Do I need to probe the ground exactly on top of the cable?

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It is preferable to probe the ground above where the cable is. However, one can be 5 to 10 ft to one side or the other and still get meaningful results. This is particularly true if the cable lays under pavement or concrete, and you are probing a patch of dirt or grass some feet away from the cable.
Also, it is good practice to probe in cracks in the pavement or concrete.

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