Mapping Utility Company Facilities with GPS
Utility Mapping Images
GPS MappingHistorically, utility company maps have been mostly schematic in nature. Hand drawn maps were often based on sketches completed by engineers or installation crews. They portrayed the components of the system but their positioning was less accurate. The on-map relationships of key components such as valves, transformers, and regulators were approximate. Global positioning system (GPS) technology allows utility companies to accurately locate and map their facilities in the field. In rural areas, mounting the GPS on a four-wheeler allows us to quickly map hundreds of miles utility line right-of-way.
GPS TechnologyLand & Mapping uses GPS Pathfinder Pro XRS receivers manufactured by Trimble Navigation Ltd. These fall into the general class of GPS receivers referred to as "sub-meter" or "mapping grade." They are capable of a final resolution of positions within a meter (approx. 39 inches) of their true locations. This level of accuracy is sufficient to allow good placement of utility facilities. Mapping to this accuracy allows for accurate estimations of material for replacement and maintenance work. Right-of-ways mapped with GPS allow for good planning of construction requirements. Areas of concern such as wetlands and archeological restrictions can be mapped accurately and easily shared with other professionals working on the same project.
The northeast is cris-crossed by small streams. Utility right-of-ways intersect many types of water bodies and wetlands. The light weight of the four-wheeler allows crossing without creating significant disturbance to the stream bottom.
The combination of the four-wheeler and the pick-up truck allow a two man crew equipped with radios to coordinate daily mapping work. The crew will transport the four-wheeler to the start point and unload it. One crew person will start mapping a line with the four-wheeler, while the other will drive to the next crossroad. This process continues until the end of the workday is reached and the four-wheeler is loaded back onto the pick-up truck for the night.
In addition to the absolute positioning of utility lines, it is necessary to know their relationship to roadways and other features. The concept here is to capture the centerline of the highway lane and where it intersects the centerline of the utility facility. Knowing the position of the centerline and the width of pavement, one can recreate the roadway on the map.
Are you responsible for utility, municipality or other facilities that require updated mapping or surveying?
Let Land & Mapping submit a quote for the services you require.
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