Reliable subsurface data are crucial to making well-founded decisions about the use and management of our land. All the knowledge and information we have – from century-old drilling data to recent geophysical research – are stored in the digital archive DINO (Data and Information of the Dutch Subsurface) of the Geological Survey of the Netherlands (GDN). DINO is moving towards the Key Register of the Subsurface (BRO).

DINO contains information that had previously been stored in a series of independent archives, some of which were more than 100 years old.
These old analogue archives are already history. Since the 1980s and 1990s they have become digitised and standardised within DINO, the basic archive of the GDN. The main data come from drillings, groundwater levels and data that are contained within the Mining Act. All this information is accessible for third parties and can be used for specialist or applied research.
DINO contains not only information from its own archives; the database is increasingly supplemented with information that comes directly from third parties (such as water boards and oil companies). The only archive that the Geological Survey of the Netherlands cannot digitise is the large collection of drilling samples in the Central Core sample Storage, which is kept in its 'analogue' form.

The shallow subsurface

Most of the knowledge of the composition of the shallow subsurface (up to ± 500 m deep) derives from drillings and cone penetration tests on-shore and off-shore (Dutch North Sea zone). The most important component of a drilling is the description of the sediments bored. If there are data from specialist measuring equipment in the borehole or if samples have been subjected to laboratory studies, then this information is also contained in DINO. Cone penetration tests provide details on the physical characteristics (including strength and compression) of the subsurface. The database for the shallow subsurface also contains geophysical recordings like geo-electrical measurements, seismic and side-scan sonar.

The deep subsurface

Data on the deep subsurface (deeper than 500 m) tend to derive from petroleum, natural gas, mineral salt or terrestrial heat exploration companies that are obliged by the Mining Act to make their data available to the GDN. The information remains confidential for a period of five years. DINO also manages the production data of mineral production at great depths, the calculations of the oil and gas reserves along with the relevant permits.


Tirza van Daalen MSc