Abstract

Taking the 1950 Geological Society of America Berkey Volume on The Application of Geology to Engineering Practice as the baseline for the world-wide state of the art at that time, this paper examines some of the significant advances in engineering geological practice that have taken place over the intervening period in the UK. The central role of advances in site investigation for development and construction is emphasized, as this can be reasonably described as the core activity for engineering geologists. Here the changes in desk studies, remote sensing, field mapping and various facets of ground investigations are examined. However, it is also necessary to highlight how global developments in communications and computing power have had an enormous impact on engineering geological practice, notably through on-site links between field teams and head office, and the creation of data management systems that allow complex ground conditions to be analysed and modelled. There have also been important improvements in on-site health and safety, the creation of professional qualifications and the adoption of international and national standards for all facets of ground engineering. Finally, some of the challenges engineering geology and its practitioners face in the future are explored, notably the implications of Industry 4.0, the changes that climate change will bring to society, training the next generation and ensuring that engineering geology remains a vibrant and globally recognized profession.

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