Topography and Field Geology


The main objectis of this course is to allow the student to become familiar with:

- the different basic terminology associated with surveying and geomatics,

- read and interpret topographic maps and perform mapping operations, in particular, coordinate systems transfornation,

- perform simple
geological field surveys, introductory to geological mapping,

-  useful concepts for subsequent courses wether in the Earth Sciences domain (Geology Portugal, Structural Geology, Geological Cartography and Remote Sensing) or in the Geological Engineering (project or monitoring of various civil or mining engineering

General characterization





Responsible teacher

António Carlos Gil Augusto Galhano, José Carlos Ribeiro Kullberg


Weekly - 4

Total - 92

Teaching language



Available soon


R. Compton, Geology in the field, J. Wiley & Sons, 1985, ISBN: 0-471-82902-1.

N. Fry, The field description of metamorphic rocks, J. Wiley & Sons, New York, 110p, 1989, ISBN: 0-471-93221-3.

J. Gonçalves,  S. Madeira, J. João Sousa, Topografia, Conceitos e Aplicações (3ª edição).  Geomática-Lidel, 357p. 2012.  ISBN: 978-972-757-850-4.

R. Thorpe & G. Brown, The field description of igneous rocks, J. Wiley & Sons, New York, 154 p, 1985, ISBN: 0-471-93275-2.

M. Tucker, The field description of sedimentary rocks, J. Wiley & Sons, New York, 112p, 1990, ISBN: 0-471-96215-5.

Teaching method

Topography: Theoretical classes with audiovisual media support and practical classes which include explanation, observation, group discussions in class of selected exercises.

Evaluation method

I) Topography (50% of the final grade):

75% test (practical and theoretical) + 25% group task and Moodle questions (topographic map interpretation)

A minimum grade of 6/10 must be achieved to surpass on the course.

Subject matter

Topography versus Geomatics. Georeferencing. Coordinate and reference systems. Datum. Map projections. Coordinate conversion. Scales. Altimetry. The national mapping and geodetic data. Reading and interpretation of maps. Exercises with maps. Introduction to surveys. Linear measurements and angles, accuracy and precision. Observable quantities and equipments. Applications for engineering purposes; techniques of data collection and analysis; the use of GPS, CAD and GIS.

Field Geology. Preparation of field work in Geology. Literature research. Selection of areas and their maps. Choice of equipment and safety in the field. Using the hypsometer. Execution of fieldwork in selected areas. Field book''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s organization. Sampling methods. Preparation of logs (identification and description of lithological units, thickness measuring). Use of geologist compass and field guidance. Development of expeditious and accurate geological profiles. Identification, description and representation of geological structures. Drawing of geological boundaries (in igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks units). Field reporting. Structure of descriptive memoires. Conventional symbols.


Programs where the course is taught: