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.
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.