a paradigm shift in low cost access to advanced underground mapping technology

Gyro or inertial mapping provides an effective technical solution to the challenge of accurately mapping underground utility infrastructure. Gyro mapping solutions are available for any type of underground utility including water, gas, electric power, communications, ducts, and wastewater. Using this technology it is possible to map networks of pipes or ducts with diameters ranging from 29-34 mm to 90-1500 mm for distances of up to 2 km. Solutions are being offered globally by quite a large number of service providers.

Product-as-a-Service (PaaS)

Gyro mapping is perceived to be expensive because it is currently offered in a very inefficient manner with high mobilization and de-mobilization costs. Whereas the reality is that that if you provide the service efficiently gyro mapping has a price advantage over other technologies. That is why we’re introducing the Product-as-a-Service (PaaS) concept which represents a true paradigm shift in how gyro mapping is offered.  

Erratic per unit pricing, which is actually the norm in the mapping industry, is a problem that inhibits new advanced mapping technologies like gyro mapping technology from competing more effectively with traditional underground mapping methods such as GNSS. The way pricing currently works is that service providers ask a fixed rate for a day’s work. The fixed cost covers mobilization, de-mobilization, the crew, the equipment, the planning, and the actual mapping. But the actual amount of mapping conducted may vary from a very small portion of the daily rate to virtually all of it. As a result a crew is often inefficiently deployed because the volume of mapping is fairly low, but it still takes a day. As an example, a service provider whose standard rate is $3000 per day is requested to come in and do a 300 foot mapping. That translates into an effective of cost of $10 per foot, which is very expensive. On the other hand if they had mapped 1,500 feet that day the average cost would have been $2 per foot.


Enabling the efficient delivery of gyro mapping services requires two things; reducing mobilization and demobilization rates and a pricing model that reflects the amount of subsurface mapping actually conducted.

The solution is to bring the technology closer to the job sites to reduce mobilization and de-mobilization costs and to adopt a pricing model that more accurately reflects the amount of gyro mapping that is actually performed.

The foundation of Product-as-a-Service (PaaS), is that Reduct makes its equipment available to the service provider free of charge.  On its side the service provider commits to conducting a certain amount of underground mapping using gyro technology per year. The service provider either conducts the underground mapping work itself or subcontracts a contractor, engineering firm, or surveyor to conduct the pre-construction survey work. In either case the service provider provides the Reduct gyro mapping equipment used in mapping the location of underground utilities. 

Of course this will require that a lot more service provider people (or your subcontractor’s people) be trained in gyro mapping to perform this work. But you no longer need to travel half way around the world to acquire Reduct training. Reduct have set up the Reduct Academy where you can find video-enabled training packages for all of our tools, how to assemble them, operate them, process the data, and generate the 3D models.

Transparent competitive pricing

PaaS makes pricing transparent and enables gyro mapping to be offered competitively to traditional technologies. Service providers can provide prices to their customers based on the rates that Reduct charges for the PaaS service. PaaS rates are simply a balance between the value of the equipment that we provide and the feet of subsurface mapping that is committed by the service provider.

Reduct flexibilityA key benefit of the Product-as-a-Service concept is that it provides for complete flexibility in your choice of equipment. PaaS allows you to select, exchange or return technology depending on your current requirements. Because the technology is provided free of charge you have complete flexibility in choosing the equipment you want to use.  Reduct hardware solutions are available right now for pretty much every type of utility including water, gas, electric power, communications, ducts, and wastewater and for a wide range of pipe and duct diameters ranging from 29-34 mm to 90-1500 mm for distances of up to 2 km.  The pipe or duct can be any material and any shape; round, rectangular or X -shaped. 

Here’s some practical examples of the advantages of full flexibility. We supply you with an ABM-30 for an inch and a quarter data duct, and an ABM-90 or a DR-4 for doing larger diameter pipes – anything up to 500 millimetres. Now, if you commit to mapping a hundred thousand feet with those two units on an annual basis, then you will be charged 52 cents per foot for mapping done using this equipment. That is a flat rate, it doesn’t matter which of the two units you use. There is zero investment risk because tools are exchanged and replaced as they become obsolete.

Now if your projects change and your latest job requires that you map a 210,000 foot pipe, you find you need to upgrade your ABM-90 to a DR-4. Your rate per foot drops to 27 cents because on the one hand, you have a slightly more expensive tool, but you have a lot more volume. So your rate goes down to 27 cents.

For service provider’s people in the field the benefit of the PaaS model is full hardware flexibility and transparent, competitive pricing.

Cloud-based services

We’ve also set up cloud-based services, where your experts can monitor everything that happens to all the tools that are within your portfolio without needing to be on site. With that online service, you can see performance statistics, quality statistics of the tool such as spread and length scaling, that give a very good indication of how well the tool was pulled through the pipe and how accurate the result is likely to be.

You can centralize all the activities that are happening, reporting, quality control and other activities. You can monitor the quality of an individual tool or of an individual operator. For example, if an operator is performing less efficiently than another operator with the same equipment or if you detect data quality issues with a particular operator, you may consider giving some remedial training or monitoring specific operators more closely.

Reduct community

We have created a community of Reduct users. Within that community, we have pipeline owners, service providers, and service partners. Service partners are people and organizations with relationships to Reduct.  For example, they are a local place where you can go to exchange your tools or have them re calibrated. So every region will have service partners.The community will be a place where you can basically interact with your partners or your service providers.  If, for example, you have a very interesting reporting template for a certain customer, which is very specific, and you know other people could benefit from that, you can offer it through the community.

This sums up the new concept we call Product-as-a-Service, or PaaS that provides a way to bring gyro mapping into the mainstream technologies, just like any of the other ones.

Implications for introducing other advanced technologies

We believe that this approach has implications for subsurface mapping in general, because it provides a way for other new advanced subsurface mapping technologies to be offered into the market competitively with traditional mapping technologies.


This post is based on Otto Ballintijn’s (Reduct) talk at Subsurface Utility Mapping Strategy Forum (SUMSF).


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