Planet Underground TV is an interesting and worthwhile initiative in the US designed, as its catchline suggests, to use the power of video to reduce damage to underground infrastructure.
It grew out of an earlier video project, Digging Dangers, that we looked at back in 2014. Digging Dangers is an annual DVD distributed with US magazine Underground Focus to highlight the often spectacularly disastrous consequences of excavating without full information on all buried infrastructure.
Planet Underground TV is designed to be more educational and informative — and thus help reduce damage to underground infrastructure — rather than simply demonstrating the consequences of location failures and will be an online video programme rather than a DVD.
It’s a joint project between the producers of Digging Dangers: Mike Parilac, owner of Staking University— claimed to be the number one utility locator training program in the world— and documentary film-maker Phil Gioja, owner of Center Street Productions, a producer of custom video for businesses and organisations.
Parilac is also the publisher of The American Locator magazine.
According to the Planet Underground TV website, “the aim of Planet Underground TV and The American Locator is to actually solve current damage prevention challenges … beyond just the [Digging Dangers’] tradition of providing a factual retelling of recent accidents.”
It says: “While valuable to the industry, these opinion pieces needed a vehicle beyond the Digging Dangers product. Planet Underground TV provides that vehicle.”
The format of each 30-minute show is designed to mimic the "60 Minutes" format: three feature segments of six to nine minutes each, interspersed with 1.5-minute recurring segments.
The first full episode is yet to appear. The website has a couple of trailers and a short preview. It shows crews working on boring conduit and electric lines in a freak snowstorm, conversations held at a Roundtable event on the concept of excavators using their own locate equipment, and how a miss-marked electric primary cable prompted an emergency call for a vacuum truck.The website also carries some short standalone videos on a range of topics: excavating, locating and utility design.
All in all, it looks Planet Underground TV could be a very useful resource for anyone working on or to protect underground infrastructure. Inevitably some of the content will be US-specific, but there should be much that is generally applicable.
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