Geographic Information System-Based Digital Catalog for Managing Subsurface Geotechnical and Geologic Data

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



Knowledge of surface and subsurface geology and geotechnical properties is fundamental to planning, developing, and modernizing transportation systems. Through dynamic coupling of readily available areal geographic information system coverages and subsurface borehole data stored in a relational database, a spatially referenced digital catalog of borehole data was created for two pilot areas in Rhode Island. The borehole database was populated with data derived from Rhode Island Department of Transportation geotechnical reports and supplemental data from the U.S. Geological Survey groundwater site inventory system and local storm water and sewer projects. Most of these data were previously maintained in paper format, making historical or interproject data comparisons virtually impossible. Unification of these data in a single relational database yields two primary benefits: (a) historical data are readily accessible for review and therefore can be incorporated easily into the planning stages of new projects and (b) sophisticated analysis of the region becomes possible with access to data from multiple projects with both spatial and temporal coverage. Geologic data include bedrock geology, surface outcrops, unconsolidated materials, soil type, topographic and orthophotographic base maps, and location of boreholes and wells. Subsurface data include land surface elevation, depth to water table, depth to bedrock, presence of fill, high and low blow-count zones, and organic sediment. The digital catalog is distributed on a CD-ROM that includes ArcView project files and an Access relational database. The borehole data are also accessible through the Internet, with retrieval access for all users and data entry privileges for registered users.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Transportation Research Record