BGS Global Geoscience

British Geological Survey. 2013 BGS Global Geoscience. British Geological Survey, 28pp.

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BGS’s international geological activities, now renamed as BGS Global Geoscience, have been a cornerstone of BGS work for more than a century. As the recently appointed Science Director for BGS Global Geoscience, this magazine provides a welcome opportunity to introduce myself and to highlight the continuing breadth of BGS overseas applied research and survey. Since I last worked overseas in the late 1990s, BGS’s work on the international stage has witnessed significant change. Traditional overseas placements funded by UK aid gave way in the 2000s to large, mainly World Bank funded, non-residential mapping projects. Over time, increased competition and the price sensitivities became ever more telling and it was increasingly apparent that if BGS was to remain active in this area we would need to review the appropriateness of our business model. As a consequence of this review, in 2010 BGS set up a spin-out company (International Geoscience Services Ltd – currently trading a BGSi). Thus, as traditional international mapping surveys have declined, our focus has shifted from traditional survey work to developing research and scientific applications. For example, the United Arab Emirates survey, which commenced 10 years ago as a mapping programme, now funds more applied research focused on urban and developmental resource issues. Responding to global science and environmental drivers, the current BGS science strategy (2009–2014) gives priority to activities that increase our understanding of environmental processes particularly in developing countries. Exchanging know-how, building capacity for alleviation of resource poverty, and living with environmental hazards, are key. With these visions in mind, throughout 2011 to 2012, BGS has pursued the range of project activities described herein. They focus on water and mineral resources, volcano and tsunami- related geohazards research, new monitoring activities combining ice and fire in Iceland, and expanding our geomagnetic network in South Georgia. For survey research to have measurable impact requires a fresh approach. Our vision for the future is, therefore, of a co-ordinated and integrated combination of skills, data and expertise to deliver not just maps but modern geoscience databases. They will underpin the modelling and prediction of resource abstraction (especially water), subsurface storage, and the monitoring of climate change impacts across national boundaries. Urbanisation is another key area that lends itself to such an approach. Expanding modern cities in both developing and developed countries affect the surrounding environment and create an ever-increasing demand for resources from the subsurface. BGS expertise in 3D geology and in handling large volumes of data, gained over many years working on UK cities, has applications to many modern cities in south-east Asia, the Middle East and globally. I believe that this multidisciplinary approach will drive a new generation of BGS international work and lead to improved integration of geology with the social and economic sciences to benefit planning and development and deliver a visible impact on the global community.

Item Type: Publication - Report
Funders/Sponsors: British Geological Survey
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This magazine also available for free download from
Date made live: 11 Sep 2017 10:26 +0 (UTC)

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