Course Title: Geotechnical Investigation

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Geotechnical Investigation

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)

Course Coordinator: Tony Skinner

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 4444

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

You must have successfully completed course MATH2167– Mathematics 1 or equivalent courses, or provide evidence of equivalent capabilities.

Course Description

This course aims to provide you with the basic knowledge and skills to carry out a geotechnical survey through identification of site features in conjunction with plane and geodetic surveying techniques.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

You will gain or improve capabilities in:
1. Technical competence
Ability to establish technical skills appropriate to the diversity of practice in the engineering industry.

• Ability to demonstrate critical thinking in relation to industry structure and practices
• Ability to apply knowledge of basic science and industry practice fundamentals
• Technical competence applied to an industry specialisation
2. Integrative perspective
Developed broader perspectives, within the engineering industry and external to it, and also to demonstrate ability to work with complex systems.
• Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution
• Ability to utilise a systems approach to operational activities
• Ability to plan and execute activities to an appropriate professional standard
3. Professional skills
Recognise and apply engineering industry skills, attitudes and professional standards.
• Ability to communicate effectively, not only within the engineering sector, but also with the community at large
• Ability to function effectively as an individual and in multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams, with the capacity to be an effective team member as well as to take on roles of responsibility
• Understanding of the social, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities associated with the engineering industry, and the principles of sustainability
• Understanding of, and commitment to, professional and ethical responsibilities
• Expectation and capacity to undertake lifelong learning

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
• Describe the origins and structure of the earth
• Identify and describe common rocks and rock-forming minerals
• Recognise the significance of structural features including faults, folds and joints
• Interpret geological maps and construct cross-sections
• Describe the range of geological processes and the effect of weathering processes on soil formation
• Conduct a levelling traverse including reduction and closure
• Generate a level grid and use it to plot contours and calculate volumes
• Measure distance using band and tape, apply corrections and calculate the reduced horizontal distance. Compare to EDM
• Carry out a detail survey using distance and offset measurements from a baseline and plot to a plan
• Conduct a theodolite traverse including closure and angular adjustment of errors
• Describe Australian mapping systems, geodetic coordinates and the increasing role played by GPS

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities included in this course are:
• attendance at lectures and laboratory sessions where syllabus material will be presented and explained, and the subject will be illustrated with demonstrations and examples;
• completion of tutorial questions and workshop projects designed to give further practice in the application of theory and procedures, and to give feedback on student progress and understanding;
• completion of written and practical assignments, individually or in teams intended to develop effectiveness in a team environment; this will consist of numerical and other problems requiring an integrated understanding of the subject matter; and
• private study, working through the course as presented in classes, laboratories and supplementary learning materials, and gaining practice at solving conceptual and numerical problems.

Overview of Learning Resources

Students will be able to access course information and learning materials through the Learning Hub (also known as online@RMIT) and will be provided with copies of additional materials in class. Lists of relevant reference texts, resources in the library and accessible Internet sites will be provided where applicable. Students will also use laboratory equipment for experiments within the School during project and assignment work.

Overview of Assessment

The assessment for this course comprises a combination of assignments, progress tests, an end-of-semester examination, and analysis/plotting of data derived from field surveys.