Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the stakeholder-driven organization dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them and their communities, has released its third annual Technology Report, “Technology Advancements and Gaps in Underground Safety 2020,” which serves as a record of progress in technology for the damage prevention industry, as well as a source of inspiration for new applications of existing technologies and the development of new technologies.
The 2020 Technology Report, which is produced by CGA’s Technology Committee, identifies gaps that could be filled by new or modified technologies, gaps that are in the process of being addressed by technology, and damage prevention technologies that are currently in use. The report shares information that CGA’s Technology Committee has collected on successful applications of technology, which may eventually lead to the adoption of new CGA Best Practices and raise the overall level of industry knowledge. The report also examines some of the root causes of damages provided in CGA’s Annual Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Reports and offers ideas for how technology could be applied to address them.
Additionally, the report features three case studies that can be used as examples of what works now in damage prevention and/or a preview of what is being developed:
- SeeScan—Geolocating System: A Data-Driven Solution for Locating and Mapping Buried Utilities: SeeScan applies a fully integrated, multi-sensor utility mapping system to real-world applications. By using data instead of human interpretation, the geolocating system can determine the utility’s horizontal position and depth with a high degree of accuracy.
- Pacific Gas and Electric—Water Extraction Tool Development and Testing to Aid in Legacy Cross Bore Program Sewer Lateral Inspections: Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and ServPro worked together to develop and apply a new technology to extract standing water within a sewer lateral. After water is extracted, optical cameras can take imagery of the lower half of the sewer lateral, allowing for the confirmation of the presence or non-presence of a cross bore.
- Leica Geosystems—Democratizing Ground Penetrating Radar Technology to Non-GPR Experts for Faster, Simpler, and Reliable Detection of Underground Utilities: Leica Geosystems brings new GPR utility detection technology to the field with simplified workflow, automated data processing, and high accuracy. The software guides the user on correct data collection to minimize mistakes. Users can locate underground utilities and visualize detected utilities via the onboard acquisition software.
“Exploring current and emerging technologies and how they can help move the damage prevention industry further toward our goal of zero damages to underground utilities is essential, and Common Ground Alliance members are using technology in truly innovative ways to advance our industry,” said Nick A. Starke, co-chair of the CGA Technology Committee. “We are excited to share some of the latest applications of technology in our 2020 Technology Report and help inspire where damage prevention stakeholders go next with their use of technology to reduce damages.”
The complete “Technology Advancements and Gaps in Underground Safety 2020” report is available for download at commongroundalliance.com, and stakeholders interested in making contributions to the annual report are encouraged to complete the short survey available at https://commongroundalliance.com/programs/technology.
Leadership Honored at Virtual CGA Awards
The CGA also announced the recognition of outstanding leadership in the damage prevention industry through the Virtual CGA Awards. CGA presented a daily Virtual Award honoring the organizations and individuals whose contributions made meaningful impacts on preventing damages to buried utilities in 2019.
The work of damage prevention’s brightest stars was highlighted through daily videos posted to the CGA website:
- President’s Award: CGA President and CEO Sarah K. Magruder Lyle presented the Power Communication Contractors Association (PCCA) with the 2019 President's Award. The President's Award is given annually to a company or organization that has shown leadership and innovation in support of damage prevention during the previous year. The PCCA has played a crucial role in amplifying the voice of excavators, a key damage prevention stakeholder group within CGA.
- Hall of Fame: Gweneyette Broussard of Shell Pipeline Company LP was inducted into the CGA Hall of Fame by fellow CGA members Allen Gray of the Associated General Contractors of America and Gina Greenslate of Energy Transfer. The Hall of Fame designation is given to CGA members who have exemplified a long-standing commitment to the organization’s mission and whose dedication has significantly impacted the damage prevention industry. As the leader of Shell Pipeline Company LP’s public awareness and damage prevention programs, Broussard has acted as a driving force for damage prevention for more than a decade, including through pioneering public awareness partnerships that have highlighted the national call-before-you-dig number, 811, via national sports media.
- Jim Barron Award: Given annually to an individual who has shown true dedication to efforts that enhance underground damage prevention, the 2019 Jim Barron Award was presented to Kevin Hopper of Dig Safely New York (DSNY) by Bob Terjesen of National Grid. As Executive Director of DSNY, Hopper has worked to improve damage prevention education in the state via the nation’s first on-site excavation area for training and the first Certified Excavator Program in New York state, among other innovations in 811 ticketing and training.
- Ron Olitsky Member of the Year Award: Corey Willson of 3M and Craig Hoeferlin of Spire presented the 2019 Member of the Year Award -- given annually to an individual whose dedication and service to the damage prevention industry has gone above and beyond -- to Deanna Centurion of Cyera Strategies. Centurion is a long-time member of the CGA Data Reporting & Evaluation Committee and has led the group as co-chair for the last two years. During this time, she has worked tirelessly to make CGA’s DIRT Report and other data resources effective tools for helping critical stakeholder groups understand the scope of underground utility damages.
For the final day of the weeklong Virtual Awards, CGA recognized the 2019 committee co-chairs who led the cross-industry collaboration that’s pivotal to CGA’s mission, particularly outgoing co-chairs Brian Dreesen with USIC and Alice Miller with Ohio 811 for their work on the Best Practices and Stakeholder Outreach committees, respectively.
- Best Practices Committee: Scott Brown (Washington Gas) and Brian Dreesen (USIC)
- Data Reporting & Evaluation Committee: Andrea Stainback (CenturyLink) and Deanna Centurion (Cyera Strategies)
- Educational Programs & Marketing Committee: Chris Thome (Rhino Markers)
- One Call Systems International Committee: Misty Wise (South Carolina 811) and Chris Stovall (Texas811)
- Regional Partners Committee: Steve Light (Virginia 811) and Kevin Woolbright (Construction Angels)
- Stakeholder Outreach Committee: Eric Swartley (UGI Utilities) and Alice Miller (Ohio 811)
- Technology Committee: Nick Starke (UtiliQuest) and Thomas Young (PelicanCorp)
“I would like to personally extend my thanks, as well as my congratulations, to the remarkable individuals and organizations honored as part of the Virtual CGA Awards,” said Sarah K. Magruder Lyle, President and CEO of the Common Ground Alliance. “The vision and commitment demonstrated by the 2019 CGA Award winners are an inspiration for the entire damage prevention industry. In addition to celebrating their leadership in 2019, we are looking forward to continuing to work with these talented individuals as we look to the future of damage prevention.”
For a complete list of the Virtual CGA Award winners and to view videos recognizing each winner, please visit https://commongroundalliance.com/damage-prevention/toolkits/2019-virtual-awards.