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Site Evaluation. Important Features and Characteristics. Location and Boundaries Surrounding land uses Topography Drainage Wetlands Floodplains Water table Geotechnical Features Contaminated Soils – need for remediation Engineering characteristics of soils – problem soils

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Site Evaluation

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Site Evaluation

Important Features and Characteristics

  • Location and Boundaries

    • Surrounding land uses

  • Topography

  • Drainage

    • Wetlands

    • Floodplains

    • Water table

  • Geotechnical Features

    • Contaminated Soils – need for remediation

    • Engineering characteristics of soils – problem soils

    • Slope stability – slides and slips

    • Erosion potential

  • Existing Utilities and Services

  • Environmental Resources

    • Vegetation and wildlife

    • EndangeredSpecies

    • Areas of unusual aesthetic quality

  • Historical and Cultural Features

Location and Boundaries

  • Subject of CEE 121 Elementary Surveying

  • Need to know horizontal and possibly vertical locations of known points that define the boundaries

  • These points must be tied into an adopted system of reference that accounts for the curvature of the earth

    • State Plane Coordinate System (SPCS)

    • May use a local coordinate system in some states, but these are being superseded by the SPCS

  • In Nevada, the Civil Engineering PE license does not qualify an individual to do boundary surveys

    • A PLS license is needed

1. Location and Boundaries, cont’d

  • What is taking place on the neighboring sites?

    • Military complex?

    • Urban area?

    • Recreation area?

    • Agricultural land?

    • Mining?

  • How will the proposed development be affected by this land use, and vice-versa?

  • Does the site access public thoroughfares?

2. Topography

  • What are the high and low points on the site?

  • How much land is basically flat?

  • Does the site slope in some predominant direction?

  • Does it have mountains or arroyos? Cliffs?

  • How will topography influence layout?

Topographic MapsContour map principles(source: Wikipedia)

Contour lines

Some General Principles of Contour Maps

  • All points of equal elevation are joined – contour lines are continuous

  • The contour interval may vary depending on the scale of the map: 2ft, 10ft, 20 ft, 50ft, 100 ft

  • When reading the numbers on the contour lines indicating elevation, determine the uphill direction (it may be the top of the number)

  • Water flows downhill perpendicular to the contour line

  • The rule of V’s – sharp pointed V’s indicate streams in valleys; the point of the V is the location of the stream

  • The rule of O’s -closed loops are normally uphill on the inside and downhill on the outside, and the innermost loop is the highest area.

  • If a loop instead represents a depression, some maps note this by short lines radiating from the inside of the loop, called "hachures".

  • Spacing of contours - close contours indicate a steep slope; distant contours a shallow slope. Two or more contour lines merging indicates a cliff.

Examples of V’s O’s, Spacing

Establishing a Vertical Profile(1600 ft to 1700 ft along the blue line)

Vertical Profile of Blue Line

Contour Map – 40 ft intervals

Color Coded Contour Map – 100 ft intervals

Contour Map of Stowe, VT 20 ft intervals

Shaded Relief Map of Stowe

Shaded Relief Map of Lake Mead Area

Shaded Relief Model

Road Location and Control Points

3. Drainage

  • Where will water go when it rains?

  • Identify any Floodplains

    • 50 year storm

    • 100 year storm

    • 250 year storm

    • 500 year storm

  • Identify Wetlands

  • CEE 413 Water Resources Engineering I

Flood Plain map showing 1% risk (100 year storm) in light blue

Development of a floodplain map

Wetlands map

4. Geotechnical Features

  • Are the soil types known?

    • Some types of soils create construction problems (e.g. expansive soils)

    • Some soils need to drain well (e.g. septic tanks)

  • Are there any soils with toxic substances in them?

  • Are there slopes that pose stability threats?

  • Are there any geothermal resources?

  • CEE 334 Soil Mechanics

Soils map example

Expansive Soils Map

Map of Hazardous Waste Sites

SuperFund Sites in Los Angeles

5. Existing Utilities and Services

  • Where are the nearest available public water and sewer lines and what reserve capacity do they have?

  • What roads border or serve the area and how adequate are they to serve the expected development?

  • Where is the nearest public transportation and how frequent is the service?

  • Where are the electrical power sources?

6. Environmental Resources

  • Is the site good for solar energy?

  • Is the site good for wind energy?

  • Are there any endangered species on the site?

  • Are there any sensitive areas?

    • Aesthetic

    • Animal and plant species

Landscape CharacterSource: States of Jersey Consultation Panel

Landscape Visual Quality Example Source: Using GIS in Landscape Visual Quality AssessmentYingxin Wu, Ian Bishop, HemayetHossain, Victor Sposito. Applied GISVolume 2, No. 3, December 2006

Endangered Species ExampleSource: US Fish and Wildlife Service

Preservation of Biodiversity is a Global ConcernSource: The Nature Conservancy

7. Historical and Cultural Features

  • Are there Historic Buildings?

  • Are there Indian burial sites?

  • Are there other sacred sites?

Historic DistrictsSource: The City of Moline, IL

Historic Structures – Approvals Needed for AlterationSource: City of Jacksonville, IL

Fort Des Moines – Located on City Map


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