Interactive Games for Teaching Site Investigation and Engineering Geology

van Paassen, Leon A. Arizona State University, leon.vanpaassen@asu.edu; Dominique Ngan-Tillard, D.J.M.Ngan-Tillard@tudelft.nl; Peter N.W. Verhoef, P.N.W.Verhoef@tudelft.nl (Poster)

In the 1970s and 80s, Professor David Price has developed a series of ‘games on site investigation and engineering geology’ at Delft University of Technology (DUT) in The Netherlands, which have been in use ever since to teach undergraduate and graduate students concepts and strategies in Site Investigation and Engineering Geology. Each game has a different application (bridge, harbor, airport, quarry, underground coal mining  or tunnel) in a different engineering geological setting (alluvial, coastal, glacial soils and metamorphic, sedimentary rocks). In each game students receive a map, project instructions and some additional information about the geological setting. Based on this information students have to recognize typical hazards related to their project and the geomorphological and environmental conditions. Next they have to go through different stages of site investigation and interpret the limited available information about the underground properties, using structural geological interpolation techniques. Students can ask for additional information, but they have to decide on a strategy to order additional information as time and budget are limited. Based on all information they have received they have to produce an engineering geological map and a report including their interpreted subsurface information taking into account potential uncertainties and provide answers and recommendations for the project design. Currently, these ‘games’ are based on paper maps and handouts and requested subsurface information is handed out using interactive EXCEL databases. Efforts are being taken to upgrade these games so they can be used by students as online course material and allow for sharing this educational resources within the Engineering Geological Society.


Leon van Paassen is associate professor at Arizona State University (ASU) and senior investigator at the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Centre for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics (CBBG). He received a master's degree in applied earth sciences in 2002 from Delft University of Technology with a specialization in engineering geology. During and after his graduation, he worked several years as a geotechnical engineering consultant at IFCO Foundation Expertise and research institute Deltares. In 2009, he obtained his doctorate in applied sciences at the Department of Biotechnology of Delft University of Technology. His thesis on Biogrout: Microbially induced carbonate precipitation as ground improvement method resulted in several publications, patents and was awarded with several national and international awards. In his research, he integrates the fields of environmental biotechnology and geotechnical engineering, aiming to develop sustainable solutions, which improve resource efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of civil and mining engineering industry.

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