Geotechnical data

Database coverage

National Geotechnical Properties Database

The BGS Information Management (Geology) Project maintains the National Geotechnical Properties Database.

This primarily holds data and information from site investigations carried out for civil engineering purposes.

The information is supplied to us by clients, consultants and contractors either as paper records or as Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS) digital data transfer format.

A small number of data points are from laboratory test results carried out by us.


Design of the National Geotechnical Properties Database.

In the mid-1980s data were stored in a series of flat file geotechnical datasets generated for the applied geology mapping projects of urban areas; funded by the then Department of the Environment.

These were inefficient to use and difficult to manage. A decision was made to create and populate a relational database and this is now the national database with 54 data tables and 33 dictionary tables.

This information forms the basis for the geotechnical attribution of 2D and 3D digital geological models and underpins our core and commissioned engineering geology research.

Database design

The design of the database is currently based on the AGS industry standard for Electronic Transfer of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Data version 3.1.

It contains data relating to the project, the boreholes and pits within the report (including British National Grid Reference and geology), full descriptions, in situ measurements and results of tests on samples.

The distribution of data generally reflects the requirements of our projects including UK Rocks and Soils Lithostratigraphical studies, or the areas covered by Ground Information for Sustainable Development and geohazards projects.

Much of the data are from site investigations for major trunk road construction schemes and other major engineering projects.

Data are added from paper records or AGS digital data transfer format, which is the preferred method as they can be added quickly without transcription errors.

AGS files have been added from the Highways Agency Geotechnical Management System (HA GDMS).

Site investigations in AGS digital data transfer format have greatly increased the coverage of the database.

Depositing data

In order to improve the national coverage of the database and its usefulness, the BGS would be very grateful to receive site investigation data in AGS file format.

Deposit your AGS data with the Data Deposit Portal.


Contact Enquiries for further information about the National Geotechnical Properties Database.