This short piece is to celebrate David Giles’ 17 year association with the Engineering Group of the Geological Society and his drive to educate, train and inform engineering geologists in the UK and overseas.
David, currently Principal Lecturer, School of Earth Sciences, University of Portsmouth, was voted onto the committee in 1995 and has been a very active member ever since. I think David is best known for convening the Groups’ excellent field meetings since 1997. For those who do not know, convening includes finding a suitable place for the meeting, experts who are informative and entertaining, good, inexpensive hotels that accept thirty or more engineering geologists, suitable transport, publicity, ensuring the meeting notes are complete for the delegates and all the finances to ensure a successful meeting. All who have been on any of the field meetings will attest that they are good fun and great for meeting other engineering geologists in a relaxed atmosphere. But, most of all, they are learning opportunities for all ages and all experiences to see engineering geology in context, which is in the field and to discuss engineering geology. As Herbert Harold Read, who was a professor at Imperial College, president of the Geological Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society said, “The best geologist is the one who has seen most rocks”. As you can see from the list of meetings they are varied and not only include England and Wales but a couple of trips to France. The meetings are organized without fuss, which is great news for those on the committee and the participants. Running like clockwork comes to mind.
If David’s contribution had just been the field meetings than this would have been something to celebrate but he has done a great deal more. He has chaired the Engineering Group of the Geological Society Working Party on the Training of Engineering Geologists for many years, making sure that the guidance is up to data and relevant. The training guidance is used by many, hopefully all, engineering geologists and particularly those who wish to become chartered.
David took over as Chair of the Engineering Group of the Geological Society Working Party on Geohazards when Mike Rosenbaum stepped down. This working party’s aim was ‘to utilise the expertise within the Engineering Group to provide a ‘one-stop’ resource for UK geohazard related information and awareness.’ He brought this aim up to date by making one of its main outputs a website – http://www.ukgeohazards.info/ so information is easily available and relevant. Another output, a special publication, has recently been agreed with the Publishing House of the Geological Society.
With his knowledge of working parties and the importance of the effect of the Quaternary on engineering geology David volunteered to be a member of the Engineering Group of the Geological Society Steering Group and the Working Party on Glacial and Periglacial Engineering Geology. The tasks have been divided up and David is responsible for the chapter on the geomorphological framework. The product of the Working Party, a special publication, will be available within the next two or three years. Partly because of his work on the Working Party, David asked to be the technical convener of the Group’s Forum on Engineering Geology in the Quaternary held at the Geographical Society in 2011. An excellent meeting enjoyed by all those who attended, it provided an opportunity for Quaternary scientists, geologists, engineering geologists, members of the Working Party and others to present and discuss this subject. It provided useful input into the Working Party.
David’s input has not been restricted to the Geological Society but has extended to the International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment. He was on the organising committee as the Field Trip Liaison Officer, UK, of the 10th International Association of Engineering Geologists Congress, on Engineering Geology for Tomorrow’s Cities held in Nottingham in 2006. The field day included 3 meetings in the UK in Ripon, the Peak District and in Nottingham. His work for the field meetings was essential to the success of the day. He was also secretary of the International Association for Engineering Geology Commission 22: Landscape Evolution and Engineering Geology, which reported in 2010, David being one of the authors.
David was awarded the Engineering Group Award in 2001 and as you can see, has not rested on his laurels since then. He has certainly been the longest major contributor to the Engineering Group and has been probably its greatest. On behalf of the Engineering Group and engineering geologists in the UK and elsewhere I thank you for your many contributions so far………
2012 Engineering Geology of Dieppe, France
2011 Engineering Geology of South Wales
2010 Engineering Geology of North East England
2009 Engineering Geology of the French Alps in the Area around Grenoble
2008 Engineering Geology of Bathstone Mining and the Severn Barrage
2007 Engineering Geology of Ironbridge and the Welsh Borders
2006 Engineering Geology of Dorset
2005 Engineering Geology of the Peak District
2004 Engineering Geology of the A55 North Wales
2003 Coastal Engineering Geology of the Isle Wight
2003 Engineering Geology of the Lambeth Group
2002 Landslides and Slope Stability in South Wales
2001 Engineering Geology of the M2 Widening and CTRL, Kent
2000 Engineering Geology of Scarborough
1999 Coastal Engineering Geology of Hunstanton and North Norfolk
1998 Periglacial and Proglacial Sediments and Landforms around Stoke on Trent
1997 Engineering Geology of the Chalk