industry insights

How GIS-Based Infrastructure Mapping Breaks Down Communication Silos in the Construction Industry

The success of your next construction project hinges on you being able to seamlessly communicate with your team, your subcontractors, and everyone else on the job site.

The success of your next construction project hinges on you being able to seamlessly communicate with your team, your subcontractors, and everyone else on the job site.

You can’t afford to have communication silos disrupt your planning and project execution. Yet we know that these silos are one of the construction industry’s most persistent challenges, as information is compartmentalized within specific groups of departments and efficiency and effectiveness is hindered.

Fortunately, the advent of GIS-based infrastructure mapping software offers a powerful solution to break down these barriers and foster a more integrated and collaborative working environment.

People working around design plans.
Communication silos are one of the construction industry’s most persistent challenges, as information is compartmentalized within specific groups of departments and efficiency and effectiveness is hindered.

Understanding Communication Silos in Construction

Communication silos in construction often arise due to the complex and diverse nature of projects. Construction typically involves multiple stakeholders, including architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, and clients, each with their own specialized roles and responsibilities. These groups frequently operate in isolation, with limited sharing of information across departments. This fragmentation can lead to several problems:

  • Delayed Information Flow: When information is not shared promptly or accurately, it can cause delays and misunderstandings, leading to project setbacks
  • Inconsistent Data: Different teams might work with varying versions of project data, resulting in inconsistencies and potential errors in planning and execution
  • Increased Costs: Miscommunication and errors due to silos often result in rework and additional expenses, inflating project budgets
  • Safety Risks: Inaccurate or untimely information can compromise safety, putting workers at risk and potentially leading to accidents or hazards on the construction site

Given these challenges, addressing communication silos is crucial for the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and safety of construction projects.

The Role of GIS-Based Infrastructure Mapping

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have revolutionized many industries by providing tools to visualize, analyze, and interpret spatial data. In the context of construction, GIS-based infrastructure mapping software serves as a critical tool to bridge communication gaps. This technology integrates spatial data with project information, offering a comprehensive view of the project landscape that is accessible to all stakeholders.

Here are some ways which GIS-based infrastructure mapping helps eliminate communication silos in construction:

Centralized Data Repository: GIS software consolidates all project data into a single, centralized platform. This includes everything from site layouts and topographical maps to utility networks and environmental assessments. By having all information in one place, it ensures that everyone involved in the project has access to the most up-to-date and accurate data.

Enhanced Collaboration: With a centralized data repository, different teams can collaborate more effectively. GIS platforms often feature tools that allow for real-time updates and sharing of information, meaning changes or updates to project plans are immediately visible to all relevant parties. This transparency facilitates better coordination and reduces the likelihood of miscommunication.

Improved Decision-Making: Access to comprehensive spatial data enables more informed decision-making. Project managers can visualize the project site in detail, identify potential issues before they arise, and make proactive adjustments to the project plan. This foresight helps in mitigating risks and optimizing resource allocation.

Streamlined Workflow: GIS-based tools automate many of the processes involved in data management and analysis. For example, they can automatically update maps with the latest construction progress or detect clashes in planned infrastructure. This automation reduces manual effort and ensures that everyone is working with the latest information.

Stakeholder Engagement: Effective communication with external stakeholders, such as clients, regulatory bodies, and the public, is crucial in construction projects. GIS platforms can create interactive maps and visualizations that are easy to understand, helping to communicate complex project details clearly and concisely. This not only enhances transparency but also builds trust and engagement with stakeholders.

Spatial Analysis and Reporting: GIS software can perform sophisticated spatial analyses, such as identifying optimal locations for new infrastructure or assessing the impact of construction on the environment. These analyses are invaluable for planning and can be easily shared across teams to align on strategic decisions.

Practical Applications in Construction

To illustrate the impact of GIS-based infrastructure mapping in breaking down communication silos, consider the following practical applications in the construction industry:

Site Planning and Design: During the initial phases of a project, GIS tools can integrate various data sources to create detailed site plans. These plans can be shared with all stakeholders, ensuring that everyone has a common understanding of the site conditions and constraints.

Construction Management: Throughout the construction phase, GIS platforms can help managers monitor progress and provide real-time updates on the status of different project components. This continuous flow of information keeps all teams aligned and allows for quick adjustments if any issues arise.

Asset Management: Post-construction, GIS can be used to manage and maintain infrastructure assets. For instance, utility companies can use GIS maps to keep track of underground pipelines and cables, facilitating efficient maintenance and minimizing disruptions.

Disaster Response and Recovery: In the event of natural disasters, GIS-based mapping can quickly assess damage and coordinate response efforts. By providing accurate and timely information, it helps in deploying resources effectively and restoring infrastructure promptly.

SiteMap®: The Next Evolution of GIS-Based Infrastructure Mapping

Communication silos are a significant impediment to the efficiency and success of construction projects. By fostering isolated operations and limiting information flow, these silos can lead to delays, increased costs, and safety risks. GIS-based infrastructure mapping software provides a powerful solution to these challenges by offering a centralized platform for data integration, enhancing collaboration, and improving decision-making.

As the construction industry continues to evolve and embrace digital transformation, the adoption of GIS-based tools will be instrumental in creating more cohesive and efficient project environments. By breaking down communication silos, these technologies not only streamline operations but also pave the way for more innovative and sustainable construction practices.

SiteMap® (patent pending), powered by GPRS, is a GIS-based project & facility management application that provides accurate existing condition documentation to protect your assets and people.

Securely accessible 24/7 from any computer, tablet, or smartphone, SiteMap® is a single source of truth for the 99.8%+ accurate utility locating, NASSCO-certified video pipe inspection, pinpoint accurate leak detection, and 2-4mm accurate 3D laser scanning data that GPRS Project Managers collect on site. It enables seamless communication between you and your project team, subcontractors and more, eliminating silos and helping you plan, design, manage, dig, and ultimately build better.

GPRS SiteMap® team members are currently scheduling live, personal demonstrations. Click below to schedule your free SiteMap® demo 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®, powered by GPRS, is the industry-leading subsurface and project 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 that 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® offers fluid data portability that allows for exporting of data to SHP, GeoJSON, GeoPackage, and DXF directly from any account owner’s  or shared project’s 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 SiteMap.com.

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Redefining Air Travel: The Architectural Marvel of Boston’s Terminal E

Airports are more than just transportation hubs; they are gateways to new experiences, cultures, and destinations.

Airports are more than just transportation hubs; they are gateways to new experiences, cultures, and destinations.

When it comes to global air travel, terminal design is a vital component of ensuring the safety and efficiency of every flight. Boston’s Terminal E expansion is an example of how innovative architecture and thoughtful planning can revolutionize the way travelers interact with the airport environment. And ground penetrating radar (GPR) and similar technologies play a crucial role in helping create these unique examples of architectural mastery.

The Importance of Airport Design

Airports serve as the first and last impression for travelers, setting the tone for their journey. Effective airport design goes beyond functionality; it embodies the spirit of a city, facilitates seamless navigation, and enhances the overall passenger experience. Terminal E at Boston Logan International Airport exemplifies this philosophy, combining striking architecture with intuitive planning to create a world-class travel hub.

According to leading architects and experts in the field, creating a calm and functional, as well as aesthetically pleasing airport environment can make a huge difference when it comes to beating the competition. There is a startling amount of competition in the air travel industry. The United States has the highest airport connectivity score, with $239 billion USD air passenger revenue in 2021 alone. As technology changes the way we travel, and the way we see the world around us, the air travel and airline industry is likely to hold strong. Because the market is so expansive, however, it also means that there’s no shortage of flight companies or airports to choose from. Reducing the stress of travel and providing safe places to wait for boarding can often be influencing factors when consumers and airlines choose to use your gates.

In addition to affecting traveler safety and satisfaction, airport design also helps determine the flow and operation of the facility’s air travel itself. Airlines increasingly form alliances, and share space in large, airports where travel from multiple lines can be managed from one location.

Regardless of its size and shape, the success of any airport project begins with what’s below. Technologies such as ground penetrating radar (GPR) help ensure safe construction of new airports, and expansions to existing ones.

GIS-based utility mapping software, such as GPRS’ SiteMap® (patent pending) platform, allow for seamless use and secure sharing of data such as GPR utility locates and concrete scans, 3D laser scanning, and more, allowing you to plan, design, manage, dig, and ultimately build better.

Boston Logan Airport Terminal E expansion with skyline.
(Photo courtesy of Ganley Images via WCVB) Boston Logan International Airport’s Terminal E expansion represents a new era in air travel.

Terminal E at a Glance

Also known as the International Terminal, opened its doors in 1974 as the Volpe International Terminal to accommodate the Boston market’s growing demand for international air travel. It offered 12 gates to serve 10 international airlines and 1.5 million passengers annually, and the number of gates remained the same until the recent expansion. Today, Terminal E stands as a modern marvel, blending state-of-the-art amenities with timeless design principles.

Massport announced the 320,000-square-foot expansion of Terminal E in 2018 with a budget of $700-750 million. The project was initially designed to add seven new gates, but COVID-related delays resulted in a reduced budget and only four gates being constructed. A parking lot expansion that was initially planned was also cut.

Terminal E is at least 20% more energy efficient than what’s required under the MA Energy Code, and its designed to achieve LEED Gold certification. It features photovoltaic window glazing, glare-controlling glass, and an energy-efficient displacement ventilation system.

Architectural Features

Contemporary Design

Terminal E boasts a sleek and contemporary design, characterized by clean lines, expansive glass facades, and soaring ceilings. The architecture reflects Boston’s reputation as a city of innovation and culture, creating a sense of arrival and departure that is both inspiring and welcoming.

Natural Light

One of the defining features of Terminal E is its abundant use of natural light. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the terminal with sunlight, creating a bright and airy ambiance. Natural light not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the terminal but also contributes to a sense of well-being among passengers.

Sustainable Practices

In alignment with Boston’s commitment to sustainability, Terminal E incorporates eco-friendly design elements and energy-efficient systems. The terminal sets a new standard for environmentally conscious airport design. These sustainable practices not only reduce the airport’s carbon footprint, but also demonstrate a commitment to responsible stewardship of the environment.

Planning and Functionality

Passenger Flow

Efficient passenger flow is essential to the success of any airport terminal. Terminal E prioritizes seamless navigation, with clear wayfinding signage and intuitive layout design. The terminal’s spacious concourses and streamlined security checkpoints ensure smooth transitions for travelers, minimizing congestion and wait times. The international terminal has additional 390,000 square feet of space for stores, lounges, and gates, improving traffic flow.

Retail and Dining

Terminal E offers a diverse array of retail shops, restaurants, and amenities to cater to the needs of modern travelers. The concourse has several newly added dining options, including Sal’s Pizza, Boston Harbor Distillery, Legal Sea Foods, grab-and-go meals from Boston market and Hudson, and more.

Passenger Comfort

Ample seating areas, charging stations, and other relaxation zones are scattered throughout the Terminal E expansion. There’s even a sensory room for customers overwhelmed by the crowded concourse that features a replica airplane cabin to help customers acclimate before takeoff.

Technological Integration

Digital Innovation

From self-check-in kiosks to real-time flight information displays, Terminal E not only embraces, but leverages technology to empower travelers with information about their impending trip. It features an expanded ticketing area with modernized TSA security checkpoint that allows travelers to keep their important items such as laptops and other electronic devices within their bags during the screening process. Time is saved, and passengers can complete this often-stressful process with less friction.

Smart Infrastructure

The terminal’s infrastructure is equipped with smart technologies to improve operational efficiency and security. Advanced surveillance systems, automated baggage handling systems, and biometric authentication tools enhance safety and convenience for passengers and staff.

Underneath Terminal E

The Terminal E expansion has earned acclaim from passengers and industry professionals alike, setting a new standard for airport terminals worldwide. By prioritizing passenger comfort, efficiency, and sustainability, it has redefined the airport experience and made travel more enjoyable and less stressful for millions of travelers annually.

These upgrades wouldn’t have been possible without the architects, contractor, and subcontractors on the project first gaining an understanding of the existing built world beneath the airport. Technologies such as ground penetrating radar (GPR) and GIS-based utility mapping support infrastructure projects such as the Terminal E expansion by visualizing what’s below, so that dangerous and costly subsurface damage can be avoided during excavation.

Existing conditions as-builts serve as a guide for construction planning, allowing the construction team to construct and plan with confidence. Subsurface utility locating and concrete scanning are vital to ensuring the safety and success of terminal construction and design, helping you see the unseen and ensure the safety of everyone involved in the project.

The namesake of GPRS, GPR works in concert with other technologies to identify buried objects and underground utilities. GPRS Project Managers provide 99.8%+ accurate, field-verified utility maps, all securely accessible 24/7 from any computer, tablet, or smartphone via SiteMap® (patent pending). Our in-house Mapping & Modeling Team can export the GPR scans to create accurate existing conditions as-builts to give you the information you need in a format you can easily work with to stay on time, on budget, and safe.

Active electromagnetic (EM) locating involves actively transmitting a frequency through the underground utility’s conductive material. This is done by connecting through various points depending on the utility. The transmitter can be connected to various types of utility lines via a grounding wire or other physical utility structure above ground to provide the active signal that the EM locator can then read.

EM locators are preferred by One Call contractors to locate public utility lines. GPRS utilizes these devices with GPR and other technologies as part of the Subsurface Investigation Methodology (SIM) process to detect live AC power or radio signals along conductive utilities.

GPRS Project Managers use robotic crawlers and push-fed sewer scopes equipped with CCTV cameras and sondes as part of our Video Pipe Inspection services, which provide accurate sewer pipe visualization.

Terminal E stands as a shining example of architectural innovation and strategic planning in the realm of air travel – but it would not be possible without first mapping what’s below.

GPRS’ SiteMap® team members are currently scheduling live, personal demonstrations. Click below to schedule your free SiteMap® demo today!

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How SiteMap® streamlines communication throughout AECO lifecycle

A new report from the International Facility Management Association highlights the facility management sector’s desire for a data-driven future.

A new report from the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) highlights the facility management sector’s desire for a data-driven future.

The report, titled Optimizing Building Management With A Lifecycle Approach, explores the crucial role that facility managers can play in fostering better collaboration across the AECO lifecycle.

“Industry fragmentation across the AECO lifecycle has long hindered efficiency,” the report reads. “More collaboration and data sharing are crucial steps toward extending the lifespan of buildings and reducing waste.”

A facility manager in personal protective equipment looks at a tablet.
In preparation for that future, facility managers are preparing to embrace data and analytics like never before.

The report included a survey of members of the facility management sector, as well as those in the AEC, real estate, and technology provider professions. Key findings include:

  • 96% of facility managers surveyed believe AEC data enhances key processes
  • 12% is the average time wasted because of fragmented data
  • 70% of all individuals surveyed expect greater collaboration with workplace designers
  • 20% plan to invest in digital twins in the next 12 months

“It is well known that facility managers play a key role in ensuring the efficient and safe operation of buildings and infrastructure, helping their organizations push for ever-greater cost efficiency and space optimization,” the report reads. “At the same time, facility managers are starting to find themselves as key stakeholders influencing broader projects such as workplace redesigns, capital upgrades, and renovations, helping to extend the lifespan of buildings.”

Respondents to the report’s survey expect collaboration and communication to improve over the next three years, with 70% predicting more collaboration with workplace designers, reflecting facility managers’ growing influence on workplace redesign and facility upgrades.

In preparation for that future, facility managers are preparing to embrace data and analytics like never before. The findings of the survey indicate that:

  • 87% will use more data and analytics to shape decision-making. Facility managers are preparing to leverage data and analytics to enhance their operational processes. By utilizing a wider range of data sets, including current condition data, asset lifecycle data, and budget data, facility managers can make more informed decisions to optimize their facilities’ performance.
  • 78% expect to use AI in daily tasks and data analysis. AI technologies have the potential to streamline and automate some processes like fault detection or maintenance scheduling, enabling more efficient operations and resource allocation. Additionally, AI can play a role in data analysis, extracting valuable insights that contribute to improved decision-making.
  • 70% anticipate more collaboration with IT departments. As the facility management profession transitions toward a more software-driven future, collaboration with the IT department will become crucial. The IT department is vital in implementing and integrating software systems, data platforms, and analytics tools that support data-driven facility management.

SiteMap®: The Future of Facility Management

New technologies will be necessary to achieve the data-driven future envisioned by the facility managers surveyed in the IFMA report.

That’s why GPRS created SiteMap® (patent pending), a project & facility management application that provides accurate existing condition documentation to protect your assets and people.

SiteMap® gives you control over your communications, workflows, record-keeping, and accountability. It provides a single source of truth capable of aggregating, tagging, geolocating, and layering existing subsurface and above-ground conditions to eliminate information bottlenecks, and reduce mistakes that lead to expensive clashes, change orders, reworks, and even serious injuries.

With SiteMap®, you can see every piece of your facility or project’s puzzle – above and below ground – with exceptional accuracy and state-of-the-art data delivered via drawings, maps, models, photogrammetry, and more. And it’s all at your fingertips 24/7, securely accessible from any computer, tablet, or smartphone, allowing you and your team to plan, design, manage, dig, and ultimately build better.

GPRS SiteMap® team members are currently scheduling live, personal SiteMap® demonstrations. Click below to schedule yours 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®, 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 SiteMap.com.

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Explaining Urban Stormwater Capture

Urban stormwater can be more than just a nuisance.

Urban stormwater can be more than just a nuisance.

That’s the takeaway from a report released recently by global water think tank the Pacific Institute and 2NDNATURE Software Inc., a provider of stormwater management software.

The report, titled Untapped Potential: An Assessment of Urban Stormwater Runoff Potential in the United States, says there are multiple ways that cities in the U.S. – particularly those in coastal regions, could make greater use of stormwater, which is typically seen today as a nuisance to be removed as quickly as possible.

Stormwater runs into rain gardens.
(Photo courtesy of NYC Water) Rain gardens like these in New York City are an example of the increasing efforts to capture urban stormwater and put it to good use.

“…Water scarcity is a growing risk due in part to natural hydrologic variability, population and economic growth, and the intensifying effects of climate change,” the report reads. “Yet, traditional water sources, such as freshwater from rivers and streams and underground aquifers, are increasingly facing peak water limits. These constraints have led water providers to adopt water conservation and efficiency to reduce demand and develop new, alternative water supply strategies, such as reusing treated wastewater and capturing urban stormwater runoff.”

Urban stormwater – runoff generated from precipitation falling on rooftops, roads, and other impervious surfaces in urbanized areas – has historically been considered a nuisance or hazard because it carries pollution from roads and other urban surfaces to rivers, lakes, estuaries, and the ocean, threatening both aquatic life and public health. Additionally, it can lead to flooding that causes property damage and risks for communities.

Because of these risks, urban areas are typically designed with dedicated storm sewers to collect and dispose of the runoff into nearby waterways or detention ponds as quickly as possible. However, as water scarcity as become an increasingly serious problem across the globe, more and more cities are looking at a way to capture stormwater and put it to good use.

In Los Angeles County, more than 27,000 acre-feet (8.8 billion gallons) of stormwater is captured annually at centralized spreading grounds where it recharges groundwater in the San Fernando Groundwater Basin. And in New York City, curbside rain gardens capture stormwater to help reduce the risk of flooding.

