Page 7 - Tennessee 811 Magazine 2021 Issue 2
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is vital to the utility owners and contract locators that have to respond to the ticket and get your area of excavation marked accurately and completely. Having lot numbers posted at new construction
sites and using white paint greatly reduces the chance of your locate being delayed or being marked incompletely. Utilizing Bing maps and Google maps can help identify this information, but firsthand knowledge of the location from a job site visit is ideal.
Now let’s take a look at how the locators use all of this information to ensure your area of excavation
is marked accurately and completely. The first thing a locator should be doing when they pull up to a
job site is visually scan for signs of buried utilities. Once they have an understanding of the utilities that are in conflict with the excavation site they must reference their utility maps and compare that to what they are seeing in the field. The utility maps give important information to the locator like access points, size and material, service tie-ins, splices
and dead end stubs. Utilizing all of the information provides you with the most accurate locate. Locators may have to utilize service cards or job order drawings along with the mapping provided. Once again, since a locator is unable to physically see what they are locating, it is important to use all available information to perform an accurate locate.
As you can see, accurate map data is crucial in damage prevention and everybody involved plays a role in creating, providing or utilizing this data to ensure locate requests are being marked accurately. Many companies are now utilizing software
which allows them to integrate their GIS mapping information into their ticket management system
to look at utility maps for a ticket based off the information provided on that ticket. This allows the locator to review maps right from their ticket view and ensures they are looking at the right location on the maps while saving the locator time in having to search maps for their exact location. Some contract locate companies locate for multiple utilities and this method of map integration can save a lot of time throughout the day.
To my fellow locators in Tennessee, here’s a reminder that maps should be used before you begin your locate as well as once you have completed
your locate. When you pull up to a job site, scan
the area for signs of buried utilities, reference your maps and perform your locate based on information provided on the maps. Before you leave the job site, double check the maps and verify that everything represented on the maps is marked. If you are thinking about a locate after you have left, you
have not completed the locate. Go back and verify whatever it is you are thinking about. Leave every locate with confidence!
Thank you to each and every one of you that
take the responsibility of locating underground facilities seriously. It is because of what you do that excavators are able to perform their jobs safely.
Frequently Asked Questions
By Kathy Quartermaine, Damage Prevention Liaison Tennessee811
Why do I have to provide (or confirm) distance and direction to my dig site on a locate request?
When you call in a locate request, our Locate Request Agent draws a point, line, or polygon on the map to represent the
area where you’ll be excavating. To make sure they map the right area, the agent will ask you for the nearest intersecting street and the approximate distance from that intersection to your job site. When we’re dealing with an address, the locator will typically use their GPS to navigate to the location, so the distance and direction is not typically used for getting the locator to the site – it’s making sure they ever get that ticket in the first place. The area mapped by our agent determines which utilities are notified, so it is always important to be as accurate as possible. The best practice is to have an idea of the distance and direction from the nearest intersection for every locate request, even if you’re digging at a specific address.
In the case of a point address, we may be able to simply confirm what our maps show instead of asking you to provide distance and direction. Currently we have point addressing (E911 addresses) in 63 of the 95 counties in Tennessee. Point addressing provides a precise point for an address location which is then manually adjusted by our GIS team where needed, allowing the highest level of accuracy. If the address you give for your work location matches a point address on
the map, we will still need the closest intersecting street for verification, but we won’t need to ask you for the distance. However, if the address you give shows more than a half mile from the intersection or doesn’t match a point address, then we have to have the approximate distance from that intersection to make sure the correct area is drawn.
Maps are never 100% accurate, and not all maps are equal, so distance and direction is a tool to ensure the accuracy of your locate request. We want one ticket to get the job done for you, so help us be thorough the first time around.
2021, Issue 2 Tennessee811 • 5

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