Geology | Emodnet

Text Geology

Primary geological survey information requires significant expert interpretation to generate maps. Geological data are often used in combination with bathymetry to build up a comprehensive picture of the seabed. These data are a vital component of seafloor habitat maps and are essential tools in marine spatial planning, coastline protection, offshore installation design, environmental conservation, risk management and resource mapping.

Objectives of EMODnet Geology

The geology portal aims to provide free access to (i) geological data and metadata held by various organisations in Europe based on international standards and (ii) geological data products compiled at a scale of 1:250,000 using the standards developed during the ur-EMODnet-Geology Project (EMODnet phase I from 2009 to 2013).

Key services provided by EMODnet Geology

EMODnet Geology portal provides a range of services and functionalities to users for viewing and downloading geology data and products. Currently the following key services are provided for users:

  1. Data Discovery and Access Service: provides functionality to access data, produced by the EMODnet Geology project and made available via WMS (Web Map Service) with an associated metadata record.
  2. Composite Products Discovery and Access Service: provides functionality to search the catalogue for maps and other geographic data according to the specific search criteria.
  3. Viewing and Download Service: provides functionality to search and download records according to the specific search criteria. Each result links to a full metadata record.


Geological information is being compiled from a variety of sources, but principally from the national geological survey organisations of Europe. Harmonisation of national information is based on the principles established during the ur-EMODnet-Geology Project (2009-2013). In addition to sea-bed sediment information, EMODnet Geology is also compiling information on the Quaternary geology of the sea floor (sediments deposited during the last 2 million years approximately).


The EMODnet Geology portal provides access to project information and services and is powered by GeoNetwork open-source software. Data is made available via WMS (Web Map Service) with an associated metadata record. Links to the WMS can be used to incorporate information into a desktop GIS or other mapping application. The catalogue of available information can be searched either by listing information layers or by displaying the information on a map.

Data sources

Geological data from Europe’s seas is collected by national organisations using a range of tools and techniques. The main providers of data for EMODnet Geology are the national geological surveys, but other entities hold and contribute data.


The project also develops links with other initiatives and organisations collecting and holding relevant data and information. By making use of third-party sources of information, the project ensures that there is no duplication of effort and that the users of the EMODnet-Geology portal can be confident of sourcing the best information available.


EMODnet Geology product development

EMODnet Geology data and map products contain information on the sea-bed substrate, including rate of accumulation of recent sediments, the sea-floor geology (bedrock and Quaternary geology), geological events and probabilities and minerals. Information on coastal type and behaviour will be supplemented by information on coastal erosion or sedimentation and the rate at which it occurs.


All interpretative products will be based on primary information owned by the project partners, which will be supplemented with other information in the public domain. Where the most up-to-date geological information is held on third-party websites, arrangements will be made for web-map services to provide these data to the EMODnet-Geology portal.


Improvements in the current development Phase II (2013-2016)

EMODnet is currently in its second development phase (2013 - 2016) with the target to be fully deployed by 2020. Improvements in EMODnet Geology in the current development phase include:

  • Extended coverage with improved resolution where possible
  • Improved flexibilty in presentation (classification) of substratum data
  • Assembling of data along the coastline
  • Making arrangements for web-mapping services with holders of data on mineral resources

Geology Pic

Geology DataBox

Leading Partner

Total no. of partners


Data available

  Seabed substrate
  Sediment accumulation rate
  Sea-floor geology 
  Seabed lithology
  Coastline migration
  Aggregate resources
  Geological events

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