Terrain Analysis for Geotechnical Investigations



April 22, 2019 8:00 AM

Oak Room Park Town Hotel

 924 Spadina Crescent E, Saskatoon


Effective terrain analysis for geotechnical investigations is built on landform recognition and an understanding of the physical properties and geotechnical characteristics of earth materials within those landforms. Knowledge of physical processes that created the landforms and ongoing processes that modify the landscape, coupled with knowledge of the underlying geological and hydrogeological conditions, allows the terrain analyst to infer the sediment composition within the landforms and their physical properties, geotechnical characteristics and condition.

Interpretation of 3D aerial and satellite images is an essential skill for terrain analysts to describe and characterize the terrain for a wide range of geotechnical applications. This hands-on, interactive two-day course focuses on the use of airphotos and satellite images, high resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) and other remote sensing tools for 3D terrain analysis, including data integration and analysis using geographic information systems (GIS).


Emphasis is given to identification and interpretation of Canada’s landforms, landscapes, surface and subsurface materials along with their characteristics, properties, suitability and behaviour for specific uses and applications. Participants will interpret a selection of 2D and 3D air photos appearing in an introductory DOWN TO EARTH textbook, a stereoscopic air photo manual containing 680 images of diverse terrains from across Canada, and high-resolution 3D DEM imagery. A main course objective will be to describe identifying characteristics of a wide variety of Canadian landscapes, their recognition features and associated geoscience, engineering and environmental significance/behaviour/applications. Instructors will make extensive use of practical case history examples to illustrate remote sensing techniques and objectives along with multidisciplinary data integration, including the use of GIS technology.

Workshop Highlights:

A hands-on, interactive workshop tailored to the interests of the participants.
❖ Identification and interpretation of Canada’s landforms, landscapes, surface and subsurface materials from airphotos, satellite images, DEMs and multidisciplinary maps. We will select and analyze, along with course attendees, an appropriate number of 3D air photo stereograms appearing in the 680-stereogram course manual, which will include: bedrock, glacial (includes glaciofluvial and glaciolacustrine), fluvial (running water), eolian (wind), shorezone, groundwater, peatland (wetland), permafrost and colluvial (e.g., ravine slope and ground movements) landforms.
❖ Case history examples include a wide range of sub-disciplines selected from over 5,000 remote sensing consulting assignments:
- Geological (mineral and petroleum exploration)
- Geohazards (e.g., unstable ground, shore erosion, others)
- Hydrological (groundwater and surface water)
- Cryological (ice and permafrost)
- Geotechnical / geological engineering (site and route characterization and evaluation)
- Environmental (terrain sensitivity, shore erosion and environmental assessment)
- Tectonics (geologic structures / tectonic inheritance/ lineament mapping/ subsurface data integration)
❖ Application of digital remote sensing (satellite imagery and DEMs) and geographic information systems (GIS) technologies that assist the interpretation and integration of multidisciplinary geospatial datasets for analysis, presentation and assessment.
❖ Workshop materials: 1) 3-D air photo manual titled Landforms and Surface Materials of Canada: A Stereoscopic Airphoto Atlas and Glossary; 2) An 80-page introductory textbook (DOWN TO EARTH) with 2D air photos and figures and tables, used to describe and illustrate applied multidisciplinary remote sensing; 3) metal pocket stereoscope; and 4) slides describing case history remote sensing applications. Items 1, 2 and 3 are provided for use during the workshop and can be purchased separately.

Who Should Attend

The course will be particularly useful to geotechnical engineers, geoenvironmental scientists and technologists, terrain scientists, geologists and hydrogeologists, municipal and regional planners, GIS specialists and others dealing with terrain analysis for engineering, environmental and resource development applications. The ability to view stereoscopic airphotos in 3-D is an asset but not essential to benefit from the course.


Presenter Details /

Lynden Penner, M.Sc., P.Eng., P.Geo., president of J.D. Mollard and Associates (2010) Limited, has specialized in air photo and satellite remote sensing since 1986 and is a sessional lecturer in terrain analysis for the Faculty of Environmental Engineering, University of Regina. Lynden has carried out a wide range of consulting projects for engineering, environmental, geological, and resource exploration and development applications. These study projects include applied terrain mapping and evaluation, linear route location and evaluation, construction material mapping and field testing, electrical conductivity surveys, soil gas geochemical sampling and interpretation, mining and petroleum exploration and development studies, evaluation of terrain sensitivity and shore erosion modelling. His published works appear in technical and scientific papers and journals.

Jason Cosford, Ph.D., P.Geo., has worked at J.D. Mollard and Associates (2010) Limited as a geoscientist since 2001, specializing in the application of terrain analysis to the study of geomorphology, hydrogeology, geohazards, and the effects of climate change. Jason also specializes in isotope geochemistry with particular emphasis on paleoclimatology and geochronology. He is an experienced interpreter of air photos and satellite imagery and a proficient user of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). An experienced field researcher, Jason has conducted field mapping in diverse terrains, ranging from recent glacial landforms and sediments in southern Patagonia to Proterozoic rocks of the Trans-Hudson Orogen in northern Saskatchewan, and has collected field data using variety of techniques including electromagnetic surveys, ground penetrating radar, bore holes, piezometers, and lacustrine coring. Projects include hydrogeological mapping for the IEA Weyburn CO2 sequestration project, extracting and interpreting sediment cores from hydro reservoirs in northern Manitoba, mapping and modeling erosion of the banks of the Peace River in British Columbia from digital orthoimagery and LiDAR data, aggregate resource exploration and interpreting stable isotopic records of speleothem as a proxy for paleoclimatic conditions associated with fluctuations in the intensity and character of the East Asian monsoon.


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