New land surveying technology that accurately locates and maps underground utilities is now available in the territory for the first time ever.
Bateman Civil Survey Company acquired the assets of GME Dospiva earlier this year and is now making Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) available to all public and private sectors on St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John.
SUE consists of ground-penetrating radar and electro-magnetic detection instruments that provide timely and accurate location of underground utilities up to 15 meters. This will save time and money on projects with the new capability of being able to see the electrical, water and gas lines before digging and damaging utilities, according to professional engineer and land surveyor Jeff Bateman.
“We are bringing the latest technology to the islands,” said Bateman, who brought his company to St. Croix in January and is the only V.I. company that has ground-penetrating radar. “The amount of underground utility is increasing on island, so it’s a good time to start using it here,” he added.
St. Croix is not the only island in the territory to benefit from the new surveying technology.
BCSC has already started a beach stabilization project at the Watergate Villas’ east shoreline in Bolongo Bay on St. Thomas. They have conducted topographic surveys, performed an environmental assessment, prepared design plans and construction specifications and permitted the project through the USVI Department of Natural Resources Coastal Zone Management Program.
Erosion of the existing shoreline has destabilized the slope, removed the beach and has put the foundations of buildings 16 and 17 at risk of future damage from future storms, according to Bateman. The beach, which was mostly damaged by hurricanes Hugo and Marilyn, will be returned to pre-hurricane conditions with lighting, irrigation and new plantings being installed as part of the project.
Ground-penetrating radar has been around since the 1980s, but has only recently become more popular in land surveying during the last decade. GPR can be used in a variety of media including rock, soil, sand, concrete, ice , fresh water, pavements and structures. It can also detect objects, changes in material, voids and cracks underground, according to Bateman.
“Subsurface engineering is what makes us unique,” said Bateman, who is planning on expanding the company to other Caribbean islands such as St. Maarten and St. Kitts.
“We are bringing our expertise to the territory and we hope to be here for a long time,” said Carlton Freeman, who works for BCSC and is stationed on St. Croix.