The French Geological Reference Platform

Now that the geological map of France is complete, the French Geological Reference Platform has been launched as a digital resource for homogeneous and coherent geological information in 3D. A new scientific challenge for the BRGM.

The French Geological Reference Platform (RGF), designed by the BRGM, is a new national programme for the acquisition and management of geological data that involves the entire French geosciences community (university laboratories, companies, etc.).

The RGF scientific committee has 42 members, of whom 34 are academics representing the main universities where the Earth Sciences have a significant role. The RGF programme is the BRGM’s number one priority for the coming decades.

3D view to the north-west across the Alsace plain and the Vosges Range

3D view to the north-west across the Alsace plain and the Vosges Range. © BRGM - D. Rambourg

A geological information system in 3D

Following on from the 1/50 000 geological map of France, completed in 2011, the RGF takes two-dimensional scientific information to a new level of knowledge of France’s geology, on multiple scales and in three dimensions, moving on to the fourth dimension to show its evolution over time. 

The RGF will incorporate and harmonise a vast amount of data on the subsurface in France, complementing the 1/50 000 geological map data and the subsoils databank (BSS). New geological and geophysical surveys are also planned to complete existing data.

The RGF data will be incorporated into a collaborative information system designed to exchange, circulate and access geoscientific knowledge.

An innovative research and decision-support tool to address major issues for society and the economy

The RGF is designed as a knowledge platform to support needs for information, decision-making and education. It is intended for use by professionals in planning, economic sectors, environmental management and education, as well as by civil society organisations and the general public.

The new knowledge on subsoils acquired through the RGF will support innovative responses to a wide range of issues facing our society: surface and subsurface planning, managing water and mineral resources, energy prospecting and storage, waste storage, risk prevention, protecting people and the environment, etc.

A scientific challenge and an investment for the future

The French Geological Reference Platform is a major scientific and technical challenge that addresses the goals of the European “Inspire” Directive for the implementation of a Europe-wide infrastructure for geographic, environmental and geological information.

The issue is to characterise, understand and describe France’s subsoil over time, and to meet our needs for knowledge, uses and management of the subsoil. This is an important and ambitious scientific undertaking that demands input from the entire French geoscience community.

The aim is to establish an overall geological information system to build on and circulate knowledge among all interested users. It will further improve the efficiency of geological studies for the benefit of the State, local areas and businesses.

A regional geological model incorporating the data processed through the demonstrator and produced with Geomodeller 3D

A regional geological model incorporating the data processed through the demonstrator and produced with Geomodeller 3D by C. Allanic and G. Courrioux (BRGM), in collaboration with K. Schulmann and E. Skrzypek (University of Strasbourg), S. Gabalda (BRGM), Interreg IV Upper Rhine Programme - GeORG project for the Rhine Graben. © BRGM

An initial demonstrator followed by regional work programmes

The RGF is a multi-annual programme that will be deployed in stages across France through regional work programmes.

An initial demonstrator covering the Vosges-Rhine Graben zone is now in operation. Presented in June 2013, the demonstrator was used to finalise a coherent methodology for applying the RGF across the whole of France.

The next stage will be to deploy the first regional RGF work programme, in the Pyrenees, which will take place over 5 years.


Visit the RGF website