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Underground eyes

A new ground penetrating Radar (GPR) is furthering the revolution in surveying technology and aiding construction and maintenance teams up and down the country.

The Easy Locator is a lawn mower-sized GPR system capable of revealing buried pipes and cables made of any material, its manufacturer claims.

Norfolk County Council's construction and maintenance teams are using it to transform its daily surveying practices.

Head of Norfolk's two radar teams Rob Rogers says: 'As many of the pipes we deal with are plastic they cannot be detected with conventional pipe and cable locators. We were therefore looking for a system that could detect these hazards.

'Our teams are responsible for surveys throughout Norfolk, with particular emphasis on surveying land prior to building new homes. The utility companies provide us with detailed plans of their buried pipes and cables but, they don't show where these utilities branch off to be connected to individual properties.'

Rogers claims that the Easy Locator can be operated with the minimum of training because few commands are required. Ground can be scanned for buried utilities at walking pace.

The data provides utility engineers and contractors with the location and depth of cables, pipes, duct banks and conduits.

'There has been a signicant reduction in the number of damaged utilities, ' says Rogers. 'Using the new equipment and setting up the survey teams have saved the council time and money. Money because less is being spent on repairs and, in some cases, compensation. Time due to the general hassle of reporting the damage and then getting it repaired.'

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