Underground infrastructure carries all sorts of things essential to the functioning of a modern society: electricity, gas, water, sewage, information. And now, rubbish!
PelicanCorp has partnered with Irish company Murphy Surveys to upgrade Ireland’s beforeUdig service, already powered by PelicanCorp’s OneCallAccess software, and to have the service adopted as Ireland’s nation service for the prevention of damage to underground infrastructure.
Aerial photography might seem an unlikely tool for the location and mapping of underground infrastructure, but a particular form of aerial photography from Australian company NearMap is proving to be a useful tool.
Ground penetrating radar is a valuable tool for the location of underground infrastructure, but it has its limitations: it needs an expert operator and only provides an indication of the buried infrastructure as the device is moved over it.
In the UK the British Standards Institute earlier this year released a new standard for the recording of information on the location of underground infrastructure, and related above-ground infrastructure.
Google Earth is a wonderful thing. Open the app, type in the name of any location, the world will turn to that location and you can zoom in every closer, seamlessly transitioning at some point from a satellite image to a Google Street View image.
For 14 years the US Common Ground Alliance has been gathering data on damage to underground infrastructure — and near misses — caused by excavation activities.
Here’s a question for you: What links March 10 with August 11? I’d be really impressed if you can guess.
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.
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.
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.
Shoalhaven Water -- part of Shoalhaven City Council -- provides water and sewerage services to more than 100,000 customers over an area of 4531 square kilometres on the NSW South Coast. When it joined the Dial Before You Dig (DBYD) service it knew the number of enquiries for the location of its underground infrastructure would rise significantly from the average of 100 per month that it was receiving directly and processing manually.
The US’ Common Ground Alliance (CGA), an organisation created to prevent damage to underground infrastructure, works very hard to promote use of the Call 811 service, the equivalent of Australia’s Dial Before You Dig 1100 number, and with good reason.
“Concerns over damage caused by FTTH,” said the headline. “Underground infrastructure is being compromised by the deployment of fibre-optic cables,” it explained.
It might come as something of a surprise but, in the US at least, the main cause of damage to underground infrastructure is not failure to call the local equivalent of Australia’s Dial Before You Dig service. Nor is it failure to properly locate the underground infrastructure. In fact, half of all incidents of damage occur after both those processes have been followed correctly.
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