Digital geoscience

BGS Research

Image from BGS Geology of Britain Map

The BGS is a data-rich organisation. Our data science and data infrastructure are fundamental to our future research and are critical assets that underpin all three of our strategic challenges.

Embracing new technology across the BGS will be crucial. We will invest in technologies to change our operating systems and to create a new cyber infrastructure. This will include an integrated information system feeding into a global geoscience cloud, revolutionising data provision, forecasting and prediction, and supporting our three strategic challenges.

We will also develop new methods of delivering data to our customers and stakeholders to improve their user experience, including new insights into data and data tailored for impact and solutions.

  • Acquiring primary data will enable us to conduct challenge-led science.
  • Data acquisition will be essential to addressing significant knowledge gaps and to reduce uncertainty in critical areas.
  • Improved capabilities to capture, process and store data will allow us to better characterise the environment and rock volumes in greater detail and with increased temporal resolution.
  • We will look to develop our sensor technologies and improve monitoring capacity and the ability for it to be mobile.
  • We need to handle ever larger datasets and outputs from subsurface experiments, which calls for us to expand our storage, network and access requirements.
  • We will work with partners to develop the capability to store and reference data.
  • This includes the analogue data held by the National Geological Repository and the BGS Library — samples, cores, maps and records.
  • Data management is a key requirement to ensure good data governance and repurposing of collected data.
  • We will look to employ machine learning techniques and new technologies, building on internationally recognised standards that we will co-develop.
  • Collaboration in data laboratories and data commons will require skills development to ensure we can continue to analyse, process and visualise data as effectively as possible.
  • Developing capacity, capability and data management systems in developing countries will continue to be a priority.
  • Research infrastructures and new capabilities will ensure we remain at the forefront of scientific computing technologies. These include:
    • hosting the European Plate Observing System’s (EPOS) integrated core services
    • the OneGeology project
  • We will research more effective use and integration of geospatial geological data, with emphasis on the built environment, as part of the UK Geospatial Commission.
  • We will use new techniques to improve access and links between datasets and work to comply with ‘FAIR’ data principles, making data findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable.
  • Visualisation will support technological innovations, including smartphone apps, and crowdsourcing technology in developing countries facing complex multi-hazards and environmental degradation.
  • We will develop conceptual models through the collection of geological data to support projects involving multiphase flow systems and in geophysical and geochemical science.
  • Predictive models will be developed to forecast or predict the future evolution of a process on the basis of current understanding.
  • Simulation models will be developed to assist model users to understand how decisions taken may influence (or may be influenced by) a complex system, for example hazard assessment around volcanoes.
  • Simulations that mimic how individuals respond to risks will be developed with social scientists.
  • Modelling of the Earth’s geophysical characteristics will also be undertaken.

Our data and facilities

Aeromagnetic surveys

Data search

BGS is a data-rich organisation with over 400 datasets in its care

Show more

National Geoscience Data Centre

The National Geoscience Data Centre collects and preserves geoscientific data, making it available to a wide range of users and communities.

Show more
BGS core store

National Geological Repository

The National Geological Repository holds our collections of borehole cores, cuttings, samples, specimens, and related subsurface information from the UK landmass and continental shelf.

Show more
BGS iGeology app


OpenGeoscience is a free service where you can view maps, download data, scans, photos and other information.

Show more
Aeromagnetic surveys

Digital data licensing and resellers

If you are interested in an information product and the Open Government Licence is not applicable, we encourage the use and exploitation of our information products by providing a wide range of licences.

Show more

The BGS Strategy

Access our science strategy for 2023 to 2027, 'Understanding our Earth'

Was this page helpful?

  • How can we make this section better?*

  • Please select a reason*

  • How can we make this section better?*