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The beginning of geological investigation in India was in the early part of the nineteenth century. A few amateur geologists associated with the Survey of India and Army initiated geological studies in the country. H.W. Voysey (1818-1823) of the Great Trigonometric Survey made the first Geological Map of Hyderabad region along with a detailed report. A committee for "The Investigation of Coal and Mineral Resources" was set up in 1837. The Secretary of the Committee John McClelland made the appointment of the first professional geologist. D. H. Williams was the first Geological Surveyor appointed by the East India Company in 1846. John McClelland for the first time used the term Geological Survey of India in his report in 1848. He designated himself as officiating Surveyor, Geological Survey till 1st April 1850. The Geological Survey of India (GSI) was set up in 1851 primarily to find coal deposits for the Railways. The arrival of Sir Thomas Oldham, Professor of Geology at Trinity College Dublin and the Chief of Irish Geological Survey at Calcutta on 4th March 1851, marked the beginning of the continuous period of the Geological Survey of India. Over the years, it has not only grown into a repository of geo-science information required in various fields in the country, but has also attained the status of a geo-scientific organisation of international repute. The main functions of GSI relate to creation and updation of national geoscientific information and mineral resource assessment. These objectives are achieved through ground surveys, air-borne and marine surveys, mineral prospecting and investigations, multi-disciplinary geoscientific, geo-technical, geo-environmental and natural hazards studies, glaciology, seismotectonic study, and carrying out fundamental research. Outcome of work of GSI has immense societal value. Functioning and annual programmes of GSI assume significance in the national perspective.

GSI, headquartered at Kolkata, has six Regional offices located at Lucknow, Jaipur, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Shillong and Kolkata and State Unit offices in almost all States of the country. Presently, Geological Survey of India is an attached office to the Ministry of Mines.

Charter of the Geological Survey of India

  • Enable and facilitate the providing of objective, impartial and up-to-date geological expertise and geoscientific information of all kinds, particularly for decision-making for policy, commercial, economic and societal needs.

  • Systematically document the geology and geological processes of the surface and subsurface of India and its offshore areas using the latest and most cost-effective techniques and methodologies, including geophysical and geochemical and geological surveys.

  • Develop and continually enhance GSI's core competence in survey and mapping through continued accretion, management, co-ordination and utilization of spatial databases (including those acquired through remote sensing) and function as a 'Repository' or 'clearing house' for the purpose and use new and emerging computer-based technologies for dissemination of geoscientific information and spatial data, through cooperation and collaboration with other stakeholders in the Geoinformatics sector.

  • Explore (through ground, airborne, satellite, and marine surveys) and scientifically assess mineral, energy and water resources for the country and facilitate their optimal exploration through proactive information dissemination.

  • Maintain a leadership role in the geological field and develop partnerships with Central, State and other institutions, to help create enhanced executional capability and capacity in the field of geology in furtherance of GSI's Vision and the objectives of this Charter.

  • Coordinate geoscientific activities with stakeholders in all sectors related to geoscience in order to help sustainably manage our natural resources, including water.

  • Conduct multidisciplinary as well as fundamental Geoscientific research and studies (including geotechnical investigations, physical, chemical and biological hazard geo-investigations, climate change geostudies, paleogeostudies etc.), and foster partnerships with State and Central research and academic institutions for the purpose.

  • Actively participate in international collaborative projects to improve our understanding of the earth and its ecosystems and its geology, including studies related to tectonics, global warming and climate change, and Polar studies.

  • Generally advance the cause of the geoscience by documentation, propagation, archiving and education, including creation and management of museums, monuments and parks, archives, libraries and other facilities for use of students, researchers and the public. In particular constantly endeavour to popularize Geoscience at school and university levels through production and dissemination high quality audio-visual and printed material, and through the medium of the Internet. Also hold exhibitions and special events to bring geoscientific concepts before the public.