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To establish the nature of the ground conditions to facilitate construction, and to ensure that the risk of unexpected conditions (e.g. previously unrecognized hazards) or impacts (e.g. unanticipated changes) can be reduced, it is necessary to develop a preliminary ‘ground model’ of the ground conditions at any proposed construction/development site. Different forms of the ground model have been constructed and the various types been labelled as ‘geotechnical models’, ‘engineering geological models’ or ‘conceptual models of ground conditions’. However, they could all be given the general label ‘geomodels’, and typically these models include a basic geological map and a geomorphological plan. These enable a three-dimensional (3D) representation of the surface and subsurface conditions at the site to be created in which the nature of the ground conditions is established and all potential risks to the project are at least tentatively identified. The bases for the production of geomodels for engineering geology were laid down by Fookes (1997) and Fookes et al. (2000) as part of the ‘Total Geology Approach’ to site investigation (Fookes & Baynes 2008). Modern developments using computer-based models, often developed using a geographical information system (GIS), were described, for example, by Culshaw (2005).

Initially, preliminary geomodels are developed from desk studies of available sources, including topographical maps and remote sensing data, and are concentrated on identifying the relevant geomorphological systems and subsystems, along with the main environmental controls on landscape development. These models form the starting point for the process of

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