Stormwater capture is also garnering increased attention and support at the federal level. The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Reuse Action Plan (WRAP) provides a roadmap for collaboration and action to implement water reuse strategies across the United States.

The Untapped Potential report details how stormwater capture can be achieved at a variety of scales, and include traditional gray infrastructure, such as storm sewers and combined sewers that route stormwater to a treatment facility or storage pond for infiltration, or green infrastructure, such as bioswales and rain gardens that use plants and soils to slow, filter, and store stormwater before it enters the storm system. A mix of both gray and green infrastructure can also be used to capture stormwater.

“…[Reusing treated wastewater and capturing urban stormwater runoff] can help ‘close the gap’ between existing and anticipated water supply and demand and support long-term water resilience,” the report reads.

A GPRS Project Manager uses a small crane to lower a lateral launch camera out of the back of a white van.
GPRS’ NASSCO-certified VPI Project Managers use sophisticated, remote-controlled sewer inspection rovers and push-fed scopes equipped with CCTV cameras and sondes: instrument probes that allow us to map your sewer and stormwater systems while we’re inspecting them for defects.

GPRS Keeps Water & Wastewater Projects On Track

Whether you need to maintain and preserve your existing water and wastewater infrastructure or are looking to install stormwater capture systems to improve your existing systems, GPRS has the subsurface damage prevention, existing conditions documentation, and construction & facilities project management services to ensure the success of your project.

When breaking ground, it’s vital you know what’s below to avoid subsurface damage that could endanger your workers, wreck your budget, and decimate your schedule. GPRS utilizes ground penetrating radar scanners and electromagnetic (EM) locators to provide 99.8%+ accurate utility locating and concrete scanning services to help you know what’s below so you can dig, cut, and core with confidence.

A GPRS Project Manager uses acoustic leak detection equipment on a fire hydrant.
Using acoustic leak detection and leak detection correlators, GPRS’ water loss specialists locate leaks and provide insights into your water distribution system.

Water lines can develop links that cost you tens of thousands of dollars in non-revenue water (NRW) loss. And sewer lines can be compromised by defects such as inflow/infiltration (I/I) and cross bores, which can threaten the health and safety of entire communities.

GPRS leak detection and video pipe inspection (VPI) services help you maintain, preserve, and update your water and wastewater infrastructure. Using acoustic leak detection and leak detection correlators, our water loss specialists locate leaks and provide insights into your water distribution system. And on the wastewater side, our NASSCO-certified VPI Project Managers use sophisticated, remote-controlled sewer inspection rovers and push-fed scopes equipped with CCTV cameras and sondes: instrument probes that allow us to map your sewer and stormwater systems while we’re inspecting them for defects.

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

How many miles of water lines can GPRS inspect in one day?

Our professional leak inspection specialists can test up to 10 miles of pipe a day on a metallic system (cast iron/ductile) and can test a contact point (hydrant/valve) within a minute before moving on to the next one. They’re able to work so efficiently because they are trained to hear the specific tone that a leak produces compared to any other number of noises a general environment makes.

Can a GPRS Project Manager determine the size of the leak they’ve detected?

We can determine the size of the leak by how far the leak signal travels between contact points and the pitch of the tone received. We do not, however, produce formal leak size estimation reports.

What size wastewater pipes can GPRS inspect?

Our elite, NASSCO-certified Project Managers have the capabilities to inspect pipes from 2” in diameter and up.

What deliverables does GPRS offer when conducting a sewer pipe inspection?

GPRS is proud to offer WinCan reporting to our Video Pipe Inspection clients. Maintaining sewers starts with understanding sewer condition, and WinCan allows GPRS Project Managers to collect detailed, NASSCO-compliant inspection data. GPRS Project Managers not only inspect the interior condition of sewer pipes, laterals, and manholes – they can also provide a map of their location. The GPRS Mapping & Modeling Department can provide GPS overlays and CAD files. Our detailed WinCan/NASSCO reports contain screenshots of the interior condition of the pipe segments that we inspect, as well as a video file for further evaluation, documentation, and/or reference.

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How New Adaptive Reuse Trends Are Changing Multifamily Conversions

While on its face, the hotel to multifamily conversion may seem a slam dunk, there are key differences that AEC and VDC professionals must take into account when planning a new adaptive reuse project.

New York City continues to lead the adaptive reuse charge. That fact is unsurprising, since New York is facing a shortage of apartments, especially affordable housing. The surprise comes from the fact that most of the apartments created in 2023 in the U.S. came from repurposing hotels instead of office space.

Historic blonde brick building with arched stonework and a hotel sign above it in red sits amid buildings in Manhattan
Class B hotels in major metro areas are driving multifamily adaptive reuse projects in 2024.
These buildings pose unique challenges for architects and virtual design consultants.

Another surprise is that warehouse conversions, the arguable genesis of adaptive reuse from decades past, are making a significant comeback, with a 9% increase in 2023.

What is Adaptive Reuse?

Adaptive reuse – the practice of converting offices, storefronts, hotels, or industrial buildings for other uses like multifamily residential dwellings – has seen a resurgence in popularity. In the face of still-towering vacancies in major U.S. metro office spaces and high commercial interest rates, developers, architects, investors, and management firms are all driving the push toward repurposing buildings for residential use.

Gone, however, may be the days of the cheap industrial studio. After a considerable dip in apartment size in 2022, the average square footage per unit rebounded to 916 in 2023, with two and three-bedroom units leading the charge toward larger abodes, according to data analysis from Yardi Matrix, owner of RentCafe.

Hotel conversions, on the other hand, may offer “a creative solution to the U.S. endemic housing shortage and affordability crisis,” according to Ted Jung of Parkview Financial.

One of the interesting data points teased out by Yardi Matrix was a potential growing divergence in adaptive reuse housing, citing a “bifurcation between high-end and low-end markets… particularly evident in the commercial real estate sector, where a sizable portion of office vacancies are found in older buildings with reduced functionality and lack of modern amenities.”

Most of the hotels being converted are considered “Class B” buildings. A Class B building is generally 20+ years old, with ordinary architectural design, floor plans and finish work. They generally lack high ceilings, and up-to-date amenities, which may make them a prime blank slate of sorts for enterprising VDCs, architects, and developers looking to provide more affordable multifamily housing solutions in metro areas.

What is Driving Hotel to Multifamily Conversions?

In a word, convenience. Some of the most daunting issues facing virtual design consultants, architects, and engineers in adaptive reuse for office and industrial spaces are reduced when converting a hotel because it is already designed with exterior/ambient light, plumbing, and elevator access for every room baked in.

Another driver is that hotels had been one of the slower economic sectors to rebound after Covid-19, and many property owners went in search of new ways to generate revenue.

While on its face, the hotel to multifamily conversion may seem a slam dunk, there are key differences that AEC and VDC professionals must take into account when planning a new adaptive reuse project.

  • Size: As previously stated, apartment hunters are driving a surge in square footage and two to three-bedroom units. The average American hotel room contains just 330 square feet, about one-third the size required. So, at minimum, you have to plan for a 3:1 conversion ratio, and need to allow for all the MEP revision and renovations turning two or three hotel rooms into one apartment will require. Knowing the precise existing conditions of the project, above and below-ground, can inform design decisions, construction plans, and help keep the project on time, on budget, and safe. Learn more about how GPRS can provide full site existing conditions documentation, here.
  • Zoning & Local Ordinances: Many major U.S. cities have enacted programs to speed the regulatory process for adaptive reuse. New York City created an Office Adaptive Use Task Force, and the city’s 2025 fiscal budget includes incentives for adaptive reuse proposals. Checking your local zoning and city ordinances may yield surprising support for an adaptive reuse project, or could alert you to regulatory hurdles you may need to overcome.
  • Location, Location, Location: Is a hotel near the airport or in the middle of a tourism destination the best choice for multifamily adaptive reuse? People think very differently about where they want to call home compared to where they’re willing to rest their head for a night. So, conducting some geocentric market research may help to avoid a bright, shiny new apartment building with few tenants.
  • Budget: As the economy continues to chug along, so have costs and commercial lending rates. Know your loan-to-cost ratio limits, have solid, fact-based projections for management expenses once the conversion is complete, and remember that you may have to shop a few lenders to find the right fit for your project. Making sure you can keep a lid on construction cost overruns can be a key component of getting an adaptive reuse project off on the right foot. GPRS’ construction and facility management software platform, SiteMap®, provides a single source of truth for general contractors, subcontractors, and stakeholders to avoid clashes, reworks, and mistakes that can blow your budget. Learn more about SiteMap®, here.
  • Getting Out: What’s the developer’s plan post-construction? Selling to an investor? Waiting until they’ve completed lease-up? Or do they plan to keep the building in their portfolio long-term? Planning from the start based on when you plan to exit the project – hopefully with a nice, fat payday – can inform many design and construction decisions along the way.

According to RentCafe’s data, 12,700 new apartments were converted in 2023 – a 17.6% uptick – and another 151,000 units are currently under conversion in 2024, pointing to a continuing, long-term multifamily housing adaptive reuse trend.

Everything Old is New Again

Meanwhile, another driver of adaptive reuse is repurposing historic buildings into boutique hotels. New hotels like the Atheneum Suite Hotel in Detroit, Michigan, previously a seed company warehouse constructed in 1879, The Kendall House in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a fire engine house originally built in 1894, and the El Convento Hotel in San Jaun, Puerto Rico, a Carmelite convent dating to 1649, are among the top 25 Historic Hotels of America picks for their Best of Adaptive Reuse list.

An exterior corner shot of Kingston, New York’s Hotel Kinsley, developed inside the historic State of New York National Bank building constructed in the 1860s.
New York’s historic Hotel Kinsley is an example of the adaptive reuse trend of turning historical buildings into boutique hotels.
It repurposes a bank built in the 1860s.

Learn more about how GPRS supports commercial adaptive reuse projects, here.

GPRS Intelligently Visualizes The Built World® for customers across the U.S. What can we help you visualize?

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the primary benefits of using virtual design consultants for adaptive reuse projects?

Cost and Time Efficiency: Leveraging digital tools and virtual collaboration reduces the need for frequent on-site visits, saving time and reducing costs.

Enhanced Visualization: Advanced visualization techniques, such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), provide stakeholders with a clear understanding of proposed designs and modifications.

Flexible Collaboration: Virtual platforms facilitate seamless communication and collaboration among architects, engineers, and clients, regardless of their physical location.

Sustainability and Innovation: Consultants can explore sustainable design strategies and innovative uses of space, often integrating eco-friendly materials and energy-efficient systems tailored to the existing structure.

How do virtual design consultants manage the challenges of transforming older buildings into modern multifamily developments?

Structural Limitations: They use advanced structural analysis tools to identify and reinforce areas needing support while preserving as much of the original structure as possible.

Space Optimization: Consultants employ creative design solutions to maximize the use of existing spaces, often reimagining layouts to suit modern living requirements while retaining the building's character.

Compliance with Contemporary Standards & Building Codes: Ensuring the building meets current safety, accessibility, and energy efficiency standards is crucial. Consultants use up-to-date knowledge and digital simulations to foresee and address compliance issues.

Integration of Modern Amenities: They look to seamlessly integrate modern amenities, such as updated HVAC systems, plumbing, and electrical infrastructure, into older buildings, enhancing functionality without compromising aesthetic value.

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GPRS Locates & Maps Utilities for Texas Solar Array

GPRS Project Manager Gerardo Dominguez conducted utility locating services to ensure the safe and efficient construction of a Texas solar farm.

Four days. 2,100 acres. A web of under and aboveground utility lines.

It was just another successful job for GPRS Project Manager Gerardo Dominguez, who conducted utility locating services to ensure the safe and efficient construction of a Texas solar farm.

Dominguez hiked roughly 10-to-12 miles a day, locating and mapping the existing infrastructure in the project area to help mitigate subsurface damage during the installation of solar arrays.

Solar arrays in a field.
Installing solar arrays requires breaking ground in hundreds – possibly thousands – of different locations across a site. Striking buried utilities during any one of those excavations could derail the whole project’s schedule,budget and endanger the lives of workers.

“They had already cleaned out the land,” Dominguez said. “And while they were cleaning out the land and taking out all the trees and shrubs and stuff, they were hitting a lot of these unknown pipes, pipes that were aboveground, abandoned pipes...”

To accurately locate and map the utilities, Dominguez employed a electromagnetic (EM) locating in conjunction with ground penetrating radar (GPR) scanning.

EM locators detect electromagnetic signals radiating from metallic pipes and cables. These signals can be created by transmitting current to the pipe, or from the current flow in a live electrical cable. Signals 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 (EM locator in Radio Mode). Signals are created by the current flowing from the EM locator’s transmitter, and travel along the conductor (line/cable/pipe) and back to the transmitter. Typically, completing the current requires the use of a ground. A ground stake is used to complete the circuit through the subsurface.

GPR scanners emit radio waves into a surface, then detect the interactions between these waves and any buried objects (both metallic and non-metallic). These interactions are displayed in a readout a series of hyperbolas that vary in size and shape depending on the type of material located. Professional utility locating and concrete scanning technicians like GPRS’ SIM-certified Project Managers can interpret this data to determine the location and approximate depth of these buried objects.

Gerardo Dominguez

In Texas, Dominguez first swept the area with his EM locator before verifying the data with his GPR scanner. He found a well that had not been marked on any of the contractor’s existing maps. And, because the project called for new utilities to be installed under a roadway, Dominguez located and mapped fiber and water lines in the area that also had not been previously identified.

“It was pretty straightforward,” he said. “It was just getting out there and walking a whole lot.”

All the data Dominguez collected was uploaded into SiteMap® (patent pending), GPRS’ cloud-based project & facility management application that provides accurate existing conditions documentation to protect assets and people.

Securely accessible 24/7 from any computer, tablet, or smartphone, SiteMap® is a single source of truth for the 99.8%+ accurate utility locating, video pipe inspection, leak detection, and 3D laser scanning data that GPRS Project Managers collect on site. And every GPRS utility locating customer receives a free SiteMap® Personal Subscription with every utility locate, allowing for instant use of the field-verified data to mitigate the risks of subsurface damage, miscommunications, change orders, and reworks.

Dominguez completed scanning the project area ahead of schedule, leaving the contractor with a comprehensive understanding of the site’s existing infrastructure and – thanks to SiteMap® – with a way to seamlessly store, use, and share this data.

“Gerardo consistently delivers exceptional results,” said GPRS Business Development Manager, Boon Bowling. “His diligence and efficiency allowed this project to wrap ahead of schedule.”

Renewable energy projects are underway across the U.S. as the country looks for ways to improve its power infrastructure.

Installing solar arrays requires breaking ground in hundreds – possibly thousands – of different locations across a site. Striking buried utilities during any one of those excavations could derail the whole project’s schedule and budget and endanger the lives of the workers doing the installation.

GPRS supports renewable energy projects through our suite of infrastructure visualization services. Our SIM-certified Project Managers use industry-leading utility locating and precision concrete scanning technologies to provide you with an immediate and accurate report of the subsurface utilities on your job site. We provide 3D laser scanning services to capture and create a permanent record of our concrete scanning and utility locating markings, as well as your site’s aboveground features, to create accurate existing conditions documentation for not just your current project, but future operations & maintenance (O&M). And all this field-verified data is always at your fingertips with SiteMap®.

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?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can GPRS distinguish between each underground utility located?

In most situations, we can identify the utility in question without any problems, although it is not always possible to determine what type of utility is present. When this happens, we attempt to trace the utility to a valve, meter, control box, or other signifying markers to determine the type of utility buried.

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.

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How the Construction Industry is Attracting Computer & Data Science Majors

The industry is specifically targeting – and attracting – college grads who were previously considering careers in computers and data science.

The construction industry has increasingly turned to college students to supplement its aging workforce.

Now, the industry is specifically targeting – and attracting – college grads who were previously considering careers in computers and data science.

This shift is driven by various factors, including job stability, high-paying opportunities, and the evolving technological landscape within the construction sector. As the industry struggles to staff job sites, contractors have ramped up their pursuit of the next generation of builders, integrating advanced technologies and diverse skill sets to meet modern demands.

Three construction workers pose for a photo.
The construction industry has increasingly turned to college students to supplement its aging workforce.

Increased Outreach and Recruitment

Laura Cosgriff, the construction technology coordinator for Lorain County Community College (LCCC) in Elyria, Ohio, said in a recent article in industry publication Construction Dive that she’s noted a significant increase in calls from local contractors looking to employ students. The frequency of these calls has risen so much that she developed a canned response and email format to manage employer inquiries efficiently.

This uptick in demand reflects a broader trend across the industry.

Construction employers have intensified their outreach efforts to students, particularly through platforms like Handshake, which focuses on college student career placement. Over the past year, construction-related student outreach on Handshake increased by 46%, alongside a rise in internship postings. This proactive approach has successfully attracted students from diverse academic backgrounds, including those with expertise in computer and data science.

Real-World Success Stories

Barbara Lopez-Santana's journey is a prime example of this trend. A recent graduate of Florida International University, Lopez-Santana told Construction Dive that she transitioned from architecture to construction management, aligning her career with her passion for organization and hands-on work. Her internship at Moss & Associates in Miami evolved into a full-time position, underscoring the robust career opportunities within the construction sector.

Lopez-Santana's story highlights the stability and continuous demand in construction, which she described simply: “The simple reason is construction never stops.” This sentiment resonates with many young professionals who see construction as a lucrative and stable career path.

The Appeal of Construction to Tech Students

The allure of construction for students from computer and data science fields is multifaceted. According to Handshake's report, applications to architecture, drafting, and construction management roles rose by over 40% in the past year. Additionally, the number of applications from computer science and data science majors to construction jobs doubled, reflecting a significant shift in career interests.

The construction industry offers diverse opportunities for those with technical backgrounds. Matt Rosentreter, talent generation manager at Burns & McDonnell, emphasized the industry's increasing need for varied skill sets, including finance, business analytics, virtual design, and computer science. These diverse academic experiences are crucial for driving innovation and efficiency in construction projects.

Technological Integration and Innovation

Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2012, has grown up with technology, making them well-suited to integrate advanced tools into construction workflows. This generation's innate tech skills can help streamline tasks and enhance project efficiency. Meanwhile, experienced construction professionals nearing the end of their careers can mentor these young workers, passing on vital building knowledge while benefiting from their technological expertise.

Embracing Diversity

Diversity remains a challenge in the construction industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2022, only 10.9% of construction employees were women, 6.7% were Black, and 2.1% were Asian. Hispanic employees made up over 30% of the workforce, predominantly in field positions with limited advancement opportunities. However, Handshake's report shows promising signs, with 36% of applicants to construction jobs being women.

Cosgriff has observed a gradual shift in this area at LCCC, noting the increasing presence of women in construction classes and work-based learning experiences. This change is vital for fostering a more inclusive and diverse workforce, aligning with the values of many Gen Z students.

The Future of Construction

The construction industry is evolving, leveraging technology and diverse talent to address current challenges and future demands. As major tech firms and retailers like Google and Amazon lay off workers, the construction sector's stability and growth prospects become even more attractive. By integrating advanced technologies and welcoming students from varied academic backgrounds, the industry is poised to innovate and thrive.

