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Environmental geology mapping: an international review

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Interest in environmental geological maps (EGMs) has increased in Britain since the publication in 1982 of the IGS Report 82/15 Environmental Geology of the Glenrothes District, Fife Region. Over the past decade or so similar interests have been developing elsewhere, particularly in the USA and in Europe. This review examines the style and purpose of EGMs in both the USA and Europe, and recognises distinct, yet different, characteristics in each. The review provides a reference against which British experience, when it is published, can be assessed. The US work, though very variable in style and scale of mapping, is consistently concerned to provide earthscience information to planners, engineers and politicians concerned with development, urban growth and redevelopment. The weakest of these studies provide raw geological data, the best make an effort to translate these data into terms that can be understood by the potential user. The European approach to EGMs has been different in that it tends to appear under the title 'engineering geological maps', and in some cases, such as under the ZERMOS scheme in France, has a direct relevance to the concept of Le Code de L'Urbanisme et de l'habitation (article R 128.18, 1970). In fact variations in style and purpose exist across Europe, with varying degrees of influence upon regulations or legislation in terms of planning and development.

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