before you dig

  • PEL826 Coming soon Australias first damage prevention conference

    The inaugural Oceania Damage Prevention Conferencewill be held in Queensland at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre from 20-23 August 2018 with the theme  “Drawing in the Power of Collaboration”.

  • PEL804 US telco banned from cable laying after hitting multiple gas lines

    Australian Government-owned telco NBN CO is rarely out of the news. It’s been a political football for years as it struggles to meet ambitious government targets to bring high speed broadband to almost ever Australian home.

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    In the US utilities that own buried infrastructure are required to precisely locate and mark the location of their infrastructure in response to requests lodged through Call 811, the equivalent of Australia’s Dial Before You Dig service.

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    Interviewed by American Locator magazine for its June 2017 edition, PelicanCorp CEO Duane Rodgers made the point that ‘Dial Before You Dig’ is becoming something of a misnomer in this age of the Internet and smartphones.

  • PEL744 Eye in the sky to detect diggers who fail to dial

    It’s nigh on impossible to catch people digging up the ground who have failed to call Dial Before You Dig and verify the location of buried infrastructure, unless of course they dig into that buried infrastructure and deprive someone of power, gas, water or telecommunications. Or worse.

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    A few weeks ago we looked at the impact of digital transformation on utilities, noting that Australian Utility Week — to be held 29-30 November in Melbourne — would have a strong focus on digital transformation.

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    The havoc wreaked by hurricanes Harvey and Irma on the islands of the Caribbean and the southern states of the USA created no end of heart-rending new stories and graphic images of devastation.

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    The latest promotional email for Australian Utility Week — to be held 29-30 November in Melbourne — has a strong focus on digital transformation. It warns: “The digital transformation roadmap is fraught with challenges,” and promises that the event will “help you with your digital transformation journey.”

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    Systems like Dial Before Dig are well-established in Canada but except in Ontario, there is no legislation requiring them to be used. That could change, thanks to legislation now before Parliament.

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    SGN manages the gas distribution network across Scotland and the South of England, providing gas to over 5.9 million people through 74,000 kilometres of pipes.

  • PEL735 Digging the DIRT on damage prevention internationally

    For 14 years the US Common Ground Alliance has been gathering data on damage to underground infrastructure — and near misses — caused by excavation activities.

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    It’s an endlessly repeated statistic, but needs to be said and said again until it ceases to be true: Every six minutes in the US an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.

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    The June 2017 edition of American Locator magazine carried a lengthy interview with PelicanCorp CEO Duane Rodgers in which he drew attention to a scheme in Canada under which contractors can gain permission from a utility to commence work without waiting for information on any buried infrastructure, if they employ digging practices considered safe.

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    American Locator is a magazine dedicated to the protection of underground infrastructure. It “gets to the heart of recent news, updates, technology and processes focusing on damage prevention in the underground utility industry”. Heading up the June 2017 issue was a lengthy interview with PelicanCorp CEO, Duane Rodgers. Here’s a summary of what Duane had to say.

  • PEL727 Dig this The excavator of the future

    Technology never stands still. The Internet is only about 20 years old. Mobile phones only about 40, and smartphones with their plethora of applications only 10 years old.

  • PEL720 Augmented reality already a reality for utilities

    In February 2017 the Economist magazine ran an article entitled The promise of augmented reality, saying:

    “If companies ranging from giants like Microsoft and Google to newcomers like Magic Leap and Meta have their way, the next thing to leap from fiction to fact will be augmented reality (AR).”

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    Ruptures of underground gas pipes in Australia are fortunately rare and those with pyrotechnic consequences rarer still.

  • PEL723 April is National Safe Digging Month

    The US has a very vibrant community dedicated to protecting underground infrastructure from excavation damage and the highlight of its awareness raising activities in National Safe Digging Month, held each year in April, when the Call 811 organisations in each state — the equivalent of Australia’s Dial Before You Dig bodies — get together with sponsorship from infrastructure owning organisations and others to stage a wide range of community events across the country.

  • PEL714 New York contractor slapped with record US85K fine for one call breaches

    The New York State Public Service Commission last month issued its largest-ever penalty, $US85,000, against an excavator for violating safe digging rules.

  • PEL710 Joint Australia NZ research project to improve GPS accuracy

    Position fixing could become much more precise than the several metres accuracy provided by the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites if a two year trial of Satellite Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) being undertaken with the backing of the Australian and New Zealand Governments proves successful.

  • Pel709 Australian bodys ambitious digital earth plans

    In 1998 Al Gore, then US vice president, described his vision for a digital earth, a 3D virtual representation of the earth that would provide access to vast amounts of information to help people understand the earth and its natural and human phenomena.

  • PEL708a Oroville Dam a disaster waiting to happen

    With a height of 234.7 metres California’s Oroville Dam is the tallest dam in the US and the body of water it holds back, Lake Oroville is the second largest man-made lake in California. It serves three functions: water supply, hydroelectricity generation and flood control. It’s estimated that the floods it prevented between 1987 and 1999 avoid a damage bill that would have topped $US1.3 billion.

  • PEL705 Sydney to host global spatial conference

    In April, Sydney will host what the organisers claim will be “one of the biggest spatial events in history” when the Locate Conference and the International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE) Symposium join forces for a joint event being held 3-6 April 2017at the new International Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.

  • PEL651 Of swallets cenotes and dolines

    Do you know what a cenote is? Or a swallet? Ever heard of a doline? I hadn’t, but I’m certainly familiar with the phenomenon to which all refer, as I’m sure you are.

  • PEL647 Pennsylvania rejects stronger One Call law

    We opened last week’s column by saying: “A rather gloomy statistic is that, on average, every minute of every day somebody, somewhere in the US digging up the ground strikes an underground pipe or cable.”

  • PEL648 In search of digital utilities

    If you have any involvement in the information technology industry you will know that the idea of digital transformation is hot, along with its consequence, digital disruption.

  • PEL646 Mapping underground infrastructure

    A rather gloomy statistic is that, on average, every minute of every day somebody, somewhere in the US digging up the ground strikes an underground pipe or cable.

  • PEL644 NZ Spatial Award finalists announced.JPG

    Finalists have been announced for the 2016 New Zealand Spatial Excellence Awards. The winning companies and individuals, along with those from parallel competitions in each Australian state and territory and one among Pacific island nations, will go forward to compete in the 2017 Asia-Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards (APSEA).

  • PEL641 Australian Utility Week

    Australian Utility Week, a conference and exhibition spanning all aspects of the utilities industry, is coming up in Sydney at the end of November. However “Utility Week” is something of a misnomer: it’s only two days, 29-30 November and it’s being held at the Australian Technology Park in the Sydney Inner West suburb of Redfern.

  • PEL639 Australia New Zealand move to make government data more open

    Earlier this year we reported: “26 February was a significant day for many organisations and individuals working in a wide range of Australian industries. It was the day that the Australian Government made the Geo-coded National Address File (G-NAF) and Administrative Boundaries datasets available at no cost to end users.”