National Geological Model

The key objective of the National Geological Model (NGM) is to construct an accurate, multi-scalar, geospatial model of the subsurface arrangement of the rocks and sediments of the UK. At the core of the NGM is UK3D: the National Bedrock Fence Diagram.

In February 2016 we released downloadable versions of UK3D: the latest iteration in the development of this model which now incorporates Northern Ireland and extensions of the model into nearshore coastal waters in England and Wales. Previously, we have released a number of models on the BGS 3D geological model delivery webpage (BGS Groundhog). In particular, we have released the geological model of London and the Thames Valley, which is described in more detail in this open access journal article.

The ongoing development of the NGM will continue to focus on meeting the following aims:

  • geospatially correct representation of attributed geological volumes and units
  • scale-independent construction, storage and dynamic management
  • seamless onshore and offshore

The NGM work builds on and extends existing corporate databases and dictionaries. These existing datasets include:

  • DiGMapGB (digital geological maps) at all scales and GSNI mapping (the surface layer)
  • subsurface, offshore and survey memoirs and atlases together with contour and isopach maps
  • existing models and surfaces
  • geophysical data
  • other published compilations

The assembly of the NGM is underpinned by key corporate databases and dictionaries such as:

A national geological vertical sequence of stratigraphy and events has been developed to underpin the modelling.

The NGM allows all these disparate sources to be viewed together and unified into a common understanding.

Modelling process, software and capability

The modelling process starts with the creation of a fence diagram of UK geology using 3D modelling software including GSI3D and GoCAD.

BGS Groundhog

BGS Groundhog is the BGS' 3D geological model delivery webpage. It contains a professional version of the virtual borehole and section viewer and provides information about licensing geological surfaces. Please see to explore our 3D geological models. For more comprehensive information about the geology, please use the BGS GeoReports service (


For further information contact Enquiries.

British Geological Survey
NG12 5GG
Telephone: 0115 936 3143
Fax: 0115 936 3276