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Field Surveys

GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) can be used to survey fields and open spaces to detect buried obstructions and other underground features including foundations, voidspipes, cables, buried concrete, badger tunnels, tanks, drainage and archaeology.

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Why use GPR to survey fields?

If correctly implemented a GPR survey is a cost-effective and efficient method to achieve comprehensive coverage of fields and open spaces, whilst causing a relatively low impact on the site itself. Our ATV uses low-pressure tyres prevent it from sinking into soft ground and tearing up the grass and our light weight GPR equipment has its weight dispersed through a wide skid. There is little more impact from our towed GPR surveys compared to walking with the GPR – although it does make surveys possible in areas which otherwise would not be.

GPR works by detecting changes in the electrical properties of the ground and it can be used to detect most kind of below surface features from the layering of the ground itself to the water table, archaeology, foundations, voids, drainage, pipes, cables, badger tunnels, obstructions etc. these can be imaged to varying degrees depending on the local ground conditions. When using our custom made GPR to survey fields and open spaces the imagery can be impressive.

PAS128-2014 compliant surveys of fields

Our dedicated GPR system is ideal as part of any level of PAS128 compliant survey up to and exceeding M4P. It has already been deployed to survey hundreds of thousands of m2 of airport taxiway and grass areas, fields and carparks. Our GPR results will need to be integrated with your EML and topo to produce a fully PAS128 compliant utility survey.

Deliverables from GPR surveys of fields

Typical deliverables include a survey report and drawings, including extracts of images and explanations as required.

Deliverables from GPR surveys of fields

Limitations for GPR surveys of fields

GPR requires to be in direct contact with the surface to work, overgrown vegetation will create obstructed areas and weeds with thick woody stems can snag the antennas as they travel. Long grass also has a performance reduction implication, as well as making the survey more difficult. For these reasons it is preferable if the field is cleared prior to scanning.

GPR surveys are not ideal on certain types of ground such as clay soils, very wet ground and sites backfilled with course aggregate, where penetration will be significantly reduced.

The surface does not need to be perfectly flat but very uneven surfaces can be problematic, steep inclines above 15% will require separate consideration and additional risk assessment and may require an alternative tow system or not be suitable for GPR survey.

Example GPR survey 150000m² of Manchester Airport, PAS128:2014 M4P

We were asked to scan 150000m2 of Manchester Airport grass areas and taxiways to detect utilities, as well as any other underground features and information that can be obtained through GPR. Over the course of several weeks of night shifts, we recovered all the survey data for large areas of grass and taxiway using GPR towed by our dedicated ATV, which was processed to produce a drawing to be integrated with the airports utility survey.

Other off road GPR surveys of fields

Outside of airports we have surveyed hundreds of thousands of m² of fields to detect utilities, obstructions, to map badger sets, detect archaeology, etc. using as a tow vehicle motorcycle, ATV, Land Rover, Pickup Truck, and pulling equipment by hand. If a GPR survey needs to be performed, KB GPR Surveys has the expertise to make it happen.

Our off road GPR survey system for GPR surveys of fields

Our off road GPR survey system for GPR surveys of fields

Our dedicated off-road GPR system for surveys of fields and open spaces includes a dedicated side-by-side all terrain tow vehicle (ATV) and a custom made, GPR array which can be interfaced with GPS to accurately collect the topography of the survey area at the same time as the GPR data. This system provides reliable operation on all normal terrain with open skies and allows us to efficiently collect GPR data with a scan density of 30cm and produce very high-quality images. For smaller areas we can deploy GPR towed by hand, using orthogonal grids or GPS integration as appropriate for the area.

When high quality imaging is not required, KB GPR Surveys has a smaller, multi frequency antenna which we can deploy as a single channel system with wider scan spacing.

How a GPR survey of fields is performed

How a GPR survey of fields is performed

As with most GPR our antennas are ground coupled (this means that they require direct surface contact to work efficiently), and because they are mounted on a skid which is dragged, we request that the site is cleared and overgrown vegetation is removed before we attend site. Ideally grass should be cropped short.

We travel to the field, review the site and decide on the most practical and efficient survey process – if orthogonal grids are required we will take some time to mark the ground accurately and recover site information. If we are using GPS then this will also be set up and integrated. Once we are ready to begin surveying we will assemble our GPR.

We will then collect GPR data by either pushing, pulling, or towing the GPR across the site in a series of sequential scans until the entire field has been surveyed with the desired scan density. Using our towed array that could be as close as 30cm between scans – alternatively we might use one of our single antenna GPR systems at wider spacing (1m or in some cases 2m).

GPR data will be saved for office based post processing and interpretation.

At our office we import the data into our industry leading software for GPR post processing and interpretation. Using the GPS positioning we can recover the precise positions of each scan in X and Y and the site topography, this will be integrated with the GPR data which is in turn processed to improve its appearance and remove unwanted clutter. The final result is a 3D view which can be interpreted to produce the survey results.

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