For instance, Rosentreter noted the need for different perspectives and ideas to drive projects forward. The collaboration between seasoned professionals and tech-savvy newcomers creates a dynamic environment where innovation flourishes. This synergy is crucial for the industry's future, ensuring it can adapt to changing demands and technological advancements.

The construction industry's proactive efforts to attract college students, particularly those with computer and data science backgrounds, are yielding positive results. Through increased outreach, internship opportunities, and a focus on technological integration, the sector is drawing a diverse and skilled workforce. This trend not only addresses current labor shortages but also positions the industry for future success by embracing innovation and diversity.

As construction continues to evolve, it offers a compelling career path for the next generation of professionals, blending stability with the excitement of building the future.

GPRS stands at the forefront of construction services technologies, with breakthroughs such as SiteMap® (patent pending) standing as a testament to our dedication to innovating to help keep you on time, on budget, and safe.

Click here to view our current job openings.

Frequently Asked Questions

What skills and qualifications are needed to work in the construction industry?

Skills and qualifications can vary depending on the specific role. For entry-level positions, a high school diploma or equivalent may be sufficient. Many roles, however, require technical skills which can be acquired through vocational training, apprenticeships, or certifications. For higher-level positions, such as project management or engineering, a college degree may be necessary. Additionally, physical fitness, attention to detail, and teamwork are important skills in the construction industry.

Is construction work safe?

Safety is a top priority in the construction industry. Employers are required to provide safety training and adhere to strict safety regulations to minimize risks. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is mandatory on construction sites. While construction work can involve physical labor and some risk, ongoing safety improvements and regulations have significantly reduced the number of accidents and injuries in the industry.

What are the career advancement opportunities in construction?

The construction industry offers a wide range of career advancement opportunities. Entry-level workers can progress to skilled trade positions, supervisory roles, or even project management with experience and additional training. There are also opportunities for specialization in areas such as sustainability, technology, or design. Continuing education and professional certifications can further enhance career prospects in the construction industry.

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Progressive Design-Build: A Modern Approach to Construction

Progressive design-build combines the best aspects of traditional design-build and integrated project delivery.

It’s become cliché to say that the construction industry is change averse.

The reality is that this is an industry constantly searching for innovative ways to improve efficiency and collaboration.

Progressive design-build stands out as a compelling solution to many of the construction industry’s major problems. It combines the best aspects of traditional design-build and integrated project delivery. But what exactly is progressive design-build, and why is it gaining popularity in the industry?

A construction executive and a construction worker talk while they walk up a flight of stairs inside a building under construction.
Progressive design-build (PDB) is a project delivery method that emphasizes collaboration and flexibility.

Understanding Progressive Design-Build

Progressive design-build (PDB) is a project delivery method that emphasizes collaboration and flexibility. Unlike traditional design-build, where the design and construction phases are more rigidly separated, PDB integrates these phases in a more fluid and iterative process. This method allows the owner, design team, virtual design consultant, and builder to work closely together from the project's inception, fostering a collaborative environment that encourages innovation and efficiency.

PDB aligns with the goals of Lean Construction principles, which you can learn more about here.

Key Features of Progressive Design-Build

  1. Early Involvement of the Builder: In PDB, the builder is brought on board during the early stages of the project. This early involvement allows for valuable input on feasibility , cost estimation, and scheduling, which can significantly influence the design process. By having the builder's perspective early on, potential issues can be identified and addressed before they become costly problems.
  2. Phased Design and Construction: Progressive design-build breaks the project into phases, allowing for a more iterative design and construction process. This phased approach enables adjustments and refinements to be made along the way, ensuring that the project stays aligned with the owner's vision and budget. It also allows for parts of the project to be constructed while the design for other parts is still being finalized, potentially speeding up the overall timeline.
  3. Collaborative Environment: One of the hallmark features of PDB is the emphasis on collaboration. The owner, designer, and builder work together as a unified team, sharing information and making decisions collectively. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of shared responsibility and accountability, leading to better outcomes and fewer disputes.
  4. Open Book Transparency: In PDB, transparency is key. Costs, schedules, and design details are openly shared among all parties, creating a level of trust and accountability that is often missing in more traditional delivery methods. This transparency helps ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals and that there are no hidden surprises along the way.

Benefits of Progressive Design-Build

  1. Enhanced Communication: With all key players involved from the beginning and working closely together, communication is significantly improved. This enhanced communication reduces misunderstandings and ensures that everyone is on the same page, leading to a smoother project execution.
  2. Greater Flexibility: The phased and iterative nature of PDB allows for adjustments to be made throughout the project. This flexibility can be particularly beneficial when dealing with complex projects or when unexpected challenges arise. Being able to adapt and make changes without derailing the entire project is a significant advantage.
  3. Cost Control: By involving the builder early and maintaining open book transparency, PDB helps to keep costs under control. The collaborative approach means that budget considerations are integrated into the design process, reducing the likelihood of cost overruns and ensuring that the project remains financially viable.
  4. Improved Quality: The close collaboration between the design and construction teams in PDB often leads to higher quality outcomes. The builder's input during the design phase helps to identify potential issues and optimize solutions, resulting in a final product that meets or exceeds the owner's expectations.
  5. Faster Delivery: The ability to overlap design and construction phases can lead to a shorter overall project timeline. This faster delivery can be a significant advantage, particularly in industries where time-to-market is critical.

Challenges of Progressive Design-Build

While PDB offers many benefits, it is not without its challenges. Understanding these challenges is crucial for successfully implementing this delivery method.

  1. Finding the Right Team: The success of a PDB project hinges on the quality of the team. Finding a builder and designer who are not only skilled but also capable of working collaboratively is essential. This can be challenging, especially in markets where such professionals are in high demand.
  2. Managing Collaboration: While collaboration is a cornerstone of PDB, managing this collaboration can be complex. Ensuring that all parties remain engaged and aligned throughout the project requires strong leadership and effective communication strategies.
  3. Risk Sharing: In PDB, risks are shared among all parties. This can be a double-edged sword, as it requires a high level of trust and commitment from everyone involved. Ensuring that all parties are willing and able to share risks equitably is crucial for the success of the project.

Real-World Applications

Progressive design-build has been successfully implemented in a variety of sectors, including healthcare, education, transportation, and commercial construction. For example, a major hospital expansion project might use PDB to ensure that the complex needs of the healthcare environment are met while staying on schedule and within budget. Similarly, a new university building might benefit from the collaborative approach of PDB to incorporate the latest in educational technology and design.

Illustrated utility lines laid over a shot of an office campus.
SiteMap®, powered by GPRS, is the industry-leading infrastructure management program.

GPRS Services Support Progressive Design-Build

Progressive design-build represents a modern approach to construction that leverages collaboration, flexibility, and transparency to deliver better outcomes. By involving the builder early, breaking the project into phases, and fostering a collaborative environment, PDB offers numerous benefits, including enhanced communication, greater flexibility, cost control, improved quality, and faster delivery. However, it also comes with challenges, such as finding the right team, managing collaboration, and sharing risks.

Overall, progressive design-build is a powerful tool for tackling complex projects and achieving success in today's dynamic construction landscape. Whether you're a project owner, designer, or builder, understanding and embracing the principles of PDB can help you navigate the challenges of modern construction and deliver exceptional results.

A progressive design-build project delivery strategy relies on accurate data and efficient communication between project teams to execute successfully.

SiteMap® (Patent Pending), powered by GPRS, is a project & facility management application that provides accurate existing condition documentation to protect your assets and people. It takes the field-verified, accurate data collected on your site by our SIM and NASSCO-certified Project Managers and allows you to securely view and share it with your team 24/7, from any computer, tablet, or smartphone.

GPRS’ SiteMap® Team Members are currently scheduling, live, personal SiteMap® demonstrations. Click below to schedule your demo and see how SiteMap® will help you plan, design, manage, dig, and build better, 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®, 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 SiteMap.com.

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The Challenges of Creating Utility-Scale Renewable Energy Facilities

The development of utility-scale renewable energy facilities, particularly in the offshore wind sector, is a complex and multifaceted process.

The development of utility-scale renewable energy facilities, particularly in the offshore wind sector, is a complex and multifaceted process.

Despite recent milestones, such as the U.S. reaching its first utility-scale energy generation from the South Fork project off New York, numerous challenges persist. These hurdles span financial, regulatory, technical, and logistical domains, each posing significant obstacles to the widespread adoption and implementation of renewable energy projects.

An offshore wind turbine under construction.
(Photo courtesy of South Fork via Engineering News-Record) The power transmitted from this 11-MW turbine installed late last year represents the first from a utility-scale facility in the United States.

Financial Instability and Project Viability

One of the foremost challenges in creating utility-scale renewable energy facilities is financial instability. Over the past two years, the U.S. offshore wind energy market has experienced significant financial fluctuations, leading to project delays and cancellations. For instance, while the 132-megawatt South Fork project successfully delivered power to New York's state grid, other projects have not been as fortunate. Inflation-driven cost increases have forced several projects to renegotiate power agreements or face cancellation. In New Jersey, two entire projects totaling 2.2 gigawatts were canceled, highlighting the precarious nature of project financing in this sector.

Locking in financing and supply chain costs early is crucial to mitigating these risks. Projects like Vineyard Wind, which secured funding and started construction early, managed to avoid the brunt of recent financial turbulence. However, securing financing remains a complex challenge, often exacerbated by fluctuating market conditions and policy changes.

A construction worker stands below a wind turbine.
The development of utility-scale renewable energy facilities, particularly in the offshore wind sector, is a complex and multifaceted process.

Regulatory and Approval Hurdles

Navigating the regulatory landscape is another significant challenge. Projects like South Fork and Vineyard Wind faced numerous approval process roadblocks during the Trump Administration, which delayed their progress. Although these projects eventually moved forward, the regulatory environment remains a critical bottleneck. For instance, the Atlantic Shores project in New Jersey is still awaiting its federal construction permit, despite being a major planned contributor to the state’s renewable energy capacity.

Moreover, state-level regulations can vary widely, creating additional complexity for developers. States like New York and New Jersey have aggressive offshore wind capacity goals, but regulatory hurdles and approval delays can impede progress. Recently, New York state regulators rejected power price adjustments for certain projects, leading to potential cancellations and necessitating new procurement rounds to ensure capacity.

Supply Chain and Manufacturing Challenges

The supply chain for offshore wind energy projects involves intricate logistics and manufacturing processes, each presenting its own set of challenges. The South Fork project, for example, involved the installation of Siemens Gamesa-made turbines and the first U.S.-fabricated offshore substation by Kiewit. The project's 68-mile, high-voltage export cable was also the first domestically produced cable of its kind. Despite these achievements, supply chain constraints remain a persistent issue.

One notable bottleneck is the construction of specialized vessels for turbine installation. The Charybdis, the first U.S.-built turbine installation vessel, has faced delays and cost overruns, affecting project timelines and budgets. Initially expected to enter service in 2023, its completion has been pushed to late 2024 or early 2025, complicating schedules for several projects that had contracted its services. The vessel's construction cost has also surged, further straining project economics.

Technical and Engineering Obstacles

Technical and engineering challenges are inherent in the development of offshore wind farms. These projects require the installation of large, complex infrastructure in challenging marine environments. For example, the Vineyard Wind project involves installing 62 massive 13-MW turbines, each more than 850 feet high. The technical demands of such installations necessitate advanced engineering solutions and robust project management to ensure successful implementation.

Moreover, integrating these projects into existing energy grids poses additional technical challenges. Offshore wind farms must be connected to onshore power treatment facilities and transmission networks, requiring significant investment in subsea cables and other infrastructure. Recent clarifications by the U.S. Treasury Department extending federal investment tax credits to these components under the Inflation Reduction Act provide some relief, but the overall integration process remains complex and costly.

Environmental and Community Concerns

Environmental and community opposition can also hinder the development of renewable energy projects. The South Fork project faced local opposition to its cable routing plan, highlighting the need for developers to engage with and address community concerns. Balancing the environmental benefits of renewable energy with potential local impacts is a delicate task that requires careful planning and communication.

In addition to community opposition, environmental regulations and concerns can affect project timelines and feasibility. For example, the U.S. Interior Department recently reduced the size of a planned mid-Atlantic lease area for offshore wind development due to military operation concerns, demonstrating the need to navigate various environmental and regulatory constraints effectively.

Two GPRS Project Managers using a ground penetrating radar and leak detection correlator.
GPRS supports renewable energy projects through our suite of subsurface damage prevention, existing condition documentation, and construction & facilities project management services.

Moving Forward

Despite these challenges, the U.S. continues to make strides in the offshore wind sector. States are stepping up their efforts, with New York ramping up project awards and launching new procurement rounds, and Louisiana initiating commercial offshore wind development in near-shore state waters. Collaborative efforts, such as Massachusetts' pact with Rhode Island and Connecticut to coordinate developer proposal selection and supply chain investments, also show promise in overcoming some of these hurdles.

While the path to creating utility-scale renewable energy facilities is fraught with challenges, the potential benefits in terms of energy transition, carbon emission reduction, and economic development are substantial. Continued innovation, regulatory support, and strategic planning will be essential to overcoming these obstacles and realizing the full potential of renewable energy.

GPRS supports renewable energy projects through our suite of subsurface damage prevention, existing condition documentation, and construction & facilities project management services. From utility locating and precision concrete scanning & imaging, to video pipe inspections and pinpoint leak detection, our SIM and NASSCO-certified Project Managers have the training, knowledge, and experience to help you mitigate the risk of subsurface damage. And our 3D laser scanning services combined with the abilities of our in-house Mapping & Modeling Department allow us to visualize your below and aboveground data in whatever way best suits your needs.

All this field-verified data is at your fingertips 24/7 thanks to SiteMap® (patent pending), our project & facility management application that provides accurate existing condition documentation to protect your assets and people.

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?

Frequently Asked Questions

Does GPRS perform S.U.E. work?

Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) reduces the risk and improves the accuracy of subsurface utility readings. It is broken down into four levels of quality, governed by ASCE Standard 38-02. GPRS provides private utility locating services that complement SUE work, but does not currently provide a fully comprehensive, in-house SUE service. GPRS does not provide engineering services. If you need professional engineering services, please contact a professional engineer.

Can GPRS find PVC piping and other non-conductive utilities when performing a utility locate?

GPR scanning is exceptionally effective at locating all types of subsurface materials. There are times when PVC pipes do not provide an adequate signal to ground penetrating radar equipment and can’t be properly located by traditional methods. However, GPRS Project Managers are expertly trained at multiple methods of utility locating, including using electromagnetic (EM) locating to complement GPR scanning.

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Horizontal Directional Drilling Explained

Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) is a cutting-edge technique used in the installation of underground utilities, such as water, sewer, gas, and telecommunications lines.

Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) is a cutting-edge technique used in the installation of underground utilities, such as water, sewer, gas, and telecommunications lines.

This trenchless technology offers a less invasive alternative to traditional open-cut excavation methods. By drilling a precisely controlled, horizontal bore path underground, HDD minimizes surface disruption and reduces the environmental impact of utility installation projects.

A horizontal directional drill.
Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) is a cutting-edge technique used in the installation of underground utilities, such as water, sewer, gas, and telecommunications lines.

What is Horizontal Directional Drilling?

HDD involves several key steps. First, a pilot hole is drilled along a predetermined path from a launching pit to a receiving pit. The drill head is steered remotely, guided by sophisticated tracking technology to ensure accuracy. Once the pilot hole is completed, the hole is enlarged using reaming tools to accommodate the utility pipe. Finally, the pipe is pulled through the enlarged hole and connected to the existing utility network.

Advantages of Horizontal Directional Drilling

  1. Minimal Surface Disruption: One of the most significant benefits of HDD is its ability to install utilities without extensive surface excavation. This is particularly advantageous in urban areas, where digging up roads, sidewalks, and landscaping can cause major disruptions to daily life and business operations.
  2. Environmental Benefits: HDD reduces the need for open trenches, which can disturb ecosystems, waterways, and wetlands. By limiting surface impact, HDD helps preserve natural habitats and reduces soil erosion.
  3. Cost-Effective: Although the initial setup cost for HDD can be higher than traditional methods, the overall project cost is often lower due to reduced labor, restoration, and traffic management expenses. The speed of HDD installations also contributes to cost savings.
  4. Versatility: HDD is highly adaptable and can be used in a variety of soil conditions, including sand, clay, and rock. It is also suitable for crossing obstacles such as rivers, highways, and railways, making it an ideal solution for complex projects.
  5. Enhanced Safety: HDD minimizes the risk of accidents associated with open trenches, such as cave-ins and falling hazards. This makes the work environment safer for construction crews and the public.

Disadvantages of Horizontal Directional Drilling

  1. High Initial Cost: The equipment and technology required for HDD are more expensive than traditional trenching methods. This can be a barrier for smaller projects or companies with limited budgets.
  2. Technical Complexity: HDD requires specialized knowledge and training to operate the drilling equipment and navigate underground obstacles accurately. Inexperienced operators can lead to project delays and increased costs.
  3. Risk of Cross Bore: One of the significant risks associated with HDD is the potential for cross bores, where the new utility line intersects with existing underground utilities, such as gas or sewer lines. Cross bores can cause dangerous gas leaks or damage to existing infrastructure.
  4. Limited to Certain Lengths and Depths: While HDD is versatile, it has limitations in terms of the distance and depth it can achieve. Extremely long or deep installations may still require traditional methods.

Pros of Using HDD for Sewer Installations

  1. Preservation of Existing Infrastructure: HDD allows new sewer lines to be installed without disturbing existing roads, sidewalks, and buildings. This is particularly important in densely populated urban areas where surface disruptions can cause significant inconvenience.
  2. Reduced Environmental Impact: By minimizing the need for open trenches, HDD helps protect natural habitats and reduces the overall environmental footprint of sewer installation projects.
  3. Improved Efficiency: HDD can significantly reduce the time required to complete sewer installations compared to traditional methods. This is particularly beneficial for projects with tight deadlines or in areas with high traffic volumes.

Cons of Using HDD for Sewer Installations

  1. Potential for Cross Bores: Despite the advanced tracking technology used in HDD, there is still a risk of cross bores. Thorough pre-construction assessments like GPRS’ Pre and Post-Cross Bore Inspections and careful planning are essential to mitigate this risk.
  2. Technical Challenges: HDD requires specialized knowledge and experience to navigate underground obstacles and achieve accurate installations. Inexperienced operators can lead to project delays and increased costs.
  3. High Initial Investment: The cost of HDD equipment and technology can be a barrier for some projects. However, the long-term cost savings and benefits often outweigh the initial investment.
A GPRS Project Manager lowers a sewer inspection rover into an open manhole.
GPRS’ state-of-the-art, remote-controlled sewer pipe inspection rovers can be deployed both before and after utility installs occur to mitigate the risk of cross bores, which would otherwise compromise the safety of buried infrastructure, leading to groundwater contamination, service interruptions, or even explosions when gas and sewer lines are involved.

GPRS Services Ensure Successful Horizontal Directional Drilling Projects

When installing utilities underground using HDD, it’s important to know what’s below before breaking ground.

GPRS’ utility locating and video pipe inspection services mitigate the risk of subsurface damage during utility installation projects by ensuring you have a comprehensive understanding of the buried infrastructure on your job site.

