National Geological Model

The National Geological Model (NGM) team's objective is to construct an accurate, multi-scalar, geospatial model of the subsurface arrangement of the rocks and sediments of the UK.

In December 2012 we released downloadable versions of GB3D: the National Bedrock Fence Diagram. More recently we have released a number of models on the BGS 3D geological model delivery webpage (BGS Groundhog). In particular, we have released the geological model of London and the Thames Valley, which is described in more detail in this open access journal article.

It is intended that the UK model will have the following characteristics:

  • geospatially correct representation of attributed geological volumes and units
  • scale-independent construction, storage and dynamic management
  • seamless onshore and offshore

The model will build on and extend existing corporate databases and dictionaries. These existing datasets include:

  • DiGMapGB (digital geological maps) at all scales and GSNI mapping (the surface layer)
  • subsurface, offshore and survey memoirs and atlases together with contour and isopach maps
  • existing models and surfaces
  • geophysical data
  • other published compilations

The assembly of the NGM should be underpinned by key corporate databases and dictionaries such as:

A national geological vertical sequence of stratigraphy and events is also being developed to underpin the modelling.

For the first time all these disparate sources will be viewed together and unified into a common understanding.

Modelling process, software and capability

The modelling process starts with the creation of a fence diagram of UK geology using 3D modelling software including GSI3D and GoCAD.

BGS Groundhog

BGS Groundhog is the BGS’ 3D geological model delivery webpage. It contains a professional version of the virtual borehole and section viewer and provides information about licensing geological surfaces. Please see to explore our 3D geological models. For more comprehensive information about the geology, please use the BGS GeoReports service (


For further information contact Stephen Mathers