The geometric dispersion of surface waves offers the feature to infer the properties of a medium. The surface wave survey method is under continuous evolution and its applications include the noninvasive characterization of a medium at a small scale and the earthquake geotechnical survey at a large scale. Despite the significant difference in scales, these applications generally utilize the propagation of the surface waves along the boundary of a layered medium. This paper discusses standard steps involved in surface wave surveys. Two application case studies are conducted and presented in detail. In the small scale laboratory application case, a nondestructive testing (NDT) methodology is proposed for the coating investigation using laser interferometric measurements of surface waves. In the large scale field application, an accelerometer-based passive surface wave survey is designed for earthquake geotechnical engineering site characterization. Finally, recommendations for practical application of surface waves in multi-scale engineering problems are presented.
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