Using ground penetrating radar (GPR) scanners and electromagnetic (EM) locating, our SIM-certified Project Managers visualize all buried utilities, underground storage tanks (USTs) and other unseen impediments that would otherwise lead to costly and potentially dangerous damage.

Our state-of-the-art, remote-controlled sewer pipe inspection rovers can be deployed both before and after utility installs occur to mitigate the risk of cross bores, which would otherwise compromise the safety of buried infrastructure, leading to groundwater contamination, service interruptions, or even explosions when gas and sewer lines are involved. It’s vital that we prevent the creation of these dangerous defects and identify and repair any that already existing within our infrastructure.

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 type of informational output is provided when GPRS conducts a utility locate?

Our Project Managers (PMs) flag and paint our findings (aka mark-outs or field markings) directly on the surface we’re investigating. This is the most accurate form of marking and communication when excavation is expected to commence within a few days of service.

We also use a global positioning system (GPS) to collect data points of findings. We use this data to generate a plan, KMZ file, satellite overlay, or CAD file to permanently preserve results for future use. When a higher level of geolocation is required, we can also utilize RTK positioning.

Finally, all our findings are instantly uploaded into SiteMap® (patent pending), GPRS’ cloud-based infrastructure mapping software solution where you can securely access your data 24/7, from any computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Every GPRS customer receives a complimentary SiteMap® Personal subscription with every utility locate.

Will I need to mark out the utilities GPRS locates?

No, GPRS will locate and mark all utilities for you. We have a variety of tools and markers we can use to highlight the locations of utilities, underground storage tanks (USTs), and whatever else may be hiding.

What size pipes can GPRS inspect?

Our elite, NASSCO-certified Project Managers (PMs) can inspect pipes from 2” in diameter and up.

What deliverables does GPRS offer when conducting a VPI?

GPRS is proud to offer WinCan reporting to our video pipe inspection clients. Maintaining sewers starts with understanding sewer condition, and WinCan allows GPRS Project Managers to collect detailed, NASSCO-compliant inspection data. And we not only inspect the interior condition of pipes, laterals, and manholes – we also provide a map of their location. The GPRS Mapping & Modeling Department can provide detailed GPS overlays and CAD files. Our detailed WinCan/NASSCO reports contain screenshots of the interior condition of the pipe segments that we inspect, as well as a video file for further evaluation, documentation, and/or reference.

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Existing Conditions Survey Provides Accurate Above and Below Ground Data For Well-Known Stadium Renovation.

Accurate existing conditions surveys help keep your project on budget, on time, and safe.

How important is it to have updated above and below ground as-builts of your college campus’ facilities?

At Florida State University’s Doak Campbell Stadium, it was paramount to stadium renovation needs.

Florida State University Flag and Football Stadium
3D Point Cloud of Florida State University’s Football Stadium and Seminole Flag.

GPRS Project Managers, Tyler Zak, Marcus Buck, Shamar Orr, and Bill Lessig, recently mapped the above and below-ground infrastructure of Florida State University’s Doak Campbell Stadium for stadium renovations, which had no up-to-date documentation of its buried utilities and its existing aboveground stadium infrastructure.

Overcoming Design and Construction Challenges in the $255M Renovation of Florida State's Historic Stadium

The $255-million-dollar renovation to Florida State’s 73-year-old stadium’s west side, adding premium seating, including founder’s boxes, and a field level club, posed some challenges for the design and construction firms overseeing the project in a joint venture.

A vast majority of the space within the stadium required accurate as-built documentation, and  two acres-worth of land in need of identified and mapped underground utilities, and another 600,000 s.f.t of area that required that 3D laser scanning and modeling. The renovation plans were complex for both stages of the two-phase project; An ArchiCAD BIM model (building information model) was required to provide the university’s renovation team with a better idea of the planned architectural and design updates. GPRS’ customer, Populous, known for their worldwide architectural leadership, needed a single source of data, where all architects on the project could see the latest design, document changes with ease, and collaborate accordingly.

Enhancing Stadium Renovations: How GPRS’Point Cloud to BIM Services Helped Transform Florida State Seminole’s HomeFootball Stadium Project With Accurate Data.

By hiring GPRS, Populous put the nation’s lead contractor for existing condition documentation to work. When it comes to 3D Laser Scanning for stadiums in the U.S., GPRS has scanned close to 20 major stadiums and arenas across the country to provide accurate above and below ground infrastructure visualization services.

These services help architects, general contractors, and facility managers alike through:

• Elimination of costly return visits to the site

• More accurate, complete as-built surveys for design and construction renovation

• Minimized construction rework due to interferences/clashes

• Accurate measurements for fabrication

• Fast, unobtrusive scene capture

• Non-contact assessments that leave sites untouched

The solution needed for phase one of the project was provided through three different GPRS 3D laser scanning Project Managers who worked collaboratively over four days to capture the existing conditions of the Florida State Seminole’s home football stadium.

These Project Managers, who included Tyler Zak out of Orlando, Florida, Marcus Buck out of Atlanta, Georgia, and Shamar Orr out of Miami, Florida, scanned the exterior and interior of the stadium with 2-4 millimeter precision. This data provided Populous with the interactive system and data their engineers and architects needed. The data included three different concourse levels, stadium seating, and suites.

Florida State University Football Stadium
3D Laser Scan point cloud data of Florida State Universities Stadium

Maps and Models included in this portion of the stadium’s work included:

- Intensity map point cloud

Point Cloud of Florida State University Football Stadium
Intensity Map Point Cloud of Doak Campbell Stadium

- TrueView viewer files

- Revit 2021 3D model of the entire stadium

3D BIM Model of Florida State University Football Stadium
3D BIM Model of Doak Campbell Stadiumgprs

These results provided those in charge of the project with precise details within the 3D Model so that renovations could be designed accurately the first time around; helping save money and keeping the project safe and on time for its August 2025 due date. This date is one that is paramount for the University’s football program, since the Seminoles celebrate their home opener against the Alabama Crimson Tide at that time.

Architects on site who utilized the BIM model were able to provide the faculty at Florida State who were overseeing the renovation a better idea of the complexities to the architecture and design of the project at hand. Technical construction drawings, which included floor plan views, elevation views, cross-sections, iso-metric representations, etc., could all be easily built from the 3D BIM model and shared with all disciplines involved within the project. The BIM model also allowed architects to plan the precise renovations to the stadium’s layout, from design changes and material selection to cost estimation and construction phasing, with ease.

3D point cloud of Florida State Universities Stadium
Point Cloud Data of the exterior of the Doak Campbell Stadium

How Subsurface Damage Prevention Played a Part:

It was of the utmost importance to not only accurately measure and collect the existing conditions of the stadiums above ground infrastructure, but also the underground elements where needed. Without this vital subsurface data focused on where demolition was to occur, major incidents could result. Because on a college campus, a utility strike can interrupt classes, extracurriculars, and even endanger the lives of faculty and students.

GPRS Project Managers mapping underground utilities at Doak Campbell Stadium for bleacher renovations.

The solution to the second portion of the project involved GPRS Project Manager, Bill Lessig. Lessig spent the second portion of the stadium renovation in a specific section underneath the concourse, locating underground utilities where the GC planned to demo. In five days’ time, Lessig was able to map out utilities within a two-acre section under the stadium.

Some of the utilities mapped included a fire water main, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, and power lines. After locating utilities on site, GPRS 3D laser scanning Project Manager, Tyler Zak, came back on site to capture all utility marks by Lessig with 3D laser scans. Our in-house Mapping and Modeling Team then added them to an existing model, creating an integrated above and below-ground BIM model that the customer could reference throughout the project lifecycle.

All of the utility data mapped on site by Lessig and Zak was also collected and uploaded into our GIS for construction platform,SiteMap® (patent pending). Uploading and delivering the maps, models and as-builts via SiteMap® gave the general contractor responsible for renovations easy access to underground utility information when they were to begin demolition. All the relevant site data was available 24/7 from any tablet or mobile device with the SiteMap® Mobile app to help eliminate information siloes and enhance communication between team members on site.

Image Description: Underground utility data within SiteMap® from demolition project locate.

Partner with GPRS for Safe and Efficient Project Execution

At GPRS we provide nationwide existing condition documentation and subsurface damage prevention services to help ensure your projects remain on budget, on time, and safe. To learn how we can help you Intelligently Visualize The Built World® on your project so you can access your above and below ground facility data within SiteMap®, schedule a service or request a quote today.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How much does 3D laser scanning cost?

The cost of 3D laser scanning can vary widely depending on your project scope. GPRS customizes every quote specific to a project’s needs. GPRS Project Managers use 3D laser scanners to capture every detail of your site, delivering building dimensions, locations, and layout with millimeter accuracy. This can include the aboveground structural, architectural, and MEP features, plus underground utility and concrete markings. Our Mapping & Modeling Team can deliver point clouds, 2D CAD drawings, 3D BIM models, 3D Mesh models, TruViews, and Virtual Tours at any level of detail.

Does all the data collected by GPRS Project Managers get uploaded into SiteMap®?

Great question! Yes, it does. Every underground utility scanned by our Project Managers in the field is collected using GNSS devices; either a GNSS Geode or our proprietary GeNiuSS iQ device and uploaded to SiteMap® within five minutes from the time of collection. This provides all GPRS customers with real-time, layered utility maps of the proposed scan boundary for their project, helping to keep the project on budget, on time, and safe, while also eliminating data siloes common to construction projects.

3D BIM models, Rectified 3D Photogrammetry, and sewer inspection reports are also available and viewable within SiteMap® to helps teams Intelligently Visualize the Built World® above and below-ground.

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How Can I Get a Virtual Walkthrough Tour of My Facility?

From accurate documentation and improved collaboration to enhanced planning and emergency preparedness, virtual tours like GPRS' WalkThru 3D transform how facilities are managed and maintained.

Providing a walkthrough tour of your facility can be a transformative experience for your team and your stakeholders, especially when you can have GPRS leverage advanced technologies like 3D photogrammetry to create virtual tours so accurate that you can even take off-site rough measurements with them. Below, you will find a quick listing of how employing walkthrough virtual tours, like our new WalkThru 3D, can help you build better.

A GPRS Project Manager conducts a 3D photogrammetry session with Matterport
GPRS provides rectified 3D photogrammetry that can be used to create interactive walkthrough tours via WalkThru 3D, and can capture construction progress via ProCap.

Understanding 3D Photogrammetry and Matterport

3D photogrammetry is a process that involves capturing high-resolution images to represent 3D spaces. In contrast, 3D laser scanning uses LiDAR to create 3D point clouds that can be used to make accurate 3D models of physical spaces. 3D technology allows for the precise documentation of existing conditions, enabling the creation of digital twins that represent real-world environments. GPRS uses professional-grade 3D cameras to capture 360° images and data points with remarkable accuracy, making it possible to create rectified, immersive, interactive walkthroughs of facilities.

Matterport, on the other hand, is a leading hardware company and software technology platform specifically designed for creating detailed photogrammetry and virtual tours of interior spaces. It uses advanced 3D cameras and software to stitch together images, producing a seamless virtual experience that allows users to explore spaces as if they were physically present.

GPRS also utilizes 3D photogrammetry to create tools for construction progress reporting with ProCap Progressive Capture.

Walkthrough Tours: The Process

  1. Initial Consultation and Planning: Begin by calling GPRS to discuss your facility's specific needs. This involves understanding the areas to be documented, the level of detail required, and the purpose of the walkthrough tour—whether for design, construction, maintenance, or emergency planning. GPRS can provide full above and below-ground site documentation and can capture field markings for utility locating, concrete scanning, and allow for annotations within WalkThru 3D.
  2. Site Scanning: GPRS Project Managers will visit your facility to conduct 3D scans using photogrammetry and Matterport cameras. As mentioned above, depending on the level of infrastructure documentation required, we can capture everything above and below-ground. The photogrammetry scanning process involves setting up the cameras at various locations throughout the facility to capture comprehensive data. If you need a higher level of detail, a 3D laser scan takes less than 20 seconds and captures over 100,000 data points, ensuring high-resolution and accurate 3D models.
  3. Data Processing and Model Creation: The 3D photogrammetry is then rectified, which means the individual photographic areas are stitched together to create an accurate 3D representation that can be “walked though” at the viewer’s pace.

    For greater detail and accuracy, 3D laser-captured data is then processed to create a detailed 3D model of the facility. This model can also be viewed as a virtual tour, providing an immersive experience where users can navigate through the space, inspect features, and take virtual measurements. GPRS offers additional services like creating accurate as-built floor plans (FLRPLN), which can be used for design planning, risk mitigation, and emergency preparedness.
  4. Delivery and Access: The final walkthrough tour is delivered digitally and can be accessed via GPRS' SiteMap® platform. This cloud-based software allows for easy sharing, downloading, and viewing on any device, making it accessible to all stakeholders involved in the project. The virtual tour can include annotations, embedded videos, and detailed information to enhance communication and collaboration.
Four screen captures that show a variety of 3D imagery available from GPRS
Click the image above to experience a variety of 3D deliverables available from GPRS.

Benefits of Walkthrough Tours

  1. Accurate Documentation: Walkthrough tours provide a permanent, portable 3D record of your facility. This is invaluable for identifying structural and mechanical features, planning maintenance activities, and future renovations. The accuracy of the 3D models ensures that all dimensions and conditions are precisely captured.
  2. Enhanced Collaboration: Virtual tours allow team members, contractors, and stakeholders to remotely explore and assess the facility. This reduces the need for physical site visits, saving time and travel costs while improving decision-making processes.
  3. Improved Planning and Design: By providing a detailed view of existing conditions, walkthrough tours help in planning and designing modifications or new installations. This minimizes errors, clashes, and change orders, streamlining the construction process and keeping projects on schedule and within budget.
  4. Emergency Preparedness: Virtual tours can be used to create realistic emergency response guides. They can display exits, fire extinguishers, and other critical safety features, enhancing training for employees and first responders.
  5. Efficient Project Management: Walkthrough tours are a powerful tool for project management, enabling the monitoring of construction progress, verification of completed work, and approval of change orders. They provide a clear visual reference that helps keep all project participants aligned

Setting up a walkthrough tour of your facility using GPRS's advanced 3D photogrammetry technology offers numerous benefits. From accurate documentation and improved collaboration to enhanced planning and emergency preparedness, these virtual tours transform how facilities are managed and maintained.

What can we help you visualize?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a laser scanner and a 3D camera?

A laser scanner uses laser beams to measure distances and create detailed 3D models of environments or objects. It captures precise spatial data, producing point clouds with high accuracy. In contrast, a 3D camera uses stereo vision or structured light to capture depth information, creating 3D images. While 3D cameras are generally faster and more portable, they may not achieve the same level of detail and accuracy as laser scanners, making them suitable for different applications. Learn how GPRS can provide full above and below-ground 3D visualizations, here.

What is the difference between rectified photogrammetry and a 3D point cloud?

A rectified 3D image is an image that has been corrected for distortions, ensuring that the perspective and scale are accurate, often used in photogrammetry for accurate measurements. It presents 3D data in a 2D format. A 3D point cloud, however, is a collection of data points defined in a three-dimensional coordinate system, representing the surface geometry of an object or environment. Point clouds provide raw, detailed spatial information, whereas rectified 3D images offer a visually coherent and corrected representation. Learn more about 3D laser scanning here.

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Explaining New York City's "City of Yes" Initiative: A Path to Carbon Neutrality

New York City’s “City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality” initiative includes 17 policies aimed at transforming the city’s energy use, building electrification, and sustainable infrastructure.

On December 11, 2023, New York City implemented the "City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality" initiative, which included 17 policies aimed at transforming the city’s energy use, building electrification, and sustainable infrastructure.

These changes are designed to facilitate the installation of solar panels, expand electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities, and modernize buildings to be more energy efficient.

The Statue of Liberty and New York City skyline.
New York City’s “City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality” initiative is designed to facilitate the installation of solar panels, expand electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities, and modernize buildings to be more energy efficient.

“New York City is a ‘City of Yes,’ and this historic proposal will pave the way for a more sustainable future,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a press release. “By modernizing our city’s zoning code, we have taken a bold step forward in fighting climate change, while delivering cleaner air, lower energy costs, smarter waste management, and better access to EV technologies to New Yorkers across the city. We are grateful to our partners in the New York City Council for their support on this once-in-a-generation initiative and look forward to working together to advance our next two ‘City of Yes’ proposals to build a more equitable economy and combat the housing crisis.”

Solar Energy Expansion

A significant aspect of the initiative is the expansion of solar energy use. New zoning changes will open up over 8,500 acres of parking lots across the city for potential solar panel installations. This includes allowing solar parking canopies up to 15 feet high over all parking areas. Additionally, building owners will be able to add solar energy systems on roofs, even if a building exceeds the permitted height in its respective zoning district.

These changes affect both sloped and flat roofs. The height allowance for sloped roofs will increase by 60 inches to accommodate a broader range of solar panel orientations, while flat-roof solar energy systems can now be installed up to 15 feet high. These adjustments aim to maximize the potential for solar energy capture across the city.

Building Electrification and Retrofits

The initiative also addresses restrictions that have hindered building electrification and retrofit efforts. By expanding rooftop and yard allowances, the city aims to meet the increased need for outdoor electrified equipment such as heat pumps. This will facilitate the installation of components necessary for building modernization, ensuring that properties can meet current energy efficiency standards.

Updates to the "Zone Green" floor area exemptions are included to ensure better-than-code performance. The framework for accessory mechanical equipment, including HVAC units and fire protection systems, has been revised to allow equipment to cover up to 50% of buildings to a height of 15 feet. These changes support electric retrofits and other energy infrastructure upgrades.

EV Charging Infrastructure

Another component of the "City of Yes" initiative is the expansion of EV charging infrastructure. The zoning changes will more than double the commercially zoned land available for EV charging facilities, making over 400 million extra square feet of space available for these installations. This expansion aims to accelerate the deployment of EV charging stations throughout the city.

Energy Storage Systems

The initiative also includes zoning updates for energy storage systems. Previously classified as electricity utility substations, energy storage systems were limited in implementation and size within commercial and manufacturing districts. The new zoning categorizes these systems under the broader "energy infrastructure equipment" use case, allowing them to be used in residential districts on sites up to 10,000 square feet and without size limits in commercial and manufacturing districts.

“Our city – and our world – is facing a climate emergency, and these urgent reforms show that the city is rising to meet the moment,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce, Maria Torres-Springer. “New York is a ‘City of Yes,’ and that means yes to solar panels, energy storage, and green infrastructure in every neighborhood…”

Energy storage systems will now be subject to screening requirements on roofs and certain open areas. These systems are marked as an accessory use if the energy storage system does not exceed 24 hours of the primary use’s peak electrical load.

A GPRS Project Manager holding a tablet while looking at a Matterport device.
GPRS’ 3D laser scanning services combined with the abilities of our in-house Mapping & Modeling Department allow us to visualize your below and aboveground data in whatever way best suits your needs.

Expected Impact

The "City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality" initiative is expected to facilitate environmentally friendly retrofits for over 50,000 buildings and create more than 400 million extra square feet of space for EV chargers. These policies are designed to expand access to solar and energy storage, accelerate building modernization, and deploy EV charging stations across New York City.

