Old Maps, New Problems

Utility Mapping is one of those overhead expenses that property owners or managers sometimes overlook or even put off. They tend to think that they will remember where new lines are laid, or they take pictures on their phone for future reference… but what happens once the property is sold or once that manager is no longer with the company? You might think that this is easily resolved with a quick call to your local OneCall or 811.

But did you know that outdated or inaccurate maps can delay your public locates?

The traditional process of locating utilities relies heavily on manual records and maps. It is limited to a single technology, electromagnetic detection, which is dependent on metallic lines or viable tracer wires. It's also critical to understand their scope of work. OneCall/811 is legally obligated (and limited to) locating only PUBLIC utilities. It is essentially the transmission lines that carry services from the utility's main to your facility's meter. This protects the utility companies and their assets.

Any number of distribution lines from your meter to (or between) your facilities, non-metallic conduits or subsurface structures will remain unmarked and at risk of damages. These are considered PRIVATE utilities and are the responsibility and liability of the property owner.

There were 7,446 utility damages attributed to inaccurate marks due to incorrect facility map/record in 2019 - estimating a total of $419 MILLION in damages. That over $56,000 per incident!

Utility Mapping services leverage advanced technologies and tools to create comprehensive maps and digital databases of all underground utilities and structures. These services utilize a combination of ground-penetrating radar (GPR), electromagnetic induction, GPS, and other cutting-edge technologies to accurately map the locations of buried utility lines. So, how do you justify the expense? The benefits of proactive Utility Mapping are broad, but all lead to saving you time and money - and increased safety on your property or job sites:

  • Expedited Locate Requests: With utility mapping services, the time-consuming process of manually searching for utility records and physically marking locations can be significantly reduced. The digital databases and mapping tools allow for quick access to vital information, expediting the locate request process for both public AND private utilities. This ensures that projects can proceed promptly, preventing unnecessary delays.
  • Enhanced Accuracy: Utility mapping services offer a substantial improvement in accuracy compared to traditional methods. By using advanced technologies, such as GPR, electromagnetic induction, and GPS, these services can precisely locate and map underground utilities. The accurate information obtained through utility mapping significantly reduces the risk of damaging essential infrastructure during construction or excavation activities.
  • Comprehensive Data Integration: Utility mapping services provide a holistic view of underground infrastructure by integrating data from multiple sources. This includes utility records, as-built plans, previous surveys, and other relevant information. By consolidating this data, utility mapping services create a centralized repository that offers a comprehensive understanding of the underground utility network, enabling better decision-making and project planning.
  • Enhanced Safety and Risk Mitigation: By accurately mapping the location of utilities, utility mapping services play a crucial role in ensuring worker safety. With improved accuracy, potential hazards and conflicts with existing utilities can be identified in advance, allowing for proper precautions to be taken. This proactive approach significantly reduces the risk of accidents, injuries, and costly damages.

Accurate utility maps not only better protect your subsurface infrastructure, it ensures that your mandatory public locate requests can be fulfilled quickly and accurately. 811 has become a something of a punching bag in the "Excavation World." Understanding their legal and technological limits is important to upholding the critical role they play in our industry, and reiterates the complexity of modern infrastructure:

Comprehensive damage prevention includes BOTH, public and private utility locates.

Mason Private Locating has Centuries of Experience in comprehensive damage prevention services. Our team of veteran locators are experienced, trained and equipped to utilize the latest technologies in a partnership with our customers - for the future of their infrastructure. Do you have questions about Private Utilities, Utility Locating or Utility Mapping? Our Customer Service Representatives are cross-trained in the field to better understand your sites and answer your questions (for FREE!) over the phone. You are just a phone call away from safer infrastructure: (888)316-3933