Prime contractors are now paying more and more attention to quality issues all over the globe. No wonder - for example by proper documentation and precisely mapped underground infrastructure, they are able to work efficiently and provide high quality documentation to the network owners.
With the quality mapping network owners can be assured the work has been done correctly and the location is precise. Also future accidental cuts will be avoided as the cables are precisely mapped.
This is one of the reason why our innovation for precise mapping of underground cables is often found in many leading European contractors’ tool kits.
How most of the contractors map underground cables today - and why there is a need for change?
Remember those children's “connect-the-dots” games, where you draw lines between numbered dots and as a result you get a cool figure? This is how underground cables are still mapped today.
Dots are mapped every 5-10 meters apart. Unfortunately, unlike the figures in children's games, the lines are straight and rough and don’t represent the reality.
The mapped lines can be more than one meter off from where the cables really are, when at the same time requirements on the equipment and measurements are on centimetre level. In the field, neglecting the local regulations on measurement accuracy is still unfortunately common, but also dangerous - in some cases even fatal.
How the mapping of underground cables is done today by forerunner companies?
An alternative approach to mapping individual points is to 3D scan the open underground cable trench already when the cable is being installed in the trench.
A real time 3D scanning approach has until now been expensive, time-consuming, and required highly skilled personnel, and it has only been used in rare applications. Fortunately, not anymore!
Our groundbreaking mapping solution Groundhawk uses a 3D scanning technique in a handheld device that is easy and fast to use. The result is a continuous map of the open trench, that follows the cables accurately and continuously in 3D.
That is why forerunners in the field of critical infrastructure use Groundhawk when they build networks. I will explain more in detail later on how the device works (or you can have a look on our Groundhawk brochure), but first let me go through some figures to demonstrate why it is important to map critical infrastructure, precisely.
Why it is important to 3D scan and map critical infrastructure under our feet - and do it precisely?
The problem with imprecise underground cable mapping and accidentally breaking underground cables is larger than one might think. In some cases, more accurate mapping could have saved even lives.
"For the society, electricity and telecom cuts knows extra costs and for the worker in the trench, there is a significant risk of major injury or even death."
For example, in the Netherlands, there are more than 40.000 accidental underground cable cuts in a year. UK reports that the impact of accidental cable and pipe strikes cost 1 200 million GBP per year, and 70 people are seriously injured.
For the society, electricity and telecom cuts prevent business in the affected area for hours until fixed. For the worker in the trench, there is a significant risk of major injury or even death.
Map the depth and meet accuracy standards automatically with Groundhawk
The Groundhawk solution is easy to take into use and is designed to be used by the workers in the builder team. As prime contractors are focusing more and more on cost-efficiency and quality the innovation is getting more and more popular over time - already more than 100,000 meters of underground cables are mapped and over 10,000 mappings are conducted with Groundhawk every year.
The solution provides the same format of cable mapping files as with traditional mapping equipment to ensure compatibility with mapping systems. With a connected solution like Groundhawk, mapping is done in real time, and there are geotagged photos of the open trench and network elements.
The real-time transparency creates trust and reduces the need for manual reporting throughout the stakeholders like network operator, prime contractor, and builder team. All parties in the process can be at ease knowing that things are done correctly by seeing how the work is progressing in real time.