Despite the fact that snafus such as leaky basements sometimes seem inevitable, problems related to site work can usually be prevented by proper analysis and planning. That's the message that Thomas Brown offers in his book Site Engineering for Developers and Builders. He recommends that the first step for developing your site is to study topographical maps, aerial photos, applicable regulations, and the like, to familiarize yourself with the situation before you even walk the site. Once this preplanning reconnaissance is done, a detailed study of actual site characteristics is then in order. To aid in this analysis, Mr. Brown discusses, in general engineering terms, the subjects of soils, their types, classification systems, "index tests" for shear strength, compressibility, and other factors.