Geophysics Test Sites


The NSGG maintains two shallow geophysics test sites at Leicester University. Their purpose is to provide a facility for training, demonstrations, calibration and research for many aspects of shallow geophysical surveys and methods. If you wish to book a test site, please read the details at the bottom of this page.

Test Site 1 – Southmeads Road

Site 1 is a 40 x 70 m area located at the top of a gentle hill. There are many metallic and non-metallic targets of various sizes buried up to 2 m deep, making it an ideal test site for environmental and engineering geophysical applications.

Detailed information on the site, including images of the targets and surface geology can be downloaded here .

Plan of Test Site #1

Sample datasets (in CSV format) acquired at Site 1 can be found here:

Test Site 2 – Stoughton Road

Site 2 comprises 5 survey areas, each developed specifically for calibrating, testing and demonstrating geophysical surveying techniques in the field. For example, area 1 contains a large pit that was excavated and backfilled with aggregate and spherical conductive targets ideal for radar calibration. Images and further details can be downloaded here.

Undertaking UAV/Drone surveys are possible at test site 2 but anyone wanting to undertake an aerial survey must contact Leicester airport ( Test site 2 resides in the direct flight path of the airport which is c. 1.6 km away from the site.

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Plan of Test Site #2

Area 5 was recently added in 2013: a 20 m2 area seeded with 16 targets, including mock unexploded ordinance (UXO) and other commonly encountered geophysical targets.

The location of all buried features have been recorded at point of installation and recorded within a GIS database which can be made available at request.

A suite of extensive geophysical data has already been acquired over area 5, encompassing four geophysical techniques and eight different equipment manufacturers. These data are summarised below:

Area 5:

Geophysical techniques used:

  • Frequency Domain Electromagnetic conductivity (GF instruments CMD Explorer)
  • Differential Time Domain Electromagnetics (Geonics EM61MK2)
  • Transverse Gradiometer magnetics (Geometrics G-858) 
  • Vertical Gradiometer magnetics (Geometrics G-858 & Barrington Grad601-2 & Foerster Ferex & Sensys Magneto MXPDA5)
  • Ground penetrating Radar (Utsi Groundvue3 & Mala Geoscience X3M)

Data archive:

A selection of data acquired over Area 5 is hosted on Google Drive and is available for download below. Each dataset is in a ZIP file and comes with the metadata describing the data (except the Syscal Pro data).

Note: The GPR data is large and may take a long time to download if you are on a slow connection.

Iris Syscal Pro Resistivity Data (no metadata) (8kB)
Geonics EM61MK2 Data (173 kB)
GF Instruments Frequency Domain EM Data (252 kB)
Foerster Ferex Magnetic Gradiometer Data (314kB)
Geometrics G858 Magnetic Gradiometer Data (835 kB)
Sensys Magneto MXPDA5 Magnetic Gradiometer Data (592 kB)
Bartington Grad601-2 Magnetic Gradiometer Data (155 kB)
Mala X3M GPR Data (30MB)
Utsi Groundvue 3 GPR Data (May 2013)(455 MB)
Utsi Groundvue 3 GPR Data (July 2013) (138 MB)

We hope that this resource will be continue to grow and be used as part of future research projects. For further information on the resource please visit Geomatrix Earth Science Ltd.

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Site Booking:

To book the site, send payment with a completed booking form to Dr Victoria Lane (

The requirements for booking are as follows:

  1. Users must have permission.
  2. Users must have third party insurance for their operations, and will be required to state the maximum cover held on their booking form for a visit.
  3. Leicester University takes no responsibility for any loss or damage to equipment, nor injury to personnel using the site.
  4. Leicester University reserves the right to cancel grant of access to the site at its own discretion. In such a case it will attempt to give the user adequate notice.
  5. No operations which disturb the ground or make permanent marks in the grassed surface of the test site are normally permitted.
  6. Payment of £100 to NSGG will be invoiced on receipt of a completed booking form. 

The charges will be used to maintain and develop the site. Suggestions for improvements to the site are always welcome. For further test site technical details or booking information contact: Dr Victoria Lane , SEIS-UK, School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, Leicester University Leicester. LE1 7RH. Tel: +44 (0)116 252 3781 Email: