Geological model availability

Availability of geological models. Yellow polygons denote coverage of shallow, high-resolution models. Blue polygons are lower resolution deeper regional models. Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database rights 2010

The National Geological Model (NGM) is an accurate, multi-scaled, geospatial model of the subsurface arrangement of the rocks and sediments of the UK.

The NGM currently comprises a bedrock fence diagram (UK3D) and a number of other 3D geological models. The current availability of geological models is described below.

3D model availability

Shallow, high-resolution models

Our shallow, high-resolution models are typically constructed using a cross section-based approach. This involves the construction of a geological framework comprising hand-drawn cross sections.

Coverages of the plan-view distribution of each geological unit are drawn utilising DiGMapGB-50 map linework. The solid 3D geological model is generated by interpolating between nodes drawn in cross section and in coverages.

This technique is powerful because it enables geologists to interpret a wide range of data when building the model. It also enables models to be updated and revised easily.

Most of the shallow, high-resolution models can be used for the following applications:

  • borehole and section prognoses
  • as a framework for the construction of higher resolution more detailed geological models for site-specific and local studies
  • catchment and regional scale assessments for hydrogeology, planning, mineral resource estimation
  • general and geoscience education

East Yorkshire: Superficial geology and bedrock model covering the area from Kingston upon Hull to Flamborough Head, including Driffield, Beverley and the suburbs of Hull. The model extends from the ground surface to the base of the Chalk aquifer.

Doncaster: Superficial geology covering the area from Doncaster in the north-west to Retford in the south-east. Model extends from surface to rockhead (base of Quaternary).

Glasgow: Superficial geology model covering Clydebank, Paisley, North, Central, south-east Glasgow, Coatbridge and Airdrie areas. Bedrock geology (Upper Carboniferous Coal Measures to Strathclyde Group) also modelled at varying resolutions.

London and Thames Valley: Superficial geology and bedrock model covering the area from Reading to the Thames Estuary and incorporating much of Greater London. The model extends from the surface to the base of the Jurassic sedimentary rocks.

Liverpool: Superficial geology model of Liverpool and Runcorn extending from surface to rockhead (base of Quaternary).

Manchester: Superficial geology model of central Manchester, Salford and Trafford Park, extending from surface to rockhead (base of Quaternary).

The south-east of East Anglia: Superficial and bedrock model of the area around Sudbury, Ipswich, Felixstowe, Clacton on Sea and Colchester. The model extends from the surface down to the Gault Formation. and

Warrington: Superficial model of Warrington extending from surface to rockhead.

Vale of York: Superficial model of the York and Haxby area extending from surface to rockhead (base of Quaternary). Cross section fence diagram of Vale of York extending from surface to the Sherwood Sandstone Group.

Deep, regional-scale models

Deep, regional-scale models are constructed via interpolation between borehole data and where available, DiGMapGB-50 linework.

Deep regional-scale models are most appropriate for the following applications:

  • catchment and regional-scale assessments for hydrogeology, planning, mineral resource estimation
  • general and geoscience education

Craven Basin: Faulted bedrock model. Five surfaces modelled between the base Permo-Triassic and the Caledonian Unconformity.

East Midlands: Faulted bedrock model. Ten surfaces modelled between the top of Cornbrash and the Caledonian Unconformity.

London Basin: Faulted bedrock model. Comprises surfaces including Chalk Group, Gault Formation, London Clay Formation and the Lower Greensand Group.

Midland Valley of Scotland: Faulted bedrock models available at various scales for selected geological surfaces in the Midland Valley within the Permian and the Carboniferous

Northumberland Solway Basin: Faulted bedrock model. Eight surfaces modelled from the bases of the Permo-Triassic to the Caledonian Unconformity.

SW Pennines: Faulted bedrock model. Five surfaces modelled between the Variscan Unconformity and the Caledonian Unconformity.

Weald Basin: Faulted bedrock model. Six geological surfaces available from the base of Tertiary to the top of the Variscan Unconformity.

Fence diagrams

Fence diagrams are geological models that are created from interlocking vertical cross sections. They are used to give an indication of the 3D structure of the geology where data or resource limitations preclude the development of a solid 3D model.

UK3D: Cross section, bedrock fence diagram extending throughout the United Kingdom to a depth of 1.5 to 6 km.


Each geological model has limitations that should be considered; these are stated in the detailed metadata reports. A list of general limitations is available on the Groundhog webpage.


Most geological models are available in a variety of formats through BGS Groundhog:

  • borehole and section prognoses
  • individual surfaces in TIN (triangular irregular networks), ascii grids, ESRI or GOCAD shells, 3D grids
  • interactive 3D viewer (Lithoframe Viewer)

If a model is not available through BGS Groundhog, please contact enquiries, who will deal with your request.