Proceq have been making a lot of noise about their new ‘GPR Live’ over the last 12 months, social media has been virtually flooded with Proceq marketing. We decided to take a look and see what the fuss is all about.
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The Proceq GPR Live is a new GPR to the market, designed for structural investigation, rebar and concrete scanning. As a newcomer to the industry Proceq have clearly modelled their product on the marked leading GSSI Structure Scan Mini XT with a bit of Ferroscan PS1000 X-Scan thrown in, but tried to differentiate themselves by doing things a little differently.
The Proceq GPR Live does not have a display, it relies on a separate iPad which can be mounted on top of the GPR for one handed use or used to control the GP from a distance (such as when the GPR is mounted on the end of its pole).
Proceq do not allow local storage of GPR data and instead all data collected is uploaded to the cloud and can then be downloaded from the internet directly to your PC. This has the added benefit of automatically backing your data up. This is the reference to ‘Live’ in the name.
Finally, and most importantly, instead of the traditional impulse radar technology used by the majority of GPR on the market, Proceq GPR Live utilises stepped frequency technology. Stepped frequency technology is easier to design, cheaper to produce, and has a lower power consumption than impulse GPR. It transmits a very broad-spectrum signal allowing the single device to function as (for example), a 900MH, 1.5GHz, 2GHz, 2.7GHz, and 3.5GHz GPR all in one which theoretically provides the resolution of a high frequency GPR with the penetration capability of a lower frequency GPR in the same device.
The Proceq GPR ‘scanner head’ is a relatively small four-wheel device with a capacitive button and laser points to the front and sides. It comes packaged with an extending pole and space for an iPad, in a smart and robust case.
It can be controlled either directly on the device (although there is no display) or using the iPad as a wireless ‘remote control’. The data is displayed directly on the iPad in real time and can be saved for post processing.
As with other similar equipment, we tested the Proceq GPR Live on the concrete slab outside our office. Proceq kindly lent it to us for a few days so we could also take it on-site and make a comparative test against our existing GPR.
The performance of the Proceq GPR Live is excellent, it has genuine penetration equivalent to an 800MHz-1GHz antenna with good resolution. The shallow resolution is a little less than a dedicated high frequency GPR, but the good resolution continues throughout the data set to impressive depth. It’s likely that the shallow resolution could be improved with the use of a bandpass filter, at the cost of removing any lower frequency information contained in the data for ‘deeper’ features.
The extension pole is ideal, we wish we had a similar pole for our other GPR.
Unfortunately, the Proceq GPR Live does not appear to be very robust. On our first use we pushed the GPR over a stone and that left a deep score in the bottom of the antenna case, we then had to sweep the area before we could continue testing, something we have never had to do with any device.
Because of this experience, when we took the GPR on site for comparative testing and the site proved to be challenging we were afraid to use it, for fear of causing damage and being charged by Proceq when it was returned.
Also during our first test of the Proceq GPR Live it started to rain, iPads do not perform well in the rain and we quickly had problems with the capacitive screen. It is mystifying why Proceq also chose to use a capacitive button on the device instead of a standard waterproof robust one.
When mounted on the device, the bulk of the iPad makes the Proceq a very large device, and obscures one of the laser points which are needed to accurately record the positions of closely spaced rebars.
It was possible to export data for post processing in GPR Slice, but only in individual files which is very time consuming: we understand that this will be changed in a software update.
Here we risk mixing a GPR review with an iPad review. The iPad is a toy suitable for YouTube videos and internet surfing, it is not suitable for serious work, it is not robust and does not work in the rain, the screen is unreadable in direct sunlight, and we don’t feel comfortable relying on an iPad for surveying.
Although we prefer to view raw data, the real time processing for the Proceq is very good, as are the real time ‘3D’ views. The Proceq app also allows us to view raw data in real time and it is good quality.
The app is nice but ultimately doesn’t offer anything useful, any more than the similar app of the Ferroscan or the GSSI. Data export to a real GPR processing software is possible though.
The Proceq GPR Live has excellent performance, but it is not a serious piece of equipment – particularly with the use of an iPad as a screen. We would like to have one in our portfolio but our company policy is not to buy anything that will be likely to let us and our customers down on-site and we feel that the Proceq GPR Live cannot be relied upon.
We also do not like the ‘GPR Live’ functionality and would much prefer a traditional system of saving data and transferring it by USB, although this is something we would live with if we had to.
Nice GPR, shame about the lack of robustness and the iPad.