Everyone knows, don't they (?) that boreholes are a vital source of subsurface information, essential for civil engineering, the bulk minerals industry, water resources, hydrocarbon exploration, resource planning and geological consultancy. The British Geological Survey (BGS) certainly knows. It has been collating borehole information for over 160 years and now, in cooperation with GeoInformation International, has published details on a CD-ROM called the British borehole Catalogue (BbC). The main record of down-hole testing or examination of the core (known as the 'log') is a document of long-term value and forms one of the principal components of the geological archive held by the British Geological Survey. The reference collections in this archive, which also contain technical reports, maps, mine and quarry plans and seismic traces are derived from both internal and external resources and, provided they are now held under confidential cover, are available for public inspection. The essential feature of these collections is the availability of efficient indexes to the data they contain, now increasingly held in digital form for rapid computer retrieval. As most geological information is spatially related, and located on the ground by reference to the National Grid coordinates, the CD-ROM system now makes locations uniquely accessible by the use of reference maps based on Ordnance Survey strategic datasets.
The BbC is a collection of some half a million borehole logs held by the British Geological Survey on a single CD-ROM. Areas of special interest can be located by either name or map area and details of borehole position, reference, drilled length and status are provided. Specific logs can then be inspected at the British Geological Survey's record centers for more detailed geological or geotechnical information. The British borehole Catalogue (BbC) on CD is available to single users at £99.00 or under corporate license at £199.00. Discounts are available for academic use. Paul Duller brought to our attention to a scathing review of the CD-ROM in Computer Weekly entitled "The most boring CD in the World" by Ron McQuaker. Quote "I think I've discovered the dullest CD-ROM ever published, a platter so mind-bogglingly tedious it makes BT's phonedisc look like Encarta." We beg to differ!
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