Monday, September 13, 2004
6:00 - 7:30 pm
Pellissippi State Technical Community College
10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville
Lamar Alexander Building
Engineering Geology Mapping in the Information Technology Age
2004 Richard H. Jahns Distinguished Lecturer in Engineering Geology
Principal Engineering Geologist and Vice President
AMEC Earth & Environmental, Inc.
Observation remains the
foundation of engineering geology mapping, but many aspects of
observation are being supplemented and even revolutionized by
information technology (IT). Data acquisition is being
accomplished with the aid of pen-based computers, digital
cameras, and global positioning system (GPS) receivers.
Quantitative geophysical and geochemical field methods are being
used to produce quantitative measures that can be contoured
and/or combined with other forms of observations to construct
useful derivative maps. Aerial and space-based spatial data
provide base maps or targets for subsequent field observations.
Geographic information system (GIS) and computer-aided drafting
and design (CADD) software are being used to manipulate and
display geospatial data, sometimes during field data collection.
Numerical analysis of observational data, including calculated
grids derived from vector data, is being used to produce useful
derivative products. Challenges for engineering geology
practitioners pertain to accuracy of field data; structure of
database fields; uniformity of symbols, lines, patterns, and
colors; and consistency of derived geospatial map products.
Engineering geology maps produced with GIS tools have the
potential to mislead even sophisticated users for two reasons: 1)
the strikingly professional appearance of GIS maps implies
precision even when uncertainties are specifically noted, and 2)
field data can be collected as a series of seemingly independent
observations and converted by a GIS technician into a
professional-appearing map without the benefit of geologic
principles or the repeated application of the multiple working
hypothesis. Consequently, professional discipline is needed to
effectively apply modern IT to engineering geology mapping. The
true power IT has is its analytical capabilities which requires
engineering geologic data to be in digital format.
A promising new technology is 3D Laser Scanning. Initially, this technology was applied to preparation of as-built plans of structures, such as refineries. Opportunities also exist for engineering geology and geotechnical field applications, such as orientation and spacing of joints in rock slopes and grain-size distribution of deposits that include particles too large to analyze in the laboratory. Specialized laser equipment and high-performance computers are required to manipulate huge data sets.
Jeffrey R. Keaton is a
Principal Engineering Geologist and Vice President in the Anaheim
office of AMEC Earth & Environmental, Inc. His education
consists of a BS degree in Geological Engineering from the
University of Arizona (1971), a MS degree in Engineering
(Geotechnical) from the University of California, Los Angeles
(1972), and a PhD degree in Geology from Texas A&M University
(1988). He is registered as a Professional Engineer in
California, Utah, Alaska, and Arizona. He is also registered as a
Professional Geologist in California, Arizona, and Utah, and
certified as an Engineering Geologist in California and
Keaton was employed by Dames & Moore in Los Angeles (1970-1979) and Salt Lake City (1979-1988). He was employed by Sergent, Hauskins & Beckwith (which became AGRA Earth & Environmental, and then AMEC Earth & Environmental) in Salt Lake City (1988-1996), Phoenix (1996-2001), and currently in Anaheim.
Keaton served as Chairman of the Utah Section of the Association of Engineering Geologists in 1980-1982 and was the President of AEG in 1992-1993. He was Chairman of the Engineering Geology Division of the Geological Society of America in 1989-1990. He served as Chairman of the Transportation Research Board Committee on Engineering Geology from 1991 to 1997, as Chairman of TRB Committee on Exploration and Classification of Earth Materials from 1997 to 2002, and as Chairman of TRB Subcommittee on Scour Research from 1996 to 2002. In 2002, he became the Chairman of the TRB Section housing the seven committees that deal with Geology and Properties of Earth Materials. Keaton was one of the 11 members of the TRB Task Force which produced TRB Special Report 247 Landslides: Investigation and Mitigation in 1996; Keaton was principal author of Chapter 9, Surface Observation and Geologic Mapping, and Chapter 16, Important Considerations in Slope Design.
Keaton also is a member of American Geophysical Union, the GeoInstitute of the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Seismological Society of America, and the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME). He participates in the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) through SME, making accreditation visits to undergraduate programs in geological engineering.
Keaton specializes in quantifying hazardous natural processes for use in design and risk analysis. He has written numerous articles regarding engineering geology mapping, debris flows, landslides, collapsible soils, subsidence, fault rupture, earthquake-induced liquefaction, earthquake ground motion, and case histories.
Page updated September 7, 2004