Full Spectrum of Tools Used at Underground Detective
Technology wise, the biggest development in how The Underground Detective operates has been with GPR, which uses electromagnetic radiation waves and detects the reflected signals from objects below the surface. Harris says the company added GPR to its equipment arsenal in the early 2000s, and as the technology has developed, it has become a valuable asset for more than utility locating. But in the mission to provide exemplary service and locate all belowground structures for customers, the company is careful not to rely too heavily on GPR.
“Technology has gotten better, but as far as the core of the equipment, we’re using stuff we used back then (in the early years of the business),” says Harris.
“With GPR, every one of our trucks is required to have it, and it is always something we can use. But we just consider it another tool in the toolbox. It’s been a wonderful asset, but some people have a misconception that it’s a magic tool and that’s all you need in order to locate everything.”
Technicians use the full spectrum of tools available — including customer education — to deliver quality service. Harris says that over time, more people have realized that with so many private belowground utilities, it’s necessary to call a company like The Underground Detective in addition to using the required 811 service. But a lesson is still sometimes needed.
“You still run across people who don’t get the concept,” Harris says. “811 is the requirement, but there is still definitely a gap there. You really need to call 811 and then a company like ours. It’s just education. We try to blog a lot on our website, we do trade shows, we do ‘Lunch and Learn’ events. I would like to do more of those — any way we can just talk to people.”
In one recent blog, Harris highlighted the benefits of vacuum excavation — another area of the business that has seen a growth trend of late. The Underground Detective uses trucks from Denver-based VACMASTERS to do everything from simply uncovering a utility for inspection to digging entire trenches.
“It’s an everyday thing for us, but the projects vary,” Harris says. “The trenching is becoming more popular with it, instead of a customer using a backhoe. Environmental engineering firms love it for getting the exact details on utilities they’ll be crossing.”
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