2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
Paper No. 7-5
Presentation Time: 9:05 AM-9:20 AM

THE DEPLOYMENT OF 3D GEOLOGICAL MODELLING AT THE BRITISH GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

MATHERS, Steve1, KESSLER, Holger1, WOOD, Ben1, and SOBISCH, Hans-Georg2, (1) British Geological Survey, Kingsley Dunham Centre, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG, United Kingdom, sjma@bgs.ac.uk, (2) INSIGHT GmbH, Hochstadenstr. 1-3, Köln, 50674, Germany

Next year the British Geological Survey is 175 years old and since the Millennium it has embarked on a strategic transformation from a map-making survey to a 3D modelling organisation. Today computer processing power and the development of sophisticated visualisation software allows our traditional 2- 2.5D static views expressed as maps, sections etc to be replaced by 3D interactive digital models.

In BGS this change has been possible because we converted key national data sets into digital form in the 1990’s. These included borehole index and downhole logs, geological maps and key geophysical datasets. Additionally nationwide topographic maps, aerial photography-imagery and digital terrain models were licensed for use.

This enabled the emergence since 2001 of the GSI3D software at BGS for the modelling of the man-made environment, superficial-Quaternary geology and simple bedrock geology. More structurally complex settings are modelled using GoCAD, but the scope of GSI3D is being extended to most common types of faulting and folding and data is now routinely exchanged between the two applications.

At BGS 160 of our scientists have been trained to use GSI3D. The success of the software is due to three things: firstly the software is built by geologists for geologists dealing in digital form with the traditional analogue survey techniques and datasets. Secondly the software is simple, intuitive and easy to use with the geologist constructing the model, and thirdly, it has been developed as an affordable option for all our staff rather than an elite, complex option that few can master.

Our models are currently delivered by three principal mechanisms, as 3D PDF’s, interactive block models bundled in the Subsurface Viewer, a sub-set of GSI3D, and as standard outputs for GIS. Evaluation copies are available to non-profit organisations until April 2010, over 20 geological surveys and academic institutions have taken this up. We intend to make the software available and affordable for all in the years to come.

The remaining challenge for BGS is to fully deploy the technology across the entire organisation, enabling all our applied and research scientists to build and use these models to increase the value of their work. This will lead to all BGS outputs being improved by the added dimension for the benefit of society as a whole.

2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 7
Geological Mapping: Key to Successful Management of Water and Land Resources I
Oregon Convention Center: B116
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Sunday, 18 October 2009

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 38

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