Q : Do you sell UltraGPR or other radar systems? A : No, none of our technologies are for sale. There are numerous reasons for this. Firstly, all of our technologies are proprietary to Groundradar and are constantly evolving and being improved. They are highly specialized systems which were never designed as a single product for a consumer to use. Secondly, GPR is likely the most over-sold geophysical tool. It is easy to watch magic GPR boxes on television reveal x-rays of the ground, and anticipate similar results everywhere. This is furthest from the truth, with real GPR only being applicable to very specific environments. By controlling where our technology is deployed, we can better manage client expectations of results. Finally, by operating the equipment ourselves or through strategic partners, we can ensure that legislated limits on transmitted power in certain jurisdictions are not being surpassed.
Q : I don’t see my application on your list. Will UltraGPR work? A : Maybe, but maybe not. After 20 + years and 80+ countries working solely with GPR, we are still uncertain of where radar will or will not work. We do know it works well in specific environments, but we are often surprised with some situations. Some clays have permitted 30 m penetration, whereas some sand dunes have limited penetration to less than 2 m. For qualified clients and projects where we anticipate success, Groundradar offers a low-cost flat-fee trial survey anywhere in the world. Should the technology prove effective, a large-scale survey may be undertaken. Conversely, if the technology does not meet with the client’s expectations, the risk and cost is limited to airfare and accommodation. Groundradar undertakes approximately 20 of such trials annually, with a 75% success rate.
Q : There are many GPR service providers in my country. Why not just use them? A : Indeed, for shallow or small projects, a local company may be more suitable. However, for deeper studies (> 5 m) or for investigations longer than 10 line kms, UltraGPR offers the best penetration at the lowest cost. The cost of UltraGPR surveying is amongst the lowest-cost geophysics, rivaling walking magnetometer surveys. Even with airfares, UltraGPR surveying is often a fraction of the cost of hiring a local contractor with a standard radar system. Certainly, 20+ years working solely with GPR in over 85 countries has given Groundradar unparalleled worldwide experience in very possible environment.
Q : My terrain is too rough/wet/steep for GPR. A : UltraGPR is only 4 Kg in total weight. If a person can traverse a line, UltraGPR can be pulled behind them. Over open ground, the UltraGPR can be pulled at up to 40 km/hr with no loss in resolution. Over swamps and bodies of water, UltraGPR can be pulled by a boat, as it is completely waterproof. In extreme conditions, the equipment can easily be pulled up a vertical wall using ropes.
Q : How do I know if GPR will work at my site? A : As a gross oversimplification, the coarser-grained the overburden, the deeper UltraGPR will image. Clays in temperate regions are generally poor UltraGPR environments, whereas tropical clays are generally reasonable for penetration. With experience from over 85 countries, clay-rich sites literally between the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer have been generally good radar projects.
Q : How does UltraGPR compare with resistivity (ERT)? A : GPR is an electromagnetic method, with wavelengths in the scale of decimeters or meters, whereas ERT is an electrical method which relies on mathematical inversion to predict a subsurface model based on measured results. In general, ERT is ideal where GPR is unsuitable, i.e. conductive clays.
In terms of resolution, speed of survey or the cost of survey, there is no comparison. GPR profiles are orders of magnitude higher resolution than ERT profiles (see below). UltraGPR surveys progress at 10 – 15 km/day, whereas ERT surveys are often restricted to < 1 km day. On a per km basis, UltraGPR surveys are a small fraction of the cost of ERT profiling. However, it is important to note that ERT does not suffer from similar penetration limitations in conductive media as GPR, and thus is often more suitable in non-tropical clays.
Q : Who will conduct my survey? A : Depending on the location and size of the project, either Groundradar staff based in Canada, the UK, Brazil, Jamaica, Indonesia, India or Australia will conduct the survey. For qualified clients, Groundradar may suggest that equipment be provided to the client to enable them to conduct the surveys themselves.
Q : What about customs issues for the equipment? A : An entire UltraGPR system folds neatly into a small backpack for transport as checked luggage. For most projects, Groundradar carries multiple systems as backups and to test different frequencies. The equipment travels with ATA Carnets. In 20+ years’ of experience in 80+ countries, Groundradar has never encountered serious customs issues.