Utility GIS Mapping: Revolutionizing Accuracy Before Digging with SiteMap®

Utility GIS Platform, SiteMap® Offers Accurate Underground Utility Data Before Digging For Municipalities, Engineers, Facility Managers, and General Contractors.

Utility GIS Mapping: Revolutionizing Accuracy Before Digging with SiteMap®

Utility GIS Platform, SiteMap® Offers Accurate Underground Utility Data Before Digging For Municipalities, Engineers, Facility Managers, and General Contractors.

With over 20 million miles of underground utility lines scattered on both public and private property, and a utility strike occurring every 62 seconds in the U.S., the need for accurately mapped and securely stored utility Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping data on every job site, everywhere, is paramount for the mitigation of future underground utility damages.

The utility GIS mapping industry has a major problem, however, that first needs to be solved before this goal can be accomplished.

The Challenge of Inaccurate Data

Despite the clear benefits of GIS utility mapping, the industries reliance on outdated and inaccurate data to populate these systems has led to many issues. Data within current utility GIS mapping platforms, while intuitive, lacks accuracy and is usually based on municipalities’ outdated and inaccurate paper plans referenced from centerline data, or eyeballed "measurements," or is based on some as-builts, GPR sketches, and hard copy old-school data that isn’t that valuable. Much of this data is compartmentalized, causing data and communication siloes among team members within municipalities, campus facilities, and construction crews. These issues result in major headaches like project downtime and reworks due to underground utility strikes.

Two construction workers comparing data on an iPad

What is GIS Utility Mapping?

GIS utility mapping in theory, is the process of accurately locating and digitally mapping the precise location of all underground utility lines within a municipality, construction site, or facility using a Geographic Informational System. Water, gas, electric, communication, irrigation and sewer utility data are generally stored within the system, with the purpose of providing a comprehensive record of all of the underground infrastructure of a facility or property.  

Rolled up utility maps
You can’t properly plan for a construction project without accurate existing condition documentation.

The issue with much of this data, however, is that it is based on maps and as-builts that were incorrect when they were initially uploaded into the system. When this data is then relied upon to either mark utilities on the ground or make digging and design decisions so that excavation, drilling or boring can  take place, utility damages result.

To address the ongoing issue of bad as-built data resulting in bad utility GIS mapping data, GPRS created SiteMap® (patent pending). SiteMap® is the first-ever GIS Utility Mapping platform that is composed of 99.8%+ accurate data collected in the field by SIM-certified GPRS Project Managers. Every bit of the utility data displayed within SiteMap®, including but not limited to: water, gas, electric, communication, irrigation and sewer lines, is collected by the nationwide network of boots on the ground GPRS Project Managers. This constant variable is the x-factor between SiteMap® and other utility GIS mapping platforms such as ArcGIS FieldMaps.

SiteMap®: An ArcGIS Alternative

ArcGIS, while likely the most well-known and widely used GIS platform, has many amazing benefits to it, it falls short in providing the up-to-date and accurate underground utility data needed for most contractors, municipalities, engineers, and facility managers to make safe digging decisions. This is because most of ArcGIS's utility information, generally supplied by local municipalities across the U.S., is often based on decades-old centerline data and outdated paper plans.

This is not the fault of ArcGIS, as they are uploading the data which they are given, but if the data uploaded into the system is bad, then the data that is displayed and depended upon by the end user isn't going to be accurate. The difference provided by SiteMap® is that the data within the system is collected in real time as GPRS Project Managers perform utility mapping services in the field throughout the country and upload that data to SiteMap®.

GPRS Market Segment Leader Nate Stair shares how GPRS customers who have used other GIS-based platforms and as-built documentation have experienced accuracy issues in their data.“I frequently hear that other platforms are great, except for the accuracy of the data. I have heard of lines being over 30 feet off. Yes, 30 feet!!! Yes, the line was collected, but the accuracy is almost useless. These [GIS] platforms aren't acting as a living, breathing database like SiteMap®, being tied to GPRS scanning services provided for them.”

