The mapping the UK underworld project

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The disruption to society caused by inefficient street works, associated with buried asset management, is estimated to cost the UK economy billions of pounds in lost revenue each year. Coupled to this is potential for damage to third party assets, damage to the road network and injury or loss of life from current construction practices. These practices could be improved considerably if geophysical surveying could be used to accurately locate the buried asset networks below the carriageway prior to work within the street being undertaken. Unfortunately, current geophysical technology is unable to provide a comprehensive solution to this problem. With health and safety law requiring companies who undertake any form of excavation to conduct a full assessment of the ground in which they are to work, and the passing of the Traffic Management Act in the UK that grants local authorities the power to fine companies that cause disruption to the road network, and charge companies for lane hire whilst they undertake their work, the desire for a non-invasive device that could quickly, reliably and comprehensively survey a site is ever increasing. This paper describes the Mapping the Underworld research initiative in the UK. Mapping the Underworld is a multi-disciplinary, multi-university, research initiative that aims to develop the means to locate, map in 3-D and record, using a single shared platform, the position of 100% of buried utility service pipes and cables without local proving excavation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNASTT/ISTT International No-Dig Conference and Show 2009, including the Annual Technical Conference of North American Society for Trenchless Technology, No-Dig 2009
PublisherNorth American Society for Trenchless Technology (NASTT)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781615673919
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventAnnual Technical Conference of the North American Society for Trenchless Technology, 2009 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 29 Mar 20093 Apr 2009


ConferenceAnnual Technical Conference of the North American Society for Trenchless Technology, 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geophysics
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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