Welcome to the ThermoMap Project

The ThermoMap project (Area mapping of superficial geothermic resources by soil and groundwater data) is an EC co-funded project (FP7-ICT Policy Support Programme) and focuses on the mapping of very shallow geothermal energy potentials (vSGP) in Europe. Geothermal energy, including horizontal shallow geothermal systems as defined in the directive on renewable energy sources (2009), is the energy in form of heat beneath the surface of the Earth.

The ThermoMap project will harmonise and analyse already existing data collections (geological, hydrogeological, soil, climate and relief geodata) with standardised methods to calculate a value for the geothermal potential on three different low depth levels in order to help finding favorable areas for superficial geothermal exploitation in a very short time and without high costs.The resulting geothermal potential values will be integrated in an Open Source WebGIS as well as all necessary geodata.

The 12 participating project partners of 9 EU member states defined one or two test sites in each country. For these 14 Test Areas the geodata and calculated geothermal potential values will be shown on cadastral parcel level, while for the entire EU area there will be created a shallow geothermal potential Outline Map in scale 1 : 250,000.
Check out the Publications and Presentations section, to see how the ThermoMap team are working to spread news on this innovative project!

Check your very shallow geothermal potential!



Variations of temperature and heat flow in depths up to 10m are predominantly controlled by internal soil conditions like grain size, soil matter and mixture of soil substances, absorptive capacity and external variables like sun radiation and infiltration of rainfall, etc. These low depths can be exploited in terms of geothermal usage with cost efficient, inexpensive methods with an amortisation of the invested budget in a relatively short time period.

In principle, many research & development activities in the field of geothermal energy have been planned and implemented on a national or international level. These activities will be enhanced with regard to the current discussions about renewable energy and the protection of existing resources. Superficial geothermal energy (very shallow, less than 10m depth) will become more widely known, and utilised over the coming years. Regarding shallow geothermal, investigation has up to now focussed more on vertical systems, for example drilling techniques. However, regarding horizontal systems and technologies applicable for the upper 10 meters below surface, only very rare information is available within the superficial geothermal energy sector. Therefore, there is a need and impetus to gather more information, a gap which the ThermoMap project aims to fill.

‘ThermoMap’ will combine and analyse already existing datacollections (pedological, climatological, topographical, geological, administrative and groundwater data sets) to calculate a value for the geothermal potential in low depths on a large to medium scale.

The analysis of the geodata will be performed in a GIS-environment with standardised methods, valid for all participating EU countries. These methods will be intensely tested, verified and finally documented in a manual for geodata processing and analysis as future standards. The resulting geothermal potential as a georeferenced information value will be integrated into a WebGIS with a server side and a geo-visualisation and information front-end. The processing methods developed for the geoscientific data sets in different test areas across the partner countries and the analysis standards developed within the ThermoMap project may provide a significant value for energy saving.

‘ThermoMap’ will provide different user-groups with an interactive information tool running in a web browser. Private users may check the potential of their residential district, community planning and administration authorities may test the geothermal potential of their entire administrative unit. Researchers, participating in ThermoMap, will have access to the entire geo-data pool. ‘ThermoMap’ will be established for several participating EU member countries in a first step. Therefore each project partner will define a test area in its country. As a second step an Outline Map will be applied to illustrate the area-wide superficial geothermal potential on a scale level of 1:250 000.



The ThermoMap project focuses on fostering the information environment on shallow geothermal potential across Europe. Much geographical data exists in European Member States that is not accessible for the public. ‘ThermoMap’ will develop a solution to combine the existing data sets for an area visualisation of geothermic resources, chiefly by soil and groundwater data. The first step is to harmonise the geoscientific basic information to a European standard. The so harmonised information will be made visible in digitalised representation on a special designed, user friendly open-source GI-System. ‘ThermoMap’ is intent to visualise geothermal resources in superficial zones of the Earth’s crust to 10m depth by maps of medium up to larger scales.

Within this project the superficial geothermal resources are defined as the resources in the part of the Earth’s crust down to about 10 meters. This definition is based on the following reasons:

- According to bibliographical references the climatological and meteorological influence of the solar heating of the soil or the influence of the temperature of seepage flow reaches a depth of about 20m.

- The zone down to 10m under surface can be easily exploited by open cuts or shallow boreholes. Therefore this part of superficial geothermic usage is a relatively inexpensive variant.

- In several countries (e.g. in Germany) boreholes deeper than 100m need special, often complicated licensing procedures. Concerning the zone down to 10m depth soil properties (grain size, porosity, permeability, ground water level, water retention etc.) important for heat storage and conduction are available nearly continuous and with area coverage. This is not the case in greater depth. Here only punctual information is obtainable.

Visualisation of the parameters as maps:

  • slope
  • annual temperature
  • annual precipitation
  • water table
  • thickness of the softrock zone
  • soil type (WRB classification)
  • grain size at three depth levels (USDA classification)
  • heat conductivity at three depth levels (Kersten formula)
    This is the key value of ThermoMap and the base for the interactive Web-based information front-end for public ThermoMap users.