Implementation and Future Steps

The "City of Yes" initiative sets a framework for integrating advanced energy solutions into urban planning. By addressing barriers to clean energy adoption and infrastructure modernization, the initiative aims to contribute to the city's carbon neutrality goals.

As these policies take effect, they will serve as a model for other urban areas looking to address climate change and promote sustainability through strategic zoning changes and regulatory updates. The initiative illustrates how urban planning can support significant progress towards carbon neutrality and sustainable development.

Prevent Subsurface Damage During All Projects

Whether you’re installing an EV charger in a grocery store parking lot or converting an apartment complex in New York City to solar power, successful infrastructure projects of all shapes and sizes begin with proper planning.

GPRS offers a suite of subsurface damage prevention, existing condition documentation, and construction & facilities project management services designed to help ensure the success of your next project. From utility locating and precision concrete scanning & imaging, to video pipe inspections and pinpoint leak detection, our SIM and NASSCO-certified Project Managers have the training, knowledge, and experience to help you mitigate the risk of subsurface damage. And our 3D laser scanning services combined with the abilities of our in-house Mapping & Modeling Department allow us to visualize your below and aboveground data in whatever way best suits your needs.

All this field-verified data is at your fingertips 24/7 thanks to SiteMap® (patent pending), GPRS’ proprietary project & facility management application that provides accurate existing condition documentation to protect your assets and people.

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?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is GPRS able to distinguish between each type of underground utility which is located?

In most situations, we can identify the utility in question without any problems, although it is not always possible to determine what type of utility is present. When this happens, we attempt to trace the utility to a valve, meter, control box, or other signifying markers to determine the type of utility buried.

How is GPR used to identify tendons vs. rebar in a post-tensioned slab?

In post-tensioned structures, we typically find one mat of support rebar near the base of the slab. This mat is generally consistently spaced and remains at a constant elevation. Post tension cables are generally found above this support mat and “draped” throughout the rest of the structure. The elevation of the cable is usually high near the beams and column lines and drapes lower through the span between beams and column lines. Knowledge of these structural differences allow us to accurately differentiate between components. Our Project Managers will leave you feeling confident in our findings and in your ability to drill or cut without issue.

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.

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The Importance of Routine Water Loss Surveys and Subsurface Utility Locating & Mapping for Major Metropolitan Areas

Weekend water line breaks in Atlanta affected essential services, including hospitals, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the Fulton County Jail, businesses, and residential areas, leading the Mayor to declare a State of Emergency.

Routine water loss surveys, video pipe inspections, and subsurface utility locating & mapping are vital for the sustainable management of water and sewer infrastructure in major metropolitan areas. These practices help identify and address issues before they escalate into crises, ensuring a reliable water supply and preventing costly disruptions. The recent water main breaks in Atlanta serve as a stark reminder of the critical importance of these preventative measures.

Understanding Water Loss Surveys

Water loss surveys involve systematic inspections of water distribution systems to detect and repair leaks. These surveys use advanced technologies such as acoustic sensors, ground-penetrating radar (GPR), algorithmic leak correlators, and data analytics to pinpoint leak locations with high precision. By identifying leaks early, water utilities can prevent significant water loss (non-revenue water – NRW), reduce repair costs, and plan maintenance to avoid service interruptions.

Brown water gushes up out of a sinkhole in asphalt created by a large water line leak
Small water leaks can become emergency nightmares for large cities when undetected.

The Role of Subsurface Utility Locating and Mapping in Supporting Non-Revenue Water Reclamation

Subsurface utility locating and mapping is the process of identifying and mapping the positions of underground utilities, including water pipes, gas lines, telecommunications lines, sanitary and storm sewer pipes, and electrical cables, among others. This practice employs technologies like electromagnetic locators, GPR, and advanced GPS/GNSS/RTK systems to create accurate maps of underground infrastructure. Accurate utility maps are essential for preventing accidental damage during construction and maintenance activities especially in large metro areas with a glutted labyrinth of utilities to maintain.

The outdoor signage for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s Domestic Terminal.
Atlanta’s major air hub was forced to restrict operations as part of the water emergency.

Atlanta's Water Main Breaks: A Cautionary Tale

The recent water main breaks in Atlanta highlight the severe consequences of failing to maintain and monitor water infrastructure adequately. On May 31, 2024, multiple major water main breaks occurred, causing widespread water outages and low water pressure across the city. One of the breaks was at the intersection of three major water supply lines, which affected essential services, including hospitals, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the Fulton County Jail, businesses, and residential areas, leading to significant disruptions.

The City of Atlanta’s Mayor, Andre Dickens was forced to declare a State of Emergency on June 2, 2024, while the breaks are repaired so that services can be restored. The city has been delivering water overland to two fire stations so that those affected can have drinking water.

The Atlanta Department of Watershed Management identified corrosion in 80-year-old steel pipes as a primary cause of the breaks. The resulting outages forced Emory Midtown Hospital to divert patients and rely on tanker trucks to supply water for cooling systems and personal care needs.

Janet Christenbury, Director of Media Relations for the hospital said in a statement that the hospital expected to return to normal operations on June 3, 2024, “Tomorrow, we will operate on regular schedules for outpatient doctor’s appointments, procedures and surgeries.”  

Numerous businesses and tourist attractions were also impacted, with some forced to close temporarily due to the lack of water.

Mayor Dickens acknowledged the severity of the situation, stating that the city's water infrastructure had experienced setbacks and delays in repairs. The incident underscored the urgent need for proactive maintenance and monitoring of water systems to prevent such crises from occurring.

Preventing Future Crises

Routine water loss surveys and subsurface utility locating and mapping can help prevent the types of crises experienced in Atlanta. These practices enable municipalities to:

  1. Identify and Repair Leaks Early: Regular water loss surveys detect leaks before they become major issues, reducing water loss and minimizing repair costs. Early detection also helps maintain water pressure and service continuity.
  2. Prevent Utility Strikes: Accurate subsurface utility maps guide construction and maintenance crews, preventing accidental damage to underground utilities. This reduces the risk of service disruptions and costly repairs.
  3. Extend Infrastructure Lifespan: Proactive maintenance extends the lifespan of water infrastructure, delaying the need for expensive replacements and ensuring reliable service.
  4. Enhance Emergency Preparedness: Detailed knowledge of subsurface utilities allows for better emergency response planning. In the event of a break or leak, repair crews can quickly locate and address the problem, minimizing downtime.

The Path Forward

For major metropolitan areas in the U.S., investing in routine water loss surveys and subsurface utility locating and mapping is essential. These practices not only ensure the efficient operation of water systems but also safeguard public health and safety. The Atlanta water main breaks serve as a powerful reminder of the importance of proactive infrastructure management.

Municipalities must prioritize the implementation of advanced technologies and best practices in water infrastructure maintenance. By doing so, they can prevent disruptions, protect essential services, and provide a reliable water supply to their communities.

Routine water loss surveys and subsurface utility locating and mapping are critical components of effective water infrastructure management. The recent events in Atlanta underscore the need for these practices to prevent crises and ensure the sustainability of water systems in major metropolitan areas. By investing in proactive maintenance and monitoring, cities can protect their residents, businesses, and essential services from the severe impacts of water main breaks and other infrastructure failures.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does leak locating work?

You can learn more about leak detection and water loss surveys, here.

Can a city purchase its own leak detection equipment?

The short answer is yes, however, just because you have the equipment doesn’t mean you can accurately locate pressurized water line leaks. You can learn more about how to utilize leak detection equipment, here.

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The Benefits of Virtual Tours and Subsurface Infrastructure Management

The more you can see, the more you can understand. Learn how virtual tours are crucial for any proper infrastructure management system, and how SiteMap® is helping advance those technologies.

The more you can see, the more you can understand.

SiteMap® (patent pending), powered by GPRS, takes infrastructure visualization and mapping a step further to provide on and off-site collaboration and progress reporting.

But what are the benefits of leveraging virtual tours and subsurface infrastructure management tools for project and facility management, and how do these technologies support one another?

Screenshot of a WalkThru 3D Virtual Tour.
WalkThru 3D allows you to remotely report existing reality capture to stakeholders, managers, contractors, trades, and anyone else involved.

Understanding the Subsurface Infrastructure Challenge

The subsurface infrastructure of any urban area is a tangled web of utility lines and structures that includes water and sewage pipes, gas and oil pipelines, electrical conduits, telecommunications cables, and more. These systems are the lifelines of modern society, facilitating essential services that support daily life, commerce, and industry. They consist of both private and public utilities, with overlaps guaranteed.

Managing and maintaining this underground infrastructure presents a myriad of challenges. Traditional methods of inspection and maintenance often involve costly and time-consuming excavation, leading to disruptions, safety hazards, and environmental impact. Moreover, inaccurate or outdated records further compound these challenges, increasing the risk of utility strikes, service disruptions, and costly repairs.

811 is an excellent source of information, but they do not have all the information needed to safely expand and maintain our cities. That’s because 811/One Call services only carry data related to public utilities, and there are millions of miles worth of private utilities underlying our communities; 65% of all underground utility lines are private, not public. These private lines often go unmapped, causing utility strikes, cross bores due to directional boring/trenchless tech applications, and other issues. This is where GPRS and SiteMap® make a difference: precisely mapping and visualizing all utilities within your site, whether public or private, including depths where possible to provide an accessible single source of truth with 99.8% accuracy.

While understanding the subsurface is perhaps one of the most crucial aspects of building and maintaining the modern world, visualizing facilities aboveground is also vital to on and off-site collaboration. When you can visualize every aspect of your site, you’re able to accurately understand and communicate all there is to know about an area, virtually eliminating any guesswork or risk.

You can’t properly manage your infrastructure if you don’t have a map of all your facilities.

Virtual Tours and Subsurface Infrastructure Management

GPRS does more than provide SiteMap® with accurate, field verified data – they also help provide and create stunning virtual tours that help support complete infrastructure management. GPRS utilizes rectified 3D photogrammetry to create an orthomosaic 3D image that you can virtually move through to visualize and understand every aspect of the project.

We call this service WalkThru 3D, and it provides many benefits:

  • Greater Communication: WalkThru 3D allows you to remotely report existing reality capture to stakeholders, managers, contractors, trades, and anyone else involved. This means that they can walk through the site at their own pace. And, because it is delivered via SiteMap®, you can even digitally measure inside the image to help plan and design off-site better than ever before.
  • Validation of As-Built Conditions: As-builts for existing infrastructure are best characterized as “as-intended.” GPRS provides you with accurate existing conditions, including mark-outs of above and below-ground features. These are all easily captured in WalkThru 3D, and made accessible 24/7 through your SiteMap® and SiteMap® Mobile App.
  • QA/QC Monitoring & Inspection: Review clash prevention processes and inspect finished work in detail with rectified orthomosaic imaging that captures all existing conditions and markings on concrete or other surfaces that were scanned with GPR and EM locators.
  • Becomes an As-Built Resource: WalkThru 3D creates a permanent, portable 3D record of your property for reference so that your team can identify MEP, structural, and other important site features for operations and maintenance, and future planning purposes.
A GPRS Project Manager looks at a tablet.
SiteMap® (patent pending), powered by GPRS, takes infrastructure visualization and mapping a step further to provide on and off-site collaboration and progress reporting.

The Marriage of Accurate Mapping and Visualization

Accurate utility locating services, like those provided by GPRS, enable the creation of detailed and accurate maps and models of underground utilities. Advanced infrastructure visualization techniques, such as ground-penetrating radar (GPR), 3D laser scanning, video pipe inspection, and more, allow for non-destructive visualization of subsurface structures. The data collected is then integrated into SiteMap®, providing an easy to understand, aggregated, layered, and annotated digital map of all utility and facility assets.

These digital maps offer invaluable insights into the spatial distribution of utilities, their depths, and interconnections. By visualizing subsurface and aboveground infrastructure in a virtual environment, stakeholders gain a deeper understanding of their layout and condition, facilitating informed decision-making and planning.

When you add virtual tours to your infrastructure management arsenal, you’re giving yourself and your team access to the full puzzle. Virtual tours like WalkThru 3D allow you to virtually manage your project, without sacrificing quality or accuracy. Coordinate off-site prefabrication, work with subcontractors, trades, and stakeholders in remote locations to reduce travel, clashes, and change orders by providing a virtual and digital as-built record for collaboration.

These walkthroughs also tie in with best infrastructure management practices by allowing your team to visualize hard-to-reach or hard-to-visualize spaces. With your walkthrough delivered via SiteMap®, you're able to get up-close feature visualization and take virtual measurements in areas that are difficult for manual measurements. This may include tight spaces, clean rooms, or those with a lot of equipment.

This technology basically turns you into the Superman of asset management. With a virtual tour you’re also able to see what’s inside the walls before construction is complete to map pipe runs, measure, and verify. WalkThru 3D can provide a permanent digital record of the encased MEP features for O&M and repairs.

Enhanced Safety and Risk Mitigation

One of the primary advantages of virtual tours and subsurface infrastructure management is improved safety. By accurately mapping underground and aboveground utilities, organizations can identify potential hazards and mitigate risks associated with excavation and construction activities. Complete access to digital maps allows for proactive planning and coordination, reducing the likelihood of utility strikes and associated accidents.

According to the Common Ground Alliance’s 2022 DIRT Report, the 811 One Call system fielded 39,565,535 requests to locate public utilities.

In that same time period, some 192,745 utility strikes were reported in the United States. The economic impact of these incidents exceeded $30 billion, highlighting the urgent need for effective risk mitigation strategies. According to similar research conducted by IPC, the cost may exceed $60 billion annually.

According to research conducted for GPRS in 2021 by Finch, the average cost to a facility for each one of those 192,745 utility strikes that make up 811’s 0.53% strike rate is approximately $56,000.

Cost Savings and Efficiency Gains

Virtual tours and subsurface infrastructure management tools offer significant cost savings by optimizing maintenance and construction processes. By reducing the need for manual excavation and minimizing project delays, accidents, and other problems, organizations can lower operational costs and enhance project efficiency.

A 2022 analysis by the World Bank found that every public dollar invested in infrastructure led to $1.50 in resulting economic activity, with a bigger effect during a recession. By adopting digital mapping and management solutions, organizations can proactively identify maintenance needs, prioritize investments, and extend the lifespan of underground assets.

Regulatory Compliance and Sustainability

In a crucial time of increasing environmental regulations and sustainability concerns, virtual tours and subsurface infrastructure management play a crucial role in ensuring compliance and minimizing environmental impact. By accurately mapping underground utilities, organizations can assess the potential impact of development projects on surrounding ecosystems and water resources.

Furthermore, digital mapping enables the identification of opportunities for infrastructure optimization and resource conservation. By reducing the need for unnecessary excavations and minimizing disruption to natural habitats, organizations can uphold their commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable development.

Virtual tours as a component of proper and complete infrastructure management offers a multitude of benefits for urban development and infrastructure maintenance. By leveraging digital technologies such as site mapping software like SiteMap®, organizations can enhance safety, reduce costs, and improve efficiency.

GPRS SiteMap® Team Members are currently scheduling live, personal SiteMap® demonstrations. Click below to schedule your demo, and see how SiteMap® can help you plan, design, manage, dig, and build better today!

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Mapping the Future: SiteMap® and the Evolution of Leak Detection

SiteMap® (patent pending), powered by GPRS, is changing the way we detect and interact with leaks, detecting them early and without intrusion.

Since 2021, water leaks have been the leading cause of 311 (non-emergency) calls in the City of Houston, with a monumental 30% increase from 2022 to 2023.

“Our biggest problem is the aging infrastructure,” says Erin Jones, Public Information Officer at Houston Public Works. “We’re continuing to make a long-term investment to replace these water lines—there’s just over 7,000 miles of them. So, it’s very hard to replace them all at once.”

These repairs and upgrades come at a cost: a 72-inch water line project in Montrose is costing the city $36 million.

This is just one example of thousands where leak detection could save municipal water systems a lot of money by corralling non-revenue water (NRW). If those leaks were discovered sooner, they could have been fixed before becoming a $36 million problem. This is far from the only example: pipe leaks and non-revenue water loss throughout the world cause hefty price tags, city droughts, and in rare cases, flourishing foliage.

SiteMap® (patent pending), powered by GPRS, is changing the way we detect and interact with leaks, detecting them early and without intrusion.

By combining advanced mapping capabilities with innovative leak detection techniques, SiteMap® is poised to revolutionize how we detect and address leaks in underground infrastructure.

Drone footage of a facility with utility lines illustrated on the image.
By combining advanced mapping capabilities with innovative leak detection techniques, SiteMap® is poised to revolutionize how we detect and address leaks in underground infrastructure.

The Texas-Sized Problem

Leak detection history dates back to ancient Rome. Rudimentary methods of detection evolved over time, and by the 1800s, the very first gas leak detectors were created, using flame ionization and catalytic combustion to detect gas leaks. Water line leak detection has evolved similarly, where early techniques expanded and changed to meet modern requirements.

Leaks in utility lines are a global problem, with some leaks even proving fatal, especially gas leaks. Rarely does a leak offer a sunny side, except for the case of the trees of Austin, Texas. Austin loses an estimated 21 gallons of water per person every day, mostly through leaks in the city's water distribution system. Last year that totaled 8.6 billion gallons lost. Those leaks waste more than water; they drain energy and cost money. The good news is that the leaks may be drought-proofing some of Austin’s trees.

A team of University of Texas (UT) researchers recently examined the rings in trees close to leaky city infrastructure versus trees farther away. The group, led by Jay Banner, looked specifically at trees along Waller Creek on the UT campus. Banner directs UT’s Environmental Science Institute.

Through isotope testing, Banner determined that a good portion of local Austin creeks owe much of their flow to water from leaky pipes. He found that 25% to 50% of the water in Waller Creek, which flows through the UT campus and downtown Austin, appears to come from Austin's problematic leaks.

“The trees in the urban watershed were much less sensitive to drought than the rural watershed trees,” Banner said. “It’s actually a positive consequence of urbanization.”

However, this doesn’t mean that the leaks are good, as much of the city struggles with the consequences of Texas’ failing water lines. With tools like SiteMap®, these issues and their solutions could come much easier, with less risk and ultimately less cost.

The Pity of Mexico City

Texas isn’t the only place where waterline leaks are wreaking havoc. Mexico City is slowly running out of water, with some scientists left to wonder if the city can be saved at all. The ashy sidewalks and streets are beginning to lean, crack, and slide. Many building foundations have sunk dramatically while others have a visible lean, resulting in cracks in the surrounding pavement. Historical, culturally significant assets, such as the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Metropolitan Cathedral, are slowly sinking.

The cathedral has a crude system of monitoring. Solano-Rojas, a professor of geological engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, watches a glass-encased box connected to the ceiling by a taut wire. At the center hangs a weighted point, charting a line indicating how the cathedral has shifted over the centuries, with the worst section dropping by some 8.2 feet.

Parts of the city, home to nearly 9 million people, are descending into the earth by as much as 15 inches annually. These issues are all driven by a deepening water crisis with roots that go back some 500 years. Many neighborhoods have run out of water, with more trailing closely behind.

At the center of the city’s struggle is its reliance on underground water. As the underground aquifer drains and the ground above it settles, the city sinks deeper and deeper. “There’s one solution: Stop taking water from underground,” utters Solano-Rojas. “But that’s not going to happen,” he speaks solemnly.

