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.