WP15 services and architecture

WP15 distributed infrastructure targets to provide Virtual Access to data/products/services relying mainly on existing organisations (EuroGeoSurveys - OneGeologyEurope/EGDI)

WP15 distributed infrastructure targets to provide Virtual Access to data/products/services relying mainly on existing organisations (EuroGeoSurveys - OneGeologyEurope/EGDI)

Short term service provision objectives are the following:

  • Catalog of geological maps and geological features
  • Borehole data: EU Borehole Index (including visualization tool for borehole logs), Logs, associated Monitoring Equipements & Observations, Construction details,
  • Catalog of 3D | 4D models: digital / numerical models, geological structure, geophysical, …
  • Catalog of Geohazards (inventories + hasard maps): ground deformation, landslides, active faults

Boreholes are unique in a geoscientific context as they provide fundamental information about the subsurface. Although drilling is expensive, it is the cheapest method for collecting in-situ information about and samples from the subsurface. Thus, drilling is frequently used by industry for prospecting for and extraction of natural resources like ore, hydrocarbons and geothermal energy. Civil engineering is dependent on information from boreholes for underground and large surface construction. Our society utilises shallow boreholes for the extraction of both drinking water and heat. In addition, scientists conduct research drillings on land and off-shore to investigate targets that are of basic scientific importance. Thus, an extensive amount of subsurface information was gathered from a great number of boreholes, information that is of great value in invested funds and, in particular, for future research. However, this treasure of information is neither easily accessible nor available in an easy to handle format.

EPOS WP15/TCS Geological Information and Modelling is implementing a standardised way of sharing information about and data from. A first service that is up and running as of early 2017 is the “European Borehole Index”, which provides a defined set of descriptive information about boreholes and, if existing, links to more extensive information and data.

The data structure is based on the international standard OGC GeoSciML 4.1.

To make this feasible, data providers (e.g., geological services and scientific drilling programmes/projects) expose their Borehole related content accorded to the agreed standards.

WP15 central node is then connected to data providers’ web services in order to provide a unique entry point for Borehole discovery. The service provides the possibility to search and filter the content of the European Borehole Index and receive information about relevant boreholes through EPOS.

The European Borehole Index will be progressively populated during 2017 with a substantial amount of data from EPOS data providers, a work that then will be kept up continuously for new data and data providers.

Further, it is planned to develop and implement a service that allows the direct delivery of data from the borehole (e.g. geophysical logs) and drill core (e.g. geological logs) through EPOS in a standardised way. This activity will be coordinated with the relevant OGC domain working group.

Historically Geological knowledge has been exchanged using maps. As an outcome of more than a decade of international cooperation between geological surveys though the IUGS / CGI and now linked to the OGC a shared semantic enables to exchange the features that make the map (OGC GeoSciML 4.1).

Access to geological can be achieved in different ways according to the nature of the map and the data providing services. In general, three different use cases are envisaged:

  • Online available as Web Map Services (WMS) and
  • Online available as geological features on Web Feature Service (WFS) providing a “European Geological Feature Index”
  • Available for download e.g. on xmlpdf format

All maps can be discovered through the metadata catalogue. If the map is available for download only, the user is guided to download service hosted at the organisation making the map available. For maps made available as WMS the user can display the map on the EPOS portal or make use of the service URL to integrate it in his/her own desktop GIS application. Geological maps made available as WFS allow the user to display the map at the EPOS portal and access all individual geological features. These features, as the WFS, can be used in local GIS and allow spatial queries for features having a specific type of geology – sandstones for example, and for features (e.g. borings) drilled where the map is showing sand.

The figure below highlights the difference between the first two use cases. The first image shows the 1:1.000.000 scale geological map as exposed by the European geological surveys services. The interoperability and harmonization makes it possible to put them next to another forming a coherent European vision.

The second one is based on the same content; reusing the features that make the map. Only a single geological feature found through the Geological Feature Index is displayed below in light yellow.

