In recent years, engineering geology has been trying to redefine itself in terms of a set of ‘core values’ or ‘special scientific principles.’ John Knill (2003) illustrated the essence of engineering geology in the engineering geological triangle. One way of trying to understand the relationships between some of the ‘core values’ is through the engineering geological ground model, which seeks to combine understanding of the spatial distribution of engineering boundaries with knowledge of rock and soil material, and mass, properties and the geological processes that alter these through time. The rapid development in information technology over the last twenty years and the digitization of increasing amounts of geological data has brought engineering geology to a situation in which the production of meaningful 3D spatial models of the shallow subsurface is feasible. The paper describes how this can be done and points the way to the next stage that involves the attribution of these spatial models with physical, mechanical and chemical property data. Some new developments in the provision of geohazard susceptibility information at the national scale are also discussed. A future is proposed in which site investigation sets out to test a pre-existing spatial model based on real data, rather than trying to create such a model based on concepts alone.