Management team and skills leaders

Science director

Matthew HarrisonMatthew Harrison: science director, BGS Informatics

Matt leads the Informatics team, organising UK and global geoscience information, making it accessible and usable to scientists, professionals and the public. We develop much of the software and standards to visualise, query and download data, and to access our world-leading core store and scanning facilities. We also work with organisations and governments across the planet to share best practice and to train the next generation of geoinformatics specialists.

Matt worked in business for five years after completing his BSc in geology at Edinburgh University, moving on to undertake an MSc in geographical information science, also at Edinburgh, in 1999.

During his 18 years at the BGS Matt has worked as a spatial information specialist and as a geoscientist in the marine and coastal and natural hazard domains. In 2002 he was part of a team initiating the BGS's flagship geohazard licensed dataset, GeoSure, as lead developer. He has played a leading role in many other interdisciplinary projects in the UK and internationally, including GIS projects in France and Flanders (GeoSynth — EC) and Georgia (Georgia ICZM — World Bank) as well as projects for the UK Treasury (ICZMap), UK Government departments (Intertidal Characterisation — DEFRA) and the Scottish Government (Scottish landslides) and EU Bringing Land and Sea Together (BLAST) project. He led the European Commission INSPIRE thematic working group on Natural Risk Zones. Matt co-chaired and initiated the cross-government Natural Hazards Partnership with an emphasis on providing products and services relating to natural hazards to Government and responder communities.

More recently, Matt is the interim director of the European Plate Observing System (EPOS) core service hub, with a place on the project development board. In 2017–18 EPOS will be a flagship scientific research infrastructure for the European Commission. Matt is also a key member of the OneGeology board, representing the global coordination office.

Team leaders

Team leaders are resposible for ensuring that their portfolio of projects is identified and delivered upon, ensuring that opportunities are pursued to secure funding, undertake collaboration and publish peer-reviewed research.

Garry BakerGarry Baker: team leader, database solutions

Garry is responsible for the National Geoscience Data Centre (NGDC) and the data science teams. These deliver the architecture, frameworks, policy and processes that underpin the digital data donation, accession, ingestion, planning and metadata, corporate database and data storage, data management, information business systems, data science and analytics as well as managing a number of FP7 and latterly Horizon 2020 projects.

Garry has a background in industrial geology, databases and GIS, and joined BGS in 1996. He has over 21 years' experience in the management and development of IT/IS systems; delivering data centres; data, information and knowledge management, and people development as well as informatics project/programme management to Prince2 and MSP Practitioner level.

Particular interests and research areas include: the integration and delivery of research data from various differing sources, the information and knowledge that needs to be captured in order to allow future scientific data re-use, digital data preservation, managing complex IT/IS projects and programmes and running a 'fit-for-purpose' and relevant data centre in modern times.

Garry has managed or participated in consultancy or collaborative projects including sharing knowledge and best practice in Malaysia, Botswana, Brazil and Chile as well as many countries within the Europe region (France, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Czech Republic, Spain, Greece, Slovakia, Poland, Denmark, Ireland, Austria, Hungary).

Patrick BellPatrick Bell: team leader, information systems

Patrick is responsible for delivering science-driven information systems including APIs, data web services, mobile apps, data portals and ecommerce systems, as well as data capture, collection, ingestion and management facilities. The team has delivered award winning-systems such as OpenGeoscience and the UK Soil Observatory. Patrick was the winner of Best Paper at Conference at the ESRI User Conference, May 2013, attended by 1200 delegates.

Patrick has a background in GIS and has over 20 years experience in website management and development. He has a particular interest in increasing the ease of access to mapping data and other information through the development of web services and integrated community portals. Patrick has participated in consultancy, collaborative and skills-transfer projects across Europe (France, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Ireland, Czech Republic), Nigeria, South Africa, Malaysia, Thailand and UAE.

Michael HoweMichael Howe: team leader, collections management

Mike is head of the National Geological Repository and responsible for all the information held by the BGS that originated in analogue form, including records, the library and the geological materials collections. He is particularly interested in promoting access to collections and information through digitisation and web delivery — an area in which the BGS is a world leader. He has promoted the use of the JP2 (JPEG 2000) format, which allows convenient web access to high-resolution images. It has been used for several collections, including the UK continental shelf hydrocarbon well core samples (125 000 images), and high-resolution images of petrological thin sections (30 μ thick rock slices — 160 000 sections). It has recently been used for high-resolution fossil images, including stereo anaglyphs.

