One-call 811 location crews only locate public utility lines. Because more than 65% of all buried utility lines are categorized as private subsurface utilities, private utility locating crews are needed to mark out any water, gas, and electrical lines that extend beyond the service meter or are located on private, residential, commercial, and municipal land. Read more about when to call a private utility locator.


    We can typically locate utilities up to 15ft deep; however soil and ground moisture conditions in addition to the condition of the utility itself play a big part in our success. We have multiple tools at our disposal to give us the best chance to find the utilities we are looking for.

  • How long are utility maps valid?

    Utility maps are valid and accurate for three months. After 90 days, underground mapping tools should be used again to verify the map and ensure there have been no changes affecting buried utilities.

Utility Markouts

  • When are utilities considered private?

    Most utilities on public land are owned and maintained by municipalities or cooperatives owned by the customers they serve. Private Utilities are owned and maintained by a private facility or are located on private property with no easement. Often private utilities are not included in public records or as-builts, they typically originate in the facility they serve or are continuations of public utilities onto private property.

  • How do you mark out underground utilities?

    We have several geo-physical techniques utilizing a variety of technologies to accomplish this. Our “go-to” methods utilize radio frequencies that are powered through utility lines via a transmitter and can be picked up by an accompanying receiver. Secondly, we utilize multiple Ground Penetrating Radars that have different frequencies depending on the application.

  • Can you be certain of the type of utility when locating electronically?

    Not always, often the way we definitively identify a utility is by the above ground physical indicators we find in the field such as valves, manholes, or markers.

  • How do you find untraceable / plastic pipes?

    We use our Ground Penetrating Radar to locate hard to find utilities. We can also use a process we call “dig to find” where we use our vacuum excavation truck to dig a series of test holes on an untraceable utility in order to lay out its direction. The number of holes needed to complete this process varies based on the utilities direction and the amount of distance it covers.

  • What do you do if you can’t find a utility with your electronic equipment?

    If we can’t find a utility with our electronic locating equipment or GPR we suggest our non-invasive and safe vacuum excavation test holes in the area where the utility is assumed to be.

Our Work

University of Delaware
/ Colleges & Universities

University of Delaware

Overview The University of Delaware has treated Softdig to numerous projects on and off campus that involve designating and locating ...
United Nations
/ Government & Military

United Nations

Overview Softdig’s United Nations project involved GIS mapping/analysis and verifying utilities at 37 locations for security improvements at vehicle entrances ...
SUNY Buffalo
/ Colleges & Universities

SUNY Buffalo

Overview Another job in the University industry is our University of Buffalo project. For this job Softdig offered services such ...

View All Recent Work

Do You Need Help Executing Your Next Project?

Schedule a free consultation with one of our experts and see how we can help you accomplish your goals.

Want to speak to an expert? Call 800-545-1531 or an office near you!