Geological Mapping and Modelling

The Geological Mapping and Modelling Expert Groups (GMMEG) ambition is to share at a European scale the knowledge and expertise of the different national and regional geological surveys along with the other public and private sectors active in the field of geosciences, in order to improve the quantity and quality of the geological data, information and knowledge, and hereby develop a world leading European geological information platform (via the EGDI-information platform and contributing to the subsurface in “Europe’s digital twin”) to better serve the needs of society.

The specific objectives of the GMMEG are:

  1. Develop new and refined scientific nomenclatures (with respect to GeoSciML and INSPIRE) for the following themes: lithology, lithotectonic units, geological structures (tectonic boundaries), lithogenetic units, lithostratigraphic / lithodemic units, geomorphological units, geological structures (point related measurements/features), geological processes, geological age, sedimentary environments, magmatic environments, metamorphic environments, mineralogy, and anthropogenic features and deposits. Most of these vocabularies need to be hierarchically organised, ready to be applied in multiscale geological map datasets and models;
  2. Share best practice data-models (within which the above standards can be implemented) and develop a reference data-model;
  3. Explore and promote automated scalability tools for map data as key for new digital European map products;
  4. Develop new European, digital, transboundary, geological models and datasets;
  5. Develop new quality evaluation tools and procedures for geological maps, models and datasets;
  6. Develop and deliver digital solutions for field data acquisition and storage;
  7. Develop and share tools to describe, manage and display uncertainty in geological maps and models;
  8. Produce lobbying material for the promotion of geological mapping and modelling;
  9. Explore possibilities to fund the work of the GMMEG.

About Geological mapping and modelling

Economic, environmental and planning issues today demand access to precise information on the subsurface. Geological knowledge allows 1) to improve the access to more and better quality underground water resources, 2) a better use of the geoenergy potential (e.g. geothermal energy but also energy storage), 3) access to mineral resources for the energy transition and other needs, 4) to help prevent and reduce the impact of natural hazards (earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides) and climate change, and 5) a better land use planning (for agriculture or urban development, and reduce environmental degradation). As such, geological knowledge has the potential to improve the quality of life and to allow a better and more sustainable future for all. In addition, geological data, information and knowledge is also demanded for fundamental research, education and geotourism.

The collection and continuous update of continental and marine geological data as well as their interpretation, by establishing geological models (maps, sections and 3D- up to 5D-models) and through expertise, is a vital task of most national (and regional) geological surveys. In doing so, they address the needs of the public authorities and citizens. The production of this data and knowledge is time-consuming, resource intensive and expensive. Nonetheless many detailed studies have shown a benefit-cost ratio of 4:1 to > 100:1 for geological mapping and modelling.

During the past century, significant funds have been allocated to detailed geological mapping and the production of paper maps at different scales. During the last two decades, most geological surveys have invested in the digitization and harmonization of the existing geoscientific data and knowledge, and the available maps are now distributed as vector maps with attached databases. This has been done at the expense of the budgets allocated to geological data collection and geological mapping. As a result, the detailed reconnaissance of the subsurface remains incomplete for many regions in Europe. During the same time, new tools and methodologies for data acquisition, processing and dissemination have emerged. These have the potential to revolutionize the way geological data and knowledge is collected and managed. EuroGeoSurveys can provide and share regional and national expertise to better serve regional, national and European needs.