Article Loss Prevention

Depositing geotechnical records with the BGS

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The British Geological Survey (BGS) collects borehole records, borehole materials and site investigation reports which are maintained by the National Geoscience Data Centre (NGDC). The Survey has statutory rights of access to information and samples from certain mineral exploration and water supply boreholes. The BGS also welcomes donations of information from anywhere in Great Britain in various formats, including analogue, digital and material collections. If digital files are available these are preferred, and in particular in AGS format data.

The AGS supports the aims of the BGS and encourages its members and their clients to donate their geological records, particularly where in AGS data transfer format in order to propagate its use, to the benefit of member companies, industry and for the general public good.

Most of the collections are part of the public record and are made available through a not-for-profit cost enquiry service, and scanned copies of borehole logs can be accessed for free using the BGS website’s GeoIndex. If specified on the BGS standard deposition form, data can be held as commercial-in-confidence for 4 years before it becomes open-file. Special arrangements need to be made with the BGS for longer periods.

It is therefore important that the ownership of the information itself and that of the copyright and other intellectual property rights must be clearly established before data is deposited, and the AGS recommends that members and their clients discuss this issue at an early stage in the commission. It is recommended that members ask their clients to confirm in writing that the member can donate the records to the BGS at the end of the commission. Alternatively, members could include in their standard conditions a clause stating the information will be donated to the BGS on the due date for payment of their final invoice unless otherwise informed in writing by their client.

The BGS offers advice and guidance about clearing intellectual property rights including copyright. Further information can be obtained from the BGS website

The Loss Prevention Working Group of the AGS is collecting the experiences, comments and views of its members and their clients on the submission of information to, or the requesting of information from, the BGS and whether they have submitted or requested information in AGS format. Please contact the AGS at

Article Business Practice Loss Prevention

BGS Question and Answer

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BGS – Legal Obligations Regarding Drilling

Many Members of the AGS received a letter on the 31st May referring to legal obligations regarding drilling and the submission of borehole logs to the BGS. Clarification was sought to ascertain the legal position with regard to boreholes drilled for the purposes of soil analysis for engineering and scientific purposes for the construction industry.

Are there any legal obligations for submitting these records to the BGS?

Roderick Bowie from BGS replied:

“The legal obligations in England Scotland and Wales only apply to those boreholes covered by the Water Resources Act and the Mining Industry Act.  These include some types of monitoring boreholes and geothermal bores  This does not cover boreholes drilled for engineering or construction purposes although we would be pleased to accept this type of information and already do so from a wide variety of different sources including the Geotechnical Industry.  In fact recognising this gap in the legislation the Government did encourage local authorities to deposit this type of information with us, the aim being to help to ‘add to the value of the advice given by the Survey’.  Part of the contractual arrangement between the Highways Agency and their Consultants/Contractors is that a full copy of the factual sections of any report produced as part of their Ground Investigation work is supplied to the Survey. This has included for some time the digital data in standard AGS format.

Many companies are concerned about passing client information to the BGS, but we can and do keep information Commercial in Confidence if requested and some of our donors write into their contracts that data will be deposited with us if the clients don’t object.

There is different legislation in Northern Ireland where all boreholes over 20m are notifiable and records must be kept irrespective of the type or reason for drilling.”