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Uncovering Underground Utilities The contemporary city is a labyrinth of streets and alleyways, buildings and obstructions.These complexities of the cities on the surface are nothing compared to the confusion created by the underground scenario as power, telephone and fiber optic cables vie for room with water, gas, wastewater, and sewer pipelines. On top of that are the layers upon layers of both in use and out of use utilities (dating as far back to the 1800’s), complicating the matter even more. Among the very significant services for underground mapping performed nowadays is utility mapping. This is important prior to carrying out any excavation job in residential as well as in public areas. It is often used to locate cables for electricity, telecoms and fiber optics, pipes that are metal or plastic, and drainage systems. As soon as everyone knows what utility services exist underground, they will be able to make sure that they won’t rupture a main water pipeline or make a hole through a power cable by accident, which can lead to chaos for local residents or accidents. Since utility mapping is not evasive, it can be done speedily and without causing a lot of disruption, particularly if the mapping service is happening in some active high-street or adjacent to a school, for instance. For excavating companies, bumping into buried utilities while in the excavation process can lead, at most, to damaging holdups and monetary or other consequences where the service is disrupted; to make matters worse, such a scenario exposes workers to injuries or even death.
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Before contractors launch excavation on some site, it is vital for them to make every necessary measures in detecting and locating whatever buried utilities will be affected during construction or excavation activities. This will very likely involve finding “before you dig” company. These service providers collate the several details they have gathered from the different utility companies about the location of utilities under the ground and forwards the data, typically for a price, to the excavating contractors. Even though utility locating services offer important first sort-out for contractors, these are not foolproof – maps can be inaccurate or incomplete, utilities have probably been added, relocated, or taken out without such information being communicated. It is therefore advisable for excavating companies to contract someone who has the right qualifications, experience, and equipment to perform the utility locating and utility mapping services.
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Modern technology has introduced state-of-the-art equipment in the form of electromagnetic detectors, radio-detection, and GPRS (ground penetrating radar systems), etc., that can be used to correctly locate many different buried utilities including pipes and cables that are either metallic or non-metallic. Then, mapping out these utilities can be done using the usual survey techniques alongside GPS and geographical information system or GIS software.