Sensors detect underground utilities

| Global Environmental Processes

Leica DSX utility detection instrument uses ground penetrating radar (GPR) 2

Ground penetrating radar technology is being used in a convenient instrument for the detection of underground utilities in any terrain.

Leica Geosystems is using fully rugged F110 tablet computer systems from Getac to provide utility companies, repair and maintenance contractors, surveyors and civil engineers with a complete, intelligent system for detecting, visualising and mapping underground utilities. Leica Geosystems combines the tablet with its own Leica DSX utility detection system to provide reliable subterranean information in severe conditions.

Designed for the detection of buried utilities, the DSX simplifies the way traditional ground-penetrating radar data is visualised, interpreted and exported with the support of the Getac F110 tablet.

New method for utility detection

Locating and mapping invisible underground utilities that are typically undocumented is a lengthy task that used to be limited to highly experienced professionals with technical background.

The Leica Geosystems’ DSX utility detection and mapping device allows new users with limited experience in interpreting ground penetrating radar data to take advantage of the benefits the technology has to offer – assuring safety during excavation works by reducing the risk of utility strikes. This in turn helps minimise downtime and opens up new service opportunities.

Underground utility detection and mapping is performed on all types of conditions and terrain, ranging from asphalt and gravel to grass, rocks and sand. Being part of the complete system, it is crucial that the tablet remains stable, has a high-resolution display for clear data visualisation and analysis and works reliably in sunlight and rain, as well as in hot and cold temperatures.

The Leica system employs Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) a non-destructive function that pulses radar into the ground. The single pass instrument analyses the reflected radar beam to locate pipes, cables and other infrastructure beneath the ground surface. Once the analysis has been performed, the results are presented as a “digital map” showing the location of the infrastructure in an easily readable format.

Rugged Tablet

For such cases, the fully-rugged F110 Tablet is independently tested and certified to MIL-STD 810G, IP65 and MIL-STD-461F standards, meaning it is protected against drops of up to 1.2 metres, shocks, spills, vibration, dust and liquid. It can also be operated in temperatures from -21 to +60 °C and stored in temperatures from -51 to +71 °C.

The F110 tablet features Getac’s LumiBond 2.0 display, which is fully legible even in direct sunlight, while various touch modes for rain, glove or pen operation ensure a high level of user-friendliness. The large 11.6-inch screen also offers ample space for applications, while the RJ45 / LAN port provides a secure and fast data connection to the DSX utility detection system.

According to Scott Shainman, President of Getac North America, getting the correct combination of instrumentation and user friendly, robust display and control equipment is essential for such a demanding role.

“The Leica application is not just about maximising efficiency and avoiding costly damage to pipelines, but above all, protecting those working on such utilities doing difficult and often extremely dangerous work outside in the field. The reliable and powerful F110 tablet is definitely the best choice for such requirements,” he says.

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