Our profession operates in a state of identity confusion because we engineering geologists have never engaged as a community in a thorough and profound examination of our profession, to discover and define its core attributes. This paper is a call for such engagement. Acknowledging recent and welcome progress, the theme of this paper nonetheless is that our exploration must be both broader in social context and deeper in introspection if we are to establish a raison d'être for engineering geology that we can all accept and use to nurture its growth in a meaningful way.
Engineering geologists understand the interaction between the built environment and the natural geologic environment. That understanding must be communicated to politicians, business leaders, employers, and clients if our profession is to reach its potential for serving the public good. We must become pro-active active in the political environment. To explain the worth of engineering geology to others, we must come to agreement amongst ourselves as to its core attributes and core worth (value) to humankind.
The core attributes of Engineering Geology suggested here are: Core Societal Worth (Core Contribution to Humankind; Core Value to Humankind); Core Knowledge; Core Competencies; Core Working Methods; Core Activity (or Core Function); Core Work Products; Core Practice Areas; Core Practice Settings; Core Values (core beliefs or tenets as to the place of engineering geology in society)
This paper suggest a raison d'être for engineering geology, its core value to humankind: Engineering geologists benefit humanity by discovering, defining, and analyzing geologically based risks or conditions that affect, or might affect, humans as they utilize and interact with their built and natural environments. This paper further suggests that the core activity of engineering geologists, resulting in a core work product of the same name, is the Engineering Geology Site Characterization.
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Engineering Geology for Tomorrow’s Cities
This book and the accompanying CD-ROM provide a statement of our knowledge and understanding of engineering geology as applied to the urban environment at the start of the 21st century. In particular, this volume demonstrates that:
working standards originally developed nationally are becoming internationalized;
risk assessment, rather than just assessment of hazards, is driving decision-making;
geo-environmental change, whether climatically or anthropogenically driven, is becoming better understood;
greater use of underground space is being made;
the relentless advance of information technology is providing new opportunities for engineering geologists to interpret and visualize the subsurface.
This book shows that in developed and developing countries alike, engineering geolgists are increasingly exchanging ideas and learning from each other in a genuine two-way process. These ideas will contribute significantly to the sustainable development of both new and long-established urban environments world-wide.