Geographical information systems
GIS software can be used to manipulate and display spatial information. Burrough & McDonnell (1998, p. 11) provide a number of definitions of GIS, based upon the concepts of the toolbox, database and organizational systems. Examples of each include:
Toolbox definition: ‘… a system for capturing, storing, checking, manipulating, analysing and displaying data which are spatially referenced to the earth …’
Database definition: ‘… any manual or computer based set of procedures used to store and manipulate geographically referenced data …’
System definition: ‘An organized collection of computer hardware, software, geographic data and personnel designed to efficiently capture, store, update, manipulate, analyse, and display all forms of geographically referenced information’.
Organization based definition: ‘… a decision support system involving the integration of spatially referenced data in a problem solving environment …’
In the context of terrain evaluation the ‘organization based’ definition is considered to be the most appropriate. This is because the intended output of terrain evaluation is to support a decision making process. More specifically, GIS can help the terrain evaluation process answer questions such as those in Table 1.
Figures & Tables
This volume presents a collection of papers on techniques and case studies in land surface evaluation for engineering practice written by specialist practitioners in the field. The volume arose out of deliberations by the Second Working Party on Land Surface Evaluation set up by the Engineering Group of the Geological Society in January 1997 and chaired by Dr. J. S. Griffiths. The book examples of cost-effective methods for collecting land surface and near surface data prior to carrying further detailed ground investigations of engineering geologist, geotechnical engineers, geomorphologist and planners who have the responsibility for planning a designing investigations of potential sites of development.