The ultimate form of specimen digitisation is the 3D digital model. Mike managed the JISC-funded GB/3D fossil types online project that captured several thousand such models and won the 2015 International Data Rescue Award in the Geosciences.

Mike joined BGS in 2000 with a background in collections curation, palaeontological data management and stratigraphic palaeontology. He was Chair of the Geological Curators' Group of the Geological Society of London from 2011–2013 and has been an 'open learning' tutor for the Workers' Educational Association and for the University of Warwick. He has authored several papers on graptolites, and on the Ediacaran biota of Charnwood Forest.

Skills leaders

Our skills leaders advise on the skills required by the BGS and by individuals, with the aim of balancing the needs of both. This role ranges from strategy development and implementation through to resolution of day-to-day staff issues. Skills leaders work closely with the head of HR, science directors, team leaders and fellow skills leaders to help the BGS maintain an appropriately skilled and resourced workforce.

Amelia BaptieAmelia Baptie: skills leader, Informatics North

Amelia is the skills leader for Informatics at The Lyell Centre in Edinburgh.

Amelia joined BGS in 2005, bringing her experience and expertise in geospatial consultancy, project management and application development. Today Amelia leads the commercial CO2Stored project and facilitates the INSPIRE Earth Science thematic cluster. In addition to this, Amelia is passionate about the benefits that can be achieved from joining up earth-science data. Working alongside European earth-science organisations to harmonise and share environmental data (for example, EPOS, EGDI and GeoERA), she recognises that working in collaboration to share knowledge and experience is key to this success.

Emma BeeEmma Bee: skills leader, Informatics South

Emma is the skills leader for Informatics at the Keyworth site.

Emma has over 15 years' experience as a geospatial analyst and project manager. She currently leads the GeoSocial project for the informatics directorate, which involves analysing social media data to gain new insights into natural hazards, and is a co-investigator on the NERC SHEAR project 'LANDSLIP'. Emma has been heavily involved with the Natural Hazards Partnership since its inception in 2011 and spent six months working at the Met Office to help strengthen partnership working and to get more personal insight into the mechanics of working with temporal data. Emma is also actively involved in the Association for Geographic Information and sat on its Council between 2013–2016. During this time, Emma was an editor for the AGI Foresight report 2020 which gives insights into the role that geographic information is likely to play in the issues that impact our economy, environment and society in the future.

During her career at the BGS Emma has participated in consultancy, collaborative and skills-transfer projects across Europe (France, Netherlands, Norway) and in Malaysia, Senegal, Mauritania, Zambia and India.

Hazel NapierHazel Napier: skills leader, spatial information technologies

Originally a physical geographer from Portsmouth University and MSc GIS specialist from University of Edinburgh, Hazel has worked at the BGS since 1995. Hazel is the skills leader for informatics staff engaged in GIS development including web GIS and mobile GIS applications. She leads the BGS's geoscience and society programme, which was set up to enhance the use of geoscience in addressing complex societal problems through the development of multi- and inter-disciplinary research with collaborators outside the natural sciences. Hazel also coordinates the activities of a subgroup of the Natural Hazards Partnership, a UK Cabinet Office initiative that involves 17 partner organisations. Through this partnership, she has been active in engaging with stakeholder communities, focused on the resilience community.

Nikki SmithNikki Smith: business development manager

Nikki's role is to promote the work of BGS Informatics staff and help staff identify and build partnerships with other organisations. Nikki also has a key role in identifying new business opportunities in both the UK and overseas, and working with staff to secure new projects.

Nikki has a degree in geology and an MSc in environmental remote sensing and joined the BGS in 2000. As well as her role in business development, Nikki is also a senior GIS specialist with a focus on the design, development and implementation of custom data capture and delivery systems, as well as the design and implementation of digital workflows both internal and external to the BGS. Nikki is the project leader for the BGS·SIGMA system as well as leading the generic digital workflow project. Nikki has participated in consultancy, collaborative and skills transfer projects across China, Europe (e.g. Denmark, France, Ireland, Greece, and Norway), South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, and the USA.


If you think we can help you or you would like more information about our services, please contact us.