Obtaining reliable subsurface utility information has been difficult. Now this information is available through the use of an engineering process called Subsurface Utility Engineering.
Scope of Work - The process of developing a written project-specific work plan package that consists of the scope of work, levels of service vs. risk allocation, project schedule and desired project delivery method. This SUE work plan package is agreed upon by the SUE provider and the client, describing the SUE work to be performed.
Designating - The process of using a surface geophysical method or methods to interpret the presence of a subsurface utility and mark its horizontal position on the ground surface or on above-ground surface markers.
Locating - The process of exposing and recording the precise vertical and horizontal location and providing the size and configuration of a utility.
Data Management - The process of surveying, designating, and locating information to project control and transferring it into the client's CADD system, GIS files, or project plans.
Conflict Analysis - The engineering process of using a conflict matrix to evaluate and compare depicted designating information with proposed plans (highway, bridge, drainage, and others) in order to inform all stakeholders of potential conflicts, potential resolutions, and costs to cure.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has developed an important standard of care guideline, the Standard Guideline for the Collection and Depiction of Existing Subsurface Utility Data, CI/ASCE 38-02.
This standard guideline describes four quality levels of utility depiction: