National geoscience

BGS Research

Avon Gorge at Clifton. Looking north.

The BGS National Geoscience programme forms a core part of the BGS and underpins our role as the UK’s national geological survey.  The programme is a forward-looking investment in UK geology that provides relevant, coherent and enriched geoscience knowledge for our stakeholders.

The programme improves the understanding of the geology of the UK and its continental margin; it will also provide enhanced interpretations of the UK’s sedimentary basins and basement in key areas for applied research and to support UK infrastructure.  

The programme is creating new, quality-assured UK geological knowledge and data, both onshore and offshore, from mapping and modelling. We provide a range of geological services to external stakeholders, including commissioned applied research and geological characterisation.

Research areas

The programme has three strategic research areas alongside several other core activities.

We are improving the structural understanding of the UK and continental margin by acquiring a coherent understanding of the tectonic framework of the UK and regional structural domains.

This aims to develop a coherent, national-scale, stratigraphical model of the UK and its continental margin, providing new interpretations of the UK’s sedimentary basins and basement in key areas for applied research.

We are enhancing our understanding of the unconsolidated materials that make up the UK’s shallow geosphere, and investigating how changes in superficial deposits can be predicted.

Other core activities

  • Enhancement of digital geological map data and provision of customer support to users of BGS Geology
  • Ensuring that regional stakeholder priorities are understood and reflected in the programme through our network of chief geologists
  • Leading continuous professional development of geological skills and knowledge at the BGS

Find out more about our research

Image from BGS Geology of Britain Map

Digital geoscience

The BGS is a data-rich organisation. Our data science and data infrastructure are fundamental to our future research and underpin our strategic challenges.

Show more
BGS Global Geoscience

International geoscience

BGS is active across the globe delivering institutional strengthening programmes and applied research projects across a wide variety of sectors.

Show more

Our projects

Geological Visualisation models interface

Regional geological visualisation models

Interactive 3D models are available for exploring the geology of regional areas of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Show more
3D London Model

3D Urban Geology

3D Urban models provide conceptual understanding of the subsurface below our cities to support planning and development.

Show more
National Geological Screening

Regional geological summaries

BGS have produced 13 summaries of the on-shore regional geology for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Show more


UK3D is a national-scale network of intersecting cross-sections providing a unique visualisation of the complex rocks and structures that make up the UK landmass.

Show more
sample model data

BGS LithoFrame

Data outputs from 3D geological framework models are available at three different scales for parts of the onshore area of Great Britain.

Show more

Was this page helpful?

  • How can we make this section better?*

  • Please select a reason*

  • How can we make this section better?*