clamp and onto the target line.
 The receiver is set to the same frequency as the transmitter as with direct
connection and the target line is traced and marked on the surface.


Induction is used when there is no surface access to the target line. Induction is the least
desirable method of locating due to the massive amount of electromagnetic coupling, or bleed
off that is created. Induction method, when used properly is an invaluable locate method.

 The transmitter is placed on the surface, and over the point where the target line
is thought to run.
 Once the target line is located, it is then traced with the receiver using the same
method as direct connection.
 This method can also be used to perform an inductive search to locate unknown
or abandoned lines.

Most utility locating is done with the use of electromagnetic locating equipment. This
equipment consists of two parts, a transmitter and a receiver. In short, we use the transmitter to
place a “signal” onto the line then go hunt down that signal with the receiver. As long as the
line is metallic and continuous we can locate it with electromagnetic equipment. In theory.

So now the long version. The signal that we place on the line is actually an electromagnetic
frequency. You can think of it as radio waves that are tuned to a specific frequency that follow
along the path of the line. Because they are tuned to a specific frequency, we can use this signal
to separate our target line out from all the rest of the utilities in the ground. Furthermore, we
can change the frequency to control the signal so that it picks up more or fewer lines.

There are many different ways that we can get that signal onto the line. We can connect directly
to the metal wire within the line, we can use a clamp to surround the wire with signal, or we
can lay the transmitter over the line and induce signal onto it (usually only as a last resort).
Each method has it’s pros and cons. The first two methods are best but require us to actually
be able to touch the wire at an access point. The last method puts signal onto everything in the
ground and is imprecise but sometimes the only option. Access to a connection point is often
our biggest obstacle.

Once we get signal onto a line, our next challenge is controlling that signal. In a perfect world
the signal would stay on our target line from start to finish. In reality, we have to work around
the whole issue of common bonding. Common bonds are points at which multiple utilities are
grounded together. The most common example is in your house. Every house is grounded to
protect it and it’s occupants from lightning and electrical surges. Most are actually grounded
by both a ground rod and by the water service entering the house. From there, all the other
utilities usually use the house’s ground (some by being bonded to the cold water pipes). So in
effect, once our signal gets to the house, it’s then free to spread out over all the other lines.
While in most circumstances we can’t completely isolate one line from everything else, we can
usually isolate it enough.

Most of the time we want to keep our signal from bleeding off onto other lines so that we know
which lines are which. Just knowing that there’s a line in the area isn’t enough, we need to
know exactly what it is so that we can make sure that all of the utilities are accounted for.
Sometimes we want the signal to bleed off onto other lines. Usually this is part of a “safety
sweep” for unknown lines. If we don’t know that a line exists, we can’t always find it. So
during a safety sweep, we might connect onto a utility that we know is commonly bonded and
then go look for bleed off signals. Sometimes we find old abandoned utilities, lines placed for
redundancy, and sometimes lines that we’ve tried to locate other ways. Occasionally we’ll try
to use bleed off to locate lines for which we don’t have an access point.

So as you can see, although the theory and science behind locating is fairly straightforward,
the devil is in the details. Here are a couple ways that you can help ensure a thorough and
accurate locate:
 Provide any information you might have about the site. Any kind of print or record is
helpful even though they are rarely accurate. Information on what might have been on
the site in the past, who did the work, and how old buildings and services are help the
locator understand what they might find.

 Premark/define the area well. Having a well defined work area allows the locator to
concentrate on what’s important without getting side-tracked by difficult lines that
aren’t in the work area. Sometimes the locator will have to find things that are well
outside the work area in order to be certain that they are not in the work area. It can
occasionally come down to a process of elimination.

 Understand that often nothing is certain until the locator has checked all the lines in an
area. One utility can sometimes mimic another quite convincingly until we can see the
whole picture.

 Make sure that there is access to any possible connection point. If there’s a telephone
line to a separate garage, the locator will probably need access into the garage. For
commercial sites, the locator will likely need access to the communications and utility
rooms and want to lay eyes on anything that goes through the foundation.
Both EML and GPR rely on the operator understanding how to use the equipment effectively
and efficiently. It is important to know the correct way to operate the equipment, the limitations
of both the equipment and the method of detection and to apply the use in a manner likely to
ensure accurate results. Inappropriate use of genuine equipment can result in highly inaccurate
results. The working protocol has to ensure accuracy of location and of survey reference
positions. Failure to adhere to these principles not only brings the reputation of both the
techniques and the operator(s) into question but also raises the probability of a utility breach,
potentially an extremely dangerous result. In addition to this, there is a small but persistent
amount of equipment available worldwide for which the claims outstrip its capabilities, to the
point where the laws of physics would be broken if those same claims could be met. It is worth
noting in passing that manufacturers of bona fide equipment (and many reputable surveyors
also) belong to professional organisations such as the European GPR Association.