IGME 5000 : More than just a map -
A multinational GIS Project
Interactive Web Map
||The IGME 5000 was printed in November
Asch, K. (2005): The 1 : 5 Million International Geological Map of Europe and
Adjacent Areas. BGR (Hannover), 1 map
Here you can order the IGME 5000
||Maps, projection, guidelines, input template, status,
legend, terms, CMYK values, data model
Methods and Background to the IGME 5000
A detailed description of the project and its background, history, geology
and the developed GIS and database methods you will find in Geologisches
Jahrbuch No. SA 3:
Information on the contents of this site
The IGME 5000 project will increasingly be using this
web site as a way of disseminating news and information about the project.
Please visit it regulary and bookmark it!
- Introduction and Setting
- Cooperation with International Participants
and Scientific Advisors
- Setting Standards for the Analogue and Digital
3.1 Standards for the Printed Map
3.1.1 Preliminary Legend
3.1.2 Technical Guidance
3.1.3 Common Topographic Base Map
3.2 Standards for the GIS
3.2.1 Term dictionaries
3.2.2 Data Input Mask
- Data Harmonisation and Synthesis
4.1 Draft Maps
4.2 Database and GIS
- Copyright and Future Data Dissemination
Feedback and Questions
A major European GIS project: the 1:5 Million International Geological
Map of Europe and Adjacent Areas (IGME 5000) is being managed and implemented
by the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) under
the aegis of the CGMW (Commission of the Geological Map of the World).
The project involves over 40 European and adjacent countries and the final
area covered will reach from the Caspian Sea in the east, to the Mid-Ocean
Ridge in the west, and from Svalbard to the southern shore of the Mediterranean
Sea (figure 1). The aims of the project are to develop a GIS underpinned
by a geological database, and also a printed map providing up-to-date
and consistent geological information.
Figure 1. Area covered by the 1
: 5 Million International Geological Map of Europe and Adjacent Areas
The GIS will hold significantly more information than the previous printed
maps could ever provide. It will also offer versatility, e.g. to retrieve
and present for the whole of Europe, information on age, petrography and
structural and metamorphic features. More importantly the IGME 5000 GIS
will provide the essential foundation for pan-European applied geo-environmental
While the main theme of the GIS is the pre-Quaternary geology of both
the land and offshore areas of Europe, it is planned to include additional
themes, such as Quaternary geology — a key factor influencing
the natural landscape. In the course of the project also a CD-ROM will
be produced with a subset of the GIS and the related database.
The project is dependent on the numerous contributions of the many countries.
An extensive multinational project like the IGME 5000 requires meticulous
preparation and establishment of standards and protocols in order to provide
the essential structure and guidelines for the data compilation e.g. common
term dictionaries for the database. In addition a standard topographic
base map was an essential prerequisite. So in many areas the IGME 5000
is establishing basic standards where none exist.
2. Cooperation with International Participants
and Scientific Advisors
Because the project involves the European and several adjacent countries,
co-operation with the respective national geological surveys proofed to
be essential. They need to contribute draft maps of the pre-Quaternary
geology of their land and sea areas and therefore require common technical
guidance and provision with standards about the requirements of the procedure.
After now three years over 40 Geological Surveys of Europe, Northafrica
and Middle East are involved in the IGME 5000 (List
of participating surveys and contacts, pdf-format).
In addition a group of scientific advisors has
formed and on request supports the project with scientific backing e.g.
for the geology of the Mediterranean, the Alps, the Caledonides and the
Baltic region, but also on paleogeological reconstructions, etc. The group
mainly consists of academics and members of international not-contributing
3. Setting Standards for the Analogue and Digital
Rather obviously the geological content is more than essential for a
geological map. For that appropriate standards and workflows were developed
to ensure that those institutions contributing to the IGME 5000 were working
on the same geological, cartographical and geographical (topographical)
basis and therefore supplied consistent input data.
For the geological draft map to be created by each participant for the
area of their country, a preliminary legend (containing a preliminary
classification of the geological units) as a part of Guidelines
for the Preparation of Draft Maps (.pdf format, 2670 KB) was developed
The preliminary legend defines the contents of the draft maps (and at
the same time places necessary constraints of the contributing geologists).
A number of partly hierarchically organised tables on age, petrography
and metamorphism of the rock units are included in this legend (Asch,
1997a & b) which provided the basis for the more extensive term dictionaries
for the database (see 3.2.1).
More basic, but nonetheless critical, was the distribution of simple
technical guidance notes for the preparation of the draft maps. Guidelines
for the preparation of draft maps (Asch, 1997a) were developed which introduced
a model of the draft map preparation, the required form of the finally
submitted draft and the needed level of generalisation.
Of fundamental importance is a common topographic base map. This controls
the spatial referencing of the data but also needs to be suitable for
printing (described in: Asch 1997b). The map
is digitally available for free for all IGME participants and
participants of co-operating projects, e.g. Geological Electronic Information
eXchange System (GEIXS),
the 1 : 5 Million Map of the Soil Regions of Europe (European Soil Bureau).
