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Construction engineering involves the designing, planning, construction, and management of physical infrastructure, which may include roads, bridges, buildings, dams and utilities. All of these types of facilities have a physical footprint that requires some type of modification of the ground, whether that involves the insertion of anchors, ground compaction or excavation. They are also subject to potential geohazards including, seismic, landslide and flooding hazards. Most of the projects of construction engineering require informations on subsurface ground conditions to maximum depths of only 50 metres (m) or below the ground surface. This zone can encompass soil, groundwater, unconsolidated sediments, weathered rock, and competent bedrock. It can also contain products of our own invention, including utilities, buried waste, and contaminants. Typical parameters of interest for designers and engineers are the thickness and extent of layers, the physical properties of layers and any variability within them, and any structures within the ground.


Having an understanding of what lies beneath before breaking the ground can save significant costs to a construction project. Geophysical methods have been a part of the construction engineering toolbox for decades and, although adoption of the technology over this time has been slow, their use on major infrastructure projects has now become routine. New developments in instrumentation and methodology have enabled geophysical data to be acquired over increasingly larger areas, at greater density, and in more dimensions (including time). With these advancements, it has become possible to obtain non-invasive, spatially continuous measurements of the subsurface, which can be used to interpolate between and extrapolate from boreholes, geological exposures, and excavations.