MEDIN data submission guidelines

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These guidelines should be followed when submitting data to the BGS MEDIN DAC for geology, geophysics and backscatter. If you hold geological and/or geophysical datasets and are happy for these to be stored for the long-term and distributed by the DAC for future reuse please contact us at

Submission of data

The first stage is to provide an inventory of the data being offered for archiving. We will assess the contents and, if necessary, enter into discussion to clarify the information in it. Depending on the volume, type, and quality of the data, BGS may quote a cost for archiving the data.

Generally data should be supplied as distinct survey datasets. Each should have a unique name or ID. If it's not possible to submit full data holdings, metadata and data extents may be provided so that your data are at least discoverable.

BGS primarily accepts digital data only. Paper records will only be accepted where they contain unique, valuable information.

Any data which is of geological interest may be submitted. If there are any biological, oceanographic or bathymetric components to the survey, we can forward data to other MEDIN DACs, or these can be submitted separately to the other DACs. More information on submitting data to the other DACs.


Bathymetric data should be sent to the bathymetry DAC operated by United Kingdom Hydrgraphic Office (UKHO). Where bathymetric data contains a backscatter component, they will pass these data to BGS. Where possible the data should include processed backscatter data. If bathymetry/backscatter data is part of a wider seabed survey dataset it may also be included in the submission to BGS.


Photo/video should be sent to the biological DAC operated by DASSH, the archive for marine species and habitats data. If photo/video data are part of a wider seabed survey dataset they may be included in the submission to BGS and we can forward them to DASSH.


Renewables data should be submitted to The Crown Estate, Marine Data Exchange. Please refer to the Crown Estate data requirements. You don't need to submit the data to the MEDIN DAC if you are already providing it to The Crown Estate. The data should be MEDIN compliant and will be archived with the DACs in the future.

Other (non-renewables) data (e.g. small works) that do not need to be submitted to The Crown Estate should be submitted directly to the DAC.

Oil and gas

Oil and gas data relating to exploration should be submitted to Oil & Gas UK/CDA. Metadata for site surveys should be submitted to the DAC and will be published on the MEDIN portal though BGS doesn't hold the data.

Physical material

Physical material such as core and grab samples can be accepted at the National Geological Repository.

Terms and conditions

Open Government Licence

Data ownership and any terms and conditions should be clearly specified.

  • the data owner retains the copyright of the original data and gives BGS permission to hold a copy and to distribute
  • data will be made available under an Open Government Licence whereby it can be used for any purpose without restriction, unless this has not been agreed with the data owner
  • the data owner is still required to be acknowledged under this licence, to ensure due credit is given
  • if you do not want your data to be released under these conditions please make this clear and specify any terms and conditions
  • provide a brief statement to accompany data if required
  • data may be supplied with an embargo date to allow future release

MEDIN discovery metadata

Metadata Editor

Discovery metadata is information about your dataset that allows someone else to quickly understand where and when your dataset was collected and what type of data is available. The MEDIN discovery metadata standard is compliant with other international conventions (INSPIRE, ISO19115) and is a 'marine profile' of the GEMINI2 standard. The metadata can be searched via the MEDIN portal, which provides users with a single point of access to marine data for the UK.

A MEDIN discovery metadata XML file should be generated for each dataset. MEDIN provides some metadata tools for this. Who creates the MEDIN discovery metadata (data provider or DAC) is dependant on the organisation. If the data provider has the capability to create MEDIN XML they may provide these directly to MEDIN. If this is not possible we can create on your behalf using information provided and forward them for inclusion in the MEDIN portal.

The dataset title should be brief and precise and follow the following format: date, organisation/programme, location, type of survey.

The abstract should be a clear and brief statement of what the dataset contains.

Series metadata for the overall project/programme of which the survey/data set is a part may also be supplied.

Controlled vocabularies

Controlled vocabularies are lists that can be used to describe datasets in a consistent way. MEDIN uses them both in the giscovery metadata standard and the data guidelines. More information.

MEDIN data guidelines

Seismic Data Guideline

MEDIN data guidelines are data archive standards specific to each data type, which provide guidance on what information should be stored alongside your data to ensure others can use them with confidence.