On the IGME 5000 Members Only Special
Site the data are provided in the common file formats (.gen and .e00)
of the IGME GIS platform which is ArcInfo (ESRI Inc.).
All IGME 5000 contributors were asked to use this topographic base map
and to submit their contributions on it, marking their geological units
by individually created, unique identification numbers, the IN, which
would be related to the general legend.
The submission of the draft maps was preferred in analogue form to avoid
software incompatibilities and to avoid the need for digitising at the
An essential part of any GIS is the database and the definition of its
content and structure. This did not exist for the "region" of Europe at
the required resolution. The term dictionaries were compiled on the basis
of existing international standards as far as possible (e.g. for the classification
of igneous rocks from Streckeisen, 1973, and Streckeisen, 1980; the chronostratigraphic
classification of sedimentary rocks from the IUGS, 1998. However invaluable
at this stage was the contribution of the academic advisors of the IGME
5000 (see Asch 1997b, p. 152).
2. Data input mask (template) for the database (86 KB)
To facilitate the data acquisition for the database and to involve the
participating institutions in the generation of the database, a
data input screen (or template) based on an MS Access runtime version
was distributed to the IGME 5000 participants.
Based on the term dictionaries and a comparatively simple data model,
the screen described in the Guide
for Use of the Data Input Mask (Asch & Troppenhagen, 1998)
provides information and limits on how the geological units may be described.
While simple, the data model had to be developed with the opportunity
for later modification towards a more sophisticated model in mind and
moreover it must facilitate the necessary synthesis of the individual
"country databases" considerably.
The descriptions provided are being collected in a database table, the
"country databases" at the participating geological institutions. When
the data acquisition is complete, the mask system also includes functions
to compress and copy the thus created individual database for mailing
or e-mailing back to BGR (and to create a back-up for local use).
4. Data Harmonisation and Synthesis
After the national draft maps were sent back to the BGR, the geological
units and even the individual legends (because of the enormous variety
of geological units) are being cartographically and geologically harmonised
and generalised (figure 3).
a. terms (e.g. for age or lithology)
b. grade of detail
c. "sheet boundary faults"
d. drawing style
Figure 3. Harmonisation of the
various draft maps of the countries.
To create the database the following process (Figure 4) is employed:
on integrating the country-related data tables, the definive identification
numbers (IN, see above) are harmonised by applying an algorithm so that
finally only one combination of attributes relates to one identification
number. This newly generated IN replaces the original IN national numerical
coding of the geological units.
Figure 4. Scheme for the unification
of the IN
The editoral staff manually allocates the new IN to the units on the
draft maps in the course of the geological harmonisation and the geological
and cartographical generalisation.
After collation the linework of the European geological map will be digitised
and transferred to and further processed in ArcInfo, the GIS platform
the IGME is currently being developed on. The primary key to the descriptions
in the database will be provided by the IN after they have been added
as attributes to the geological polygons. The entire procedure finally
generates a database that comprises the attributes of all geological units
and their IN as a link to a complete and harmonious European geological
map with an unmistakable IN for all areas.
At a later state the thus created GIS must enable the production of a
printed map, an attractive CD-ROM, an internet version and extract maps
to be produced on demand. In addition to the cartographic design, database
retrieval functions, but also the visualisation tools for the CD ROM and
internet versions need to be created. The potential requirements of the
future users are central to the definitions of these products.
5. Copyright and Future Data Dissemination
A yet to be resolved issue is that of data distribution and copyright.
The question is, how to disseminate the digital data while retaining copyright.
BGR wants to retain copyright because it wishes to avoid indiscriminate
commercial exploitation. The issue of intellectual property rights is
not simple and is also at discussion on European level. However, for the
IGME 5000, the first step for a future copyright protection has been to
draft an agreement for the Provision and Use of Spatial Data based on
a similar form from the Australian Geological Survey Organisation (AGSO,
1993). At the moment the agreement is restricted to regulating the provision
of the digital topographic data created for the IGME 5000, though it could
in the future be an example for the distribution of the geological data.
AGSO (1993): Rights and Responsibilities of Spatial Data Custodians
and Lead Agencies
Asch, K. (1997a): Guidelines for the Preparation of Draft Maps; Federal
Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Hannover
Asch, K. (1997b): The Development of a New Small Scale Geological Map
of Europe as a GIS; Proceedings ScanGIS '97; pp. 149-155
Asch, K. & Troppenhagen, H.-G. (1998): Guide for Use of the Data
Input Mask; Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Hannover
IUGS (1998): International Stratigraphic Chart, Strasbourg
Streckeisen, A.L. (1973): Classification and Nomenclature recommended
by the IUGS Subcommission on the Systematics of Igneous Rocks. Geotimes,
10/73, pp. 26 - 31
Streckeisen, A.L. (1980): Classification and Nomenclature of Volcanic
Rocks, Lamprophyres, Carbonites and Melilitic Rocks. IUGS Subcommission
on the Systematics of Igneous Rocks. Band 69, Vol. 1; pp. 194 - 207.
If you require more infomation about the project or have questions about
the IGME 5000, please contact
© Federal Institute
for Geosciences and Natural Resources