Innovative process to characterize buried utilities using Ground Penetrating Radar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)


Today's non-invasive technologies for locating buried utilities can be considered as ancient. However, Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) has recently received significant attention from the scientific community since it showed great promise in detecting landmines. Yet, the complexities of the underground, especially in inhabited areas, makes "seeing-through-the-earth" to find buried utilities extremely difficult. This paper presents the results of a data processing method, called Translation Invariant Wavelet Packet Detection (TIWPD), applied to filtering GPR data collected on a university campus. It first provides a brief introduction into the working principles of scanning the ground with electromagnetic radar waves that are being refracted, scattered, and reflected by buried objects of all sizes and materials. In its main section, the paper presents the results of experimental deployment of the system during a construction project that involved the extensive excavation trenches to lay chilled water pipes. The significance of this paper lies in its use of real-world GPR data to demonstrate the performance characteristics of the filtering process and its validation with the actual condition found during excavation. The encouraging results of this work should provide the basis for developing a near-real time utility detection system that can be used by laborers in the field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-555
Number of pages10
JournalAutomation in Construction
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes

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