System for Integrated Geoscience MApping (SIGMA)

What is BGS·SIGMA?

BGS staff using BGS·SIGMAv2015 in the Scottish Highlands

BGS·SIGMA is an integrated toolkit for digital geological mapping, which enables the assembly, capture, interrogation and visualisation of geological information as well as the delivery of digital products and services.

The system is comprised of two customised ESRI ArcMap toolbars: BGS·SIGMAmobile and BGS·SIGMAdesktop. BGS·SIGMAmobile is designed for digital data capture and mapping in the field using ruggedised tablet PCs, and BGS·SIGMAdesktop has tools for data interrogation, data interpretation and the generation of finalised data and products. These end products could be datasets, maps or 3D models.

Benefits of using BGS·SIGMAv2015

The benefits of digital data capture using BGS·SIGMA are extensive. The system enables data to be gathered in a standardised format through the use of a custom-built data model and pre-defined dictionaries. A wide variety of geological information, photographs, sketches and comments are easily collected through the use of tailor-made data-entry forms, and all data are linked to a digital location point on the map.

The system enables project teams to start building their digital geological map in the field by merging data collected by multiple geologists, building line work and polygons, and subsequently identifying areas for further investigation. This digital data can then be easily incorporated into corporate databases and used in 3D visualisation software such as GeoVisionary once back in the office.

For more information on why BGS developed the system please see our FAQs page.

Sigmamobile logo
Sigmadesktop logo

What's New in BGS·SIGMAv2015

BGS is now releasing its latest version of BGS·SIGMA: BGS·IGMAv2015.

Following on from the success of our last release, this fourth release of the BGS·SIGMA system contains the following improvements.

  • All data-entry forms are now in ESRI ArcMap, allowing for a more streamlined interface for data entry as well as an increase in the speed and efficiency of the system.
  • Redesigned data-entry forms result in improved data entry capabilities and ease of use.
  • All BGS·SIGMAmobile tools are now available from a single toolbar in ESRI ArcMap.
  • Improved data model.
  • All main datasets now have feature classes in the geodatabase and all data-collection point locations can be viewed in ESRI ArcMap.
  • Improved field report and precis tool.
  • There are tools for merging individual databases to create project databases.
  • Grouping of structural data.
  • A new re-designed sketch tool.

For more information on the specific functionalities of the system and the hardwareand/ software requirements please see our FAQs page.

Can BGS·SIGMA be used outside the realms of geological mapping?


Whilst the system was initially built to replicate traditional geological survey mapping within the BGS, we have successfully designed and developed data-entry forms for use by our geodiversity, landslides and buildings stones teams, enabling them to carry out vital work within their areas of expertise. Outside of the BGS, we have developed specialised custom forms for use by mining companies and other organisations (e.g. BGS has designed customised forms for the built-heritage sector that enable digital-condition surveys of traditional or historic buildings).

The core components of the BGS·SIGMA system (observation points, photographs, sketches, samples and comments) apply to most areas of digital data capture, and integrating custom requirements into the system can be carried out within the BGS by our team of specialist developers.

For more information on who is using the system please see our FAQs page.

How can BGS help you?

BGS·SIGMAv2015 is a free download and is available to anyone who wishes to use it. However, if you require help in implementing the system within your organisation we can assist in the following ways:

  • Training: standard or customised training courses to suite your organisation.
  • Customised data-entry requirements: BGS developers can design, develop and integrate new data entry modules specific to your organisation's needs.
  • Our digital data solutions experts can assist in integrating BGS·SIGMA into your existing digital workflow or help in designing a new workflow.
  • Advice on modifying the system to utilise dictionaries and symbology specific to your organisation or country.
  • Migration of data collected in previous versions of BGS·SIGMA (versions 2012 and earlier)

We are also happy to provide advice on the use of the system and to receive any feedback you may have on your experience using BGS·SIGMAv2015. For more information on the current BGS·SIGMA workflow please see our FAQs page.

Further information