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McElhanney's GIS Team Helps Reduce Risk to Underground Utilities & Those Who Dig Near Them

Jun 16, 2016

Underground utilities — including natural gas, water and sewer lines, electrical conduits, and communication lines — lie hidden beneath our streets, sidewalks, and even the lawns of our homes. If contractors or homeowners accidentally contact these utilities while digging, the consequences can be costly and dangerous.In order to reduce the risk of encountering these underground utilities, various "One-call" or "Click Before You Dig" services have been established across the country. These services connect those who intend to dig with the utility owners so that the locations of underground utilities can be marked on the surface, and parties are aware before they dig.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) play a crucial role in making the system work.

McElhanney provides GIS mapping and database services for Sask 1st Call, Saskatchewan's Click Before You Dig provider, which encompasses the underground infrastructure of over 70 agencies including municipalities, and communications, construction, and energy companies.

"On a daily basis we receive GIS data for areas where utility owners want to be notified of intended digging activity," said Andrew McIntosh, McElhanney's project manager for the Sask 1st Call mapping and database services. He said location information is uploaded to the Sask 1st Call system, where software and call-centre employees facilitate the communication between the digger, who reports their work site location, and the utility owner, who wants to be notified of the work.

"This process, of course, relies on regularly updated street and land data, and other location information — something McElhanney also takes care of," he explained. 

To see McElhanney's range of GIS services across Western Canada, visit our Mapping page.

For more information, please contact:

Andrew McIntosh, Project Manager – GIS, Mapping, Geological Data Services at amcintosh@mcelhanney.com or 604-683-8521

Above image: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can benefit almost any construction related project.

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