The graph above shows incorrect maps/records at 10% in the full 2022 dataset; however, there are likely many other mapping related damages masked by locator error. Mapping issues could also be an underlying factor for some damages in the not marked/incomplete category. CGA Next Practices reports, the Locator White Paper and Natural Gas White Paper all identify up-to-date mapping as an effective method to improve locating.
CGA’s 2022 Technology Report featured several case studies highlighting new technologies that capture information in the field and enable the production and sharing of updated, accurate maps. The report also discussed some of the barriers to creating and sharing GIS facility maps.
This is an area where technology is rapidly advancing and has the potential to reduce incidents and make the entire damage prevention system more efficient. There are several stakeholder groups, and steps in the damage prevention process, where improved mapping could have an impact, including:
- Excavation project owners/designers: Project design and Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE)
- Facility owners and contract locators: Locating and marking
- 811 centers: Identifying work areas for electronic tickets and electronic white-lining, establishing polygons and buffer zones around member facilities
The following graphs specifically examine two of the consistent year-over-year top damage root causes – not marked/marked inaccurately due to locator error – using the 2022 full dataset. As we saw with failure to pothole/maintain clearance root causes, the vast majority of work performed for locator error-related damages was utility work. That facility owner/operators are likely the project owners for most of this work, combined with their mandate to locate their assets accurately and on time, gives that stakeholder group significant opportunities to influence damages related to locating practices.