THE FORGOTTEN PIECE

I’m taking part in The Roundtable for Contractors today with Planet Underground and so I thought I’d spend some time highlighting what this roundtable is seeking to address. When it comes to damage prevention in the underground utility world, the focus is often on the one-call notification systems, locators marking lines, and utility owners protecting their assets. However, there is …

ARE UTILITY LOCATORS FIRST RESPONDERS?

I was lurking on the Utility Locator subreddit this week and noticed two posts about Utility Locators being First Responders, these were posted in light of the tornadoes and then a gas leak at a home. So I thought I’d give my 2 cents on the subject. But first, let’s define what a first responder is: What is a first …

DIGGING DEEP AT THE CGA

I caught up with an old friend last week during a break at the CGA conference, and we reminisced and talked about the future. One thing he said to me really stuck out: “It’s like we have all this valuable data scattered around – utility locator maps, weather reports, past damage records – but we’re not synthesizing it effectively.” It …

BENCHMARKING DAMAGE PREVENTION

The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) provides an invaluable service annually by compiling comprehensive data through its DIRT Report and the Damage Prevention Institute. It would be beneficial to dive deeper into this data, alongside additional information from the broader damage prevention landscape. While safely working around buried utilities is a universal challenge, some industries have been more effective than others …

SHINING A LIGHT INTO AI’S BLACK BOXES

As artificial intelligence systems are increasingly deployed in the utility and damage prevention sectors, a major challenge looms: the opacity and lack of transparency in many AI models used for these tasks. The “black box” nature of complex machine learning algorithms like deep neural networks makes it extremely difficult to understand the reasoning and decision-making process behind their outputs. This …

INEFFABLE CRYPTOGRAPHY & DAMAGE PREVENTION

With the amount of data associated with critical infrastructure and damage prevention cybersecurity is becoming a more and more important, the threat landscape is constantly evolving, and the protection of critical infrastructure has never been more crucial. As we witness an alarming surge in cyber attacks targeting vital systems such as energy grids, water supplies, and transportation networks, it becomes …

BUILDING UP YOUR LOCATORS

Being a proficient locator in the construction industry requires more than just technical know-how. When we send kids to a liberal arts university the intention is to get a wider knowledge of the world than just their specific major, I think we need to take that same tactic with locating. It demands a comprehensive understanding of construction standards, varied utility …

THE CEO’S GUIDE TO FIELD WORK

In the general busyness of my everyday life with kids, and work it’s pretty tempting to work from home or our nearby office and sit behind my screen all day. It makes it more straightforward and I can get a lot done that way. Yet, as the CEO of a company dedicated to damage prevention software ( Competers Inc. ), …

A REVIEW OF AII’S DIG LAW PROPOSAL

Back in December the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) produced a report called Improving Our Dig Laws: Framing Out A Plan for Achieving A 50 Percent Reduction in Excavation Damage. It’s a report that I overlooked at the time but I’ve spent a few hours looking it over and it’s a real substantial piece of work. It’s effectively a …

BOOSTING TRUST & COMMUNICATION IN DAMAGE PREVENTION

In the past few weeks I’ve met with a number of excavators who keep echoing the same complaint (which I’ve been hearing my entire career in this industry) which is, ‘we (excavators) have stopped bringing up issues with utilities because we (excavators) keep hearing the same excuses’. I understand the frustrations from both sides because we have customers that are …