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What is GeoSciML?
GeoSciML is a way of identifying and classifying bits of information with geological content in a uniform way allowing a wide variety of different sources of information to be used together without the need for reclassifying them. For more detailed information please click here.

What sort of map do I need?
It is possible to use any type of map, from the scanned paper image to a fully digital format. The target scale is 1:1 million, however any existing map coverage will be possible. It will be up to the contributor to decide ultimately. Map specifications.

What scale of map do I need?
Any existing geological map coverage. As a priority, work will be to enable access to ~1:1 million geological map data. Technical specifications.

What technical expertise/knowledge is required?
No specific knowledge is required, however you will need authority to be able to make decisions for your organisation. It would be beneficial if you have a nominated technical expert who has some experience of GML, however assistance and advice will be available. Please see the technical pages for further information.

What permissions/copyright do I need?
Map data distributed as part of OneGeology will remain in the ownership of the originating geological survey or organisation, and ideally be available at no cost. You will need authority to be able to provide the map for OneGeology use.

How can I get involved?
To fully participate in OneGeology you ideally need to be a member of an organisation that is responsible for geological maps for your nation or region, as the aim of the project is to provide access to geological map data. If you would like more information please contact us, sending your details and we will be in touch soon.

Is my country already involved?
You can check to see whether your country has already registered by visiting the participating countries map or via the participants page.

Can I attend a meeting?
You need to be registered with the OneGeology secretariat. If you are the nominated representative of your country you will be contacted with updates and invited to any meetings and workshops. All meeting delegates must be registered in advance.

Who do I contact within my region?
In the first instance, please contact the OneGeology Secretariat who will be able to deal with your enquiry.

Can I work for you?
The initiative is a collaborative effort of geological organisations and will draw on their existing data and expertise. We therefore do not have any requirement for, or facility to take on, employees.

What if my country hasn't registered involvement?
Please click here for details on how to get involved.

My country is already registered but I think I/my organisation should be involved
Please contact us.

How much does it cost to participate? How is OneGeology funded?
There is no charge for participation however, OneGeology is a geological survey initiative that depends upon geological survey data and resources. In the Brighton Accord it was agreed that OneGeology and its participants will seek funding to support its work and goals and also develop strategies to provide mutual assistance to implement OneGeology and build participant capacity.

What are the benefits of this project to the participating countries?
The benefits are many and wide ranging, including increased accessibility to information that will help mitigate natural disasters, increase interest in natural resources, benefit economies and development, bring together organisations and encourage further collaboration, plus many more reasons.

This looks very technical/requires technical skills or facilities that we do not have
Surveys and organisations must not be hesitant or put off by the technical aspects as a system to ensure support and advice is currently being arranged. A series of step-by-step 'cookbooks' are also being written to take you through the whole process from collating your data to 'serving' it on the web via the Portal.

What is a cookbook?
A cookbook is a best practice manual 'containing a straightforward set of already tried and tested recipe or instructions for a specific activity'.

What is OGC?
The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.® (OGC) is a non-profit, international, voluntary consensus standards organisation that is leading the development of standards for geospatial and location based services and it's home website containing all its published specifications and standards can be found at

The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc (OGC) is an international industry consortium of more than 300 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface specifications. OpenGIS® Specifications support interoperable solutions that 'geo-enable'; the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. The specifications empower technology developers to make complex spatial information and services accessible and useful with all kinds of applications.

What is ISO?
The International Standards Organisation ( ISO is the world's leading developer of International Standards. ISO standards specify the requirements for state-of-the-art products, services, processes, materials and systems, and for good conformity assessment, managerial and organisational practice. ISO standards are designed to be implemented worldwide.

What is interoperable/interoperability?
The capability of different software and datasets to communicate with each other.

What is XML?
eXtensible Markup Language is a World Wide Web Consortium ( recommended way of exchanging a wide variety of data on the Internet. By defining a Markup Language using XML suitable to a type or domain of data to allow the computer production and exchange of data documents in that specified Markup language over the Internet. An XML based markup language describes structure and semantics but not formatting.

What is GML?
The OpenGIS® Geography Markup Language (GML) Encoding Specification is an XML encoding for the modeling, transport and storage of geographic information including the spatial and non-spatial properties of geographic features.

What is a web service?
An OGC web service (OWS), or open web service is a 'self-contained, self-describing, modular application that can be published, located, and invoked across the web. Web services perform functions that can be anything from simple requests to complicated business processes. Once a web service is deployed, other applications (and other web services) can discover and invoke the deployed service.' (Ref: OGC).

Typically a web server is a computer placed on the Internet that offers an OGC web mapping service or WMS (responds to requests from a computer client to send a map in the form of a raster or image over the Internet) and/or an OGC web feature service or WFS (responds to queries from a computer client to send an application of GML representation of some data often with a geographic part in an XML document based on a schema such as GeoSciML).

The OGC WMS specification standardises the way in which web clients request maps. Clients request maps from a WMS instance in terms of named layers and provide parameters such as the size of the returned map as well as the spatial reference system to be used in drawing the map.

