Geospatial Underground Tracking System (GUTS)

Fairfax VA – November, 2010

Fairfax Training Facility
Overview of Fairfax Urban Search and Rescue Academy. Shown in gray are the 200’ of underground tunnels that run between the principal buildings

Increasingly, clandestine tunnels under our southern and northern borders continue to be a problem for counter-smuggling operations. The Q-Track Geospatial Underground Tracking System provides real time positioning of robotic equipment and first responder personnel operating in a GPS and short range radio-frequency denied areas.  GUTS is capable of deployment in a variety of underground environments from sewage systems to interdicted, cross-border tunnels up to 50 ft. underground.

Easy to operate, the underground asset can be located in minutes and a spatial map generated for evidentiary usage as well as tunnel remediation efforts such as drilling. GUTS has been developed under DHS contract N10PC20209 and is ready for use in CBP/ICE operations.

Q-Track identified a suitable site convenient to DHS headquarters to demonstrate the capabilities of our prototype GUTS system. The Fairfax Fire and Rescue Academy located outside of Washington, DC has between 100 to 200 feet of buried tunnels (pictured right). The purpose of this technology demonstration was to show Q-Track’s progress to date in developing GUTS and to garner user feedback from the Customs and Border Patrol agents in attendance.

The Fairfax County International Urban Search & Rescue resource, sponsored by the Fairfax County, Virginia Fire and Rescue Department is capable of both domestic and international disaster response. The Task Force has extensive international (USAR Team-1) and domestic (Virginia Task Force-1) disaster response experience. It is also recognized throughout the United States and the world, as a premier leader for the provision of training in catastrophic event mitigation, readiness, and response and recovery techniques. A composite of pictures showing the Academy and our demonstration are shown below.

This building central on the map, was deigned and built specifically for training today’s fire-fighters and rescue crews. This building top of the map (and a tunnel exit point) was is setup to train fire-fighters and rescue teams in a collapsing or collapsed building.
DHS personnel looking at the accuracy of the GUTS system displayed via a heat-map on the laptop. A member of the DHS and the Q-Track Team stand with the locator over where the system has located the underground tag to be.


One section of the underground tunnel creating over 200ft of tunnel network at the training facility(Left); A heat-map generated by the Q-Track software that allows for a clear image of the tag location underground relative to an above ground view(center); One of the tunnel exits located in a building designed for rescue training in collapsing or collapsed structures(right).


Concept of Operations

Q-Track has developed a concept of operations where an above ground GUTS operator, can blindly seek the position of the underground “tag” with real time updates. Within minutes he can determine the location of the tag to an error of about 3m. If desired, the operator can then produce a map that will provide a refined position to within 1m error.

In the GUTS Seek mode:

  • Tag Deployed on Underground Robot/Agent.
  • Above ground agent surveys the area.
  • Home in on Signal.
  • Detection Range of 40-60ft.
  • Dynamic System 



GUTS top-level Architecture when integrated onto a robot underground, the above ground locator is small enough to be hand-held or mounted to a vehicle. The system can also be integrated with GPS to provide real-world coordinates.



  • Location of Underground Equipment/Assets to 2 ft. accuracy within minutes.
  • Real Time Updates on position.
  • Penetration Depth up to 60 ft.
  • Seek Mode to Locate Objects
  • Map Mode for High Accuracy and Evidence
  • Integrateable with any robotic platform (PacBot, Talon, Matilda).




Video Demonstration of the GUTS s
ystem operation
Video made at a tunnel in Huntsville AL prior to our demonstration in Fairfax VA