System for tracking and/or guiding an underground boring tool

  • US 6,035,951 A
  • Filed: 04/16/1997
  • Issued: 03/14/2000
  • Est. Priority Date: 04/16/1997
  • Status: Expired due to Term
First Claim
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1. A method of tracking the position and certain orientation parameters of a boring tool in the ground as the latter moves along a path which lies within a particular coordinate system, said method comprising the steps of:

  • (a) providing the boring tool with means for transmitting an electromagnetic field;

    (b) providing one or more detectors, each having an electromagnetic field receiving antenna assembly including at least one antenna, positioning each detector provided at a fixed position and at a particular orientation within said coordinate system, and determining the position and particular orientation within said coordinate system of the antenna associated with each detector provided;

    (c) at least periodically transmitting said electromagnetic field from said boring tool when the boring tool is at certain positions on said path;

    (d) when the boring tool is at one point on said path, establishing its position and said certain orientation parameters of the boring tool within the coordinate system;

    (e) moving said boring tool along said path which includes said one point and at least a subsequent second point;

    (f) when the boring tool moves a distance along said path from said one point to said second point, measuring at least one component of the intensity of said electromagnetic field using said detector or detectors; and

    (g) determining, at least to an approximation, the position and orientation of the boring tool at said second point within the coordinate system using as a first input the electromagnetic field intensity measurement or measurements taken by said one or more detectors when the boring tool is at said second point.

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