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Underground Mapping Experiences in the D-A-CH Region

Stream DP and IQMaps provided reliable and precise data on underground utilities in the form of 2D maps or 3D digital models in different projects in the D-A-CH region.

In this use case we will present 3 projects carried out by SUBTERRA GMBH, a consulting company specialized in underground utility detection analysis operating in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland). Subterra operates its surveys with products of the Hexagon detection portfolio, more specifically IDS GeoRadar’s Stream DP - the GPR system featuring the innovative EsT technology for underground exploration - and IQMaps post-processing software. The following projects have been carried out for companies operating in fiber optic installation and energy supply.


Almost every day serious accidents occur at work amounting to approximately € 900 million in unnecessary costs each year. To ensure maximum safety, workers need a clear view of underground utilities to avoid potential dangers and hidden risks. SUBTERRA GMBH is a company based in L
iechtenstein that provides location and mapping services for power lines and underground structures. To determine underground lines in the most accurate way, Subterra GMBH relies on devices from the extensive Hexagon Detection Portfolio catalog. Thanks to these detection technologies and solutions, reliable and precise data on the utilities can be obtained in the form of 2D maps or 3D digital models for maximum comprehensibility and readability.

Builders can avoid the risk of damaging underground utilities, saving money and increasing the safety of their employees when adopting GPR systems and Cable Locators that enable a nondestructive subsurface analysis for a major all-round productivity boost.

Overview on the equipment:

For its utility mapping and detection projects SUBTERRA GMBH employed Stream DP and IQMaps, Stream DP is IDS GeoRadar’s GPR system with the innovative EsT technology providing the most accurate real-time 3D mapping of underground utilities. This Ground Penetrating Radar leverages the EsT patented technology by IDS GeoRadar capable of exploiting the entire radiating performance of the antenna for a 40% to 60% increase in the penetration depth compared to other technologies available on the market.
IQMaps is IDS GeoRadar’s post-processing software for the accurate and quick analysis of GPR collected. This software allows real-time processing of data for an advanced target management and provides a full 3D visualization of what lies beneath for a quick and accurate GPR data analysis.

Detection and mapping of underground utilities for the deployment of fibre optics.

Institutions in the D-A-CH region have the ambitious goal of ensuring the installation of optical fiber in all national territories by 2030. To reach this challenging target, national authorities are planning to increase their investments in technologies for the installation assistance as there is a strong need to optimise the installation speed and its overall efficiency. The adoption of underground utility detection and mapping GPR systems results as a key element to the achievement of this goal.

Project Overview:

SUBTERRA GMBH provided its investigation
services to German institutions by conducting a comprehensive mapping of a village’s underground utilities using Stream DP. This activity resulted in a three days time survey, with the use of two devices, to map 34 km by conducting radar swaths of the area for the search of underground utilities. The massive quantity of acquired data was then post-processed with IDS GeoRadar’s IQMaps software to create a detailed 3D model of the city’s utilities that could be easily and directly transferred to the customer’s excavator control systems.

As a result of this successful underground mapping job, the
customer was able to reduce the number of soil verification spots from 43 to only 8 (each spot costing around2’000), consequently saving money on the project costs while ensuring workers
’ safety.

Mapping of underground lines and pipes in Stuttgart’s city center for the deployment of a new transformer station

The energy transition to renewable energies (wind and solar energy) requires a major change in the energy supply structure, involving large investments in terms of infrastructure and in this context Germany has launched a plan to renovate infrastructures over the next few years.

SUBTERRA GMBH provided its services for the installation of a new transformer station in the city of Stuttgart, important administrative and economic center in Germany, especially known for its significant business relevance in the automotive, electronics, and component sectors.

SUBTERRA employed
Stream DP and its innovative EsT Technology for this utility mapping and detection project. By using this system SUBTERRA was capable of acquiring high-quality radar data at an unprecedented depth.

As Stream DP is a compact, lightweight and easy to handle device, surveys over large areas were carried out quickly and acquisition across paved and rugged terrains were possible using the same device. Users were able to rapidly check the underground pipes on the road and identify a specific 100KV utility line in a multiplicity of other lines. Beyond that, thanks to the radar data collected by Stream DP and the post-processing software IQMaps, it was possible to develop a detailed 3D model of the entire area for an easy and accurate reading of the data.

Underground Mapping to locate the best area for drilling on a petrol station

The petrol station sector has always been characterized by a large turnover in ownership. For this reason, this sector characterizes itself with the great difficulty in finding up-to-date and reliable maps of underground utilities. These rapid changes in the petrol station market combines with the future need to convert these locations into stations for recharging electric cars and refueling with new methodologies (such as hydrogen) and consequently there is a strong need for solutions that enable the quick and non-invasive mapping of the underground.

SUBTERRA GMBH was able to provide a detailed analysis of underground utilities surveying a petrol station in the center of Berlin. The client needed to drill about 40 cores to take gasoline samples, as these elements need to be analyzed whenever the pump owner is changed. When SUBTERRA provided its own underground utility mapping service, the company chose the IQMaps post processing software to provide all the information useful for the client to locate where it would have been more convenient to drill cores.

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