Surface Penetrating Radar

Written by Amy Hall
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What Is Surface Penetrating Radar?

Surface Penetrating Radar, also known as Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), is a system that uses radar to locate utilities beneath the surface of the earth, in or below cement, or in or below other non-conductive materials. It is often a preliminary step in any engineering and construction projects that require the surface to be drilled or cored. Not only does this radar help with the planning phase of engineering projects, but it also serves as a safety precaution, as it virtually eliminates the worry of workers breaking any pipes or electrical wires that could cause fire, electrocution or flooding.

Subsurface radar is used by professionals in the fields of mining, geology, structural engineering, transportation engineering, and archeology, just to name a few. It is quick, reliable, and convenient, which are all good qualities when it comes to planning big building projects, such as a new highway or a new hospital. Because this radar is so reliable, engineers have come to rely on it over the use of X-rays for utility location.

Benefits of GPR Over X-Rays

Traditionally, X-rays have been used by professionals in the above mentioned fields whenever it became necessary to locate utilities. While X-rays can produce accurate results, it is often at the expense of time and money. It often takes a worker a handfull of shots from different angles and locations to find the precise location of utilities.

The customer then has to pay for each X-ray image taken, which can be costly. However, when surface penetrating radar is used, results are practically instantaneous, and they are extremely accurate. In addition, radar does not give off radiation like X-rays do, so it is perfectly safe to use in the presence of people.

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