Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)

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  7. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)

IRISNDT personnel use GPR to scan both concrete and soil to locate utilities – metallic and nonmetallic pipe carrying water, gas, sewage, fiber optics, and others.  The ground and concrete in plant sites can be quite intricate with piping, conduits, rebar, and cables beneath the surface. If embedded or buried obstructions are hit during concrete cutting or soil excavation, the results can be disastrous from worker hazards, project delays, cost overruns to disrupting services for entire plants or communities. Locating these parts helps to prevent damage and increase site safety. 

Why use GPR? Traditional locating technologies such as Electromagnetic (EM) Technology can map utilities rapidly, but they generally rely on the utilities holding a current. Since GPR works due to contrasts, it potentially may map buried services of any material. GPR can be done to verify the locations and depths of targets identified with other techniques or to screen an area quickly to see if any other targets are buried that were not identified with traditional location techniques. 


  • GPR is highly reliable to detect buried metallic lines
  • GPR can assist in determining the depth of buried metallic lines
  • GPR can detect nonmetallic materials
  • GPR does not pose health hazards
  • GPR provides instant results
  • GPR obtains colour map visuals along varying depth slices


  • Seeing deeper targets can be challenging since shallower objects tend to mask deeper ones
  • When a new slab is scanned within the first eight weeks after it was poured, results may not be optimal
  • Terrain roughness can make the signal bounce off the ground instead of penetrating it
  • Clay and water attenuate the GPR signal and hinder ground penetration
  • The maximum concrete and soil inspection depth depends on the subsurface electrical properties
  • The embedded or subsurface parts must contrast with the surrounding material for the GPR to record a reflection event
  • Cellular telephones, radio, and microwave transmitters may cause noise in the GPR record