Data licensing for internal business use

We do not sell our digital mapping data to external parties. Instead, we grant external parties a licence to use this data, subject to certain standard terms and conditions. In general (with the exception of academic use), a licence fee will be payable based on the type and geographical extent of data, the number of users, and the duration (years) of a licence.

If you wish to licence BGS digital data, you will be required to return a signed digital data licence document to us before authorisation for release of BGS digital data to you is given.

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Conditions for supply of digital data

The following general comments are for guidance only and you must refer to the terms of your BGS digital data licence to ascertain the terms and conditions applicable to your usage of the BGS data licensed to you.

In general terms, you will be permitted to:

  • make internal use of the dataset(s)
  • allow a specified number of internal users to access/use the data (the number of users will be agreed with you and specified in the licence document) for the purposes of your day-to-day internal activities
  • reproduce extracts from the data up to A3 for use in external analogue (paper/hard copy) or non-queryable electronic (e.g. secured .pdf) format
    • to meet a public-task duty
    • to fulfil a statutory requirement
    • as part of academic or other non-commercial research

But you will not be permitted to:

  • provide a bureau service for others or incorporate the data in the generation of products or services for commercial purposes
  • sell, assign, sublicense, rent, lend or otherwise transfer (any part of) the dataset(s) or the licence
  • place (any part of) the dataset(s) on the internet


The BGS is committed to ensuring that all the digital data it holds that is released to external parties under licence has been through a robust internal approval process, to ensure that geoscientific standards and corporate quality-assurance standards are maintained. This approval process is intended to ensure that all data released:

  • are quality assured
  • meet agreed BGS data management standards
  • are not in breach of any third-party intellectual property rights or other contractual issues (such as confidentiality issues) that would mean that release of the data is not appropriate

When the BGS digital datasets(s) you license is/are revised, any relevant updates will be supplied to you as a BGS data licensee at no additional cost. Because geological-map datasets are revised on a periodic rather than on an annual basis, you will not necessarily receive a new dataset each year unless changes have been made to the data.

If you have any doubts about whether your proposed use of BGS data will be covered by a BGS digital licence, the digital licensing team will be happy to discuss this with you. We will usually be able to provide reassurance that the licence will cover your individual user requirements and/or may be able to include additional 'special conditions' in the licence documentation, addressing specific requirements (whilst always aiming to maintain our requirement to treat all of our data licensees consistently and fairly).

In some cases a Letter of Undertaking (LoU) will be used instead of a BGS data licence. An LoU is used to cover BGS data that have not yet been approved for licensing, but where there are no external IPR concerns that would mean the data are not suitable for external release. The terms of the LoU make it clear that the materials being provided may not have been subjected to current BGS standards of scrutiny and approval and are provided 'as is'.

Licence templates

Please be aware that the templates are provided solely in order to give guidance as to the kind of terms and conditions under which the BGS may release its digital materials. Individual arrangements may vary, dependent upon the particular end user requirements and the materials being released.


For direct enquiries about the data products please email the digital data team.

For direct enquiries about the licensing process (and licence applications) please email the digital licensing team.

For more general enquiries please email Enquiries.