This isn’t a new problem, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. “It’s a historical problem,” explains Elena Tudela Rivadeneyra, a professor of architecture at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the co-founder of the Office of Urban Resilience. The office develops strategies to help cities weather climate change. “Ever since we decided to dry out the lake system that we had here—and that started [shortly after the Spanish arrived] around 1608—we started having a difficult relationship with water.”

Draining the lakes and building over where they once flourished created two major issues. First, it diminished the limited local water supply, resulting in the city needing to import much of its fresh water. A significant portion of this water must be pumped at great expense from over 328 feet away, up the sierra where the city sits. Second, as the city grew and consumed the remaining water, the subsidence began, slowly causing nearly irreparable damage.

A recent study found that the integrity of the metro is consistently compromised. When Mexico City began modernizing its municipal water supply during the 1940s, the population was much lower, around a few million. As that number bloomed into the 22.5 million people living there today, the water infrastructure failed to keep up with the rising demand and was continually torn up by subsidence.

These days, the city loses some 40% of its water supply due to leaking pipes.

When discussing the city’s water crisis, the term “Day Zero” is often thrown around to describe the presumed date when the city will run dry. Many have set it for late June, though the situation is complicated.

“I don’t think a Day Zero is going to come,” says Solano-Rojas. “Day Zero has already happened.”

Unveiling the Invisible: The Power of SiteMap®

At the heart of SiteMap® lies the ability to transform the invisible into the visible. By leveraging the amazing accuracy of GPRS and sophisticated mapping technologies, SiteMap® creates dynamic, interactive maps of underground utilities. These maps provide utility managers with invaluable insights into the location, condition, and connectivity of underground infrastructure. When GPRS’ pinpoint leak detection services provide regular water loss surveys, those reports, including photos of the leak locations, other nearby utilities, and depths, are all made accessible 24/7 via SiteMap®.

Enhancing Efficiency and Accuracy

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United States experiences an estimated 240,000 water main breaks per year, wasting over two trillion gallons of treated drinking water. SiteMap® offers a proactive solution to this pressing issue. By accurately mapping underground pipelines and conduits, it enables utilities to identify potential leak hotspots before they escalate into emergencies, such as those seen in Texas and Mexico City. This proactive approach not only minimizes water loss but also reduces costly repair expenses and service disruptions.

Cost-Effectiveness and Sustainability

There are approximately 2.2 million miles of water lines in the U.S., and a water main break happens every two minutes. Leak detection costs can quickly escalate, causing disaster and a hefty price to fix the disaster. However, SiteMap® offers a cost-effective alternative. By streamlining data collection and analysis, it reduces the risk for labor-intensive fixes and excavation. Moreover, by enabling utilities to prioritize maintenance efforts based on comprehensive spatial data, it maximizes the impact of limited resources, fostering sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Our water loss specialists have the equipment and expertise to locate your leak and provide insights into your water distribution system. GPRS utilizes a variety of industry-leading equipment and methods, including acoustic leak detectors, leak noise correlators, video pipe inspection, ground penetrating radar, and electromagnetic locating to provide a complete picture of your subsurface infrastructure and find your pressurized water leaks.

A GPRS Project Manager investigating a water hydrant with leak detection equipment.
When GPRS’ pinpoint leak detection services provide regular water loss surveys, those reports, including photos of the leak locations, other nearby utilities, and depths, are all made accessible 24/7 via SiteMap®.

Types of Leak Detection

SiteMap® is so effective and accurate because the data comes directly from GPRS, which is a leader in all things subsurface. Intelligently Visualizing The Built World®, including the subsurface, has never been so simple. Your Project Manager can accurately map any pressurized water system, fire loop, or sanitary and storm sewer systems, and other utilities if needed, and provide you with a complimentary PDF and .KMZ file, delivered via SiteMap®. Every GPRS customer receives a complimentary SiteMap® Personal subscription as part of their package. There are many types of tools used for this advanced detection, such as:

- Acoustic Leak Detection: GPRS Project Managers are experts in acoustic leak detection for pressurized water lines. They use specialized microphones, headphones, and control units, plus complementary technologies to pinpoint water leaks by listening to amplified sound waves in a wide variety of pipe materials.

- Leak Detection Correlators: These algorithm-powered tools utilize radio waves via a dual sensor system to process and digitally display leak vibrations. These vibrations correlate to potential pressurized water system leaks. This is used in conjunction with acoustic devices and provides pinpoint leak detection in water and fire suppression infrastructure.

- Ground Penetrating Radar: The tool our company was founded on, GPR, in concert with other complementary technologies, is used to identify buried objects and underground utilities. Our SIM-certified Project Managers provide 99.8%+ accurate field-verified utility maps, delivered via SiteMap®, PDF, and .KMZ files to all GPRS utility locating customers.

- EM Locating: Electromagnetic (EM) locators are preferred by One Call contractors to locate public utility lines. GPRS utilizes them with GPR and other technologies as part of our Subsurface Investigation Methodology (SIM) process to detect live AC power or radio signals along conductive utilities.

The Path Forward: Embracing Collaboration and Innovation

As we navigate the evolving and sometimes sinking landscape of leak detection, collaboration and innovation will be key drivers of progress. Governments, utilities, technology providers, and research institutions must join forces to harness the full potential of SiteMap® and other emerging technologies. There’s a lot at stake, from the water supply of full cities to single reservoirs. Water is a finite resource, and it will take an overhaul of technology and collaboration to preserve our water, and the cities it pumps life to.

Investment in Research and Development

We’ve only evolved from the methods used in ancient Rome because somebody invested time (and money) into improving these methods and the technology used. Without such investment, we would struggle to evolve, lying stagnant in a still, stubborn bog of ignorance.

The future of leak detection depends on continued investment in research and development. Governments and private sector entities should allocate resources towards exploring new technologies, refining existing methodologies, and conducting field trials to validate performance. By supporting innovation in leak detection, we can unlock new opportunities for sustainability and resilience in underground infrastructure management.

GPRS SiteMap® Team Members are currently scheduling live, personal SiteMap® demonstrations. Click below to schedule your demo, and see how SiteMap® can help you plan, design, manage, dig, and build better today!

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What is a Survey Grade Locator?

Surveying within the context of SUE involves detailed measurements and mapping of underground infrastructure such as water pipes, gas lines, electrical cables, and telecommunications networks.

Survey-grade locators are those whose accuracy and reporting support ASCE quality level B and above. Although “survey-grade” is a misnomer, because the highest level of utility locating for survey use is QL-A, which requires daylighting or potholing to actually see what’s buried underground, professional private utility locators like GPRS can support the efforts of subsurface utility engineers (SUE) and surveyors, offering a high degree of precision in locating and mapping underground utilities.

This use of NDT (Non-destructive testing) technologies like ground penetrating radar and electromagnetic location are essential for preventing utility strikes and ensuring the safety and efficiency of construction and excavation projects. Understanding the intricacies of so-called survey-grade locators involves delving into the realm of SUE, NDT, RTK positioning technology, and the potential hazards associated with underground utility strikes.

A GPRS Project Manager in a red vest and safety gear utilizes a large GPR unit at a construction site
GPRS deploys ground penetrating radar (GPR), electromagnetic (EM) locators, and GPS & RTK technology to achieve 99.8% accuracy in utility locating.

Subsurface Utility Engineering & Surveying

Subsurface utility engineering (SUE) is a branch of civil engineering that focuses on the identification, mapping, and management of underground utilities. It integrates geophysics, civil engineering, and surveying to create a comprehensive understanding of subsurface conditions. SUE is critical in the planning and execution of construction projects, particularly in urban areas where the density of underground utilities can be remarkably high.

Surveying within the context of SUE involves detailed measurements and mapping of underground infrastructure such as water pipes, gas lines, electrical cables, and telecommunications networks. Traditional surveying methods often fall short when dealing with underground utilities, necessitating advanced technologies to achieve the required accuracy and reliability. This is where survey grade locators come into play.

What is a Survey Grade Locator?

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has established the Standard Guideline for the Collection and Depiction of Existing Subsurface Utility Data. Their guidelines outline various methods for obtaining utility location data and categorizes these methods by different quality levels. These quality levels indicate the reliability of the locate data: the higher the quality level, the more accurate and dependable the data. This allows project planners to make more informed decisions, thereby reducing the risk of utility strikes during excavation.

The quality levels (QL) assigned to each variety of underground utility assessment provide surveyors and engineers with a guide to understand the accuracy of the utility locating information they seek. The quality levels are: D, C, B, and A. Only QL-B and QL-A contain the accuracy needed to qualify for SUE. GPRS does not conduct SUE, however our non-destructive underground utility methods have a 99.8% accuracy rate and can support QL-B SUE efforts.

As mentioned earlier, “survey-grade” for any utility locating that doesn’t involve potholing is a misnomer, but the proper use of NDT technologies that allow for a high level of accuracy allow utility locators to detect and map the precise location of underground utilities without digging. Unlike standard locators, which may provide approximate locations, those locators whose methods support SUE level QL-B offer high precision and accuracy, typically within a few centimeters when paired with the use of Real-Time Kinetic positioning. This level of precision is essential for tasks that require exact measurements, such as designing infrastructure, conducting risk assessments, and preventing damage during excavation.

RTK Positioning Technology

Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) positioning technology has fast become a cornerstone of modern surveying. RTK is a satellite navigation technique used to enhance the precision of position data derived from satellite-based positioning systems such as GPS (Global Positioning System). While standard GPS can provide location accuracy within a few meters, RTK technology refines this accuracy to within a few centimeters.

RTK works by using a fixed base station and a mobile receiver. The base station remains in a known, fixed position and transmits correction signals to the mobile receiver. These corrections account for various errors, including satellite orbit errors, atmospheric interference, and clock discrepancies. As a result, the mobile receiver can determine its position with much greater accuracy.

In the context of utility locators, RTK technology allows for precise mapping of underground utilities. By integrating RTK with electromagnetic or ground-penetrating radar (GPR) technologies, survey grade locators can detect and map utilities with a high degree of accuracy. This integration ensures that the position data of underground utilities is both reliable and precise, facilitating safer and more efficient construction practices.

The Dangers of Underground Utility Strikes

Underground utility strikes occur when construction or excavation activities inadvertently damage underground utilities. These incidents can have severe consequences, including:

  1. Safety Hazards: Damaging gas lines, electrical cables, or water mains can pose significant safety risks. Gas leaks can lead to explosions, while severed electrical cables can cause electrocution or fires.
  2. Service Disruptions: Utility strikes can disrupt essential services, affecting households, businesses, and public infrastructure. This can lead to significant economic losses and inconvenience.
  3. Legal, Financial, and Reputational Consequences: Utility strikes often result in costly repairs and potential legal liabilities for the responsible parties. Regulatory bodies may impose fines, and affected utility companies may seek compensation for damages. And when there are significant accidents or injuries from a utility strike, it makes the news and can irreparably damage your reputation.
  4. Project Delays: Striking an underground utility can halt construction projects, leading to delays and increased costs. Ensuring accurate utility location is crucial to maintaining project timelines and budgets.

Preventing Utility Strikes with Accurate Survey & Engineering Support

The precision of survey grade locators is instrumental in preventing underground utility strikes. By providing accurate location data, these devices help construction and excavation teams avoid damaging underground infrastructure. The process typically involves several steps:

  1. Planning and Research: Before any excavation begins, a thorough review of existing utility records is conducted. This historical data provides an initial understanding of where utilities might be located.
  2. On-Site Detection: Survey grade locators are used on-site to detect and map the exact location of underground utilities. Technologies such as RTK, GPR, and electromagnetic detection are employed to ensure accuracy.
  3. Mapping and Documentation: The detected utilities are mapped and documented, creating a detailed subsurface utility map. This map guides construction activities, ensuring that excavation is performed safely.
  4. Ongoing Monitoring: Throughout the construction process, continuous monitoring and re-evaluation of the subsurface conditions are necessary. This ensures that any changes or new findings are accounted for, further reducing the risk of utility strikes.

Private utility locators who support QL-B are vital tools in subsurface utility engineering and surveying. Their ability to provide precise and accurate location data for underground utilities helps prevent utility strikes, ensuring the safety, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of construction and excavation projects. By leveraging advanced technologies such as RTK positioning, these locators play a crucial role in modern infrastructure development and maintenance.

GPRS maintains a 99.8% accuracy rate on over 500,000 jobs and counting thanks to the outstanding education and training of our Project Managers. Every GPRS Project Manager must undergo rigorous training to achieve Subsurface Investigation Methodology (SIM) 101 certification before they work in the field. SIM allows customers to know that whether you hire GPRS near you, or require regional or national utility locating services, your Project Manager will provide that same standard of care and clarity of reporting to help keep your job on time, on budget, and safe.

What can we help you visualize?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is potholing/daylighting in construction?

Potholing, also referred to as daylighting, is when an excavator digs under the surface of a site to physically see and assess utility lines. Potholing, just like any kind of ground disturbance, requires a contractor to call for an 811/One Call utility locate before digging, which can be cumbersome to a schedule. And, if you don’t have an easy-to-follow ground disturbance policy for excavation, that includes locating all public and private utilities, even with a solid 811 locate of public utilities, a utility strike can easily happen because 65% of all on-site utilities are private, not public.

GPRS locates both private and public utilities for customers nationwide to help them dig more safely.

What is the average cost of a utility strike?

According to research conducted for GPRS by Finch Brands in 2021, the average cost of a utility strike to a facility (college campus, manufacturing plant, hospital, etc.) is $56,000, plus 6-8 weeks of downtime. Learn how GPRS can map your entire subsurface infrastructure to help you avoid costly and dangerous utility strikes, here.

How many underground utilities are struck in the U.S. on average?

According to information from the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), there is an underground utility strike every 45-60 second in the United States. Most of those strikes are caused by incomplete, inaccurate, or misunderstood utility locating information. Learn how you can control the quality of your infrastructure information, here.

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Building Resilience: SiteMap® in Action for Infrastructure Asset Management in a Changing World

Resilience is crucial, especially as our world changes. Learn more about how SiteMap® is paving the way for the future of subsurface management and helping pave the path to resilient infrastructure.

The resilience of infrastructure assets is critical for ensuring the stability and sustainability of communities.

Infrastructure assets, such as utilities like water and sewer lines, electrical grids, and telecommunications networks, make up the circulatory system on which communities of all sizes rely. Therefore, they must be effectively managed to withstand various challenges, from natural disasters to rapid urbanization. SiteMap® (patent pending), powered by GPRS, revolutionizes infrastructure asset management by offering interactive underground utility maps backed by the 99.8% accuracy of GPRS locating services. How does SiteMap® help communities and facilities build resilience into their infrastructure assets?

A trench with new utilities being installed.
Infrastructure assets, such as utilities like water and sewer lines, electrical grids, and telecommunications networks, make up the circulatory system on which communities of all sizes rely.

The Importance of Resilient Infrastructure Asset Management

Just like with an animal or a human body, resilience is crucial for progress. Without resilience, civilization would fail, crumble, and deteriorate, especially in the face of disasters. The U.S. alone has seen many devastating and historic natural disasters over the past ten years, including the unprecedented 2023 snowstorms in California and the furious Canadian wildfires in 2023. In the aftermath of these disasters, local governments had to step up to rebuild their communities and bounce back.

Starting with a string of hurricanes and wildfires in 2017, the United States has endured devastating disasters every year since:

  • In 2022, 68,988 wildfires burned 7.6 million acres. Over 40% of those acres were in Alaska (3.1 million acres)
  • The U.S recorded 1,331 tornadoes in 2022
  • In 2022, disasters each caused at least $165 billion in damage and economic losses

The need for disaster-resilient infrastructure is real and must be addressed as soon as possible. The Biden administration announced a record injection of money designated to help communities guard against the effects of climate change in 2021, resulting in $3 billion in funds for community disaster resilience that continues to be distributed.

FEMA funds from Washington are now being dedicated to combating climate change with an additional $1 billion in grants for states to protect against national disasters such as floods, wildfires, and more. These funds aim to improve the resiliency of infrastructure. Homeowners should also take note; according to federal research, a dollar spent to prepare for disaster saves an average of $6 later.

Resilient infrastructure asset management is essential for ensuring the continued functionality and reliability of critical systems in the face of adversity. There are numerous reasons why building resilience in infrastructure assets is crucial including:

  • Risk Mitigation: Resilient infrastructure assets are better equipped to withstand and recover from various risks, including natural disasters, climate change impacts, and cybersecurity threats
  • Service Continuity: Resilient infrastructure assets ensure the continuity of essential services, such as water supply, energy distribution, and communication networks, even during emergencies or disruptions
  • Cost Efficiency: Investing in resilient infrastructure assets can lead to long-term cost savings by reducing the frequency and severity of repairs, replacements, and service interruptions
  • Sustainability: Resilient infrastructure assets promote sustainability by minimizing resource waste, environmental impacts, and social disruptions, contributing to the overall well-being of communities

Climate Change and Resilient Infrastructure

Whether climate change is something you believe in or not, its effects are happening. These changes are bringing significant impacts that will affect how infrastructure is designed and constructed. On Aug. 9, 2021, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report, “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis,” warning that climate change “is widespread, rapid, and intensifying.” Prepared by 234 scientists from 66 countries, the report declared that human-induced climate change “is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe ... in the atmosphere, in the oceans, (in) ice floes, and on land.”

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres described the report as “a code red for humanity.” Some of the findings included in the report were:

  • In 2019, concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide were higher than at any time in at least 2 million years
  • Concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide, two other important GHGs, were higher than at any time in the last 800,000 years
  • The global surface temperature has increased faster since 1970 than in any other 50-year period over at least the last 2,000 years
  • The global mean sea level has risen faster since 1900 than over any preceding century in at least the last 3,000 years
  • By 2021, human activities caused emissions of GHGs responsible for approximately 1.2 degrees Celsius of warming above preindustrial levels
  • Over the next 20 years, the average increase in global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius

While our infrastructure has already been designed to be resilient, it’s only resilient for occurrences that we’ve dealt with thus far. Infrastructure needs to become resilient to face the changes and challenges that are due to develop over the next 20-50 years.

Climate change forces civil engineers to work in “uncharted territory,” says William A. Wallace, ENV SP, F.ASCE, a former senior vice president at CH2M Hill. Facing new, uncharted, and sometimes extreme conditions, civil engineers tend to respond by strengthening and trying to protect infrastructure assets from damage, Wallace notes. And while such an approach “still needs to be part of the engineer’s toolkit,” he says, “the fact that they are in uncharted territory calls for new thinking.”

One obstacle civil engineers face in trying to design infrastructure that is resilient to the impacts of climate change is the fact that most codes and standards do not take climate change into account. If considerations of the impacts of climate change can be added to codes and standards, “engineers will be obliged to use them in their decisions,” points out Michele Barbato, Ph.D., P.E., CEng, F.SEI, F.ASCE, a professor of structural engineering in the civil and environmental engineering department at the University of California, Davis. Barbato is also co-director of the university’s Climate Adaptation Research Center.

