Concrete ScanningSensorsUtility Locating

Nintendo vs Sega debate, or, what GPR should you use?

By May 4, 2017 9 Comments

Did you play video games when you were a kid? Maybe you still play them!

When I was growing up there were two camps: the Nintendo camp & the Sega camp. People in either camp only bought systems made by the company their camp “liked”. However, sometimes it was the only systems they knew.

Folks like this missed out on a lot of fun!

The same is true in the GPR world. I see people only buy equipment from one manufacturer. I have even seen people unwilling to go to a booth at an expo from a competitor of the manufacturer that sold him or her the unit. As if they would be betraying the company. I have heard people talk negatively about products of other manufacturers that they themselves HAVE NEVER TOUCHED!!!

This is loser behavior.

There are many good products out there and you should try different ones. You wouldn’t spend 25 Grand on a car without test driving a few options (well you should test drive). Often times GPR costs more than your car. Afterwards, if you still LOVE the equipment you have and the service of the company that sold it to you, then buy some more from them. But to be a professional you SHOULD know what is on the market. It will help you know how you compare to your competitors.

It is also acceptable to have different pieces of equipment that serve different needs or are appropriate for different levels of your technicians.

And one final thought…Tecmo Bowl on the original Nintendo is still the greatest sports game ever made. is an online training platform for Ground Penetrating Radar that helps civil engineers, utility locators, and others learn about GPR through fun and engaging courses and coaching.

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Join the discussion 9 Comments

  • Well said. When I purchased my 1st GPR unit in 1999. I looked at Mala, Sensors & Software and GSSI equipment. Based on the primary use I had in mind for the equipment (concrete infrastructure) I felt at that time that GSSI was a few generations ahead of their competition, so that’s what we purchased. This is not necessarily still the case today. We have made it a point to compare the different manufacturers products whenever we can get them to come to us here in Winnipeg. (Not very often) Mostly we have to go to their booth at trade shows such as the WOC or CSDA conference to see if they have anything new. That being said we are always looking for equipment that will improve our ability to get the best possible results in the most efficient and cost effective manner. There are plus and minus factors for each manufacturer. For instance if you are just thinking about getting into the game and your focus is to scan before you core, Hilti is a very good option for 2 reasons. 1) They have by far the best service and repair reputation so you will have to worry less about downtime. 2) They are the only manufacturer that has in house financing. If your purchasing from GSSI in Canada, the US/Canadian dollar conversion and the 6-12 week time frame to get equipment repaired with an almost non existent loaner program are worthy of serious consideration even if you feel they have equipment that is better suited to your game plan. One other consideration is that technology is changing rapidly, and I’m not aware of any of the manufacturers taking older units in trade or even ensuring that all of their new products are backwards compatible, so you need to make sure the equipment you purchase pays for itself quickly so you can afford those expensive paperweights that older technology often becomes.

    • dpbigman says:

      Thanks so much for the comment Tony. I am grateful for the kind words and the engagement. This issue has been something that some others have brought up to me too. SERVICE!!!! As more companies develop new GPR technology that IS good, I am finding that service is becoming even more of a distinguishing characteristic. It’s a neat perspective that you bring up too: how far can service go? I think you have a great point about older equipment. Not sure if it is a viable business option, but something more than what is currently going on would be differentiating. I will say this however, I have used older equipment that works and got great data, but it was way more difficult to collect the data compared to today’s easy to use systems. I was literally holding the old 12 volt in one hand, a pelican case half open in the other, and a 40 ft cord wrapped around my torso. I don’t know why they never want to take that 40 ft cable back…?

  • Lynn says:

    Bonk! I just did what you said. Went to the Safety conf. in Orlando…(sorry I missed you there) and checked out everyone selling GPR. Touched it, held it, asked lots of questions. It made me even more happy with the equipment we purchased 2 years ago. That equipment is from a manufacturer that I previously thought was second rate to my favorite. But, new company, new needs, new equipment and software had come out from the “2nd rate” and I thought it was a better fit for now. It was. Sure there are some things like transport or cart system that I cuss about but there are other things that I think blow away the competition, it was a good decision. though If I buy a unit for concrete imaging it will probably be from a different company.

    • dpbigman says:

      Lynn, you are the big winner! That’s it. One other person got it on YouTube. I’m happy to pay up and help in any way I can.

      Sorry I missed you too. It would be great to grab some coffee at some other conference. Let me know what you will be attending.

      You make a great point about getting peace of mind. Testing other equipment can actually make you MORE confident about your current system.

      PS. I cuss at the cart too…

  • Bob Perry says:

    Interesting video. My first exposure to GPR came when I was in Viet Nam in 1970. Although I was not aware of what these two guys in civilian close were doing as they dragged this big box over the ground, later we found out that they were searching for enemy underground bunkers and strongholds.

    When I started mapping cemeteries in 1998, the biggest problem then (as well as today) is knowing the location of unmarked graves. GPR equipment from GSSI, for the most part, solved that problem. I have tested Sensor & Soft in the field and found their equipment to be exceptional in locating graves along with their on-screen analyses of the target. Several of my Associate Service Providers use both systems.

    Mapping cemeteries using GPS created some unique problems for doing business all over the United States. I was old school when I began using the Carlson GPS Total Station for mapping and quickly discovered that trying to find a network provider for the state that I was working in was a major problem and added cost for accesses their network. Once onsite, I ran into major problems trying to get fixed GPS coordinates due to tree cover and satellites positioning and found myself using old school surveying methods. Frustrated with using GPS, I sold the equipment and went with a TOPCON Robotic Total Station Survey system which does not require any access to a satellite network. The TOPCON was twice the cost of a GPS Total Station, but the switch was well worth the added cost. I am always on the lookout for new equipment and testing new techniques to locate unmarked graves.

    Bob Perry – aka Bone Find

    • dpbigman says:

      Hey Bob,
      Thanks for the history. That is wild that you were using this stuff back in Vietnam. I think you bring up a great point. Using both pieces of equipment can be helpful, but if you test various pieces and find which interface (and service) you like best…then go with it. Once you get comfortable with something it can be hard to change.

      • Bob perry says:

        No I was not using GPR in Vietnam, I witness two guys pulling this box around and many years later I found out it
        was ground radar.

  • John Williams says:

    Good Message about choosing the most appropriate tool in the box.