Underground Locating Equipment Information

Underground locating equipment is used to find septic tanks, sewer lines, blockages, and buried utilities. Products include electronic marker systems (EMS), fault locators, ground penetrating radar (GPR), metal detection equipment, radio frequency (RF) receivers, line and beacon transmitters, and locating markers. In addition to product type, maximum depth is an important specification to consider when selecting underground locating equipment. Units of measure include inches, feet or yards; meters, centimeters, or millimeters; and miles or micro-inches. 

Types of Underground Locating Equipment

Electronic markers, fault locators, and ground penetrating radar (GPR) are three common types of underground locating equipment. Electronic marker systems (EMS) use markers that are placed with underground utilities and structures for future location. Fault locators, fault detectors, and fault recorders are powered instruments that detect and/or record electrical faults that may happen in power lines. Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is a type of underground locating equipment that uses high-frequency pulsed electromagnetic waves to map subsurface information.  


Underground locating equipment includes metal locating equipment and metal detectors, RF receivers and RF locators, sound detectors, and locating markers. Metal locating devices are used for detecting metal on or below the surface. RF receivers or RF locators are handheld devices used to receive and locate a signal from a transmitter. Sound detectors are a type of audio equipment that enables an operator to pinpoint hard-to-find leaks in noisy environments. Locating markers are placed underground to locate a point. This type of underground locating equipment is tuned to reflect specific radio signals from transmitters. 


Line transmitters, snake in-line transmitters, and sondes or beacon transmitters are additional types of underground locating equipment. Line transmitters attach to a point on a line, conduit, or pipe and transmit a signal from the entire run. Snake in-line transmitters are located on the end of a snake, or emit from the entire length of the snake. Sondes or beacon transmitters are self-contained devices that can be passed through a pipe. This type of underground locating equipment comes in many shapes and configurations, depending on the application.