The OGC WFS specification supports INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, QUERY and DISCOVERY of geographic features. WFS delivers GML representations of simple geospatial features and other feature attributes in response to queries from HTTP clients. Clients access geographic feature data through WFS by submitting a request for just those features that are needed for an application.

What is IUGS-CGI?
The International Union of Geological Sciences Commission for the Management and Application of Geoscience Information (

Some Common Questions about OneGeology (as heard at the IGC in Norway)

How can I get my/my organisations geological maps in OneGeology?
Firstly, your organisation needs to be a registered participant. Secondly, you will need to provide your map in digital format according to the OneGeology conformance guidelines in the Cookbooks. The map can be anything from the scanned paper image to a fully digital format. Please see the Cookbooks (instruction manuals) for further information.

Who can help me get my data in OneGeology?
In the first instance, the series of step-by-step 'cookbooks' should be referred to. These will take you through the whole process from collating your data to 'serving' it on the web via the Portal.

In addition, a system to ensure support and advice is in place and you can request more information or assistance
If you have further enquiries please contact

Who should I talk to get more information about OneGeology?
In the first instance, the OneGeology Secretariat will be able to provide advice and put you in touch with the right people. Contact

What is the purpose of OneGeology?
OneGeology's aim is to create dynamic digital geological map data for the world. It is an international initiative of the geological surveys of the world who are working together to achieve this ambitious and exciting venture. Behind OneGeology was a set of principles: Geological surveys and geoscientists around the world have a responsibility to:

  • make accessible the best geological map data they have now.
  • work towards consistent standards for data access – schematic interoperability.
  • enhance and increase the use and usability of their data.

The objectives of the initiative follow logically from there:

  • make existing geological map data accessible in whatever digital format is available in each country.
  • transfer know-how to those who need it, adopting an approach that recognises that different nations have differing abilities to participate.
  • stimulate a rapid increase in interoperability, achieved through the development and use of the web mark-up language, GeoSciML. Find out more about GeoSciML.

Why is OneGeology data not harmonised?
OneGeology is a dynamic set of geological map data served mostly on a national basis by individual geological surveys and other bodies (e.g. the polar and marine surveys and research bodies) to a web portal and as such will be frequently updated and improved by them and reflect the most up to date data they possess. Because of the diverse nature and the variety of data served, attempting to harmonise it would be a lengthy and difficult task. OneGeology’s aims are to make data accessible in the best format currently available.

What is the relationship between OneGeology and CGMW/ICOGS?
The project is a truly multinational and multilateral venture. It involves many different stakeholders working together: the network of geological surveys around the world; the international umbrella organisations of the Commission for the Geological Map of the World (CGMW), International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE), International Consortium of Geological Surveys (ICOGS) and United Nations Educational Scientific & Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the International Framework of the International Steering Committee for Global Mapping (ISCGM). All these have acknowledged their support for the OneGeology Initiative. It is hoped that we will attract other relevant bodies as the project moves forward.

Who “runs” OneGeology?  Who provided the resources/server/manpower?
The OneGeology secretariat is currently managed by the British Geological Survey (BGS) in the UK. The OneGeology Portal is currently being developed and managed by the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM) in France. This facilitation has been agreed until December 2009, at which point the organisation and management will be reviewed.

My organisation/staff is interested in OneGeology, can someone come to visit us and explain how we can get involved?
Many organisations around the world are currently involved in OneGeology so there may be someone nearby that we can put you in touch with. Please contact the Secretariat in the first instance who will be able to help.

Who will load my maps in OneGeology for me?
If you have a server, you will be able to serve your own maps to the Portal. See the Cookbooks for further information. If you do not have access to a web server, you should complete the online request form. The secretariat will then contact you with relevant information, usually details of a registered ‘buddy’ – a neighbouring organisation who is offering to serve data on behalf of others.

Why only 1:1M scale data?   I want to make my detailed maps available?
There is no restriction to the scale of data that you can serve, 1:1M is an initial target scale but you are very welcome to serve data at other scales.

Who has authority in overlapping/boundary/contentious areas? What do you display?
Currently we allow overlap of maps so that people have the choice of which map to view. OneGeology does not determine where boundaries should lie.

What do you do at boundaries where the geology does not match?
Miss-matching boundaries are highly likely and cannot be excluded due to the vast amount of data, the variety and the different categorisations (lithological, stratigraphical, etc) as well as language differences. OneGeology cannot tackle these issues. This of course does not mean that the data is incorrect; it is just portrayed in different ways.

Does OneGeology only cover the landmass or is marine geology included?
OneGeology would like to include marine data. We are currently trying to contact the official national ‘providers’ of marine geological data. If you have any appropriate contacts or links please let the Secretariat know.

Does OneGeology serve bedrock, superficial, or both types of data?
All types of data are/can be included; it is entirely up to the individual organisation.

I am not a geological survey, can I serve my/our data to OneGeology?
At the moment, to fully participate in OneGeology you ideally need to be a member of an organisation that is responsible for geological maps of your nation or region. The aim of the project is to provide access to the official geological map information. However, we hope to be able to accept a wider range of map data in the near future. Please add your details to our mailing list by completing the form so that we can keep you up to date with progress.