Content Marketing Specialist

Randa Bakken's profile picture

A venture into the ground with XeThru radar tech

Radar systems are traditionally associated with aviation, vessels at sea or military applications. However, there are many less traditional applications that utilize radar as their sensing principle. One such group of applications use radar technology to survey the ground without actually digging in it. This is usually referred to as ground-penetrating radar - or GPR.

For an archeologist this is a new set of eyes that makes it possible to survey a piece of land for any subsurface artifacts, features, and patterns. In a GPR application, the transmit and receive antenna(s) are pointed towards the ground and based on the dielectric properties and depth of the objects below, an altered return signal will be received. Virtually any type of dirt can be surveyed including rock beds, ice or snow. This type of technology was recently seen deployed to help rediscover the Great Synagogue of Vilnius, 70 years after its destruction. We also see that GPR could be used by archeologists in Egypt in their quest to locate Nefertiti’s tomb. This technology could really be the archeologist’s most advanced “tool” alongside the most traditional search methods such as metal detectors and ground surveying.

While in the field of earth sciences, there are systems today that utilize XeThru GPR technology. Based in snowy Bozeman, Mt Flat Earth Inc. has developed and now produces non-contact snow depth measurement equipment such as the SDS-X2 Snow Depth Sensor. This rugged snow depth measurement system is designed for snow grooming operations at Alpine and Nordic Ski Areas and is in use around the world. Snow depth is measured beneath the snowcat once a second; when combined with GPS measurements a snow depth map of the resort can be created. Resorts use this information to improve their snow logistics and snow making operations, which could ultimately lead to energy and time savings.

But it is not just our leisure winter activities that benefit from GPR - sometimes it plays a much more safety critical role. Icy water is used for transportation of goods during winter in many places around the world today. These types of roads are usually remade each winter, and there are some obvious safety issues associated with constructing a road on icy water. When (or if) a vehicle breaks the ice, potential fatality and lost cargo could be disastrous consequences for transport companies. Today measurement of ice thickness is most commonly done by manual drilling. Russian KBOR solved this tedious process in their PicoR-ICE measurement product for handheld and vehicle mounted ice thickness measurements. XeThru technology deployed in yet another manner.

So if you wonder what is under your feet while walking on the beach or in the backyard, if the ice is safe to drive on or where the best ski conditions are - be sure that XeThru with its ground-penetrating capabilities and superior ability to see through material is the ideal technology to use.