What’s under the ground in your city? Neighborhood? Yard?
- Thursday, 31 May 2012 16:00
- Written by Robert Young
If we only knew, we would be amazed to find out two statements I have found to be true:
1)Less than one per cent of US Cities of ANY size have a "Survey Grade" base map of things like the land parcels, water utilities, electric utilities, communication utilities, and most of all "energy and chemical" pipelines.
2) There are no refineries in Texas that absolutely positively know where all of their pipelines are located. These contain, Nitrogen, Hydrogen, Crude oil, refined gasoline, jet fuel, and the list goes on and on. These are ALL essential to the US economy and the lifestyle we are accustomed to. We just do not know where they really exist along their entire routes. " We" include the owners and operators of these pipelines in some cases.
With these two statements, as a Texas Licensed Land Surveyor, it is beyond my ability to be quiet and not spread this word. It is not doom and gloom, it is a wake-up call to help get more surveyors, the public, and the owners of the pipelines and utilities to realize the value of continually updating the data they obtain and validate the locations "on the ground" before data is "accepted, perpetuated, and used" as the truth in relation to the location of all underground utilities discussed above.
The solutions to get to where we do know where the Underground Utilites are located consist in picking a place and a date to begin. Once you begin the process of doing what it takes from using existing Survey Grade data, to acquiring survey grade data, as utilities are located and discovered. The methods to locate them exist from the most high tech like Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to pothole, or hydro excavation, to actually locate the pipes and condition of the exterior.
The insides of pipelines have been really impacted in a positive manner with technologies like the "smart pig" and all types of thermal – infrared photography from the air to help them locate leaks or areas of pipe degradation. I think there are many unmet needs in this area, and look forward to hearing what you think.
What's under your city? Highway? Neighborhood? Yard?