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. NGDC is recognised as the NERC Environmental Data Centre for geoscience data.

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Deposit data with the NGDC

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

Deposit guidelines

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

Data donations should comply with the following 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 them with 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, NGDC is interested in holding the data rather than the associated paper.

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 and donate them separately, otherwise the open portion of your data will not be visible to our open web systems.

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

Correct formatting containing no errors with commas or quotes which may prevent the file from being processed automatically
Co-ordinates Co–ordinates should be provided for all boreholes in British National Grid (m)
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 shouldn’t 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 effect statistical analysis

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

The following formats are accepted by the NGDC:

Data type Preferred format File extension
Geotechnical dataAssociation of Geotechnical and Geo-environmental Specialists (preferably version 3.1 or 4.0).ags
Geophysical dataLog ASCII Standard.las
Seismic data.sgy
Sidescan sonar data.xtf
Generic scientific dataMicrosoft Excel files.xls, .xlsx
Comma-separated value files.csv
Data files (with readme file on software).dat
Tab delimited data file
Portable document format (PDF, PDF/A).pdf
Extensible mark-up language.xml, .json
TextMicrosoft Word document.doc, .docx
Text file (plain/ASCII).txt
Rich text format.rtf
PresentationsMicrosoft Powerpoint presentation.ppt
GIS/spatial dataESRI shapefile/MapInfo/QGIS files/GeoTIFF
DatabasesMicrosoft Access database.accdb
Oracle export
MySQL export format
SQLite format
ImagesTagged image format.tif
Joint Photographic Exports Group.jpg
Portable Network Graphics.png
Drawing Interchange Format (AutoCAD).dfx
VideosApple Quick Time
Audio Video Interleaved.avi
Digital Moving Picture Exchange Bitmap.dpx
Moving Picture Experts Group.mp4

Additional information for NERC-funded grant holders

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


The National Geoscience Data Centre (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.


These data are 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 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,  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.

Release of confidential information – site investigation and drilling information frequently asked questions.

Data Sharing Agreements

The National Geoscience Data Centre (NGDC) actively encourages the deposit of openly available data via the Data Deposit Portal. We have engaged with projects like the ASK Network (Accessing Subsurface Knowledge) and more recently through the Dig to Share Project to encourage the deposit of geotechnical data in AGS format.

The NGDC is collaborating with a number of organisations to create contracts and briefing notes for consultants carrying out ground investigation work to deposit AGS (Association of Geotechnical Specialists) data via the Portal.

Example agreements can be found below:

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 to drillers and contractors to 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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