TutorialsCase StudiesData VisualizationBSP DatabaseReferences

Welcome to the Boston Subsurface Project (BSP) Website.

Using a web-based geographic information system (GIS), you can:

  • explore the relationship between Boston history, soil, and buildings
  • look at historic maps to see how Boston has changed since 1775
  • compare the surficial geology to the subsurface conditions found in a soil boring
  • connect existing buildings and their foundations with the soil conditions beneath them

Getting started

  • Tutorials
    If you are new to GIS, start with the tutorials. The tutorials will allow you to become familiar with the map tools and how to read different GIS layers.

  • Case Studies
    If you are comfortable working with the map tools, these case studies will be more challenging. The case studies will introduce specific buildings and help you understand the relationship between buildings and subsurface conditions.

  • Data Visualization
    In this section, you can explore the data for each soil boring, view cross-sections and 3-D renderings.

  • BSP Database
    Here, you can download the entire CA/T database or query against the stratigraphy or the sample description tables.

  • References
    This section has useful references and links about civil engineering, Boston, GIS, and geology.

System Requirements

  • Windows: Internet Explorer 6.0, Mozilla 1.5, Netscape 7.2
  • Mac: Internet Explorer 5.2, Mozilla 1.5, Netscape 7.2
  • JavaScript enabled browser
  • Cortona browser plug-in for 3-D visualization: (download the free plugin from Cortona)
  • Screen resolution: 1024 x 768 and up
  • Internet Connection: high-speed internet access is recommended to view the 3D renderings in the Data Visualization section


  • Tufts University is making this project available for students as well as engineering and related professionals and assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The primary purpose of the site is educational. No claim will be considered if the professional relies on this information in his or her design, analysis, construction, or maintenance/operation of the work and finds that it is inaccurate. The information, conclusions and/or recommendations contained in this project are for information purposes only. Subsurface information must be reviewed and understood if such data are to be used for design, estimating or construction purposes.

Site developed by Academic Technology for the deparment of Civil Engineering
© Tufts University, 2004