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GPS-Based Excavation Encroachment Notification
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Filetype[PDF-4.98 MB]

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  • Publication/ Report Number:
    GTI Project No. 20735 ; GTI Project No. 20656 ;
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  • Edition:
    Final Report October 1, 2011 – December 31, 2012
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  • Abstract:
    Excavation damage is the primary threat to the integrity of the natural gas distribution system. According to the Common Ground Alliance, the two primary root causes of excavation damage are failure to notify the one-call center and careless excavation near utility lines. The objective of this project was to develop and demonstrate a GPS-based system that monitors excavation activity. The system provides a warning if excavation activity is occurring outside of a valid onecall ticket or in close proximity to underground facilities. The system developed in this project builds upon technology deployed in earlier pilot projects lead by the Virginia one-call center. The Phase I pilot project developed technology that allowed the boundary of one-call tickets to be identified in the field using a GPS-enabled mobile phone. The Phase II project developed a system that allows facility locators to use GPS-enabled locating devices to capture the coordinates of underground facilities during routine one-call locates. This project, Phase III, adds excavation location monitoring technology to provide a system that provides a real-time warning of excavation encroachment. A combination of off-the-shelf, modified, and new technology was used to develop the Phase III system. A digging trigger was developed to ensure that the system only reports excavation location information when digging is actually occurring. Commercially available asset tracking equipment was customized to monitor the location of excavators with GPS. Commercially available GPS-enabled locating equipment was used to capture the location of underground facilities during routine locates. A portal was developed to collect data on the location of one-call tickets, excavation activity, and underground facilities. An on-board software system for excavation equipment was also developed that provides a real-time warning to excavators based on the asset location data collected with the GPS-enabled locators. The developed technology was tested and implemented in a series of demonstrations with stakeholders in Virginia. The results of the project proved the concept and value of excavation location monitoring and real-time warning to excavators. Additional technology refinement and further implementation and pilot projects are recommended to support the adoption of excavation monitoring technology. Implementation Guidelines for further deployment are provided.

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