Welcome to the 3D Geology of Britain viewer. Now you can dive beneath the ground surface and explore the geology beneath!
Watch the videos below for an overview of how to use the Geology of Britain to view data in 3D and 2D.
How to switch views to see data beneath the ground surface, on a globe or in 2D.
How to switch between Geology, Boreholes and Earthquake modes.
How to navigate the map. Note: in addition to the navigation buttons shown in the video, the mouse left and right buttons can be used to pan and tilt the map respectively.
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Castle Rock, Nottingham
Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh
South stack, Anglesey
The 3D Geology of Britain viewer helps you explore the geology around where you live. Click on the heading text below to expand or collapse a help section.
The 3D Below Ground and Globe views are supported in desktop web browsers that support WebGL - a web technology standard for rendering 3D graphics
*The WebGL implementation of Internet Explorer is not optimized for memory-intensive applications and it might not work reliably when opening certain scenes.
Your computer hardware needs to have a minimum of 2 GB system memory and a video graphics card that supports WebGL. It is recommended that you have at least 4 GB of system memory. Your hardware should have a non-mobile graphics card with at least 512 MB of video memory.
The Geology of Britain is designed to work on mobile devices, however there is no current 3D support for mobile devices or iPad. When viewing the Geology of Britain on such a device only the 2D view and functionality is available.
The Geology of Britain has three different viewing modes accessed from the Menu button:
For more help on the 3d/2d views, see the overview videos available from the Menu button
In either of the 3D modes use the navigation controls to pan, zoom and tilt. Alternatively, use the mouse (left click to pan, right click to tilt, and wheel to zoom).
In 2D mode use the navigation controls to zoom in and out or use the mouse (left click to pan, right click to rotate and wheel to zoom).
For more help on Navigation, see the overview videos available from the Menu button
The Geology of Britain viewer combines a number of key British Geological Survey data products in a single viewer. To facilitate this, the viewer can operate in one of three modes:
To switch modes, use the 'Geology', 'Boreholes' and 'Earthquakes' buttons located under the Menu button:
Functionality to change how the geology data is displayed is available under the Menu button:
The viewer displays either bedrock geology, superficial deposits or a combined map showing both bedrock geology and the overlying superficial deposits (the default). It is also possible to turn on a faults layer and alter the transparency of the geology data. More geological layers (artificial ground, and mass movements) are available through a WMS service.
For more information on the 1:50,000 scale geology data used in the viewer including definitions of Bedrock and Superficial click here.
Click on the map to bring up an information window giving details of the geology at that location. Click on the ‘More Information' link to open the BGS Lexicon of Named Rock Units.
In ‘3D Below ground’ mode it is possible to view beneath the Earth’s surface to see cross sections from the National Bedrock Fence Diagram (UK3D).
Functionality to search for a borehole can be found under the Menu button, when the Boreholes data mode is selected:
In this mode, boreholes are displayed on the map. In ‘3D Below ground’ mode boreholes sticks are displayed below the Earth’s surface. Boreholes are coloured according to whether they have depth information as indicated in the key. Click on a borehole of interest to view some basic information about that borehole and to access a link to view a scan of the borehole record.
Where boreholes are coloured black, we are unable to provide a direct link to the associated scanned borehole record. We may still be able to provide you with a borehole record via our GeoRecords Plus+ service. Please note, releasing confidential data can take significant time as the process involves third parties and may not always be successful. BGS will endeavour to facilitate the release of borehole records wherever possible.
In Boreholes mode, surface Geology layers are visible and can be changed as described in the Geology mode section.
Select ‘Earthquakes’ mode to view UK earthquakes over time. On selecting this mode, a time slider will appear at the bottom of the map. Drag the minimum and maximum date tabs to view only earthquakes between (and including) these two dates.
In ‘3D Below ground’ mode earthquakes can be viewed below the Earth’s surface located at the correct depth and with a size relative to the magnitude of the earthquake.
Click on an earthquake to return more details of that earthquake.
In Earthquakes mode, surface Geology layers are visible and can be changed as described in the Geology mode section.
Click on the Search tool on the right of the banner to be able to enter a place name, postcode or grid reference (e.g. '520000,180000') and zoom to that location.
Click on the Menu button on the left of the banner to access additional functionality:
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