How Much Does Ground Penetrating Radar Cost?
Ground penetrating radar, also known as GPR or impulse radar, is an electromagnetic technology operating on the physics of the earth to capture images of the subsurface using pulses from radar. This technology is diverse and can work on pavement, rocks, ice and even freshwater. This technology was first used in the early 1970’s when several different teams of scientists began to develop radars for viewing into the earth. Radars of this type were first developed for military applications-such as locating tunnels under the DMZ between North and South Korea. GPR use in locating and mapping utility lines has been the subject of much on-going research conducted by both military and commercial organizations. Most of the time, these machines are purchased by companies for specific purposes rather than by individuals.
How much is it?
- Traditionally, a GPR system can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $90,000 brand new. A simple system will tend to be less than $10,000, while those that are over $35,000 will require an experienced user.
- For instance, a user on the forum TreasureNet.com claimed that they saw a GPR sell for $3,600 on eBay. Another user claimed that you should be be prepared to spend at least $30,000 on a brand new device.
- AccurateLocators.com, for instance, sells a unique GPR and the software for $15,026. However, the antenna system will have to be purchased separately. The average antenna, depending upon the frequency, can cost $2,500 to as much as $6,500.
What is going to be included?
- This technical concept basically operates on polarized radio waves of a noted signal which are thrown at the subsurface structure; if this waves hit a body with a differing dielectric constant, which is the proportion of a body in a distinctive medium to that of the body in free space, the antenna collecting the return signals acknowledges a difference in the returned signal. Depending on the model, this device can reach as little as a few inches to as deep as 75 feet. The depth will greatly depend on the type of antenna you are using.
- The GPR is very efficient, although its depth range is dependent on the depth of the subsurface, as well as the power radiated, even the frequency of the transmitted center. Most devices will not be able to tell the shape or what type of utility is buried beneath the ground, it will simply tell you that something is there.
What are the extra costs?
- To use ground penetrating radar, software and a laptop will be needed in addition to the GPR. If the software does not come with the device, you may have to spend an additional hundred dollars or so to buy it. This software will target the information from the device and set it to a map. This software can also help locate utilities and mark certain areas. Using a laptop is important as well since you will need to be able to interpret the results of the GPR on the go and directly at the job site.
- Accessories, such as additional antennas or a survey wheel that can control the readings, can cost $600 or more.
- Advanced devices will often require an experienced user. Those who do not know how to use the device will often have to consider taking classes to learn how to operate it.
Tips to know:
- The frequency will determine how deep a GPR can go. A very low frequency can see very deep, but a high frequency can only see shallow depths. Before purchasing this type of device, know what kind of surface you are going to be using it on. Grass, for example, will need a lower frequency, while something solid like concrete will need a higher frequency. The one you choose should also be determined by the job you are performing. If you are only digging a few feet underground, then you will be able to purchase a cheaper one that has a higher frequency.
- It is popularly known that the GPR was used in 1972 to uncover the 150,000 pounds ransom fee Michael Sams hid in a field after taking an estate agent to hostage, such a cordial relationship between science and the law.
- A GPR does have its own limitations. All makes and models are not created equally.
- The type of GPR that you choose is very dependent upon the surface as well as the depth. Lower frequencies will be able to go deeper, but higher frequencies are needed to penetrate something such as concrete.
How can I save money?
- While it may be rare to find, keep your eyes peeled on eBay and Craigslist for second hand models. Purchasing second hand can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Another place you could look for a used GPR is at local construction or utility companies. If they are upgrading their equipment, you may be able to purchase their old equipment from them.