GPS Excavation Encroachment Notification System Implementation

Excavation Encroachment Notification System to Improve Natural Gas Infrastructure Safety

Institute of Gas Technology dba GTI Energy


Des Plaines, IL

Recipient Location


Senate District


Assembly District



Amount Spent



Project Status

Project Result

This project was successfully completed in March 2018. The final report was published on June 22, 2018 at [a href="…]. Hydromax has signed an agreement with GTI to build and commercialize the EEN hardware devices and provide GIS-backed services to the natural gas utilities. Hydromax has just started the commercialization efforts and the product is expected to be ready by the 2nd Quarter of 2019.[br /]

The Issue

Accidental damage to pipelines by excavations such as digging, grading, trenching, and boring is a primary challenge to safe pipeline operations. The Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration reported that excavation damage is the root cause of about 26% of gas transmission pipeline incidents and 35% of serious gas distribution pipeline incidents in the last 10 years. Between 2015 and 2016, third-party excavation damages in California accounted for roughly 50% of their reported gas incidents, which often resulted from failure to follow one-call notification before digging, lack of accurate markings, or failure to follow standard excavation procedures around utility lines.

Project Innovation

This project, which was completed this year, developed and demonstrated an advanced location awareness tool called the Global Positioning System Excavation Encroachment Notification System (GPS EENS). The system increases situational awareness of operating excavators and reduces the risk of third party damage on the utility natural gas pipeline infrastructure. Utilizing geographical information systems, the tool monitors excavator behavior during operations such as digging, idling, or moving across locations. Mobile deployment of the technology, integrated with existing utility first-response solutions, provides emergency responders with near real-time asset maps and communications necessary to take preventative measures. The increased situational awareness capabilities include accurate damage location, asset maps, and enhanced alerting and targeted informational communications to first responders, law enforcement, and other related responders.

Project Benefits

The GPS EEN system utilizes a GPS technology along with a sensor array that includes accelerometers, gyroscopes, and other sensors to provide specific information about the behavior of the excavator. This project advances the technology used to determine the state of the excavator, such as idling, digging, backfilling, and traveling between project sites. The project provides enhanced situational awareness of excavators operating near or on utility infrastructure and significantly reduces the risk of pipeline excavation damage.

Lower Costs


The benefit of using the technology has already been initiated by installing about 150 units in the utility's own equipment, as well as in participating contractors' excavators. Such deployment targeted 12% of the non-significant incidents in California which are caused by first- and second-party excavators and cost about $1,564,500 annually.

Increase Safety


The implementation of the technology results in the ratepayer benefit of improved public safety and operational efficiency. The project provides enhanced situational awareness of excavators operating near or on utility infrastructure and significantly reduces the risk of pipeline excavation damage. The integrated system provides situational awareness of the excavator location, operating status, asset maps, and related right-of-way boundaries in real-time to operating utilities for effective monitoring and decision making.

Key Project Members

Project Member

Khalid Farrag



Fisher-Nickel, Inc.


Environmental Systems Research Institute


Match Partners


Institute of Gas Technology dba GTI Energy


Contact the Team