Underground property definitions represent one of the most relevant keys for the success of every civil engineering project, like shallow geothermal applications. As a consequence, the database where these data are stored becomes one of the foundations of the Cheap-GSHPs project and likely – may become relevant for every future project where rock and soil parameter definitions are necessary.

Geologists and scientists used to describe rocks and soils according to many different classifications systems. Indeed, many different classification systems and terms are available for the same type of material.
Moreover, a large variety of physical, mineralogical and geochemical parameters affect the way shallow geothermal systems operate. In order to define every parameter, many different international standards are also available; finally, many laboratory instruments and devices allow the definition of each parameter.
As result, the combination of material classification, standards and laboratory instruments makes the database structure quite complicated.
In order to start the database development and the main parameters to be analysed, it became a priority to find the answers to several questions, such as:
• Where are shallow geothermal systems usually located?
• Which information users need from rock and soil databases?
• How a database should be structured in order to properly support the Cheap-GSHPs’ Decision Support System?
Many other questions popped up when scientists of the Cheap-GSHPs project started defining the database structure and the relationship among different parameters and needs.

Figure 1: Sieve analysis to assess the gradation of gravels and sands

The database should be easy to use (and to implement as well), worldwide available, updated to the international standards, providing information about the main thermal and physical parameters and – possibly – linked to the shallow geothermal systems location.

It seems quite a challenge and – indeed – it is! With the aim of finding out how the database will look like, keep reading the Cheap-GSHPs news!