The guidelines should be used to ensure that your data are MEDIN compliant and should make it easier to ingest data into the DAC and facilitate easy use and reuse of the data (collect once; use many times).

Excel templates are provided if required.

The relevant seabed survey guidelines that include bathymetry, sidescan sonar, seismic and sediment characteristics should be referred to for your data types.

MEDIN compliant data

There are three requirements to ensure that your data are MEDIN compliant:

  1. You supply general metadata about your data
  2. You supply detailed metadata about your data — this may be included in a survey/cruise report or as additional metadata in a spreadsheet
  3. Your data are in a format that the DAC accepts

Detailed metadata and documentation

Detailed Metadata
  • a cruise report should be submitted for each survey; this may contain the required detailed metadata
  • spreadsheets of detailed metadata should be provided if possible (see MEDIN guidelines for details)
  • details of instrumentation, software, processing, methods, formats, etc. should be included
  • any other useful documents such as acquisition, processing or quality control reports or logs may be supplied where appropriate
  • quality information/assessment of data and any problems with the data should be included
  • the coordinate reference system used should be clearly specified
  • Date and time should be provided in UTC or clearly specified local time zone

General data guidance

  • standard data exchange formats should be used (see MEDIN guidelines for specific examples)
  • both raw and processed data may be submitted, provided they are clearly specified and useful
  • data should be fully quality controlled by the data originator or provider before submission
  • please ensure that the data is in its final form
  • don't include duplicate, draft or spurious files or empty folders within your submission
  • if your data is not in a format mentioned in the guidelines, please contact us
  • it is useful to provide GIS/shape files of survey extent polygons, multibeam polygons, geophysical lines, sample points, etc. There is also a MEDIN GIS tool for creating metadata from ArcGIS layers
  • the BGS survey data management handbook may also be referred to

Folder structure, data organisation and file naming

BGS Survey Folder Structure

As a seabed survey dataset may contain a range of various data types/formats/products it is important that data is well organised.

Data should be organised in a well-defined documented folder structure such as the BGS folder structure, in a separate folder for each survey dataset named with the survey ID. There may be exceptions to this such as for a single data type or a standalone dataset.

Equipment types should be clearly specified.

A summary checklist of data with numbers of each data type should be provided to give an overview of the submission.

File naming conventions and consistency are important, and documentation should match the filenames. Descriptive filenames may help explain the contents of files. Non-descriptive filenames should be adequately described. Individual filenames should be unique within a dataset.

A full listing of the data files can be included in the top level folder for each survey containing filenames, size, software package, short description and so on.

Geophysical data

Geophysical Record

Standard data exchange formats should be used and clearly specified. e.g. segy/tif format for seismic data. See specific MEDIN data guidelines for more information (e.g. seismic, sidecan sonar, bathymetry). Formats which are outdated and not useful should not be submitted (e.g. sidescan sonar AGDS data). Other formats can be considered on a case by case basis — contact the DAC to discuss.

Both raw and processed data may be accepted provided they are clearly specified, adequately described and formats are potentially useful. Processed data should be corrected and have laybacks applied.

Each line should have a distinct name/ID which should match filenames. Ensure navigation data is available for each line and make clear whether this is ship's central reference navigation or corrected. If any lines are missing, the reason why should be specified

GIS shape files of line location can be provided. Fix point positions will enable us to publish the locations through the Offshore GeoIndex viewer service.

The coordinate reference system used should be clearly specified (e.g. included in names of shape files).

Seabed sample data

Core Overview
  • seabed sample data may be provided in spreadsheets or Access (e.g. Marine Recorder). See the MEDIN data guidelines for more details (e.g. sediment and rock characteristics, sediment sampling by grab or core)
  • each core or grab should have a distinct ID, which should match filenames/data
  • column heading and units should be clear
  • GIS shape files of point locations may be provided

Data access

Offshore Geoindex

Data will be incorporated into the BGS's database system and made visible via the Offshore GeoIndex viewer service. Work is ongoing on extend this to a download service. Alternatively, data can be archived as received, but they might not then be available through view/download services.

Currently access to data is by request via It is also possible to issue datasets with digital object identifiers (DOIs) on request so that datasets can be cited.