The British Geological Survey (BGS) with support from the Environment Agency (EA) and industry representatives have developed an online GIS tool for assessing the conditions for the installation of open-loop ground source heat pumps (GSHPs). The tool operates at a local and regional scale (500m ground resolution – 1:500000) and is intended as a preliminary screening/assessment tool to understand the potential for a chosen GSHP location. The screening tool maps hydrogeological and economic factors relevant for groundwater open-loop GSHP installations in England and Wales. (Note this is applicable to open-loop systems that require the use of groundwater).

The following link takes you to tool on the BGS website:

What is involved?

The data used in the tool is based on a range of national datasets, collaborators’ information and sourced under an Open Government Licence from Natural England and Natural Resources Wales.

The tool consists of five key hydrogeological layers, these are:

  • Bedrock geology;
  • Depth to source;
  • Protected areas;
  • Groundwater quality data; and
  • Existing licensed abstractions.


By selecting a location on the map the layers are interrogated and provide the user with a table of information:


Detailed discussion on the construction of the tool and its uses are described in a Technical Note published in the Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology.

User Guides

There are technical and non-technical user guides available from the BGS website and the links below:

Open-loop Screening tool (England and Wales): Technical User Guide

Open-loop Screening tool (England and Wales): Non-Technical User Guide

The GSHP is a useful tool, not only for the purposes of GSHP screening but as a general first pass for most hydrogeological assessments and it will be interesting to see how this develops over time. It is not intended to provide site specific information or a definitive outcome however it does identify where further work is required and more detailed assessment may be required.

H2Ogeo provides a range of hydrogeological screening assessments including GSHPs and welcomes this tool as a starting point for understanding the likelihood of a successful installation and application. More information is available on the H2Ogeo website regarding the services we provide and you can join the Blog here.


  • Mapping suitability for open-loop ground source heat pump systems: a screening tool for England and Wales, UK. Technical Note: 47, 373-380. First published online September 15, 2014, doi: 10.1144/qjegh2014-050. Corinna Abesser, Melinda A. Lewis, Andrew P. Marchant and Andrew G. Hulbert.