Modelling software and capability | National Geological Model

GSI3D Colchester area

A very detailed exploded model of 2 sq km in the Trent Valley near Nottingham showing soils horizons, artificial deposits, superficial and bedrock geology.

Our research and development has evolved over the last 30 years. The BGS has developed a strong capability in 3D geological modelling, using a variety of methodologies and modelling software to produce model outputs varying in resolution from national to site-specific. Currently BGS modelling concentrates on the use of two main software packages; GoCAD and GSI3D.


GoCAD is mainly deployed to produce models of structurally complex and heavily faulted bedrock geology. This process draws on datasets such as geophysics, boreholes and surface geological surveying.


GSI3D is mainly deployed to model superficial, artificial and simple bedrock geology to shallow depths (c.500 m) through the use of expert-defined cross-sections. 

Together, GoCAD and GSI3D enable the survey to model almost all of Britain’s geology at any resolution and evaluate all types of geoscience data in the production of the resulting geological 3D models.


Outputs from the modelling process include screen grabs of models and 3D pdfs to illustrate reports, grids and TINs for use in GIS systems and also the delivery of fully attributed 3D block models using our bespoke viewer-browser; the LithoFrame Viewer.

Once bundled into this viewer the models can be queried, sliced and diced to generate synthetic borehole prognoses, specified lines of section and horizontal cuts at pre-determined elevations.

Using GeoVisionary, 3D models can be placed in a dynamic fly-through setting to demonstrate the interrelationship of terrain, surface geology and the sub-surface structure.


For further information contact Enquiries.

British Geological Survey
NG12 5GG
Telephone: 0115 936 3143
Fax: 0115 936 3276