Detection and Location of Buried Infrastructures Using Ground Penetrating Radar: A New Approach Based on GIS and Data Integration

Detection and Location of Buried Infrastructures Using Ground Penetrating Radar: A New Approach Based on GIS and Data Integration

Paulo Guilherme Tabarro (Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada), Jacynthe Pouliot (Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada), Louis-Martin Losier (Geovoxel Inc., Quebec City, Canada) and Richard Fortier (Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/IJ3DIM.2018040103
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This article proposes an approach to improve the deployment of ground penetrating radar (GPR) in the field to detected and locate urban infrastructures. It consists of exploiting geographic data layers, database management systems, and a WebGIS, allowing users to handle GPR data within a georeferenced environment is developed based on a platform called GVX, providing users with four features, being (1) map integration, (2) geo-annotations and points of interest interaction, (3) radargram georeferencing, and (4) georeferenced slice visualization. Experiments with two categories of users, expert and non-expert GPR practitioners, have been performed. Based on the users' evaluation, the approach is valuable and can significantly improve GPR deployment. It helps users when discovering unmapped underground objects, delimiting the survey area, and interpreting GPR complex datasets. Overall, the approach optimized time and facilitated the spatial notion between GPR profiles and 3D meshes with map resources, allowing users to produce reliable maps, conforming to geospatial standards (CityGML).
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Underground Utility Networks’ Detection and Damage Prevention

With the increasing number of services offered to the public — such as telecom, electricity, sewerage, and water — there has been a proportional growth in infrastructures supplying these services, creating a mesh of vital underground utility networks (UUN) that is complex and invisible to human eyes (Jeong et al., 2004). In Figure 1, an example of such a situation in the city of Rio de Janeiro is shown.

In complex construction sites and large infrastructure projects, the lack of information about the subsoil may lead to damage of buried infrastructure during excavation and interruption of crucial services, inducing high repair costs and delaying construction (Costello et al., 2007; Lew and Anspach, 2000; Metje et al., 2007). For instance, in 2017, Info-Excavation (2017) reported over five incidents causing damage per business day on average in the province of Québec, Canada, implying an increase of 11% in the number of incidents relative to 2016, which already represented CAD$123 million in socio-economic, direct, and indirect, costs. Nationally, the social-related costs were estimated at almost CAD$1 billion per year (CCGA, 2016).

Figure 1.

Example of underground utility networks, Rio de Janeiro (Courtesy of Geovoxel)


With the social, economic, and safety risks taken into consideration, private and public institutions have been uniting their efforts to properly locate and map underground utility networks (U.S. Department of Transportation, 2014; Pouliot et al., 2015; Pouliot and Girard, 2016). With this goal in mind, stakeholders should find out how structures are laid underground before taking decisions about new urban developments or interventions in order to avoid costs and inconvenience to the population and damage to the environment. This emerging field of locating and mapping underground infrastructure has gained visibility and become a new domain of expertise called subsurface utility engineering (SUE). In an assessment by Leuderalbert (1999), for every dollar spent on SUE, $4.62 is saved, demonstrating the economic viability of the practice.

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