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There has been a long tradition of geomorphological mapping to support land use planning, especially in Poland (e.g. Klimaszewski 1956, 1961; Galon 1962) and France (e.g. Tricart 1965; for a history of geomorphological mapping in Europe, see Verstappen 1983). The Geological Society Working Party Report on maps and plans (Anon. 1972) identified examples of geomorphological mapping that could be of use to engineers. However, the value of the technique was best highlighted by its application to road projects in unstable terrain in Nepal and South Wales during the early 1970s (e.g. Brunsden et al. 1975a, b; Doornkamp et al. 1979; Jones et al. 1983). The techniques have also been successfully applied to dryland problems (e.g. Brunsden et al. 1979; Bush et al. 1980, Doornkamp et al. 1980; Cooke et al. 1982, 1985; Jones et al. 1986), soil erosion (e.g. Morgan 1995) and river management (e.g. Doornkamp 1982; Richards et al. 1987). Despite these applications, BS5930, Code of Practice for Site Investigations (British Standards Institution 1981), contains little reference to geomorphological maps (Griffiths & Marsh 1986) and the technique remains a marginal skill practised by a few experienced engineering geomorphologists. Examples of good mapping practice can be found within the references cited in this paper.

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