BGS Big Borehole Dig Needs Your Help!

December 7, 2020

The British Geological Survey (BGS) holds a database of over 1.4 million borehole records, each containing a range of information and it needs the assistance of British Drilling Association (BDA) members to convert these records into usable digital data that can help inform the future understanding of the subsurface.

The digital scans of these open borehole records can be accessed through the BGS GeoIndex viewer. Despite being held in digital format (usually PDF), the information within these documents is not yet standardised and often requires translating before being able to be used.

The BGS believes it is essential that future generations have access to historical borehole data as Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS) file format. With the help of the BDA, the BGS can convert its records into AGS format, to improve the availability and accessibility of borehole information to a wider audience. This in turn will enable users to build better models, save costs on construction projects and reduce the amount of time lost due to unforeseen ground conditions.

Once the borehole records have been converted, the BGS estimates that over 800 000 more downhole geology logs will be available for everyone to use. This data can feed directly into site investigations, conceptual ground models and academic projects, as well as provide the data necessary to perform even greater analyses on our subsurface in future. The “Big Borehole Dig” aims to give people around the country the tools they need to digitise downhole information, create an AGS file and send it back to BGS to store, so that everyone can benefit from it. By helping us to standardise data, your contribution will help the UK take steps towards becoming a major subsurface information manager.

Want to get involved?

BDA members can take part in the “Big Borehole Dig” by using either BGS’ free Groundhog Desktop software or Keynetix-Bentley OpenGround (Holebase SI). The BGS has produced a user guide for both software so visit the BGS website to download the training guide.

Alternatively if BDA members already have any AGS records that they would like to deposit with the BGS then please visit

If you have any questions the BGS would love to hear from you. Please contact Steve Thorpe ( or Adam Dargan (

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