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Mapping, Assessing and Monitoring Urban Underground Infrastructure

DRYVER HUSTON, TIAN XIA, DYLAN BURNS, DAN ORFEO, YU ZHANG, CONNIE OU

Abstract


This paper presents results from a series of measurements aimed at mapping, assessing and monitoring underground infrastructure, i.e. the water, sewer, gas, electricity, telecommunications and other supply lines that are vital to modern society. Most of this infrastructure is buried out of sight, in uncertain and highly congested locations and in an aging condition. Mapping, assessing and monitoring this infrastructure can lead to significant improvements in management, repair and growth practices. The sensors include multi-band and multi-static ground penetrating radar (GPR), and underground flow and condition sensing of water systems, including acoustic leak detection, linked by wireless and high-speed fiber-optic networks. Ground penetrating radar is one method available for locating underground utilities, but becomes challenging in urban environments due to the congestion of piping and difficulties with GPS-denied position registration. Ongoing efforts to overcome these challenges with advanced GPR techniques and the integration into a mapping database are presented, including results from field tests with pre and post construction ground truth evaluations. Data telemetry from buried infrastructure for IOT-type monitoring is hampered by the high-attenuation rate for wireless electromagnetic transmission. Results from experiments aimed at low-speed magnetic signaling with potential for high penetration through soils are presented.

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