Commission 1 was initiated at the IAEG congress in Prague, in 1968 and started to work formally from the 1st congress in Paris in 1970. The first chair for strictly 10 members was Milan Matula, with editor William Dearman. Later on, the baton was passed to Arno Pahl and Martin Culshaw.

Today this commission continues to work on the subject of geological characterisation, under the chairmanship of Jeff Keaton. Engineering geological mapping was expanding in the 70s in many fields of engineering practice. Guidelines and recommendations were needed, as misuse or extreme applications could easily occur; thus there was a need for such a commission.

An important contribution of 79 pages was published by UNESCO (Paris UNESCO publishing house, 1976) as a guide to the preparation of engineering geological maps.

The guidebook gave a brief outline of the principles of classification of rocks and soils for such a mapping. These principles were presented in a more detailed treatment in a publication in the Bulletin in 1979, #19,364-371, where considerable tabulated information is provided. In the frame of these IAEG activities, a symposium was organised on “Engineering geology mapping“ in Newcastle upon Tyne, in 1979 and the proceedings of 360 pages were published in Bulletin #19, 1979 (sessions 1-4) and in the Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology, 1979, Volume 12 (3), page 137-241 (sessions 5 and 6). A more complete and illustrated publication appeared in the Bulletin in 1981, #24, 235-274, and included a description of rock masses taking into consideration the ISRM 1977 classification. The publication is completed by annexes with a list of laboratory and in situ tests on soil and rock, which may be used for the characterisation of engineering geological types. In 1981 the commission published, also in Bulletin #24, 227-234, a recommendation on symbols for engineering geological mapping. The symbols are presented in four tables: rock and soil, hydrogeological, geomorphological features and geodynamic features. At a later date the commission resumed activities with an expanded membership and provided a report on special purpose mapping for waste disposal. The report was published in 2005 in Bulletin #64, 1-54. The authors were Hering Proske, Jan Vlsko, Mike Rosenbaum, Matthias Dorn, Martin Culshaw, Brian Marker and the work includes many examples from case histories. Members of the commission have also published papers on engineering geological mapping for environmental purposes or in seismically active areas. See for instance the papers of Golodkovskaia and Dorothy Radbruch-Hall in Bulletins #18 and #19 in 1979.