While this sounds like a mountainous task, and it is, civil engineers are in an “enviable position” and face the “opportunity of a lifetime,” says Wallace. They have an opportunity to help rewrite the rules that form the core of our codes and standards. Wallace says, “Engineers can reduce infrastructure project risk by applying their unique knowledge and experience to determine what solutions could work and what won’t work.”

The best way to change the page and produce resilient infrastructure is by learning. The infrastructure itself isn’t the only reward, as research indicates that every dollar spent on resiliency will generate a return on investment of $4 to $11, with a median of $6.

The Role of SiteMap® in Building Resilience

SiteMap® plays a crucial role in building resilience in infrastructure assets by offering advanced tools and features for mapping every facet of infrastructure for facilities, communities, and municipalities nationwide. SiteMap® enables organizations to enhance the resilience of their infrastructure assets in many ways:

Interactive Underground Utility Maps

SiteMap® provides interactive underground utility maps that allow users to visualize, analyze, and manage underground infrastructure assets with ease. With the help of GPRS, one may even visualize above-ground facilities with a virtual tour. Virtual Tours like WalkThru 3D allow you to virtually walk through a site or facility in minutes, take basic measurements, estimate clearances and distances, and add digital notes.

By offering a user-friendly interface and intuitive navigation tools, SiteMap® enables organizations to access critical information about utilities and their site quickly and efficiently. Interactive underground utility maps empower organizations to identify potential risks, plan maintenance activities, and respond to emergencies in real-time, enhancing the resilience of their infrastructure assets, while also allowing more resilient infrastructure to be built and planned with the proper information and less risk.

Easy Sharing

Keeping your team updated and on the same page is crucial when developing or maintaining resilient infrastructure. By utilizing SiteMap®, project managers can share necessary information and data easily, from anywhere in the world. Your team can reference a single source of truth from any mobile device, 24/7. Own and access all of your project data, whether ordered by you or your subcontractors; if GRPS did the work, you can see it all in SiteMap®.

Exceptional Accuracy

Most damage is avoidable when you control data flow with 99.8% accurate subsurface infrastructure information that can be aggregated to provide both updated as-builts and historical records. GPRS has maintained a 99.8% accuracy rate over 500,000 jobs nationwide, making it one of, if not the most accurate, utility locating providers in the country.

Layered & Aggregated

Your 99.8% accurate GPRS subsurface visualizations and data can be aggregated to provide an instant snapshot – past, present, and future – secured in one centralized, accessible database. Further, your data and visualization are layered, mapped, and cross-referenced and can be updated as needed to ensure accurate subsurface as-builts. Certain features are available only at certain tiers: all GPRS customers are given a complimentary SiteMap® Personal account, with the option to upgrade.

Building Resilience with SiteMap®: An Innovative Approach

SiteMap® enables organizations to adopt an innovative approach to building resilience in their infrastructure assets by combining interactive underground utility mapping with their intelligence and data. Through SiteMap®, you can expect:

  • Comprehensive Data Management: SiteMap® provides a centralized platform for storing, managing, and analyzing infrastructure asset data, ensuring data integrity, accessibility, and security
  • Collaborative Planning: SiteMap® facilitates collaboration and information sharing among stakeholders, enabling organizations to develop coordinated strategies for enhancing the resilience

GPRS SiteMap® Team Members are currently scheduling live, personal SiteMap® demonstrations. Click below to schedule your demo today!

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ASCE Report Calls for Continued Infrastructure Investment

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently released a report highlighting the necessity for ongoing investment in U.S. infrastructure, warning that a “snapback” could occur if funding for these projects dries up.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently released a report highlighting the necessity for ongoing investment in U.S. infrastructure, warning that a “snapback” could occur if funding for these projects dries up.

The report, titled “Bridging the Gap,” is part of a recurring economic study the ASCE conducts every four years, and details the effects of federal infrastructure funding and the potential impact if such funding ceases.

Recent federal investments, including the $550 billion allocated through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), have played a significant role in preventing the infrastructure investment gap from widening. This funding, however, is set to expire by 2026.

An under-construction bridge.
Recent federal investments, including the $550 billion allocated through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), have played a significant role in preventing the infrastructure investment gap from widening. This funding, however, is set to expire by 2026.

The ASCE argues that without continued investment, the progress achieved could be undermined, potentially exacerbating the nation's infrastructure challenges.

“Federal action has made substantial progress stopping the growth of our needs, but this is just the beginning,” ASCE President Marsia Geldert-Murphey said in a press release. “We need continued action at the federal level and collaboration from state and local governments and the private sector if we are going to succeed in transforming our aging infrastructure network to be more sustainable, resilient, and best suit the future needs of American households and businesses.”

Despite the improvements made over the past several years, America is still plagued by infrastructure inefficiencies such as power outages, uneven roads, traffic congestion, load restrictions on bridges, and leaking water pipes. These issues have significant consequences for both businesses and consumers. Currently, each U.S. household loses about $2,000 annually due to these inadequate systems. If funding returns to pre-IIJA levels, this loss could increase to nearly $2,700 per household each year.

The ASCE’s report identifies the sectors most affected by infrastructure deficiencies: manufacturing, finance and real estate, healthcare, utilities, and agriculture. The manufacturing sector relies on reliable energy, clean water, modern transportation systems, and dependable ports. The report projects that by 2033, the manufacturing sector could lose $1.15 trillion due to inefficient infrastructure if funding decreases, compared to $877 billion if current funding levels are maintained — a difference of $276 billion.

While federal investments have reduced or stabilized investment gaps in sectors such as transportation, water, water transportation, and aviation, the energy sector remains a concern. Policy changes and underinvestment in physical energy infrastructure have contributed to an increasing energy investment gap since 2020.

To address growing infrastructure needs, the ASCE calls for continued federal action and collaboration among state and local governments and the private sector.

“Our needs have continued to grow for decades,” said Darren Olson, chair of ASCE’s Committee on America’s Infrastructure. “And only just recently, in the past few years with the IIJA and IRA [Inflation Reduction Act], have we seen a renewed investment in infrastructure. But it’s a down payment. It’s the start of the process to slow the growth of the gap, but because we have not done this for so long, it is impossible to significantly impact the gap without a long-term sustained investment.”

A GPRS Project Manager holds a tablet while standing next to a 3D laser scanner.
GPRS provides a comprehensive suite of infrastructure visualization services designed to keep your projects on time, on budget, and safe.

GPRS Services Keep Infrastructure Projects on Track

The federal funds provided by the IIJA and other, complementary programs, have been critical in preventing the growth of the infrastructure investment gap. By maintaining and increasing investment, the U.S. can develop a more sustainable and resilient infrastructure system that supports economic growth and enhances the quality of life for all its citizens.

And GPRS will be there to ensure these projects stay on time, on budget, and safe.

Our damage prevention services – including utility locating, precision concrete scanning & imaging, and video pipe inspections – help ensure you avoid subsurface damage while installing EV infrastructure. Utilizing ground penetrating radar (GPR) scanners and electromagnetic (EM) locators, our SIM and NASSCO-certified Project Managers (PMs) fully visualize the buried infrastructure on your site so you know where you can and can’t safely dig. And 3D laser scanning allows us to visualize what’s above ground, giving you a comprehensive understanding of your built world.

All this field-verified data is at your fingertips 24/7 thanks to SiteMap® (patent pending), GPRS’ cloud-based infrastructure mapping software solution that provides accurate existing condition documentation to protect your assets & people.

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®, 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 SiteMap.com.

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Utility Locating

15 Tips for Facility Managers

Facility management is a complex and multifaceted discipline, encompassing a wide range of responsibilities to ensure the efficient and effective operation of buildings and environments.

Facility management is a complex and multifaceted discipline, encompassing a wide range of responsibilities to ensure the efficient and effective operation of buildings and environments.

As a facility manager, your role is crucial in maintaining the infrastructure, safety, and overall functionality of the facility. These tips will help  you excel in this role, ensuring that you meet the needs of your organization while optimizing resources and maintaining high standards.

A man and woman in PPE look at something out of view.
Facility management is a complex and multifaceted discipline, encompassing a wide range of responsibilities to ensure the efficient and effective operation of buildings and environments.

Embrace Technology and Innovation

In today's digital age, leveraging technology is essential for effective facility management. Implementing a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) can streamline maintenance tasks, track work orders, and manage assets. Additionally, consider adopting Internet of Things (IoT) devices to monitor building systems in real-time, allowing for proactive maintenance and energy management. Utilizing Building Information Modeling (BIM) can also enhance the planning and execution of projects by providing detailed 3D models and data.

Prioritize Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is key to minimizing downtime and extending the lifespan of your facility's assets. Establish a routine maintenance schedule that includes regular inspections, servicing, and repairs. By addressing potential issues before they escalate, you can avoid costly emergency repairs and ensure the smooth operation of your facility. Keep detailed records of maintenance activities to identify patterns and improve future planning.

Focus on Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency not only reduces operational costs but also supports environmental sustainability. Conduct an energy audit to identify areas where your facility can improve efficiency. Implement energy-saving measures such as upgrading to LED lighting, optimizing HVAC systems, and installing energy-efficient windows and insulation. Consider renewable energy sources like solar panels to further reduce your facility's carbon footprint.

Enhance Communication and Collaboration

Effective communication is crucial in facility management. Foster a collaborative environment by maintaining open lines of communication with your team, stakeholders, and occupants. Utilize communication tools and platforms to share information, updates, and feedback. Regular meetings and briefings can help ensure everyone is aligned and aware of ongoing projects and maintenance activities.

Ensure Safety and Compliance

Safety should always be a top priority for facility managers. Develop and implement comprehensive safety protocols and emergency response plans. Regularly conduct safety drills and training sessions to ensure all staff and occupants are prepared for emergencies. Stay up to date with local, state, and federal regulations to ensure your facility complies with all safety and health standards.

Optimize Space Utilization

Efficient space utilization can enhance productivity and reduce costs. Conduct regular assessments to understand how spaces are being used and identify opportunities for improvement. Implement flexible workspaces and consider adopting hot-desking or shared spaces to maximize the use of available areas. Use space management software to track occupancy and optimize space allocation.

Foster a Positive Workplace Culture

A positive workplace culture can significantly impact employee satisfaction and productivity. Create a comfortable and welcoming environment by ensuring cleanliness, proper lighting, and adequate ventilation. Encourage feedback from occupants and address any concerns promptly. Recognize and reward the efforts of your team to boost morale and motivation.

Stay Informed and Continuously Improve

The field of facility management is constantly evolving, with new technologies, regulations, and best practices emerging regularly. Stay informed by attending industry conferences, participating in professional organizations, and pursuing continuing education opportunities. Regularly review and assess your processes and strategies to identify areas for improvement and implement changes as needed.

Develop Strong Vendor Relationships

Building strong relationships with vendors and contractors is essential for smooth facility operations. Select vendors who share your commitment to quality and reliability. Establish clear contracts and service level agreements (SLAs) to ensure expectations are met. Maintain open communication with vendors and conduct regular performance reviews to ensure they are meeting your needs.

Implement Robust Security Measures

Security is a critical aspect of facility management. Implement a comprehensive security plan that includes physical security measures, access control systems, and cybersecurity protocols. Conduct regular security assessments and drills to identify vulnerabilities and ensure preparedness. Stay informed about the latest security threats and best practices to protect your facility and its occupants.

Budget Wisely and Monitor Finances

Effective financial management is crucial for the success of any facility management operation. Develop a detailed budget that accounts for all operational expenses, including maintenance, utilities, and staffing. Monitor financial performance regularly and adjust as needed to stay within budget. Utilize financial management software to track expenses, generate reports, and forecast future needs.

Promote Sustainability Initiatives

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in facility management. Develop and implement sustainability initiatives that align with your organization's goals. This can include waste reduction programs, water conservation measures, and sustainable procurement practices. Educate occupants about the importance of sustainability and encourage their participation in green initiatives.

Utilize Data and Analytics

Data and analytics can provide valuable insights into the performance of your facility. Implement systems to collect and analyze data on energy usage, maintenance activities, space utilization, and occupant satisfaction. Use this data to make informed decisions, identify trends, and improve operational efficiency. Regularly review and update your data management practices to ensure accuracy and relevance.

Maintain a Strong Focus on Customer Service

Providing excellent customer service is essential in facility management. Ensure that you are responsive to the needs and concerns of occupants. Establish a clear process for handling service requests and complaints. Regularly seek feedback from occupants to identify areas for improvement and enhance their experience.

Plan for the Future

Effective facility management requires long-term planning. Develop a strategic plan that outlines your goals and objectives for the future. Consider factors such as anticipated growth, technological advancements, and changes in regulations. Regularly review and update your strategic plan to ensure it remains relevant and aligned with your organization's goals.

Let GPRS Help You Manage Your Facility

Facility management is a dynamic and challenging field that requires a proactive and strategic approach. By embracing technology, prioritizing preventive maintenance, focusing on energy efficiency, and fostering effective communication, facility managers can ensure the smooth and efficient operation of their facilities.

GPRS’ suite of subsurface damage prevention, existing conditions documentation, and construction & facilities project management services help you maintain control over all operations and projects at your facility or campus. Using industry-leading technology including ground penetrating radar (GPR), electromagnetic (EM) locating), 3D laser scanning, and more, we Intelligently Visualize 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 biggest challenges in maintaining a facility's infrastructure?

Maintaining a facility's infrastructure involves several challenges, including:

  • Aging Infrastructure: Older buildings and systems often require more frequent maintenance and can be prone to unexpected failures
  • Budget Constraints: Balancing the need for maintenance and repairs with budget limitations can be difficult, often leading to deferred maintenance
  • Technology Integration: Integrating new technologies with existing systems can be complex and costly but is necessary for improving efficiency and performance
  • Resource Management: Ensuring that there are sufficient resources, including skilled personnel and necessary materials, to maintain the facility effectively

How do facility managers handle emergency situations and ensure safety?

Handling emergencies and ensuring safety are critical responsibilities for facility managers. Key strategies include:

  • Emergency Preparedness: Developing and regularly updating comprehensive emergency response plans that cover various scenarios such as fires, natural disasters, and security threats
  • Training and Drills: Conducting regular training sessions and emergency drills for staff and occupants to ensure everyone knows how to respond in an emergency
  • Safety Protocols: Implementing and enforcing safety protocols, including proper signage, accessible emergency exits, and well-maintained safety equipment
  • Communication: Establishing clear communication channels for alerting occupants and coordinating with emergency services during an incident
  • Regular Inspections: Performing regular safety inspections and audits to identify and mitigate potential hazards before they become critical issues

What strategies can facility managers use to manage energy consumption and improve sustainability?

Managing energy consumption and improving sustainability are important goals for facility managers. Effective strategies include:

  • Energy Audits: Conducting regular energy audits to identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement within the facility
  • Energy-Efficient Upgrades: Investing in energy-efficient technologies such as LED lighting, high-efficiency HVAC systems, and smart building controls to reduce energy consumption
  • Renewable Energy: Exploring renewable energy options like solar panels and wind turbines to supplement traditional energy sources
  • Behavioral Changes: Encouraging occupants to adopt energy-saving behaviors, such as turning off lights and equipment when not in use and utilizing natural light where possible
  • Sustainability Programs: Implementing comprehensive sustainability programs that address waste reduction, water conservation, and sustainable procurement practices
  • Monitoring and Analytics: Utilizing data and analytics to monitor energy usage and track the effectiveness of energy-saving measures, making adjustments as necessary to optimize performance
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The Dangers of Heat Stress and Illness for Construction Workers

Among the numerous hazards faced by construction workers, heat stress and heat-related illnesses are particularly concerning, especially during the hotter months.

Construction work is inherently demanding, involving rigorous physical activity and exposure to various environmental conditions.

Among the numerous hazards faced by construction workers, heat stress and heat-related illnesses are particularly concerning, especially during the hotter months. Understanding these risks and implementing effective preventive measures is crucial for safeguarding the health and well-being of workers.

A construction worker drinking from a water bottle.
Heat stress occurs when the body cannot maintain a normal temperature due to excessive heat.

Understanding Heat Stress and Heat-Related Illnesses

Heat stress occurs when the body cannot maintain a normal temperature due to excessive heat. This condition can lead to a range of heat-related illnesses, from mild heat rashes to severe heat stroke, which can be fatal if not promptly treated. Construction workers are especially vulnerable due to their prolonged exposure to outdoor environments, often in extreme temperatures.

Common Heat-Related Illnesses:

  1. Heat Rash: Characterized by red clusters of pimples or small blisters, often occurring in areas where clothing causes friction
  2. Heat Cramps: Painful muscle spasms resulting from heavy sweating and loss of salt and water
  3. Heat Exhaustion: Symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea, headache, and fainting. It requires immediate attention to prevent progression to heat stroke
  4. Heat Stroke: A life-threatening condition marked by confusion, loss of consciousness, and high body temperature. Immediate medical intervention is necessary

Factors Contributing to Heat Stress in Construction

Several factors contribute to the heightened risk of heat stress among construction workers:

  • Environmental Conditions: High temperatures, high humidity, direct sunlight, and limited air movement increase the risk of heat stress
  • Physical Exertion: The strenuous nature of construction work accelerates the body’s heat production, making it harder to maintain a safe internal temperature
  • Protective Clothing: While essential for safety, heavy protective gear can limit the body’s ability to dissipate heat
  • Hydration Levels: Inadequate fluid intake exacerbates dehydration, impairing the body’s ability to regulate temperature
  • Acclimatization: Workers who are not acclimated to high temperatures are at greater risk of heat-related illnesses
A construction worker wipes their forehead.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has long recognized the dangers of heat stress and illness in the workplace.

OSHA’s Role and Guidelines

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has long recognized the dangers of heat stress and illness in the workplace. According to a recent news release from OSHA, the agency is intensifying efforts to protect workers from heat hazards through increased inspections, outreach, and enforcement activities.

OSHA’s Key Recommendations Include:

  • Heat Illness Prevention Plans: Employers should develop comprehensive plans that include measures for monitoring the weather, scheduling rest breaks, and providing shaded or air-conditioned areas
  • Hydration: Ensuring workers have easy access to potable water and encouraging regular drinking
  • Training: Educating workers and supervisors about the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and the importance of early intervention
  • Emergency Response: Establishing protocols for responding to heat-related emergencies, including when and how to seek medical help

Strategies for Preventing Heat Stress

Preventing heat stress requires a proactive approach that combines environmental controls, work practices, and individual measures. Here are some effective strategies:

Work Scheduling and Breaks

  • Modify Work Schedules: Plan strenuous tasks for cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late afternoon
  • Frequent Breaks: Implement mandatory breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas to allow the body to cool down

Hydration and Nutrition

  • Water Availability: Provide ample drinking water and encourage workers to drink small amounts frequently
  • Electrolyte Replenishment: Offer beverages that replenish lost electrolytes, especially during prolonged periods of sweating
  • Healthy Diet: Encourage a balanced diet that supports overall health and hydration

Protective Clothing and Equipment

  • Lightweight Clothing: Use lightweight, breathable fabrics to reduce heat buildup
  • Cooling Gear: Provide cooling vests, bandanas, and other gear designed to help lower body temperature

Acclimatization Programs

  • Gradual Exposure: Allow new workers or those returning from time off to gradually acclimate to hot conditions over a period of 7-14 days
  • Monitoring: Closely monitor workers during their acclimatization period to ensure they are adjusting safely

Training and Awareness

  • Regular Training: Conduct training sessions on heat stress prevention, recognizing symptoms, and first aid
  • Awareness Campaigns: Use posters, flyers, and toolbox talks to keep heat stress prevention top-of-mind

Environmental Controls

  • Shaded Areas: Set up tents, canopies, or other shade structures at work sites
  • Ventilation: Use fans or blowers to improve air circulation in enclosed or semi-enclosed areas
  • Cooling Stations: Provide air-conditioned rest areas where feasible

Heat stress and heat-related illnesses pose significant dangers to construction workers, but these risks can be effectively managed through diligent planning, education, and proactive measures.