3D | 4D models creation, discovery, visualisation and exchange make possible core domain specific activities such as:

  • Approximation of geological structures on the basis of applying numerical models to field measurements of geophysical and geological parameters

Approximation of geological structure from measurement of a scalar-field of seismic velocities

Approximation of geological structure from magneto telluric measurements


  • Approximation of geological structures on the basis of geophysical field-measurements and borehole measurements, and geological exploration (Rock Formations, Faults, Geological Horizons)

Tertiary-Basis Brandenburg, approximated on the basis of borehole measurements


  • Approximation of structural patterns (virtual structures) on the basis of applying numerical models to field measurements of geophysical and geological parameters (Earthquake Cluster, Displacement Tensor)

Virtual structure (cluster) approximated from earthquake archive (magnitude 4)

They are also an important information source in an interdisciplinary utilisation as in

  • Risk Management for modelling areas susceptible to earthquake induced landslides or monitoring and correlation with current events
  • The management of (scientific) drilling projects. It allows determining borehole locations on the basis of geological/geophysical models or defining correlation of borehole geometry with geophysical measurements (see figure below)

Borehole Geometry Log from the Continental Deep Drilling Project, Germany


  • Collaborative modelling of geological structures where different examples can be provided
    • Verification of seismic measurements with geological models and borehole measurements
    • Correlation of geophysical field-measurements, geological models and borehole measurements (Seismic Profiles)
    • Fusion and correlation of 3D/4D-Models (see figure below)

Fusion of 3D-Models derived from gravity field, slab, earthquake-cluster and seismic velocities

In order to support those activities, various Use Cases are addressed by EPOS WP15/TCS Geological Information and Modelling.

  • The description of 3D/4D-Models which implies the description of several information element such as
    • Metadata, associated Geological Features, Observations & Measurements (Series of Measurements, Time-Series of  Measurements, Tensor-Fields, Point-Clouds), mathematical functions used…
    • All this put together using a common semantic using Domain Controlled Vocabularies, Ontologies
  • The provision of relevant information (metadata, semantics) about 3D/4D-Models either through registration or harvesting
  • The exploration (discovery) of available information, regarding their applicability to 3D/4D-Models and the associated standardised elements
    • Based on WMS, WFS, WCS (Features)
    • Based on CSW (Metadata)
    • Based on semantic description services (Vocabularies, Statements)
  • The targeted search for information, relevant in the context of 3D/4D-Models
  • The evaluation (preview) 3D/4D-Models for further use via web-based 3D-Visualisation allowing to specify the level of detail and/or model-parameters to be used.

Interactive and web-based visualisation of a 3D-Model (gravity field)

The entire 3D | 4D-models IT activity is coordinated with the relevant OGC domain working group.

Geohazards often reminds the public about the impact solid hearth activity can have on their daily lives.

Geohazards data exchange is approached through three Use Cases

  •  “Existing dataset discovery” will allow to search for existing geohazards (Landslides, Rock falls, Active faults,  maps and inventory datasets in a specific area (e.g. Northern Italy). The scientist willing to know the geohazards affecting a certain area (e.g. Lake Garda area) and, in particular, if geohazard maps or dataset inventories of specific natural hazards are existing, will be able to explore the existing basic geothematic information and/or do a research on a specific geohazard, in order to evaluate potential correlation with other geohazards or geological data.
  • “Simple view of a geohazard information layer” will allow finding, viewing and examining a specific hazard map at different scales in a specific area (e.g. a portion of territory of Italy, France, etc.). It will be feasible to find, view and consult, for example, the ground motion map (e.g. a zone of Rome in the figure below), or the active faults map available in a portion of a territory. The user will be able to explore the specific sought information (geohazard layer) directly in the EPOS portal, by searching on the map view services. 

Ground motion map (InSAR data) in a zone of Rome with ground instability layer (from PanGeo project).

  • “Multiple querying of geohazard information layers” will allow finding, viewing, overlapping and examining two or more specific geohazard maps, at different scales, in a defined area (e.g. cross-border area between Italy and Slovenia). The scientist willing to cross two or more geohazard information layers, in order to find any matches and, in particular, willing to overlap landslide data with InSAR ground motion data in a specific cross-border zone, will be able to it by means of the EPOS Portal. Comparative geohazard analysis through the intersection of more information layers will then be enabled.