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Magnetic or gyro guidance – when to use them?

Published — 2021-12-02

Guidance technology for Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) has evolved over time and today there are two major tool types used in the industry: magnetic based tools and gyro-based tools. The question for contractors is when one should be used over the other?

Magnetic Tools

Guidance tools using magnetic sensors are widely used in the HDD industry today and have been for many years.  These tools use magnetometers and gravity sensors to determine location. Magnetic tools are highly accurate to a relatively low cost, and the technology is applicable to a wide range of project types.  In general, magnetic tools are the best fit when the potential for signal disruption through magnetic interference is low.    

Gyro Tools

Gyro tools, compared to magnetic tools, are relatively new to the HDD industry. These tools use gyroscopes to determine location. Gyro tools are especially effective when magnetic interference exists, for example in dense urban environments or when placing a magnetic coil is not possible. However, these tools are generally more expensive than magnetic tools and as a result, project budgets must be considered.   

Use both

The most accurate solution is to use both tools. Each sensor type has its inherent strengths and weaknesses which is why the best overall solution is two use both technologies. This provides multiple, independent sources of location, providing the best of both worlds. INROCK’s ParaTrack system is designed to deploy either technology separately or together to achieve strong project outcomes.

To learn more, please contact your sales representative at INROCK.