Employers and workers must collaborate to create a safe working environment, ensuring that everyone understands the importance of heat stress prevention and takes the necessary steps to protect their health. By following OSHA guidelines and implementing best practices, the construction industry can reduce the incidence of heat-related illnesses and promote a healthier, safer work environment.

At GPRS, safety is always on our radar. That’s why we sponsor safety initiatives like Concrete Sawing & Drilling Safety Week, Construction Safety Week, and Water & Sewer Damage Awareness Week.

Click here to learn more about GPRS’ safety initiatives and partnerships.

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Explaining the Federal-State Modern Grid Deployment Initiative

A new joint venture between the federal government and 21 states aims to address the growing needs for modernizing the U.S. electrical grid.

A new joint venture between the federal government and 21 states aims to address the growing needs for modernizing the U.S. electrical grid.

Announced on May 28, the Federal-State Modern Grid Deployment Initiative is an effort to accelerate improvements to our electric transmission and distribution network to meet the country’s stated goals of affordable, clean, reliable, and resilient power.

Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin have committed to participate in the initiative, which, according to a White House Fact Sheet, means they’ll “prioritize efforts that support the adoption of modern grid solutions to expand grid capacity and build modern grid capabilities on both new and existing transmission and distribution lines.”

The White House and Department of Energy announced the new initiative at a summit for states, industry groups, and electric regulators.

“...the initiative aims to bring together states, federal entities, and power sector stakeholders to help drive grid adaption quickly and cost-effectively to meet the challenges and opportunities that the power sector faces in the twenty-first century,” the White House said in the fact sheet.

Two construction workers point up at an electrical tower.
A new joint venture between the federal government and 21 states aims to address the growing needs for modernizing the U.S. electrical grid.

Mutual Federal-State Commitments

Through this initiative, these states and the federal government jointly commit to:

  • Explore ways to accelerate the near-term deployment of more advanced, commercially available grid technologies to expand grid capacity and build modern grid capabilities on both new and existing transmission and distribution lines
  • Recognize that the deployment of modern grid technologies is part of a holistic energy strategy, complementing the need to build out new transmission and distribution lines
  • Recognize that there will not be a “one-size-fits-all” approach to maximizing the opportunities and overcoming the challenges each state may be facing with their grid
  • Work to increase state and Federal cooperation for both intraregional and interregional transmission planning efforts across regions, including Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent Service Operators
  • Work collaboratively with solution providers, industry, labor organizations, and trusted validators to build a diverse workforce and ensure grid owners and operators have access to the training and equipment needed to support modern technology deployment
  • Work to provide opportunities for stakeholders and communities within and across regions to share how to most effectively improve siting, regulatory, and economic structures
  • Explore opportunities to establish innovative partnership models, pool resources, and jointly plan transmission and distribution infrastructure development

State Commitments

State governments commit to:

  • Prioritize or accelerate efforts that support the adoption of modern grid solutions to cost-effectively meet growing electric grid needs, including efforts that increase capacity and maximize utilization of existing infrastructure
  • Explore opportunities at the executive and legislative levels to address capacity challenges facing the grid in an expedient manner
  • Explore pathways to facilitate adoption of high-performance conductors and grid enhancing technologies, which may include considering these technologies in grid planning, financial incentives, performance standards, and updated cost-effectiveness criteria
  • Maximize the use of available Federal financial and technical assistance
  • Help assess and communicate the potential benefits of modern grid technologies to partners and stakeholders within and across states, including local governments and the public
  • Share successes, challenges, lessons learned, and best practices with other states

Federal Commitments

The federal government commits to:

  • Maintain the national focus on grid innovation and promote awareness of power challenges as a strategic and economic priority nationwide
  • Ensure Federal agencies and lawmakers are informed of the value and opportunities created by grid innovation, and the criticality of reform
  • Make technical assistance programs available from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Grid Deployment Office, Office of Electricity, and National Labs for regions and states that are seeking additional support. This can also include assistance with decision frameworks between technologies and policies
  • Ensure states are aware of available financial assistance resources to support local projects, such as competitive funding from U.S. Department of Energy’s Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnership program (GRIP) and low-cost loans from the Title 17 Energy Infrastructure Reinvestment program
  • Encourage Power Marketing Administrations to consider modern grid technologies and collaborate with related power authorities in the regions they respectively serve
  • Promote ongoing dialogue between partner states, industry leaders, labor organizations, and trusted technical validators (domestically and globally) to explore strategies to accelerate deployment
  • Continue to source, track, evaluate, and disseminate information on state-of-the-art technologies and policies

Growing Grid Concerns

The initiative was announced following a Memorial Day weekend which saw severe storms leave at least 19 Americans dead and knock out power for hundreds of thousands more across the South and Midwest.

Nonprofit research group Climate Central found that weather-related major U.S. power outages are on the rise. While overhead power lines will always be at risk of damage from severe winds and lightning strikes, stronger storms are putting more pressure on this aged infrastructure.

“Of all major U.S. power outages reported from 2000 to 2023, 80% (1,755) were due to weather,” reads Climate Central’s website. “Many types of extreme weather are becoming more frequent or intense because of human-caused climate change. These events put stress on aging energy infrastructure and are among the leading causes of major power outages in the U.S. The nation’s electrical grid wasn’t built for the present-day climate.”

While the U.S. is increasingly turning to modern, clean energy solutions, our current grid infrastructure can’t handle the power. There is more electricity from solar power alone waiting to get on the grid than the entire amount of energy currently on the grid.

“We are investing tens of billions – the most significant public investment in a generation – to strengthen our grid to prevent power outages in the face of extreme weather, bolster U.S. energy security, and drive innovation,” White House national climate advisor Ali Zaldi said in a statement to CNN.

Keeping Infrastructure Projects On Time, On Budget, and Safe

When it comes to infrastructure projects, success is often determined well before the first shovel goes in the ground.

Proper planning, and best practices such as hiring a professional private utility locating company to help you avoid subsurface damage, will protect your assets and your people.

Since 2001, GPRS has supported infrastructure projects of all shapes and sizes through our site of infrastructure visualization services. Our SIM-certified Project Managers use industry-leading utility locating and precision concrete scanning technologies to provide you with an immediate and accurate report of the subsurface utilities on your job site. We also provide 3D laser scanning services to capture and create a permanent record of our concrete scanning and utility locating markings, as well as your site’s aboveground features to create accurate existing condition documentation for not just your current project, but future operations & maintenance (O&M).

All this field-verified data is always at your fingertips thanks to SiteMap® (patent pending), GPRS’ cloud-based infrastructure mapping software solution which is securely accessible 24/7 from any computer, tablet, or smartphone.

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

Can GPRS locate PVC piping and other non-conductive utilities?

GPR scanning is exceptionally effective at locating all types of subsurface materials. When PVC pipes do not provide an adequate signal for GPR scanning, GPRS Project Managers can utilize complementary technologies such as electromagnetic (EM) locating to compensate for this limitation.

Does GPRS offer same day private utility locating?

Yes, in most cases our professional Project Managers can respond rapidly to emergency same-day private utility locating service calls on your job site. Typically, however, we are able to be on site within 24-48 hours of your request.

Will I need to mark out the utilities that GPRS locates?

No, GPRS will locate and mark all utilities for you. We have a variety of tools and markers we can use to highlight the locations of utilities, underground storage tanks (USTs), and whatever else may be hiding below your job site. And, we will deliver a complimentary PDF, .KMZ file, and a SiteMap® Personal subscription as part of your utility locating service.

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How a Terminal Expansion in Boston Represents the Airport of Tomorrow

Boston’s Logan International Airport’s new 320,000-square-foot Terminal E expansion is more than just visually striking; it’s packed with innovative construction technologies that help minimize greenhouse gas emissions, maximize solar power, and more.

The opening of Boston Logan International Airport’s long-anticipated, multi-million-dollar expansion surprisingly flew under the radar.

The 320,000-square-foot, $640 million Terminal E expansion quietly debuted with a soft opening in August 2023. A grand opening ceremony followed in October, and the terminal fully opened in April of 2024.

The visually striking terminal was compared to a ruby-red intergalactic spaceship in the Boston Globe due to its prismatic red roof that subtly changes color depending on the light. Inside, the terminal features four additional gates, restaurants, a duty-free shop, and one of Delta Air Lines’ posh Sky Clubs: lounges exclusively for those flying first or business class on Delta or one of its partner airlines.

External shot of Boston Logan International Airport’s Terminal E expansion.
(Photo courtesy of Ema Peter via Engineering News-Record) Boston Logan International Airport’s futuristic-looking Terminal E expansion is designed to be environmentally friendly, and to act as a sound buffer between airport activities and nearby neighborhoods.

The building isn’t just aesthetically innovative; designed by AECOM and Luis Vidal + Architects, the expansion features green technologies such as photovoltaic glass – which converts ultraviolet and infrared light to electricity – and incorporates recycled materials to help minimize greenhouse gas emissions. Its critical infrastructure is elevated above the flood plain for resilience, its roof and envelope go beyond code minimums to withstand snow, ice, rainwater and high winds from a 500-year storm, and its overall shape was designed to serve as a noise barrier shielding the sound of planes and airport operations from the nearby East Boston.

According to a statement on AECOM’s website, the efforts to make the terminal energy-efficient resulted in a 25% reduction of qualified energy use above that required by the Massachusetts Energy Code.

“Massport (Massachusetts Port Authority) conceived the new Terminal E as a modern, iconic, international terminal that elevates Logan Airport’s reputation for providing an enhanced passenger experience,” AECOM Principal Architect and Senior Vice President Terry Rookard told Engineering News-Record.

The Terminal E project had to overcome numerous hurdles to reach completion. Some of those challenges – like pandemic-related delays – couldn’t be anticipated. Others – such as the fact that the airport remained active throughout construction – were expected, and, according to the project team, required heightened levels of collaboration, transparency and planning among stakeholders to conquer.

“The result is a bold, striking building designed with sustainable principles and focused on providing a unique, comfortable and healthy environment for passengers and workers alike,” Luis Vidal told ENR.

A GPRS Project Manager pushes a GPRS utility locating cart.
GPRS offers a suite of subsurface damage prevention, existing conditions documentation, and construction & facilities project management services designed to protect your assets and people.

Keep Your Projects On Time, On Budget, and Safe

Whether you’re overseeing an expansion to an international airport, or installing fiber optic cable in a suburban neighborhood, the best way to keep your projects on track is to mitigate the risk of subsurface damage while digging and ensure seamless communication between all stakeholders from start to finish.

The top six root causes driving nearly 76% of all reported damages have remained consistent year-over-year, according to data found in the Common Ground Alliance’s 2022 DIRT Report. Those causes include “No notification made to 811 One-Call Center,” “Facility not marked due to locator error,” “Excavator failed to maintain clearance after verifying marks,” “Marked inaccurately due to locator error,” “Improper excavation practice not listed elsewhere,” and “Excavator dug prior to verifying marks by potholing.”

“This year’s insights underscore consistent priority action areas that will significantly reduce damages,” CGA President & CEO, Sarah K. Magruder Lyle, wrote in the report. “For facility owners, GIS-based mapping of assets and communication are urgently needed to improve locating timelines and accuracy. Construction, maintenance, installation and locating contracts must incentivize adherence to Best Practices and drive damage reductions. Excavators must double down on safe work practices and proper use of 811. Expanded enforcement and education programs are essential to motivate compliance…”

GPRS offers a suite of subsurface damage prevention, existing conditions documentation, and construction & facilities project management services designed to protect your assets and people. From precision concrete scanning and utility locating to 3D laser scanning, video pipe inspections and virtual tours, we strive to keep your projects on time, on budget, and safe.

To put this field-verified data at your fingertips 24/7, GPRS created SiteMap® (patent pending), our cloud-based project & facility management application that provides accurate existing condition documentation to help you plan, design, manage, dig, and ultimately build better.

GPRS’ SiteMap® team members are currently scheduling live, personal demonstrations. Click below to schedule your free SiteMap® demo today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are sustainable building practices?

Sustainable building practices involve designing, constructing, and operating buildings in a way that reduces their environmental impact. This includes using energy-efficient materials, reducing waste, conserving water, and incorporating renewable energy sources. The goal is to create buildings that are environmentally responsible, resource-efficient, and healthy for occupants.

What are the benefits of sustainable building practices?

The benefits of sustainable building practices include lower energy and water costs, reduced waste, improved indoor air quality, and enhanced occupant health and productivity. Additionally, sustainable buildings often have a smaller carbon footprint and contribute to the overall sustainability goals of a community or organization. These practices can also increase the market value of properties and provide a competitive advantage in the real estate market.

What are some common strategies used in sustainable building practices?

Common strategies include using renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power, implementing energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems, using sustainable materials like recycled or locally sourced products, and incorporating green roofs or walls. Additionally, sustainable building practices often involve water conservation techniques, such as low-flow fixtures and rainwater harvesting, as well as designing buildings to maximize natural light and ventilation.

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What are the Biggest Risks Facing Construction Companies?

Construction companies face a myriad of risks that can significantly impact their operations, profitability, and long-term viability.

Construction companies face a myriad of risks that can significantly impact their operations, profitability, and long-term viability.

From regulatory compliance and safety issues to financial and reputational risks, the landscape is fraught with challenges that require diligent risk management and mitigation strategies.

Two people working over construction plans.
From regulatory compliance and safety issues to financial and reputational risks, the construction landscape is fraught with challenges that require diligent risk management and mitigation strategies.

Regulatory and Compliance Risks

One of the most significant risks facing construction companies is the ever-changing landscape of regulations and compliance requirements. These include building codes, environmental regulations, labor laws, and safety standards. Non-compliance can result in hefty fines, legal penalties, and project delays. To mitigate this risk, companies must stay updated with regulatory changes, invest in compliance training for employees, and implement robust monitoring systems to ensure adherence to all legal requirements.

Safety and Health Risks

Construction sites are inherently hazardous, with workers exposed to various dangers, including falls, equipment accidents, and exposure to harmful substances. The risk of workplace injuries and fatalities not only affects employee wellbeing, but can also lead to increased insurance premiums, legal liabilities, and reputational damage. Effective risk management in this area involves rigorous safety training, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), regular safety audits, and fostering a culture of safety awareness among all employees.

Financial Risks

Financial risks in construction can arise from several sources, including cost overruns, project delays, and changes in market conditions. Mismanagement of finances can lead to liquidity issues, insolvency, and project abandonment. To mitigate financial risks, construction companies should implement stringent budgeting processes, use financial forecasting tools, and maintain a healthy cash reserve to buffer against unexpected expenses. Additionally, diversifying the client base and securing fixed-price contracts can provide financial stability.

Cybersecurity Risks

Cybersecurity has emerged as a paramount concern for construction companies. The increasing use of digital tools and technologies, such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) and project management software, exposes companies to cyber threats, including data breaches, ransomware attacks, and phishing scams. To mitigate these risks, companies should invest in robust cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls, encryption, and multi-factor authentication. Regular cybersecurity training for employees and developing an incident response plan are also crucial components of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.

Legal and Contractual Risks

Legal and contractual risks can arise from poorly drafted contracts, disputes over project scope, and litigation related to construction defects or delays. These risks can lead to costly legal battles and damage relationships with clients and subcontractors. To mitigate these risks, construction companies should ensure that contracts are clear, comprehensive, and legally sound. Employing experienced legal counsel, maintaining thorough documentation, and adopting alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation or arbitration, can also help manage legal risks effectively.

Environmental Risks

Environmental risks, including natural disasters, extreme weather events, and environmental contamination, pose significant challenges for construction projects. These risks can lead to project delays, increased costs, and regulatory fines. To manage environmental risks, construction companies should conduct thorough site assessments, develop contingency plans, and implement sustainable construction practices. Additionally, obtaining appropriate insurance coverage, such as builders risk insurance, can provide financial protection against environmental hazards.

Market and Economic Risks

Market and economic fluctuations can significantly impact construction companies, affecting everything from material costs to project financing. Economic downturns, changes in interest rates, and fluctuations in demand for construction services can lead to financial instability. To mitigate these risks, companies should diversify their project portfolios, engage in market research, and establish strategic partnerships to ensure a steady pipeline of projects. Additionally, maintaining a flexible business model that can adapt to changing market conditions is essential for long-term resilience.

Reputational Risks

Reputational risks arise from negative publicity, project failures, and unethical business practices. A damaged reputation can result in loss of clients, decreased market share, and difficulty in attracting top talent. To protect their reputation, construction companies should prioritize quality workmanship, transparent communication with stakeholders, and ethical business practices. Implementing a robust risk management framework that includes crisis communication planning can also help mitigate reputational risks.

Supply Chain Risks

Supply chain disruptions, such as material shortages, delays in deliveries, and supplier bankruptcies, can significantly impact construction timelines and costs. To manage supply chain risks, construction companies should establish strong relationships with multiple suppliers, maintain an inventory of critical materials, and develop contingency plans for supply chain disruptions. Adopting just-in-time inventory management and leveraging technology to track and manage supply chain operations can also enhance resilience.

Construction workers watching a safety presentation.
Safety is always on GPRS’ radar, which is why we offer free ground disturbance policy reviews and sponsor several safety education initiatives, including Construction Safety Week, Concrete Sawing & Drilling Safety Week, and Water & Sewer Damage Awareness Week.

GPRS Services Assist in Risk Mitigation

Construction companies operate in a complex and dynamic environment where various risks can threaten their success. Effective risk management and risk mitigation strategies are essential for navigating these challenges and ensuring long-term sustainability.

By staying informed about regulatory changes, prioritizing safety, implementing robust financial and cybersecurity measures, and maintaining a flexible and proactive approach to risk management, construction companies can mitigate the risks they face and build a foundation for continued growth and success.

GPRS is committed to helping you mitigate risk through our suite of subsurface damage prevention, existing condition documentation, and construction & facilities project management services.

Safety is always on our radar, which is why we offer free ground disturbance policy reviews and sponsor several safety education initiatives, including Construction Safety Week, Concrete Sawing & Drilling Safety Week, and Water & Sewer Damage Awareness Week.

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 your service or request a quote today!

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About GPRS
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SiteMap®

training manuals

Utility Locating: Electromagnetic Locating
View Manual
Ground Penetrating Radar: Rebar Slabs
View Manual
Ground Penetrating Radar: Dielectrics
View Manual
Concrete Scanning – Slab-On-Grade
View Manual
Ribbed Slab Construction: Slab Type – Ribbed and Waffle
View Manual
Understanding Decking from a Concrete Scanning Perspective
View Manual
Understanding Decking from a Concrete Scanning Perspective - Hollow Core
View Manual