BGS - MEDIN data archive centre for seabed and sub-seabed geology, geophysics data

about the British Geological Survey

The geology, geophysics and backscatter DAC is operated by the British Geological Survey (BGS) and stores seabed and sub-seabed geological and geophysical data covering the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) area and also deals with the backscatter component of bathymetric data.

Founded in 1835, the British Geological Survey (BGS) is one of the oldest national geological survey organisations in the world and is a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) research centre. BGS is a public sector organisation responsible for advising the UK government on all aspects of geoscience as well as providing impartial advice to industry, academia and the public. BGS hosts the National Geoscience Data Centre (NGDC) which holds a comprehensive collection of geological, geophysical and environmental information on the surface and subsurface of Great Britain and the adjacent sea areas.  Within the NGDC, BGS manages the UK National Marine Geoscience data holdings.

BGS leads the Maritime Environment Mapping Programme (MAREMAP) which aims to improve seafloor and shallow geological mapping to achieve national objectives and contributes to European mapping through EMODNET.

data held

Various types of marine geoscientific data are held by BGS, including both data acquired during marine surveys, and derivative data resulting from the processing and interpretation of survey data. This includes seabed sample data from grabs and cores such as geological descriptions and interpretations, geotechnical, geochemical and particle size analysis data. Geophysical data includes seismic, multibeam backscatter and sidescan sonar. BGS also maintains an archive of physical materials (cores and samples), records, maps and documents.

submitting data

If you hold geological/geophysical data sets and are happy for these to be stored and distributed by the DAC please contact the DAC at the address below. The first stage is to submit an inventory of the data being offered for archiving. Depending on the volume, type, and quality of the data BGS may quote a cost for ingesting the data into the archive.

All data supplied to the DAC will be made available under an Open Government Licence (OGL) whereby it is able to be used for any purpose without charge, unless this has not been agreed with the data owner. If you do not want your data to be released under these conditions please make this clear when supplying it. Data may be supplied with an embargo date to allow future release.

Bathymetric data should be sent to the bathymetry DAC operated by UKHO. Where bathymetric data is received by the bathymetry DAC data contains a backscatter component, the bathymetry DAC will pass these data to us. If bathymetry/backscatter data is part of a wider geological survey data set it may also be included in the submission to BGS.

Renewables data should be submitted to The Crown Estate, Marine Data Exchange. Please refer to the Crown Estate data requirements. You do not need to provide data to MEDIN if you are already providing it to The Crown Estate. Other (non-renewables) data which does not have to be submitted to The Crown Estate should be submitted directly to the DAC.

For further details see our data submission guidelines.

accessing the data

The coverage of available data may be viewed and searched online via the BGS Offshore GeoIndex. The Offshore GeoIndex is also available as a Web Map Service so that the layers can be added to desktop GIS. Geological maps are displayed on the MAREMAP website and licenced products are also available.

BGS is working towards providing access to more data online. However, the current method to request data is to contact the BGS Enquiry team ( with a list of data required or a specific enquiry.

A portal is available for searching Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) data (data are available for download depending on size).

Most data held by BGS are publicly available although some datasets may require approval from the original data owner before data can be released to a third party. A handling fee may apply for data not available online to cover costs and additional work required. See the BGS policy on IPR.

data use

Marine geoscientific data from BGS is used by public, commercial and academic organisations for a wide variety of applications. Examples include sea-bed mapping, site investigation, environmental impact assessment, development of marine resources, renewable energy, marine aggregates, aquaculture and fishing, conservation, habitat mapping and marine archaeology. Within BGS, current research using the data focuses on 3D modelling, detailed sea-bed mapping, reconnaissance surveys, and basin analysis on the Atlantic Margin.

contact details


British Geological Survey
The Lyell Centre
Research Avenue South
EH14 4AP


+44(0)131 6671000