National Geotechnical Properties Database — milestone reached

The Distribution map of the boreholes and trial pits in the National Geotechnical Properties Database

A milestone was reached at BGS this August as the 100 000th borehole was entered into the National Geotechnical Properties Database. The data come from nearly 5000 site investigation papers, pdf reports and Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS) digital data transfer format files, kindly donated to BGS by the industry. The database contains over 450 000 samples with over 4.5 million geotechnical and geoenvironmental values. There are data for over 200 geotechnical and hydrogeological parameters as well as about 50 inorganic and 1600 organic chemical species.

The database, now a corporate database, was initially created in 1991 to underpin various engineering geology projects including engineering properties of UK rocks and soils, urban land use planning and development, ground shrinkage hazard, as a resource for students, and to answer enquiries. The free to download reports on the Gault Formation, Mercia Mudstone, Lias and Lambeth Groups, which summarise some of the data, have proved very popular. It is now used on many other projects including the production of national datasets, and is linked to other BGS datasets and so is used in 3D geological modelling and hydrogeological research.

Data were originally typed into the database from paper records, a slow and laborious process, but now a majority added are from AGS digital data transfer format files most notably from the Highways Agency Geotechnical Data Management System (HA GDMS). This has greatly increased the rate of input so the addition of the next 100 000 borehole should take just a few years! However, this will depend on the amount of data deposited with BGS and in particular AGS digital data transfer format.