Holes in the road dug by public utility firms can be a headache for traffic and pedestrians. But thanks to a new backpack for roadmenders, getting at underground pipes and cables will be a lot faster in future That could save the country about pounds 2 billion of social and economic disruption.
At Nottingham University's Institute of Engineering, Surveying and Space Geodesy, Gethin Roberts and others have linked virtual-reality binoculars, complete with inertial navigation systems, to a backpack containing a GPS receiver and a laptop. Roadside engineers who don the binoculars see pre-stored 3D video images, based on local data, of what lies beneath them; and the images change as they move. It's accurate to 1cm, if the underlying data is correct.