BGS Permeability

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Dataset Description:

The BGS Permeability dataset is a 1:50,000 scale vector polygonised dataset containing permeability indices which define whether and how water can flow through rocks.  Permeability data is often used in studies of groundwater, for example investigations of pollution or aquifer contamination.

The data is based on the BGS Geology 50k dataset (DiGMapGB-50), and indicates the likely range of permeability to be encountered for each BGS Geology unit, based on geological considerations.  The Permeability Index codes have been allocated to every mapped lithology for each rock unit in DiGMapGB-50, and undertaken for all four types of deposit (BGS themes) contained within this data.  As such, the BGS Permeability product is supplied as four separate layers corresponding to these BGS themes:

  • Artificial Ground permeability
  • Mass Movement permeability
  • Superficial Deposits permeability
  • Bedrock permeability

The permeability indices are defined as:

  • How the water predominantly flows through the rock (intergranular flow, fracture flow, or mix of both)
  • A maximum permeability index (very high, high, moderate, low, very low)
  • A minimum permeability index (very high, high, moderate, low, very low)


Dataset Thumbnail:


Dataset Specification:

Product Name

BGS Permeability

Data Provider

British Geological Survey (BGS)




Great Britain (complete)

Data Structure

Vector (polygons)


Esri Shapefile, Esri File GeoDatabase, MapInfo TAB, MID/MIF, Autodesk DWG, OGC KML, OGC GML, CSV (attribute data only)


Rock permeability to water


BGS Licence

Update Frequency


Dataset Resources:

Product site
User Guide (pdf)