details about the utility locating service satandards of Spearhead Locating Services




Our utility locating service uses a variety of methods and techniques for locating buried lines.

Before deciding on a best approach for a project, key decisions have to be made based on information at hand. During the planning phase, information is gathered from a visual inspection of the job site and available mapping data.

Once this is complete the next step is to choose a method for the specific challenge. Spearhead uses several different electromagnetic locating techniques, as well as ground penetrating radar, and acoustic detection to identify the position of buried lines.

The final step if required or requested is documentation of the locating service. Spearhead provides digital as built plans and GIS mapping data showing the located lines in an aerial map with color coded overlays.


Electromagnetic locators allow us to find conductive utilities such as phone, electric, & water. Our receivers pick up the metallic body below the ground, then its position and orientation is marked on the surface per CGA and APWA standards.

This method uses a transmitter to apply detectable signal to the buried line. A receiver detects this signal and provides information about the signal field including horizontal centerline of the field, intensity of the field and estimated distance to the center of the signal.


Direct Connection: Allows a low frequency to be transmitted directly through the line which is best for targeting a single utility in a congested area due to low levels of signal bleed off to other lines in the area.

Clamp Induction: The induction clamp (coupler) method produces a strong EM signal field within the clamp which is transferred to the conductor encircled by the coupler clamp. This method can be used without making metal-to-metal contact to the line. The clamp is ideally used for applying signals to live cables. A signal is transferred from clamp to cable without taking the cable out of service in a pedestal, manhole, electrical panel or junction box.

Broadcast Induction: This method is an indirect way to induce a signal from the transmitter to a buried line. This technique is use to sweep an area for conductive lines that may not be evident during the initial inspection.

GPR is a method that uses radar pulses to image the subsurface. UHF/VHF frequencies are directed into the ground and the reflected signals from subsurface structures are collected and graphed.

When access is difficult or electrical current does not flow (i.e. non-metallic element or broken connection), or external noise makes electromagnetic detection impossible, GPR provides an alternative. GPR provides its own source of energy, detects both metallic and non-metallic objects, as well as disturbed soil conditions and other buried structures.

The electrical conductivity of the ground, the transmitted frequency and the radiated power all affect the depth range of GPR. higher frequencies do not penetrate as far as lower frequencies. However, higher frequencies may provide improved resolution. Thus operating frequency is always a trade-off between resolution and penetration


Spearhead Locating Services operates state of the art CCTV IBAK sewer inspection equipment with lateral launch capabilities.

We are your certified source for all PACP, LACP, and MACP inspections.

Our IBAK crawler tech is also perfect for pre and post inspection of sewer laterals and storm drains.

Our mainline crawler can inspect and document 1000ft  of 6" to 48" pipe.  With the crawlers lateral launch capability we can inspect up to 100ft of 4"(min) lateral lines.  The on board sonde transmitter allows for precise survey locating service.

During inspection, a high-res full color video can be viewed and recorded. Details of the inspection such as root intrusion, structural damage, pipe offsets, and flow can be documented using NASSCO certified Pipelogic software.

lateral inspeciton utility locating service robot used by spearhead locating services
VTA DRONES mapping as built locating service title

Spearhead Locating Services has partnered with VTA DRONES to provide aerial mapping services to our customers. This is a cost efficient and effective tool to pair with our locating service.

After we have finished locating all utility lines the entire area is mapped by VTA DRONES. Industry standard mapping processes and standards are used to produce high resolution maps of the worksite or property.

100’s of still images are collected by industrial grade drones then aggregated together to generate the maps. Resolutions well beyond normal satellite maps are produced using this process.

After the maps showing all locating marks are generated VTA DRONES applies overlays with color coded lines and symbols, making identification of utility lines easy at a glance.

The maps can be imported into any GIS software system in the form of raster & vector data.

High resolution “As Built” plans showing the aerial map and digital overlays can also be exported in PDF form for easy distribution to the team & customer.

VTA DRONES is FAA certified and has a ruggedized unmanned aerial vehicle platform that is worksite ready.

Spearhead Locating Services & VTA DRONES locating service