Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the stakeholder-driven organization dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them and their communities, on May 26 released its third annual Technology Report, “Technology Advancements and Gaps in Underground Safety 2020,” which serves as a record of progress in technology for the damage prevention industry, as well as a source of inspiration for new applications of existing technologies and the development of new technologies.
The 2020 Technology Report, which is produced by CGA’s Technology Committee, identifies gaps that could be filled by new or modified technologies, gaps that are in the process of being addressed by technology, and damage prevention technologies that are currently in use. The report shares information that CGA’s Technology Committee has collected on successful applications of technology, which may eventually lead to the adoption of new CGA Best Practices and raise the overall level of industry knowledge. The report also examines some of the root causes of damages provided in CGA’s Annual Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Reports and offers ideas for how technology could be applied to address them.
Additionally, the report features three case studies that can be used as examples of what works now in damage prevention and/or a preview of what is being developed:
- SeeScan—Geolocating System: A Data-Driven Solution for Locating and Mapping Buried Utilities: SeeScan applies a fully integrated, multi-sensor utility mapping system to real-world applications. By using data instead of human interpretation, the geolocating system can determine the utility’s horizontal position and depth with a high degree of accuracy.
- Pacific Gas and Electric—Water Extraction Tool Development and Testing to Aid in Legacy Cross Bore Program Sewer Lateral Inspections: Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and ServPro worked together to develop and apply a new technology to extract standing water within a sewer lateral. After water is extracted, optical cameras can take imagery of the lower half of the sewer lateral, allowing for the confirmation of the presence or non-presence of a cross bore.
- Leica Geosystems—Democratizing Ground Penetrating Radar Technology to Non-GPR Experts for Faster, Simpler, and Reliable Detection of Underground Utilities: Leica Geosystems brings new GPR utility detection technology to the field with simplified workflow, automated data processing, and high accuracy. The software guides the user on correct data collection to minimize mistakes. Users can locate underground utilities and visualize detected utilities via the onboard acquisition software.
“Exploring current and emerging technologies and how they can help move the damage prevention industry further toward our goal of zero damages to underground utilities is essential, and Common Ground Alliance members are using technology in truly innovative ways to advance our industry,” said Nick A. Starke, co-chair of the CGA Technology Committee. “We are excited to share some of the latest applications of technology in our 2020 Technology Report and help inspire where damage prevention stakeholders go next with their use of technology to reduce damages.”
The complete “Technology Advancements and Gaps in Underground Safety 2020” report is available for download at commongroundalliance.com, and stakeholders interested in making contributions to the annual report are encouraged to complete the short survey available here.