Much to the appreciation of UK archaeologists, a new program entitled VISTA (Visualizing integrated information on buried assets to reduce streetworks) aims to map the roughly 1.5 million kilometers of gas, sewer, water, and electricity utilities now in place under the their streets. With a significant portion of these conduits being nearly 200 years old, current knowledge of their whereabouts is sketchy at best (diagram below shows the complexity of utilities).
This project aims to drastically decrease the number of holes dug to find long lost utilities, increase the response time to fixing utilities, and nullify the reported 30 – 40 injuries per year caused by accidentally digging into electrical lines. Using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and pseudolites (essentially ground based GPS satellites) researchers will strive for centimeter accuracy.
Check out this article at BBC news for more info.