Underground Utility Locator

Need underground utilities located, identified and marked? 2M Locating is here to help right away!

Request a quote below and we will immediately get back to you with pricing and our availability:


2ML can provide the following utility locating and mapping services:

  • 811 Coordination
  • Utility locating using EM locating and GPR with standard GPS
  • Drone Survey with Advanced GPS & Georeferenced Data
  • Survey Crew - Licensed survey crew plots with survey-grade accuracy
  • Mapping and documentation via advanced GPS in CAD & GIS
  • Photo records (drone and point of view) and image overlays


“2ML was very responsive. They were able to mark our site well ahead of our Survey crews, making our job that much easier. Best utility locating company we have worked with in my 37 years of business!” 

-T. Morrow / Morrow Surveying / West Sacramento, CA

“Above and beyond the call of duty. 2ML even took drone shots of our project showing their freshly painted utility markings from a birds-eye view. That is incredibly valuable to my excavation team.”

-Kevin Post / Ursa Engineer / Redding, CA

“I am ready to get a quote from them so my name can be here next!”

-You, our next happy customer (Get Free Quote)

How Much Will My Utility Locating Project Cost?

How does 2M Locating locate and identify utility lines?

2M Locating uses several methods for locating underground utility lines


As-Built Plans are often prepared after a building, road or other improvement has been constructed, or had renovations or upgrades. However, As-Built Plans are often not documented correctly, or they leave out important information. 2M Locating uses As-Built Plans as a reference and starting guide.

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)

Our locators use nothing but the best equipment and when it comes to GPR, no one does it better than Sensors & Software and their LMX200 model.



EM location is the most common way to locate utilities. It is very cost effective. 2M Locating uses two types of EM location: direct connection and induction. Direct connection is used to detect gas, electrical and communication lines. This method requires access to a surface feature such as a pipe attached to a building, a conduit or a valve. Our technician connects a transmitter to the service line and sends a signal through the utility line or a tracer wire attached to the utility line. The technician then locates the signal using a receiver above ground. This method can accurately distinguish different utilities and the depth and direction of the utility.

Induction is used when a locator cannot connect directly to the utility line above ground. A technician can detect the electromagnetic field around an underground wire carrying a live current. One drawback is that this method cannot distinguish between different kinds of utilities. Another drawback is that, very often, there are numerous utility lines close together. The induction technique is inadequate to deal with complex situations involving locating multiple parallel or overlapping utility lines.


811 Coordination

You’re probably familiar with the nation-wide 811 “Call before you dig” program by which you call in and request that regional public utility companies locate the service lines where you plan to dig. One shortcoming of the 811 system is that the 811 locators will only locate the specific public utilities over which they have jurisdiction (water, electricity, gas, etc.). There may be other services or lines underground which they will not mark and identify.

Another shortcoming is that they will usually only mark the utility lines and services to the property line. You will still need to engage a private utility locator to complement the markings of the 811 locators.

There are publicly available maps and documents, usually in GIS format, that indicate where services and lines are located, however they are likely specific to individual utilities, not the gamut of services that run parallel and crisscross underground. 2M Locating offers 811 Coordination for a fee. We will:

  • Submit the 811 request for you
  • Look after the the filing and copying
  • Check the accuracy and completeness of the utility location marking and documentation


Benefits and Limitations of Electromagnetic Location and Ground Penetrating Radar

Each technology has benefits and limitations as indicated in this chart:

Utility Locating

Quality Levels of Service

Locates each utility by actually exposing every line horizontally and vertically. This is the most accurate utility locating method however it is very labor intensive, time-consuming and expensive.

Uses a) record drawings, b) visible features above ground, and c) technologies to identify underground structures.

Involves surveying utility features that are visible above ground and correlating them with existing utility records.

Relies solely on existing documents and oral recall. It is the least accurate method.

What Level of Service does 2ML Provide?

2ML uses SUE Level B methods to identify the locations of the utilities. Our technicians will attempt to locate and identify any unknown utility lines by:

  • consulting utility plans (Level D)
  • observing where the service lines start and end (Level C)
  • examining ground features such as manholes, valves, or other utilities, and (Level C)
  • determining characteristics of tracing signals. (Level B)

If any underground utilities require further investigation, 2ML will arrange for SUE Level A potholing service to be performed if the client is interested.

What happens if 2ML doesn’t locate the existing utilities?

At locations where a utility line is suspected but not identified, 2ML would recommend potholing or vacuum excavation to suck up the asphalt and earth very carefully until the utility line is physically located or “day-lighted.”

What happens if 2ML doesn’t locate the existing utilities?

At locations where a utility line is suspected but not identified, 2ML would recommend potholing or vacuum excavation to suck up the asphalt and earth very carefully until the utility line is physically located or “daylighted”. 2ML works with the contractor to ensure that the utilities are located and identified using these methods.

Hazards Associated with Each Kind of Utility Line

Red – Live electrical lines, especially high voltage lines, pose a serious risk for workers excavating in the area.
Orange – These service lines can be either coaxial cables or fiber optic cables. The latter are far more expensive to repair if damaged.
Yellow – Gas, oil and petroleum are flammable and explosive and can cause extensive damage if struck.
Green – Sewer water is kept out of storm drains for public health reasons. It is important that sewer water be filtered and treated before it is discharged.
Blue – In areas with cold climates, potable water lines are often buried deeper than other service lines in order to be below the frost line.

How does 2ML mark and identify utility lines?

Utility and service lines are marked with flags and/or paint. 2ML uses a drone to take pictures of the markings and note location features. Point of view (POV) photos are also taken from the ground.

What Colors and Symbols are used for Marking Utility Lines?

2ML uses the Uniform Color Codes developed by the American Public Works Association (APWA) for marking the location of utilities underground.

Red: Electricity, lighting
Yellow: Gas, oil, steam, petroleum, and gaseous chemicals
Orange: Telecommunications (TV, cable, telephone, internet, traffic signals)
Blue: Portable Water
Green: Sewer and drain lines
Purple: Reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines
Pink: Temporary survey markings
White: Proposed excavation


Each project has a number of variables, such as:

Utility Locating

What we are locating and how many will determine which technologies and tools we need to bring to the job and how many hours it will take to complete.

The size of the subject area, the project location and the complexity of the utility system are all taken into consideration.

Utility Locating
Utility Locating

The final deliverables you request also factor in the price. Some options include:

  • Digital Mapping Softwares / CAD / DWG
  • GIS Software like Google Earth / KML
  • Drone shots of our locating paint markings with georeferenced data

How Much Will My Utility Locating Project Cost?