R.B.A. ter Huurne MSc (Ramon)

PhD Candidate

About Me

Ramon ter Huurne is a PhD Candidate from the University of Twente. His research focuses on the network of buried cables and pipes, also called subsurface utilities. In specific, Ramon currently researches how available technologies like the Ground Penetrating Radar can facilitate and support accurate and reliable information about the utilities' locations, geometry and type. Previously, he focused on modelling ‘digital twins’ of utility networks through concepts as domain ontologies and class modelling.


Utility Sector
Risk Analysis
Domain Ontology


To reduce excavation damages to the subsurface utilities the utility sector increasingly emphasizes careful excavation. Yet, available information about the subsurface situation is often scarce or unreliable. Therefore, Dutch law (WIBON) mandates practitioners to reduce the uncertainty in the information about the subsurface situation through the process of utility surveying. The only surveying method that provides absolute certainty about the subsurface situation is digging trial trenches. Trial trenches expose utilities and thus allow for an accurate verification of the location, geometry and type of utilities. This practice is considered as code of conduct in the Netherlands, despite its disruptive effect and high labor costs. The latter may be avoided in cases when non-disruptive methods provide the same (information) quality as trial trenches.

One of the most promising non-disruptive methods is the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). GPR is a geophysical method that uses electromagnetic waves to investigate the subsurface. Compared to trial trenches, GPR acquires data rapidly in a cost-effective and non-disruptive way, and has the possibility to scan larger areas. Despite its potential, GPR faces uncertainties in its technical features and operating conditions. As a result, the institutional setting seems to be uncertain about the technology’s application as a utility surveying method. Therefore, the decision making process on what method to employ currently results in trial trenches. 

All in all, a reduction of trial trenches could reduce costs, disruption and even excavation damages. Yet, little is known from a pragmatic and technical viewpoint how GPR can be used in a substitutionary or complementary way to trial trenches. To benefit from the synergy of trial trenches and GPR, this study explores how the latter can be achieved. In particular, this study aims to explore, explain and support the decision making between trial trenches and GPR as a utility surveying method by developing, implementing and evaluating a Decision Support Tool.


ter Huurne, R. B. A. (2021). The Role of Risk Attitudes: Discrepancies Between Human and Computer-Based Risk Analysis in the Utility Sector. 844 - 853. Paper presented at 37th ARCOM Conference and Annual General Meeting, Dublin, Ireland.
ter Huurne, R. B. A. , & olde Scholtenhuis, L. L. (2018). Digitization for Integration: Fragmented realities in the utility sector. 92-100. Paper presented at 34th Annual Association of Researchers in Construction Management Conference, ARCOM 2018, Belfast, United Kingdom.

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Visiting Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Engineering Technology
Horst Complex (building no. 20), room Z204
De Horst 2
7522LW  Enschede
The Netherlands

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Mailing Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Engineering Technology
Horst Complex  Z204
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
The Netherlands

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