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British Geological Survey purchases Intermap

Intermap has won a contract to supply its three-dimensional digital terrain map of Scotland to the British Geological Survey (BGS). The contract comes a year after BGS purchased Intermap’s digital terrain data of England and Wales. Since that time over 50 different uses have been developed within the BGS for the data providing the justification for the purchase of the Scottish terrain map.

For geologists, seeing the landscape in three dimensions yields valuable information for geological interpretation. When used in conjunction with bore samples, if the surface layer is mapped accurately in three dimensions, it gives a good impression of what is going on at depth. Modelling strata in three dimensions—widely in use by the construction industry, developers and planners— has many applications from risk assessment of unrecognised geo-hazards such as landslides and subsidence, to resource assessment of sands and gravels.

Intermap’s NEXTMap Britain elevation data has fulfilled its promise to become one of the most frequently used datasets across the BGS programme. The main outputs from the dataset’s interpretation have been revised geological line work, maps of landslides and terrain features such as glacial landforms, three-dimensional viewing, geological modelling and more efficient air photo processing.

The NEXTMap Britain dataset fills a niche not filled by any other digital elevation dataset available in the UK, providing consistent national coverage but at high resolution. At the detailed 1:10,000 scale used for geological mapping, photogrammetry and LIDAR provide highly accurate terrain data, but the former has to be generated as required on a project-by-project basis at a high cost, and LIDAR coverage is mostly limited to flood plains. NEXTMap Britain’s national coverage of high-resolution data is now available everywhere to supplement the existing, but less detailed, national datasets already used by BGS.