December 2016 Vol. 71 No. 12


What To Look For When Buying GPR

With more choices than ever in the ground penetrating radar (GPR) market, and with more end-users looking to get their hands on such an effective technology, it’s important that first-time customers know what to check off their shopping list.

Here is a list for newcomers of the most important considerations when looking for a GPR system:

Rugged systems: Look for a system that can handle tough weather conditions. Look for systems built to military-grade hardware specifications that can traverse the most challenging terrain conditions.

The system specifications should fit your chosen application, but be versatile: If you are using a GPR system for only utility location, then there is no need to buy a system that applies to geotechnical research. However, if you want a versatile system, you may want to look in to multi-frequency systems or modular systems. In terms of specifications, the antenna frequency (or range of frequencies in multi-channel systems) will be the most important factor when looking for GPR systems geared towards any specific application.

Warranty: Always ask what you get in terms of warranty. Some manufacturers offer more confident terms.

Training and support: GPR can be taught to multiple crew members in the space of a day. Ask the manufacturer what training it provides, its cost and availability. Support is critical, especially during the startup phase. Look for support that is familiar with your applications and how to use that system in the application.

Software: There are numerous options available from simple reporting to data post-processing and GPS integration and 3-D. Some of these options can be pricey and, in some cases, may cost more than the GPR system itself, depending upon the source. Understand the expandability of your system as future needs arise. Can you easily add options later at a reasonable cost? Look at the software features and determine which package matches your needs.

Field data in application, appropriate to geographic area: You may want to consider what data the company can provide in terms of your application to see whether the radars it sells can handle your locating tasks. Some companies have systems that calibrate to environmental conditions, while others do not. Learn how well the product does in a variety of conditions – your best bet is always with the most versatile product, as conditions can fluctuate with location, weather, season and a number of other variables.

Control unit specifications: When purchasing GPR these days, the specifications of the control unit is important. Is the screen glare-resistant? Is it able to endure tough weather conditions? How much hard drive space and memory does it have? What kind of processor does it have? Does it have USB and other useful ports for export and display of data? Is it a proprietary operating system or a windows-based tablet?

Data export and integration with peripherals i.e. GPS: Software data should be available for processing in various third-party platforms. This is important for making sense of GPR data in mapping and providing the right analysis for a project.

Maneuverability: Antenna housings need as direct contact to the ground as possible to ensure signals can be properly transmitted and received. This means the cart system needs to house the antenna in such a way that the antenna can easily glide over obstacles. The cart should also be lightweight and easy to guide.

Transportability: A GPR system should be easily able to go to multiple sites in the span of a day. Look for systems that can easily fold, and do not require tedious setup and breakdown of components. You may want to look for all-in-one systems that don’t require you to disconnect and reconnect wires between separate components.

Repairs: You will need help in the rare event your system malfunctions or needs a manufacturer’s expertise in replacing a part. Ask about what to expect in terms of repair costs, as well as how long it would take to repair and ship back a system.

About the author: Clark Herman handles marketing for US Radar.

US Radar: (732) 566-2035,

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