This publication and references within it to any methodology, process, service, manufacturer, or company do not constitute its endorsement or recommendation by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) or the Minerals Industry Research Organisation.

The copyright of BGS maps, publications and other documents is ©NERC 2011. All rights reserved.

The copyright of materials derived from the British Geological Survey's work is vested in the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a retrieval system of any nature, without the prior written permission of the copyright holder, which permission the BGS Intellectual Property Rights Manager is empowered to give on behalf of NERC. To ensure that copyright infringements do not arise, permission to reproduce, copy, amend, adapt, and otherwise employ copyright protected materials must be obtained from the copyright owner(s).

Permission to reproduce BGS materials for particular purposes is granted by means of a copyright permit or a copyright licence. These are specific to the BGS materials intended for reproduction by external parties for particular purposes.

A BGS copyright licence does not cover any form of digital copying or adaptation, or grant the use of BGS materials in a digital form, for which separate digital data licence agreements are required. Any other promotional use of BGs materials other than that indicated below must also be agreed separately.

Further details of copyright requirements related to BGS materials is available at:

The BGS is the successor department to the Institute of Geological Sciences (IGS), for both of whom copyright for maps and other publications is vested in NERC. Copyright of former IGS materials still rests with NERC (BGS), and may not be copied or supplied to third parties without its express consent.


  1. Under the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988, it is open to NERC (BGS), as the copyright owner, to take measures to prevent infringement and to bring actions against such infringement directly against unlicensed contractors or contractors making use of unauthorised copies.
  2. To ensure that copyright infringements do not arise permission to do any act restricted by copyright in a work must be obtained from the copyright owner. In the case of BGS maps the copyright owner may include both BGS and the Ordnance Survey. Most BGS's geological make use of Ordnance Survey topography, which is Crown Copyright, and BGS acknowledges Crown Copyright (and other copyright proprietors) on its geological maps, and other publications. Reproduction of OS materials may be independently permitted by the licences issued by Ordnance Survey to many users. Users who do not have an Ordnance Survey licence to reproduce the topography must make their own arrangements with the Ordnance Survey, Copyright Branch, Romsey Road, Southampton, SO9 4DH (Tel. 023 8079 2913). An Ordnance Survey licence does not authorise the reproduction of BGS maps; likewise a BGS licence does not authorise the reproduction of Crown Copyright protected materials.
  3. Consent to reproduce BGS materials is normally supplied under a particular copyright licence; and on payment of an appropriate annual fee. An annual licence authorises the licensee to include specific extracts of BGS maps and other documents passed to third parties. A licence does not authorise the licensee to attribute BGS materials as those of the licensee; nor to issue any materials in or on which there is a false attribution.
  4. A licensee is always advised that third parties receiving copies of BGS maps under the licensee's licence, may not recopy the maps in order to pass them on unless prior permission has been obtained from the BGS Intellectual Property Rights Manager.
  5. A BGS copyright licence does not cover any form of digital copying or adaptation, for which specific permission is required. It does not cover any other promotional use of BGS materials; any such use must be agreed separately. The use of BGS photographic materials are subject to a separate permission.
  6. Potential users of BGS materials may discuss their requirements and make subsequent application for a licence by contacting the BGS Intellectual Property Rights Section, British Geological Survey, Kingsley Dunham Centre, Keyworth, Nottingham, Notts, NG12 5GG Telephone 0115 936 3331. E-mail address:

Digital materials

  1. If BGS maps and other graphical materials are to be digitised for a database or GIS, then users should be aware that materials are copyright protected and their transcription (a form of copying) requires permission. Consent is only supplied for materials not currently held in digital form by BGS under a BGS digitising licence. Other digital materials are supplied under a separate BGS Digital Licence. Permission must be obtained from the Ordnance Survey to make and used digital copies of their material.
  2. Where some users have proceeded with their own digitisation of BGS's maps, they may unwittingly or otherwise be in breach of NERC (BGS) copyright. We reserve the right to take appropriate action.
  3. We strongly recommend that potential users refer to BGS for further advice regarding copyright permission for the use and reproduction of BGS digital materials, and /or the digitisation of said materials.
  4. BGS reserves the right to require licensees to provide a copy of the digital data free of charge and to use this material for internal purposes. BGS undertakes not to make commercial use of the material.
  5. BGS is keen to promote business with commercial organisations, institutions, individuals, and educational concerns, which wish to produce and/or publish services and/or products based on BGS materials. In all cases the granting of permission will depend upon the anticipated effect of the proposed usage on the promotion, sales and associated marketing activities involved with BGS's hard copy and digital materials.

Contact Details

Intellectual Property Rights, including Copyright and licensing,
Intellectual Property Rights Section
British Geological Survey,
NG12 5GG
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 115 936 3009 (for Copyright enquiries)
Tel: +44 (0) 115 936 3126 (for Digital Licensing enquiries)
Fax: +44 (0) 115 936 3615

BGS photographic materials are © NERC. Other photographs are © Sharon Pilkington, Peter Glanvill, Mike Simms, Tessa Knight, Martin Whiteley (Barrisdale Ltd), Chris Binding, David Roche GeoConsulting, and John Cornwell as indicated.

Photographs courtesy of the Somerset Geodiversity Audit, (funded by the GAAAQ Somerset MIST Project) were taken by Steve Parkhouse, Clive Nicolas, David Allen David Roche and Peter Scott, are © David Roche GeoConsulting. The full audits are available from

Diagrams reproduced from the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society are © UBSS. The artwork is copyright Paul Stevenson (Paleoscene Ltd).

This website has been prepared by the British Geological Survey with funding from the Sustainable Land-Won and Marine Dredged Aggregate Minerals Programme (SAMP) funded through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as part of the Aggregate Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF), administered by the Mineral Industry Research Organisation for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).