High-frequency (???2 Hz) Rayleigh-wave data acquired with a multichannel recording system have been utilized to determine shear (S)-wave velocities in near-surface geophysics since the early 1980s. This overview article discusses the main research results of high-frequency surface-wave techniques achieved by research groups at the Kansas Geological Survey and China University of Geosciences in the last 15 years. The multichannel analysis of surface wave (MASW) method is a non-invasive acoustic approach to estimate near-surface S-wave velocity. The differences between MASW results and direct borehole measurements are approximately 15% or less and random. Studies show that simultaneous inversion with higher modes and the fundamental mode can increase model resolution and an investigation depth. The other important seismic property, quality factor (Q), can also be estimated with the MASW method by inverting attenuation coefficients of Rayleigh waves. An inverted model (S-wave velocity or Q) obtained using a damped least-squares method can be assessed by an optimal damping vector in a vicinity of the inverted model determined by an objective function, which is the trace of a weighted sum of model-resolution and model-covariance matrices. Current developments include modeling high-frequency Rayleigh-waves in near-surface media, which builds a foundation for shallow seismic or Rayleigh-wave inversion in the time-offset domain; imaging dispersive energy with high resolution in the frequency-velocity domain and possibly with data in an arbitrary acquisition geometry, which opens a door for 3D surface-wave techniques; and successfully separating surface-wave modes, which provides a valuable tool to perform S-wave velocity profiling with high-horizontal resolution. ?? China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2009.