The development of a geotechnical GIS-based database in Austin, TX
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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are useful in analyzing and visualizing database information. Specifically, the field of geotechnical engineering stands to benefit from a database encompassing GIS; as, geotechnical data varies spatially. The City of Austin Water Utility realized the advantages of a geotechnical database utilizing GIS which led to the motivation of designing a database for Austin, Texas. The main objective is to provide a detailed explanation of the design of a GIS-relational geotechnical database for Austin, Texas. In addition, several examples of useful methods of analyzing geotechnical data spatially are included. The examples show the identification of faults, the uses of structural contour maps, summarization of data through plots and tables, and analyzing temporal piezometric conditions. The idea of a database is to organize and store data in a basic efficient format so that information is not duplicated. Database queries are then used to combine and rearrange the data within the database through relationships. The queries are then connected to GIS for intelligent visualization. This process is designed specifically for the geologic conditions that exist in Austin, Texas. Understanding the geotechnical engineering state of practice is important when designing a database that will encompass geotechnical data for a given region. The City of Austin relies on experience and the geotechnical report filing systems to initially plan future projects around geologic conditions. With the help of a geotechnical database, the information from geotechnical reports is a “computer click” away. Also, the geotechnical data from multiple reports is viewable at one time in both a 2 and 3 dimensional environments through GIS. Database features coupled with GIS tools proves to be an effective way for engineers and geologists to use geotechnical data.