Deposit data with NGDC

BGS Data — National Geoscience Data Centre

The National Geoscience Data Centre (NGDC) collects and preserves geoscientific data and information, making them available to a wide range of users and communities. The NGDC is recognised as the NERC Environmental Data Centre for geoscience data.

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Deposit guidelines

Please use the NGDC Data Deposit Portal to deposit digital files with NGDC.

Data donations should comply with the NGDC terms and conditions and guidelines:

Your data should:

  • consistently include header rows and scientific units relating to any measurements
  • document details about any scientific standards, instrumentation, software, code or data collection methodologies used
  • be provided as a final version and therefore complete
  • ideally be ‘open’ data, allowing it to be discovered and re-used by other interested parties
  • have all acronyms explained and use consistent naming conventions (guidance on naming strategy)

When packaging up your data to deposit it with the NGDC, you should consider the following.

Your data should be grouped appropriately with a common geographical location or science-specific topic, e.g. ‘Two site investigations for Smith Street’ or ‘A chemical analysis spreadsheet of limestone’. This may result in you needing to split the data into several separate donations.

A donation may contain datasets that underpin publications. In these cases, the NGDC is interested in holding the data rather than the associated paper(s).

Only one data-access type (either open or restricted) can be applied to an entire donation. If your donation contains both open and restricted data, you will need to split your data into sections and donate each section separately, otherwise the open portion of your data will not be visible to our open web systems.

We can build bespoke portals to deliver your own organisation’s restricted donated data alongside the NGDC’s openly available datasets. Please contact the NGDC regarding commissioning such an activity.

Data should follow the Association of Geotechnical and Geo-environmental Specialists’ guidelines. Please use our AGS file utilities tool to validate your AGS v4.x files against the AGS standard and our data submission requirements. If you are using AGS v3.x please use our legacy AGS Validator.

Correct formatting containing no comma or quote errors, which may prevent the file from being processed automatically.
Coordinates Coordinates should be provided for all boreholes in British National Grid.
Key fields All key fields must appear in each group but may contain null data. Key fields are necessary to uniquely define the data.
No orphan records All records should relate to a parent sample or hole.
No duplicate records No duplicate records should be present as this breaks unique identifier rules.
Complete information Important but not mandatory fields should be populated, such as PROJ_CONT or PROJ_ID.
Translated codes
All codes used should be present in ABBR.
Numerical values Although text can be stored in all AGS fields, this is not always appropriate for values relating to units, so these should contain numbers with remarks in a remarks field, if required.
Lithostratigraphy Codes Lithostratigraphy should be recorded as a BGS Lexicon code in GEOL_BGS. It should not just be recorded as part of the GEOL_DESC text.

Null means null

Where there is no value the field should be null; it should not be padded out with zeros as this may affect statistical analysis.

Data should normally be provided in a non-proprietary format (for example .csv rather than a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet).

Please download our guide for a complete list of formats accepted by the NGDC.

> Preferred Digital Formats Guide (.pdf)

Deposit data with the NGDC

Please use the NGDC data deposit application (portal) to deposit digital files with NGDC

Additional information for NERC-funded grant holders

NERC/UKRI requires any data of long-term value created by NERC-funded activities to be deposited in a NERC Environmental Data Centre. The NGDC is the designated repository for geoscientific data.


The NGDC actively encourages the deposit of openly available data via the Data Deposit Portal. The NGDC suggests some simple text can be added to contracts with clients, drillers or consultants, to request that data be deposited with open terms. Wording can be found on the data sharing agreement page.

The data is available as deposited under the terms of the Open Government Licence by using the deposited data search and the GeoIndex. Please note some of our newer layers on the GeoIndex are under ‘Boreholes’, Boreholes other’ and ‘Deposited data’.

Whilst NGDC prefer to hold open data with no access or use constraints, you can deposit restricted data for a limited embargo period giving justification on the ‘Data access’ page/tab on the Data Deposit Portal.

Following the embargo date, the NGDC will aim to automatically release the data in accordance with government open data policies. If you require a formal review, at which consideration is given to a future additional embargo period, please state and justify in the appropriate field.

Note deposited data can be requested under the Freedom of Information (FOI) and Environmental Information Regulations (EIR), meaning the NGDC cannot respect all restriction requests.

Data sharing agreements

The NGDC actively encourages the deposit of openly available data via the Data Deposit Portal. We have been actively involved in projects to encourage the deposit of open geotechnical data in AGS (Association of Geotechnical Specialists) format, such as Dig to Share, and more recently the re-launch of the Construction Playbook which details standardised clauses about depositing ground investigation data for public works projects with the NGDC. 

The NGDC continues to collaborate with a number of organisations to create contracts and briefing notes for consultants carrying out ground investigation work to deposit AGS data via the portal.

A number of organisations now have agreements in place which request contractors to deposit their data with NGDC as open AGS, in some cases a data sharing agreement is in place:

You can use the examples given to create new contracts, or the NGDC suggests some simple text can be added to contracts with drillers or consultants, to request that data is deposited with the NGDC in AGS format.

The NGDC also suggests that drillers and contractors include some wording in standard contracts to ensure data is deposited with the NGDC.

Need more information?

For general NGR and NGDC enquiries or to arrange a visit, please phone 0115 936 3143 or contact our enquiries team

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