The biological effects of hazardous substances in the environment are influenced by climate, physiography, and biota. These factors interact to determine the transport and fate of chemicals, but are difficult to model accurately except for small areas with a large data base. The requirement for large data base may be reduced locally if the regional influences of these factors were predetermined from existing data. Knowledge of the regional factors would also relax the restriction to considering only small areas. This paper advocates consideration of regional characteristics of the environment in the early stages of waste management strategy development. It presents as an example a procedure for selecting study sites from candidate-abandoned hazardous waste dumpsites in the southeastern United States. It uses small-scale maps of low resolution from the National Atlas to delineate the boundaries and to determine the environmental characteristics that prevail over units of land within the region. A computer map-overlay and graphic approach is used to facilitate the grouping of land types. Abandoned hazardous waste dumpsites found within land types that best represent the region are surveyed for selecting a study site. It is expected that environmental impact data obtained from a representative site would be useful for predicting impact potentials in similar remotely located areas within the same general region.