The SiteMap® Difference: Accurate Data

Man holding a iPad with utilities mapped.
The SiteMap® Mobile App provides you with utility GIS mapping data at your fingertips, 24/7 from any tablet or mobile device.

What sets SiteMap® apart from other utility GIS mapping platforms like ArcGIS is the meticulous process of data collection and mapping carried out by GPRS's Project Managers through SIM or Subsurface Investigation Methodology that results in accurate data within the system.

Map of underground utilities at job site
SiteMap® provides you with aggregated, real-time utility data of your job site, so you can dig without fear of damaging underground infrastructure.

SIM is the secret to GPRS’ 99.8% accuracy rating in utility mapping. And that 99.8% accurate data is directly uploaded into our GIS Utility Mapping application, SiteMap®.

SIM mandates the proper equipment, training, and processes for locating contractors to achieve the most accurate results. In the last five years, it has an over 99.8% success rate on over 500,000 projects across the U.S. for GPRS Project Managers, helping to ensure the data within SiteMap® is world class.

SIM is broken into three main categories. Training, Methodology, and Equipment. SIM training includes one-on-one mentorship, in-person classroom instruction by industry experts, and on-the-job field training for two to three months. The methodology that makes SIM-certified Project Managers so effective and the data they collect and upload into SiteMap® so accurate is a systematic, methodical yet flexible approach to utility locating that Project Managers perform on each and every project. This solid, repeatable methodology ensures that each Project Manager can perform the same service and achieve the same results on any project, nationwide.

The final piece of what makes data within SiteMap® much more accurate than that offered elsewhere is the equipment used to collect the data. SIM requires the use of multiple forms of technology on each investigation with the most effective and commonly used being electromagnetic (EM) locators and ground penetrating radar (GPR). The SIM methodology, when rigorously followed, allows Project Managers from GPRS to be the most accurate utility locators in the country. Meaning that the utility locating data within SiteMap® is 99.8% accurate, every time. Regardless of the Project Manager’s tenure, the application of SIM protocols and training allows each locator to achieve industry-best results, so projects can be strike-free for general contractors, municipalities, engineers and facility managers, while remaining on time, on budget, and most importantly, safe.

Build Better With SiteMap®

Entire underground utility map of campus
SiteMap® provides accurate Utility GIS Mapping Data in the palm of your hand.

With millions. of miles of underground utility lines scattered throughout the country and utility strikes occurring close to every minute, the need for an up to data utility GIS mapping platform that ensures accuracy, enhances collaboration, and eliminates data and communication siloes between key stakeholders is more important than ever.

GPRS’s Utility GIS Platform SiteMap® meets this need to eliminate utility strikes for general contractors, municipalities, engineers, and facility managers, as it supplies users with an accurate GIS utility mapping platform that includes the tools and systems in place to view, layer, deconstruct & securely share the data Project Managers collect in the field and upload into the system.

In GIS utility mapping controlling data = controlling damage, and controlling damages controls costs. When the data is accurately located, marked, mapped, and stored in GIS utility mapping software the first time it’s collected, damages on the job can be reduced and workers can go home safe to their families.

To learn how SiteMap® can do just that and more to enhance your subsurface damage prevention, existing condition documentation, and facility and project management needs, schedule a free personal demonstration with one of our experts, today!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How is SiteMap® different from other GIS Platforms?

The data provided within SiteMap® is backed by GPRS’ SIM- certified Project Managers 99.8%+ accuracy on over 500,000 projects across the country within the past five years. Other platforms may provide data that is over 30 feet off from where it is actually located, which is why having a SIM-certified GPRS Project Manager actually collect that data in the field and upload it within SiteMap® makes all the difference in the accuracy of the data displayed within the platform in comparison to other GIS platforms.

Can lines be updated in the system as new infrastructure is added and projects occur on my job site?

Yes. As SiteMap® data is supplied by GPRS Project Managers, the GIS Utility Mapping Platform will upload new data while allowing you and your team to have up to date file of where lines have been re-located or newly installed after our utility mapping service in the field has been completed and uploaded to SiteMap®.