Underground Utility Locating Services

Locate Buried Utilities

Mitigate Risks to Your Project

Minimize Safety Risks from Encountering Buried Utilities
Shield Operations from Utility Outages and Disruptions
Prevent Damage from Ruptured Service Lines
Mitigate Delays Due to Unexpected Infrastructure
Avoid Costly Infrastructure Repairs and Replacement
Protect the Environment from Leaking Utility Lines

Locating underground utilities and other subsurface infrastructure is a crucial step prior to any excavation or development project. Proceeding with underground construction without understanding the complex network of utility pipes, cables, lines, and conduits beneath the surface could result in workplace injuries, property damage, increased costs, and extensive delays. Mapping underground utilities identifies infrastructure and hazards to avoid during excavation – mitigating project risks and giving credence to development plans.

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is a proven technology for locating services underground. GPR scans can detect both metallic and non-metallic materials, making it the best solution for utility locating in complex environments where buried infrastructure may include concrete sewers, PVC pipes, plastic conduits, steel gas lines, telecommunication cables, and electrified wires.

The emergence of drone technology has provided a new surveying tool for underground service locators. Drones equipped with GPR sensors can complete utility scans faster, cheaper, and more efficiently than ground-based crews. Aerial surveys are not hindered by rugged terrain, overgrown vegetation, or sensitive environments, as GPR scanning drones fly at a low but consistent height above the ground. Choosing a drone solution for locating underground utilities provides optimal scan depth and resolution, precise GPS positioning and tagging, and accurate and consistent survey lines – delivering reliable and trustworthy data.

Drone-Based Ground Penetrating Radar

A modern approach to underground utility locating


Your Introduction to Drones for Underground Utility Locating


Your Introduction to Drones for Underground Utility Locating

Learn the advantages of drone-based Ground Penetrating Radar for Underground Utility Locating, and discover why leading companies choose AltoMaxx Technologies as their drone services provider.

Drone Advantages

Aerial Platform, Underground Surveys


Traditional GPR surveys are a slow and tedious process, often requiring extensive site preparation before ground-based technology can access the scanning location.

Using a drone platform greatly reduces or eliminates site preparation time, as drones are not hindered by long grass or uneven terrain. Drone-based sensors scan the area quickly and efficiently, completing GPR surveys many times faster than ground-based crews.


Drone surveys are conducted using autonomous pre-planned flights, with precise positioning systems to ensure consistent survey lines for reliable data collection.

Our integrated solution is equipped with True Terrain Following technology that allows the drone to fly at a preprogrammed height above ground level, following the contours of the terrain to optimize the penetration depth and resolution of the GPR signal.


Aerial GPR sensors can scan diverse sites including rugged terrain, dense vegetation, freshwater bodies, and partially frozen surfaces. Drone surveys also minimize disturbances to the scan site, protecting sensitive environments that may be destroyed by traditional GPR surveying methods.

Drones can reach locations that ground crews cannot and are an optimal solution for surveying remote areas due to their lightweight and transportability.


Using a drone platform, operators can collect GPR data from a strategic vantage point near the site. Removing the operator from the survey field reduces exposure to weather conditions, unstable environments, dangerous situations, and other safety risks.

Drones can be used to conduct GPR surveys of locations that are too dangerous for ground crews to enter, such as disaster areas, landslide debris, avalanche sites, frozen bodies of water, glaciers, ice fields, and landmine zones.

AltoMaxx Underground Utility Locating Process

Choose AltoMaxx for Your Utility Locating Needs

AltoMaxx Animated Logo
  • ZIndustry-leading drone-services provider utilizing the latest technical innovations
  • ZExtensive knowledge of both the capabilities and limitations of GPR technology
  • ZConsiderable experiencing conducting GPR scans in challenging environments
  • ZSkilled drone operators trained in proven surveying methods and techniques
  • ZTechnical experts skilled in advanced processing and interpretation of GPR data
  • ZProfessional results and actionable reports that inspire project confidence

Frequently Asked Questions

Who needs underground utility locating services?

Professionals in a wide range of industries benefit from maps of underground utilities:

    • Excavation Teams
    • Construction Companies
    • Engineering Firms
    • Industrial Developers
    • Planning Departments
    • Utility Service Providers
    • Government Agencies

At what stage of a project should you scan for underground services?

A comprehensive understanding of the infrastructure and utilities located under an industrial site is critical during any stage of development. Soil and underground materials shift over time, making older utility maps unreliable and inaccurate.

