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Unit information: Field Methods in 2017/18

Unit name Field Methods
Unit code CENG10005
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Wanous
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Civil Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


This unit introduces students to the fundamentals of engineering geology and the basic surveying techniques required for mapping the surface profile of the ground for civil and environmental engineering projects. The unit will highlight the importance of developing a detailed understanding of ground conditions in successful civil engineering, and will help students to develop an understanding of ground modelling and measurement, to recognise major geotechnical hazards, to plan appropriate site investigations, and to develop safe and successful geotechnical design. Students will also acquire practical surveying skills and start to build the knowledge necessary to commission and critically review surveying fieldwork. The field work will also allow students to develop teamwork and leadership skills.

Topics covered:
Rocks and Weathering: Igneous Rocks, Sedimentary Rocks, Metamorphic Rocks, Physical and Chemical weathering
Structural: Folds and Unconformities, Discontinuities, Plate Tectonics and Earthquakes, Superficial Structures.

Stratigraphy: Geological column, Usefulness to engineers.
Geological Maps: Introduction to maps and mapwork, geological sections, true and apparent dip.

Surface Maps: sketching and plotting land maps

Field Surveying techniques: use of levels and theodolites, setting out techniques

Surveying calculations: field book keeping, bowditch spreadsheet

Communication: Showing how mastery of communication and learning is at the heart of successful teamwork.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of the unit the student will be able to:

1. create 3D ground models from a variety of sources of information,

2, describe different rock types and their origin, and how this will influence their engineering properties

3, recall simple stratigraphy and apply to the use of geological maps

4, Describe geological processes and illustrate their impact on construction.

5. be able to demonstrate their understanding of the basic principles of surveying appropriate to the construction industry by carrying out calculations, sketching and drawing;

6. be able to use practical surveying techniques in the field.

7. describe some models of individual and team learning and relate these to their own experiences;

8. know how to behave in a safe manner in the University and on a construction site.

Teaching details

40 hours of lectures;

20 hours example classes;

local field trip

2 x 3 hour surveying practice classes;

Residential field course (6 days).

Assessment Details

3 hour exam (40%)

Coursework exercises associated with residential field course (40%)

Field investigation exercise (20%)

Reading and References

Blyth FGN & de Freitas MN, A Geology for Engineers, 7th Ed. Arnold

Uren, J. and Price, B. (2010) Surveying for Engineers 5th Edition, Palgrave MacMillan, England.

Schofield, W. Engineering Surveying, 5th Ed, 2001. Butterworth-Heinemann

Irvine, W. Surveying for Construction, 4th Ed, 1995. McGraw Hill

Goleman, D. (2005) Emotional Intelligence

Penguin Dictionary of Geology – Any edition