GPRS Conducts Full Site Scan of 112-acre University Campus

GPRS Conducts Full Site Scan of 112-acre University Campus

College campuses routinely consist of decades-old structures sitting beside new construction and significant renovation projects. Because of this, the underground infrastructure on these properties is a web of both active and abandoned lines.

That was the case as GPRS Project Manager Brian Gifford mapped the infrastructure of a historic college in Pennsylvania, which had no previous documentation of its buried utilities.

Gifford spent nearly two months conducting utility locating and mapping across the college’s 112-acre campus to create accurate as-built documentation that the school’s officials can use for future O&M, renovation, and repair purposes. He then uploaded that data into SiteMap® (patent pending), GPRS’ cloud-based infrastructure mapping software solution where subsurface utility information is secured and accessible 24/7 from a computer, tablet, or mobile device.

An overhead view of a college campus.
The underground infrastructure of college campuses is often complex, consisting of a labyrinth of both used and abandoned utility lines.

“At least a couple of the buildings here are over 100 years old,” Gifford said. “They don’t know where their utilities are located… So that’s kind of the purpose, why we’re out here, is to give them [a map] of all their utilities for the entire campus.”

GPRS is very familiar with the utility locating and mapping needs of our country’s universities. In fact, a couple of years ago we entered a long-term partnership with the University of Toledo (UToledo) where we provide the school with our 99.8% accurate scans and maps of their utilities, gas lines, state-of-the-art video pipe inspection (VPI) of water and sewer pipes, and, ultimately, complete 3D scans and maps of their entire campus, above and below ground.

“I found a lot of old lines,” he said. “There were four water lines running down the campus’ main drive, and two of them were abandoned. They’re cut off in certain spots, but they’re still running through the campus.”

Anytime the university needs to dig – either to renovate or repair – and they’re relying on out-of-date or incomplete as-built utility data, they risk severing a utility line. A single utility strike costs a facility, on average, $56,000 and can take up to eight weeks to repair. On a college campus, that strike can interrupt classes and extracurriculars, and even endanger the lives of faculty and students.

Students walking across a college campus.
GPRS is very familiar with the utility locating and mapping needs of our country’s universities.

How GPRS Locates and Maps Utilities

GPRS primarily deploys a combination of ground penetrating radar (GPR) and electromagnetic (EM) locating to locate buried utilities and other underground obstructions.

GPR is a non-destructive detection and imaging technology that uses radio waves to identify subsurface elements either underground or within a surface such as concrete. The GPR scanner emits radio waves into the surface, and then detects the interactions between those waves and buried objects such as electrical conduit, rebar, gas mains, and more.

These interactions – sometimes referred to as “bounces” – appear on a GPR readout as a series of hyperbolas that vary in size and shape depending on the type of material that was located. Professional utility locating specialists like GPRS’ Project Managers (PMs) are specially trained to interpret this data to provide accurate location and depth information that can be used to safely plan excavation projects.

To complement GPR, our PMs also deploy EM locators, which detect the electromagnetic signals radiating from metallic pipes and cables to allow for accurate locating and mapping of those utilities. These signals can be created by the locator’s transmitter applying current to the pipe, or from current flow in a live electrical cable. They can also result from a conductive pipe acting as an antenna and re-radiating signals from stray electrical fields (detected by the EM locator functioning in Power Mode) and communications transmissions (Radio Mode).

Our PMs are trained to utilize the best technology for the job at hand, considering a variety of factors including soil conditions and visible surface features as they plan the best method for providing you with our trademark 99.8%+ accurate utility locating and concrete scanning services. This training is underpinned by Subsurface Investigation Methodology (SIM), the foremost training program and specification for utility locating, concrete scanning, and video pipe inspection.

SIM teaches that the use of multiple locating technologies – including GPR and EM locating – is the best way to ensure a redundant confirmation of investigation results. It also provides our PMs with a step-by-step approach to collecting subsurface data, so their results are repeatable and accurate.

It’s because of this training regimen that PMs like Gifford can tackle a job as big as mapping an entire college campus’ underground infrastructure.

“Generally, we just break the scan area up into sections and take it bit by bit,” he explained. “Move piece by piece... some utilities, I may not be able to find in one location, but then when I move, I can pick it up and trace it back to its source.”

GPRS Project Managers also use GPS and Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) positioning technology to geo-locate their utility locating results. Every GPRS customer receives a complimentary PDF and .KMZ file of their utility map. They also receive a complimentary SiteMap® Personal subscription so that data is at their fingertips where and when they need it.

From skyscrapers to sewer lines, GPRS Intelligently Visualizes The Built World® to keep your projects on time, on budget, and safe.

What can we help you visualize? Click below to schedule a service or request a quote today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Benefits of Underground Utility Mapping?

Having an updated and accurate map of your subsurface infrastructure reduces accidents, budget overruns, change orders, and project downtime caused by dangerous and costly subsurface damage.

How does SiteMap® assist with Utility Mapping?

SiteMap® (patent pending), powered by GPRS, is the industry-leading infrastructure management program. It is a single source of truth, housing the 99.8%+ accurate utility locating, concrete scanning, video pipe inspection, leak detection, and 3D laser scanning data our Project Managers collect on your job site. And the best part is you get a complimentary SiteMap® Personal Subscription when GPRS performs a utility locate for you.

Click here to learn more.

Does SiteMap® Work with my Existing GIS Platform?

SiteMap® allows for exporting of data to SHP, GeoJSON, GeoPackage, and DXF directly from any user’s account that either owns or has a job shared to their account. All these file formats can be imported and utilized by other GIS packages if manually imported by the user. More information can be found at