Maintaining an updated map of underground utilities provides valuable intel to guide project:

    • Planning: Site selection, acquisition, engineering, design
    • Development: Excavation, construction
    • Operation: Maintenance, servicing, repairs, upgrades
    • Revitalization: Refurbishment, retrofitting, redevelopment
    • Divestment: Company acquisition, business merger, asset transfer
    • End-of-life: Decommissioning, demolition, remediation, reclamation

How does Ground Penentrating Radar work?

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is a non-intrusive subsurface investigation method capable of detecting underground features and objects. GPR sensors work by sending a radio wave into the ground, where the signal interacts with materials of differing electrical properties. The signal is then reflected, refracted, or scattered by underground structures according to their composition.

What buried utilities can be detected using Ground Penetrating Radar?

GPR technology can detect both metallic and non-metallic materials, allowing it to locate underground utilities including:

    • Water Pipes, Irrigation Lines, Sprinkler Systems
    • Sewer Mains, Wastewater Systems, Storm Drain
    • Pipelines, Natural Gas Lines, Propane Tanks
    • Telecommunication Lines, Fiberoptic Cables
    • Electrified Power Lines, High Voltage Wires

Are there other underground features that can be identified during GPR scans?

While locating underground utility lines, Ground Penetrating Radar data can also reveal:

    • The presence of buried foundations, storage tanks, vaults, objects, and other non-utility infrastructure.
    • The absence of expected structures, utilities, objects, or tanks
    • The existence of subsurface hazards such as soil disturbances, unstable voids, and cracked foundations.

What underground data can AltoMaxx provide to clients?

AltoMaxx data collection services are tailored to meet the needs of each client and project. For Underground Utility Locating, AltoMaxx can provide companies with:

    • GPS position of underground pipes, cables, lines, and conduits
    • Approximate depth of buried services
    • Map of utilities underlaying the site
    • Model of utilities with depth profile
    • Analysis and interpretation of survey results
    • Comprehensive project report and recommendations
    • Raw GPR data for internal analysis

What is the typical penetration depth and object resolution offered by GPR sensors?

AltoMaxx GPR sensors are capable of scanning approximately 4 meters below the ground in average soil conditions. Actual signal penetration depth varies widely depending upon the survey medium, though it can reach up to 10 meters in ideal soil types and 15 meters in freshwater bodies.

Our scans can resolve individual objects as small as 8cm and detect cables starting at 3cm in diameter, though results can depend heavily upon soil type, underground depth, and object composition.

AI/Utility Inspection

Understanding the physical condition of assets is critical to the efficient and effective delivery of your operations. 

Drone services like asset inspections allow power utilities to inspect areas that are otherwise hard to reach. This enables safe and efficient maintenance programs, avoiding costly outages, and meeting the demands of regulators and clients.

Technologies used in the delivery of our inspection services include: 

Survey,Mapping,aand Modelling

Understanding your site is critical to delivering your project. Drone Services provide an aerial advantage. 

From the development of a new facility, to maintenance of existing assets, and logging geospatial data. Our experts understand what it takes to deliver fast, reliable, and efficient modelling services. 

Technologies used in the delivery of our Survey, Mapping, and Modelling services include: 

Vegetation Management

Vegetation growth along transmission right-of-way’s represent a significant hazard for operations, and often a root cause of power failures. 

Mitigating these risks is a major challenge for power utilities. Repairs following an incident can be expensive, while compliance programs to maintain regulations present both operational risks to staff and costly terrestrial programs. 

Drone services allow clients to quickly and efficiently map power line corridors, creating accurate 2D and 3D models. 

These models measure the distance between vegetation and power lines, helping to maintain a safe clearance distance and maintenance.

Technologies used in the delivery of our Vegetation Management services include: 

Boiler/Stack Inspection

Drones are compact and flexible, able to fly into boilers and stacks for a full scan without shutdowns or endangering inspection workers. The live footage helps identify risks for informed decision-making. 

Our drones are equipped with advanced obstacle sensing systems, spotlights, and thermal cameras. Allowing for reliable deployment for internal inspections to detect defects.

Technologies used in the delivery of our Stack Inspection services include: 


Solar Farm Inspection

Solar farm management costs power utilities an estimated $1 billion per year in labor costs. In order to avoid unnecessary and unexpected costs, routine inspections are important to ensure everything is in proper working order. 

While these inspections are a critical element of operational efficiency, they can be both hazardous and tedious. Drone services can help you detect hot spots instantly – transforming a half-day job into minutes. 

Technologies used in the delivery of our inspection services include: