How SAM Uses Advanced Technology to Enhance SUE Services

September 2, 2020

SAM is known for deploying innovative technology and using advanced processes to deliver the highest quality field data. An example of this in our Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) services is our use of a high sensitivity, high-resolution metal detector, the Geonics EM61-MK2A, to give a more complete subsurface view of a project site and help prevent work stoppages. This technology locates both ferrous and non-ferrous subsurface anomalies known to cause unexpected and substantial work stoppages and delays on projects. A problem solver outside of the standard field methodology, the EM61 technology finds other non-utility subsurface objects that may not be found when solely using traditional SUE services.

There are two major benefits this technology brings to SUE projects. First, the EM61 gives an enhanced look under a project site when used simultaneously with traditional SUE methods. The data collected by the EM61 locates metals utilizing Time Domain Electromagnetic (TDEM) Systems technology, which detects changes in relative depth and position of these subsurface metals quickly and accurately. The device registers the change in the electromagnetic field that, when processed, produces a georeferenced contour map of metals in the area. Information collected is displayed live and can be used by field crews while on the project site to gain additional insight into underground systems. The detector locates ground anomalies beyond that which is found with conventional SUE equipment and can include underground storage tanks, capped wells, footings and demolished buildings, construction trash, metallic utility systems that have non-metallic joints, and buried manhole covers and valves.

Second, with the georeferenced map, clients can identify and minimize the risk of costly construction delays and redesigns. Recently, a SAM utilities client applied data from an EM61 scan to locate buried foundations from previous structures on a project site. The EM61 identified the location of steel reinforced concrete and the client then positioned their electric pole foundations between the previously mapped utilities and the buried structures in an urban area. By using both traditional SUE services and the EM61, SAM was able to identify buried anomalies and help the client avoid costly issues that could have caused days of delay. The use of the EM61 not only helped avoid potential delays, but also the possibility of costly redesigns and ordering of structures. Having to order a new non-standard structure can delay a project for weeks.

“The EM61 is great tool in SAM’s suite of equipment,” said SUE Department Manager, Ryan Matthews. “SAM’s investment in advanced technology allows us to provide our clients with more complete data and better solutions.” SAM has integrated the EM61 into our SUE service offerings with skilled, trained technicians across the United States to support client projects.

For more information about how the EM61-MK2A can be integrated into SUE projects contact Ryan Matthews at

Read more about our SUE services on our SUE services page.