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 Data Management

A new perspective in geological mapping

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A new on-line service called CENTREMAPSlive® provides a means to buy custom extracts of geological mapping in a uniquely accessible
new format.

In the past geological mapping has either been available as a paper map or data for use in GIS systems. The former offers limited interaction
whilst the latter requires often complex software and a lot of effort to output a professional looking map; particularly where the user is looking for mapping on a site by site basis.

CENTREMAPSlive® uses a layered PDF format which can be quickly ordered and downloaded from the site.  A sample can be download from
the web site by going to the ‘geological mapping’ section.

On opening the document the user clicks the ‘Layers’ tab to reveal the option to turn on and off layers such as Bedrock, Superficial, Faults
and more all overlaid on the most up to date Ordnance Survey mapping. This intuitive design means the user can quickly choose to see as
much or as little information as required without having to buy several maps.

The data is supported by both a bedrock and a superficial geology legend which only lists rocks found in the supplied mapping.

In addition to the familiar BGS 1:50,000 geological mapping, BGS GeoSure is available offering a rating of land stability for 6 different factors comprising: Slope Instability; Shrink-Swell; Running Sand; Compressible; Collapsible and Soluble Rocks.

Andrew Terry, Manager

Article Laboratories

“The Geology of Site Investigation Boreholes from Hong Kong”

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AGS (Hong Kong) have announced the publication of the above title. The author is Chris Fletcher but in an effort to promote the development of good practice in the industry AGS(HK) has played a significant role in the publication.

Described by the author as a ‘Practical Guide for Geologists and Engineers’, the book Is the first of its kind in concentrating on illustrations and geological interpretations of samples of rock and soil obtained from boreholes throughout Hong Kong. All the main groups of rocks and many of the individual rock types present in Hong Kong are covered in terms of composition, distribution, geological setting and site examples. Hydrothermal alteration, deformation and weathering are also addressed, and there are sections on superficial deposits and karst.

A review by Diamad Campbell (GEO) concludes: The range of lithologies and materials addressed is extensive, and the illustrations in particular comprise a very valuable resource for geologists and engineers working in Hong Kong. Although practitioners using the book should bear in mind that it presents the author’s personal view of interpretation of samples obtained in site investigation boreholes, the book is recommended to anyone interested in the geology of Hong Kong.

For copies: AGS(HK), c/o Benaim (China) Ltd, 25/F SUP Tower, 75-83 Kings Road, North Point, Hong Kong. (Payment by bankers order only made payable to AGS(HK) – HK$200 inc. p+p)