Data4Sustain - a webGIS renewable energy feasibility tool funded by Innovate Darren Beriro

Earlier this year BGS staff in Environmental Modelling and Informatics were working to develop a new project called Data4Sustain. After a number of long days and excellent work by the business lead, Land Quality Management, we learned that Data4Sustain successfully attracted prestigious funding from UK's Innovation agency, Innovate UK[1] (Solving Urban Challenges with Data – Feasibility Studies[2]) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Over the next 12 months, Data4Sutain will produce a prototype web-based geographical information system (webGIS) for landowners, developers, community groups, local authorities, and their advisors to conduct renewable energy feasibility studies.

Innovate UK funds projects that are business led and are designed to commercialise products and services that contribute the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the UK. Taking research and experience in environmental geoscience and applying it to real-work projects is an important function of BGS. Data4Sustain is expected to help the Government achieve renewable energy targets by assisting businesses and organisations select which renewable energy technologies might be suitable for their development site or existing building – a process that usually takes a lot of time and money.

BGS data will help facilitate sustainable benefits to the UK by using its data holdings on ground conditions including soil geochemistry, soil properties, surface geology, solid geology and groundwater characteristics. These data are valuable resources alone, but when combined with above ground data, the skills in Environmental Modelling and Informatics, business and end-user input, you get renewable energy innovation and Data4Sustain.

Consortium members are made up of business partners and applied research organisations: Land Quality Management and Nottingham Energy Partnership and Nottingham Geospatial InstitutePositive Homes and University of Nottingham Estates Office, who have extensive experience in installing and using renewable energy, will trial the system as potential end-users.

A prototype webGIS will be produced to display information about when a technology (e.g. geothermal, hydro, wind, solar) will and will not work for a given site or building. The webGIS will utilise urban datasets and combine these with technology specific 'operating windows' to identify where is most likely to provide an attractive location for new installations.

BGS Geology Map Viewer - Nottingham
WebGIS is an interactive tool that displays geographically relevant information and data in a user friendly web-based environment. Examples of a successful BGS webGIS services include:

·       BGS Geology Map viewer

If you are interested in contacting the project team please email or call LQM on 0115 7484080. To register your interest in Data4Sustain and keep up to date with the latest developments please sign-up to the Data4Sustain mailing list. Alternatively contact me at BGS directly.

[1] Innovate UK is the new name for the Technology Strategy Board – the UK's innovation agency.  Taking a new idea to market is a challenge. Innovate UK funds, supports and connects  innovative businesses through a unique mix of people and programmes to accelerate sustainable economic growth. For further information visit

[2] Feasibility Studies is a single-company or collaborative R&D grant scheme run by Innovate UK  that allows businesses the opportunity to test an innovative idea and its feasibility to be developed and eventually taken to market. Feasibility studies are a way for companies to carry out exploratory studies which could lead to the development of new products, processes, models, experiences or services. The study could involve for instance investigating  the technical feasibility of a new idea.