Engineering is a term applied to the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences, gained by study, experience, and practice, is applied to the efficient use of the materials and forces of nature. Engineers are the ones who have received professional training in pure and applied science. Before the middle of the 18th century, large-scale construction work was usually placed in the hands of military engineers. Military engineering involved such work as the preparation of topographical maps, the location, design, and construction of roads and bridges; and the building of forts and docks; see Military Engineering below. In the 18th century, however, the term civil engineering came into use to describe engineering work that was performed by civilians for nonmilitary purposes.
Civil engineering is the broadest of the engineering fields. Civil engineering focuses on the infrastructure of the world which include Water works, Sewers, Dams, Power Plants, Transmission Towers/Lines, Railroads, Highways, Bridges, Tunnels, Irrigation Canals, River Navigation, Shipping Canals, Traffic Control, Mass Transit, Airport Runways, Terminals, Industrial Plant Buildings, Skyscrapers, etc. Among the important subdivisions of the field are construction engineering, irrigation engineering, transportation engineering, soils and foundation engineering, geodetic engineering, hydraulic engineering, and coastal and ocean engineering.
Civil engineers build the world’s infrastructure. In doing so, they quietly shape the history of nations around the world. Most people can not imagine life without the many contributions of civil engineers to the public’s health, safety and standard of living. Only by exploring civil engineering’s influence in shaping the world we know today, can we creatively envision the progress of our tomorrows.