BGS Groundhog Desktop GSIS

Groundhog Desktop software interface

BGS Groundhog Desktop is free-to-use software developed by the GeoAnalytics and Modelling directorate of BGS. It can be used to digitize geological cross-sections, borehole logs and geological map linework, as well as supporting a range of baseline data such as geo-registered images and digital elevation models. At the BGS, Groundhog Desktop is used by geologists to refine and extend UK3D.

Digital Terrain Model for the UK

Available For Download In Groundhog Desktop Format

For UK-based users we are pleased to announce that we have made a Groundhog Desktop format version of the OS Open Data 50m Terrain layer 137MB zip available as a free download. With this data loaded and selected in your workspace, you will always be able to obtain a cross-section profile anywhere in the UK any time you construct a cross-section. Please be aware that this is a large download (approx. 600 MB) as it is full UK coverage. The file is a Groundhog Binary Grid, which provides very rapid profile generation along sections. Once you have downloaded the file, unzip it, and then either follow the instructions in the manual for adding grids to a workspace, or simply place the file into the WORKSPACE_DEFAULT folder within your installation directory (normally C:\Program Files\BGS Groundhog Desktop\WORKSPACE_DEFAULT), and Groundhog should pick the file up the next time you run it. It will then appear in the pull-down layer list in the top ribbon toolbar, simply select to make it the active elevation layer. OS have released this data under the same licence as Groundhog Desktop (Open Government Licence). For full terms of use for this data, please refer to the OS website. Please note that, whilst every effort has been made in its production, this data file is provided as-is, with no guarantee from BGS as to its usefulness or accuracy.

Fieldwork Solution

If you are interested in a solution for field mapping, BGS also separately offers a free digital field data capture system - BGS.SIGMAmobile - which is designed to run on rugged tablet PCs with integrates GPS. The system consists of heavily customised versions of ArcMap and MS Access along with additional software to provide functionality such as sketching. NOTE: The BGS does not supply ArcMap or MSAccess as part of BGS·SIGMAmobile. It requires an ArcEditor licence to run.


The current version of Groundhog Desktop was released on 03/01/2018 and is version 1.9.0 (BETA). Please note, at the current time, Groundhog Desktop only runs under Windows.

Please enter your details to download the BGS Groundhog Desktop GSIS files. By providing your email address, you consent to us contacting you from time-to-time to inform you of software updates and developments.

Terms of use

This software is available under the Open Government Licence. This means the software is free to use, exploit and redistribute for academic, personal, research or commercial purposes, subject to the terms of the UK's Open Government Licence. We also require that you acknowledge the software in the following way wherever you use it to create or deliver any product, data, information or report:

BGS Groundhog® Desktop Copyright © BGS/NERC (year).


For any enquiries regarding Groundhog Desktop GSIS, please contact