The Working Party review of Land Surface Evaluation for civil engineering purposes is reported here and its findings presented as four parts: an outline of the review; the state of the art—present practice; recommendations for good practice; and examples. The report has been written with a wide readership in mind and care has been taken to guide those whose familiarity with geology and geological records is not as great as that of a professional geologist.

Present practice is reviewed under the broad headings: existing data, viz. maps, records and reports, aerial photography, satellite imagery, other remotely sensed data and images: existing systems and techniques, viz. land classification, geomorphological ground mapping, geotechnical and related thematic mapping: and finally remote sensing.

The recommendations for good practice are presented with illustrations for:

  • land classification; its definition; the application of the techniques that consider primary landform units commonly of value to the civil engineer; the presentation of this information.

  • aerial photography; the significance of factors that require consideration in the planning and provision of useful photographic coverage.

  • aerial photographic interpretation; the most effective procedures; the method of recording and presenting information in a directly relevant form.

  • geomorphological mapping; the significant factors in map production; the method of presenting this information.

  • remote sensing; the most useful systems and techniques.

The application of Land Surface Evaluation to route, area and site surveys at the reconnaissance, feasibility, main design, construction and post-construction stages of a project are examined. The merits of Land Surface Evaluation as a technique and its relationship to the requirements of civil engineering works are discused, and illustrative examples of good practice are presented.

The selected references given in Appendix 1 are arranged to complement this report.

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