Proposal name:

TerraVista – Development of a real-time underground utility mapping system



Damage to underground services can cause fatal or severe injury, as well as create disruptions and harmful knock-on effects to communities and city life.

Increasing scrutiny from health and safety regulators – and the stringent application of construction design and management regulations – has led to a refocusing of safety within the drilling and geotechnical industry. Over the past five years there has been significant focus on the safety of drill rig guarding, but many professionals are concerned that the industry is not dedicating enough effort in finding improved solutions to increase safety on the worksite.

Figures provided by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) record 11 major injuries in the construction sector caused by contact with underground, electrical cables from 2008-09. While injury numbers may appear relatively small in terms of statistics, it is paramount to keep in mind that no matter what job sector people are involved with, the casualty numbers should be kept at zero. Some of the hazards workers within this sector face are:

- electricity cables
- gas pipes
- water pipes and sewers
- telecommunication cables

On the other side of the picture some 20,000 underground cables are damaged yearly as a result of work activities that are administered without the use of vital precise information that encloses exact positioning of pipe work and cables. Such detailed information would allow workers to carry out necessary maintenance work without causing further damage to the complex wiring network systems that have become so essential to everyday life within urban communities. The benefits of precisely locating all the wires and pipes within a given area will leave workers rest-assured that in no way will they be endangering their lives.



Proposal Outline:

Detailed and localised subterranean utility services maps will aid road workers to avoid the above dangers and safeguard any important services essential for city life. This will be achieved in three steps:

- At first a detailed map of the underground utilities will be acquired. This will be obtained using proven technology of the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) sensor that will be mounted on a mobile platform.
- After the map is built, it is required that the heavy machinery, which can ultimately damage the utilities, are monitored all the time so to ensure that these operate within safety margins. Each machine will have a radio-node and digital compass mounted on the operator’s cabin. These will be used to determine the exact position of the machine and the direction of operation respectively.
- The system will allow for other features which can be integrated at no extra cost and so make the system more cost-effective. Such features are: 3D maps of underground utilities, exportability to any mapping software, etc.


underground utility, real-time mapping, construction



Already existing consortium:

- Malta Industrial Innovation for SMEs Ltd. (MALTA) – RTD
- 5 SMEs from Spain, Poland, Germany and Hungary
- 2 RTDs from Hungary and Cyprus


Partners sought and role in the project:


Construction companies
Companies providing digging services




· Call Identifier: FP7-SME-2013

· Activity Area: Research for the benefit of SMEs

· Funding Schemes: Research for the benefit of specific groups (SMEs)

· Evaluation Scheme: Complete Proposal

· Closure Date: 15/11/2012

· Sub Area 1: Construction / Building

· Sub Area 2: Information and Communication Technologies


Mª Dolores Guillén
Tel.+34 955 00 74 78