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What is
Ground Penetrating Radar
or GPR

GPS is a geophysical method that uses radar pulses to image the subsurface.

In a sentence, Ground Penetrating Radar, or GPR, is a method of viewing buried infrastructure, objects located underground, without digging.

How It Works

GPR uses an antenna to emit radio waves into the ground. As waves bounce off buried objects, the antenna records the strength and time it takes for the wave to bounce back to the receiver. When the radio wave hits an object with different properties than the material surrounding it, it produces a reflection. The amplitude or strength of the reflection is based on the difference in conductivity and dielectric permittivity of the two materials. Reflections are recorded as scans. GPR Radio waves are emitted in a cone shape, not a straight line. This results in an object being recorded as a hyperbola, or inverted U shape on the receiver screen. The object is actually located at the peak amplitude of the hyperbola. The higher the frequency of the antenna, the shallower into the ground it will penetrate. A higher frequency antenna will also ‘see’ smaller targets.

GPR has limitations. Some material can interfere with a technician’s ability to get an accurate scan of an area. Metal is a complete reflector because it does not allow any of the radio waves to pass through. Metal can block the scan from showing anything lying beneath. Water saturation is another impediment to GPR. Even heavy rainwater raises the dielectric permittivity of the material and therefore causes that material to appear to be different. A well-trained technician knows how to spot signs that an area is water saturated and is aware of how water can affect scans. Wet ground limits the viability of GPR and the scan is not as complete.

Data Processing

Most GPR scans are done with as a “Utility Scan.” Radio signals are emitted and discovery is interpreted real time, onsite. Some clients request a more detailed 3D GPR scans, to be post- processed by specialized computer software. The 3D scan creates a depth slice is a 3D view of the ground at a certain depth. The technician can use this model to map exactly where, and at what depth objects are located underground.

Our Equipment

Omega Mapping Services uses Geophysical Survey Systems International (GSSI) SIR 4000 systems. These top-of-the-line systems may use either a digital and analog antenna. Weighing in at 10 pounds, the system is nimble to use for large jobs which take an extended period of time. The GSSI SIR 4000 system allows in-field data interpretation, which saves time for both the technician and the client.

Let's talk about how GPR can help you.

Underground mapping using GPR and GPS can save countless hours and money by being able to know what's underground before having to dig. Helping you find utitlities, unmarked graves, available plots, and much more. Let's talk further to see how we can best assist you.

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