American Society of Civil Engineers

Digital Image Analysis in Geotechnical Engineering Education

by Ahmet H. Aydilek, M.ASCE, (Asst. Prof., Dept. of Civ. and Envir. Engrg., 1163 Glenn Martin Hall, Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. E-mail:

Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice, Vol. 133, No. 1, January 2007, pp. 38-42, (doi:

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Document type: Technical Note
Abstract: Existing research has shown that visual input significantly contributes to learning, therefore, it is paramount to use visual tools to help demonstrate engineering concepts. One of these tools, digital image analysis, can help effectively communicate complex concepts to students in a simple and understandable format as a supplement to traditional lecturing, while simultaneously enabling students to have hands-on experience. This note describes a series of activities to incorporate digital image analysis into engineering education. The undergraduate students worked in research projects that involved image-based analysis of geomaterials. Based on these activities and the students’ response to a questionnaire, it was recognized that digital image analysis can enhance the understanding of engineering phenomena for undergraduate students. The hands-on experience and visual demonstration improved the students’ grasp of fundamental concepts in research projects. The research experience allowed the students to build a connection between the classroom and the solution of state-of-the-art engineering scientific problems. It also taught them about cooperation and teamwork, as well as academic independence.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Digital techniques
Geotechnical engineering
Undergraduate study
Information technology (IT)