Equipment Used for Underground Utility Locates

Private utility locates can be conducted with various types of equipment. Depending on your project needs, equipment can range from traditional EM transmitters for line locates, to advanced real-time concrete scanning radar for geophysics studies and embedded objects.

EM Locate Equipment

Each of our technicians utilize EM locate equipment and these tools play an important role in locating buried utility lines. This equipment detects frequencies that the locate technician will place on buried conductors and can also find existing frequencies being emitted by electric power and telecommunication lines.

Our technicians can apply a frequency also known as a signal with a transmitter to a buried conductor using various locate techniques that the locate technician can tune in to with a receiver. This is the most traditional way of conducting utility locates and the most widely used in the industry to locate buried utility lines.

Technician Using EM Locate Equipment
Ground Penetrating Radar Unit

Ground Penetrating Radar

GPR makes use of different frequencies for obtaining data available at various depths. This equipment can be utilized for determining the depth and location of buried objects and works well in sandy soils, but not so well in conditions with clay and soils with high salt content. Operators must be highly trained and skilled in interpreting the GPR data. In urban settings, GPR can be useful in locating post tension cables or objects embedded in concrete slabs.

GPR signals are non-invasive and safe to be around. Unlike the x-ray scanning, Ground Penetrating Radar does not endanger people or objects in its area. GPR does not utilize dangerous radiation and poses no risks of exposure to people. This is important when a client wishes to minimize the impact of business operations in their work areas.


Electromagnetic Conductivity

These tools measure conductivity in the ground and are best used for detecting metal objects such as reinforced concrete pipes, electrical duct banks, and storage tanks and a variety of other buried objects. Our expert geophysics technicians can then provide heatmap representations on satellite images or other GIS data. 



Magnetometers can locate buried ferrous metal or iron objects and can detect large and small objects that are shallow and deep.​


Vacuum or Hydro Excavation

Vacuum excavation proves to be a gentle as well as fast method of locating and exposing underground utility lines.

In this method, high pressure air or water breaks up the soil allowing it to be vacuumed. This technique is also known as soft digging, potholing, or daylighting. In conjunction with other locating methods, daylighting is the most effective way at minimizing or eliminating risk while excavating.



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call 1 (800) 868-2916 or (905) 251-5055, or book a locate by clicking the button below.