Mapping Britain’s Underworld

Friday 25 May

11.00am-11.30am

BBC RADIO 4

Adam Hart-Davis reports on the Mapping the Underworld project, which aims to tell us what's beneath Britain's roads - saving lives, millions of pounds and traffic disruption.

Four million holes are dug every year in the UK. Five billion pounds are lost through the economic effects of disruption and traffic hold-ups, while for those working on the road, hitting a utility pipe or cable can prove fatal. Adam looks at this £3.5 million research project involving universities throughout Britain which is trying to find the answers to these problems.

The project’s aim is to improve how Britain locates the confusing and complex array of pipes, cables and sewers beneath its streets, as well as to provide a map of what is beneath cities - improving planning above and below ground.

Existing sensors may have problems finding what is underground because of soil or weather conditions, whilst modern materials like plastic or fibre optics pose a challenge to existing technologies. Adam tries out the prototype of a multi-sensor cart where four different sensors operate together to produce an all-in-one solution.

Presenter/Adam Hart-Davies, Producer/Sara Parker for Unique Broadcasting Company

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