The following article was originally published in the March 2018 edition of the ASCE Civil Engineering Magazine (pp.38-39).
CONSULTANTS at GEL Geophysics LLC, a geophysical and subsurface utility engineering consulting firm based in Charleston, South Carolina, in collaboration with the Ontario, California, office of David Evans and Associates Inc., a professional consulting firm, have combined existing surveying technology to create a system that is far more than a sum of its parts. The innovation is a multi-sensor system that performs 3-D surveys of spaces above and below ground.
The system combines 3-D lidar, 3-D photogrammetry, and high-speed, 3-D ground-penetrating radar (GPR) among other conventional geophysical tools to create a comprehensive survey. The lidar and GPR tools can be deployed simultaneously to gather information by connecting them to an SUV, or can be deployed separately to gather data that are then stitched together with information that has been gathered from the additional tools.
GPR technology has been available for more than a decade, but collecting images in 3-D using traditional versions of the technology was often very slow and cumbersome, according to Matthew J. Wolf, the chief technology officer at GEL Geophysics. However, ImpulseRadar, a GPR company based in Malå, Sweden, recently developed radar capable of working much faster; its version can collect data while the vehicle it is mounted to travels at highway speeds, according to Wolf.