How To Pick An Underground Utility Locator

What are Underground Utility Locators?

When a homeowner or a contractor wants to carry out construction works that involve digging into the ground, there is a risk that they will run into utility wires and pipes. This can be costly if you accidentally damage or cut the lines on top of being extremely dangerous. Electrical power lines may electrocute you or cause a fire while gas lines can explode. Damaging water pipes could lead to the collapse of trenches when water is released suddenly; workers can be trapped underground.

Underground utility locator dd120 locator

For this reason, it is advisable to hire the services of a utility locating company to establish where each utility is placed in the property. Thus, a utility locating company determines the location of underground utilities, such as gas, power lines, water pipes, and telephone and internet cables. They also establish the exit point of the utilities. A utility location company works in close collaboration with utility locators, construction, and consulting companies. Utility location technicians study blueprints and maps to determine the location of the utilities and mark the areas for future reference. The marking is useful to construction workers, utility workers, and electricians as they use them when repairing, modifying, or expanding the facilities in the future.

How to Pick the Best Underground Utility Locator

Hiring a professional underground utility locator speeds up a construction project. This is because you dig without interruptions or caution since you know where a specific utility is located. Locating utilities ensures the safety and saves money and time as nothing is damaged. Therefore, you need to find the best utility location professional to ensure you get the job done as expected.

Look for an experienced professional with relevant licenses

The utility locating company you choose should have relevant knowledge and experience spanning several years. Ask them about some of the projects they have undertaken in the past. They should be able to locate, identify and mark all underground structures and utilities within a short time.

A company with a good reputation will provides references on some of the big projects they had done. You can also investigate through the internet by looking at customer reviews in their website. Through this, you will know about if there have been complaints against the company and if they have relevant licenses to operate.

Underground Utility Locator Technology and equipment

Your ideal company should is one that uses advanced locating methods and technology to guarantee accuracy, quality, and reliability. With the never-ending technological advances, companies are adopting locating equipment that relies on technology and acquiring complicated electronic equipment. The equipment eases the interpretation of signals and provides thorough underground mapping solutions that help in the quicker location of the utility. The scope of such a project can range from a swimming pool installation at home to a building construction site where utility lines below buildings and highways are identified. Thus, ensure that the company you choose has advanced techniques and tools that will help your project.

Underground Utility Locator Reliability

How reliable is your chosen company? Does it have a broad reach to deliver services where you want? If possible, pick a company that has offices within your locality. Having a local presence means that they are familiar with the utility networks of utility companies and have developed a working relationship with them. It is also easier to get references and reviews from their former clients within your location rather than going out of town looking for the same.

How does Underground Utility Locating Equipment Work

Utility location companies work with electronic detection equipment. The equipment uses different technologies to operate as stated below.

Electromagnetic equipment

Electromagnetic utility locating equipment works by conveying an electromagnetic frequency via an underground utility’s conductive material. When dealing with water pipes, the signal is directly applied to the pipe by a connection at a hydrant, riser, or valve. For an underground wire locator like telephone or electric cables, the connection is made at the underground utility’s grounding structure. Power lines are located by connecting an underground wire locator with ground wire, meter box, or transformer. Cable TV and telephone systems are traced by joining the signal using an interface box, manhole, or pedestal.

Split-Box locator

This is a popular equipment that applies electromagnetic technology with 100% success. Different manufacturers have this equipment because of its popularity. This device induces or broadcasts an electromagnetic radiofrequency inside the ground using a transmitter device connected to a pole. When the frequency locates a utility underground, the receiver unit produces a reading. This equipment is most helpful during the clearance of all underground utilities. You do not require an active connection to operate this device, however, it does not indicate the type of utility it locates; just a metallic object below the ground.

Direct connection

The main aspect of a successful utility location is to locate utilities through a direct connection. Application of controlled and known signals is done to a utility; a process referred to as active locating. Active locating permits the locator to try and isolate the marked utility from the others. However, this is not always possible although active locating is mostly preferred as a reliable method of locating utilities.

The application of the signal is done on the target utility through a transmitter where the technician detects the transmission on a receiving device. The receiver is a part of the equipment but you can customize it to detect extra frequencies that the manufacturer is unfamiliar with.

Leica DD Smart Underground Utility Locators

Quinn Equipment is a distributor of Leica underground utility locators. The locators use automatic gain features that enable faster, accurate, and deeper identification of assets. These equipment are designed using Bluetooth technology, this means that the connection to mobile devices and technicians is wireless. The DD Smart locators have an internal memory that also has GPS positioning that you can transfer to your desktop or laptop. USB connectivity works in conjunction with DX Office Shield software to enable data download and analysis. Therefore, the two provide a single solution for all your utility locating needs. The DD Smart Locators are available in several series with a minimum price of $1,700.

Advantages of DD Smart Utility Locators


The locator is fitted with video support, diagnostics, and safe usage alerts for protection of your workers and assets. The locator and shield software enable organizations review and report on usage of assets allowing them to improve product usage and process. The software focuses on safety at the site and ensures usage integrity to allow organizations have a better understanding of site complexities and task performance.

It provides reports that outline product use which enables the business to establish skills gaps and training needs that result in fewer utility strikes.


The equipment traces utility lines accurately through the use of easy workflows thus increase the capability of analyzing asset performance quickly. When using the equipment, you will locate more utilities as you do not need to conduct multiple sweeps because of the technology used by the DD Smart Locators.

In conclusion

If you are a utility locating company or a homeowner who wishes to undertake simple construction work, contact us for an underground utility locator. We have a variety of utility locators to suit different jobs. Our equipment is reliable making them cost-effective as they save you money and time.

A few of our underground utility locator products



Click to call Pat or Daly Quinn


Since 1967

Quinn Equipment, Inc. was founded in 1967 by Charles and Marjorie Quinn to represent manufacturers in the distribution of construction related products.
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Quinn Equipment
400 35th St.
Marion, IA 52302

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