In 1929, W. Stern used ground penetrating radar to measure the depth of a glacier. Advances in GPR technology became stagnant from the 1930's to the 1970's until military applications began to fuel research in GPR. The military explored applications for GPR such as locating tunnels in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. Utility and construction companies soon became interested in the technology. They were interested in using GPR to map utility lines and pipes beneath city streets.
Affordable commercial GPR equipment was first sold in 1985 and allowed for commercial applications to grow. The first comprehensive reference books on GPR were written in the 1990's. In 1992, GPR was used to recover a large amount of cash that kidnapper Michael Sams had buried in a field. Sams had received the cash as ransom for an estate agent he had kidnapped.
Applications for ground penetrating radar have expanded into earth sciences, nondestructive testing, archeology, military, forensics and security, construction, pipeline inspections, and more. The technology for ground penetrating radar systems is around 100 years old, but it did not become widespread until the 1970's and 1980's. Imagine what the future of GPR will look like!