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InfraMarker Adds GPS, Cloud Services to Manage Buried Assets
The company says the new edition of its RFID-enabled solution will bring underground assets into the Internet of Things.
Jul 30, 2014—
Earlier this month, InfraMarker—a division of Berntsen International, a manufacturer and supplier of survey and utility markers and related equipment—released a new iteration of a solution that employs radio frequency identification to determine the exact locations of pipes and other tagged infrastructure buried beneath the ground. Previous versions depended solely on magnetic locators and RFID tags and readers, while the newest edition introduces the inclusion of GPS technology and real-time communication with the cloud. The new InfraMarker system will bring underground assets into the Internet of Things, says Bill Rushing, Berntsen International's VP of R&D.
Construction accidents involving underground assets can cause deaths, financial losses and environmental damage. A water main struck by a backhoe can flood a city block, and even just nicking a natural gas line can cause a fatal explosion. With legacy location technology, pinpointing the whereabouts of an underground asset is a cumbersome and unreliable process that often requires calling an outside contractor with specialized equipment, which drives up a project's cost. Even with many states offering free utility location hotlines, diggers sometimes do without.
Making It Easy for Diggers
The new InfraMarker system utilizes GPS, magnetic location and RFID technologies to locate and record information related to underground assets. GPS guides technicians to the approximate site, which they then confirm via video and pictures embedded in the asset's record—all stored on the cloud, using a server hosted by Microsoft Azure cloud services. They then use a magnetic locator to pinpoint the asset's precise location, as well as an RFID reader to verify its identity. All activity is uploaded to the cloud in real time.
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