Additional information within an infobox:

  • heat conductivity range at three depth levels
  • air capacity at three depth levels
  • field capacity at three depth levels
  • dead water content at three depth levels
  • maximum pore volume at three depth levels
  • bulk density at three depth levels
  • heat capacity at three depth levels
  • humid/arid condition (Schreiber formula)
  • saturated/unsaturated condition at three depth levels
  • hierarchy of grain size classification at three depth levels
  • monthly temperature
  • monthly precipitation

The most important parameters for superficial geothermal resources are

● topographical and climatological parameters

- monthly and annual mean temperatures of the air close to the soil surface (as a rule 2m above soil surface);

- monthly and annual mean precipitation;

- relief conditioned slope as controlling factors of surface drainage and microclimate;

● soil properties

- heat conductivity within the saturated and unsaturated zone of the soil;

- thermal capacity within the saturated and unsaturated part of the soils;

à specified by soil type, grain size distribution, organic content, mineral content, water content, bulk density, porosity, etc.

● hydrogeological parameters

- depth of water table under surface;

- vertical sequence of layers (lithology).

The use of existing geoscientific information and their connection with a GI-System helps finding favourable areas for superficial geothermal exploitation in a very short time and without high costs. This information improves the possibilities for fast planning of a sustainable, ecologically aware energy supply by local authorities and energy suppliers. Besides for engineering firms the planning of geothermal facilities is made easier and less expensive.

Specific objectives:

Exploitation of digital content by citizens, governments and businesses (overall target of the programme).

Provide a target group specific ICT system.

Increase the use of spatial data by public and private sector organisations and citizens especially in the field of superficial geothermal resources.

Harmonisation of geographical information for superficial geothermal resources across Europe.

Involvement of European stakeholders.

Widespread dissemination.

Fields of work


Management and coordination of the project– Leader of work: FAU

Dissemination – Leader of work: EGEC
communicating and disseminating broadly the work, results and inputs of the ThermoMap project directly to the target group in nine dissemination events and one final conference as well as presenting the project on at least 20 conferences;
ensuring the visibility of the project activities and results with six newsletters and Europe-wide press releases;
provide up-to-date information to the target group via the project’s website on the Internet;
increasing awareness about superficial geothermal energy exploitation and create professional vocation.

Data collection and data harmonisation – Leader of work: FAU
develop a common standard for geodata harmonisation;
collect data from nine countries for a common GI-system;
harmonising data on a common standards;
define common standards for the processing of the harmonised data.

Processing, Analysis & Visualisation – Leader of work: PLUS
converting the analogue maps of the geodata to digital images;
setting up a combined geo-database with European data on common standard;
guiding all partners individually within the geodata analysis in a training course and help desk;
establishing the WebGIS service as basis for the established GIS solution

Testing – Leader of work: ISOR
testing of the functionalities and the quality of data by testing the system in nine countries;
quality check by comparing the results in the nine test areas with a number of already existing superficial geothermal projects;
ensuring user-friendliness of the developed system by including feedback from end-users to the developed solution from tests in user seminars.

Expected Results


The ICT-PSP Programme defines a clear impact of objective 6.2 ‘Geographic Information’. The implementation of network services that allow users to identify, access, use and reuse in an interoperable and seamless way and for a variety of uses, aggregated geographical information covering a significant part of Europe and coming from a wide range of sources, from the local level to the European level. ‘ThermoMap’ contributes to this planned impact from the ICT PSP Programme as it creates new delivery channels for digitalised geographical content on superficial geothermal energy resources. This opens up a fantastic opportunity to make the geographical information accessible online to the public.

ThermoMap aims at providing a European area mapping system on GIS basis.

Therefore it is necessary to work together to jointly benefit from the performed work across Europe. The European system will promote win-win situations for content providers, creators, transmission and access companies and the end users. The development of this system provides an overview of the challenges that must be addressed if the development of new spatial data services in the EU is to maximise its potential. The consumer acceptance of the new service will be higher than for just a national system as broader access to data across Europe is provided that raises the benefit of business and the know-how of the citizens on the superficial geothermal sector. A European solution speeds the development of a thriving area mapping market in Europe. A single national market for each country would not be sufficient.

ThermoMap will set up a European area mapping system that follows the following objectives:

- Ensuring that content achieves its full potential in contributing to European competitiveness following the INSPIRE Directive

- Promoting the availability of the great potential of superficial geothermal energy resources across Europe in creating the relevant digital content

- Access to EU-wide content

- Ensure interoperability of data sets across Europe

In this way the ThermoMap project shows how to contribute through a concrete project to economic growth and the raise of know-how on superficial geothermal potential on European level. The development of the multilingual access point to superficial geothermal resources requires collaboration between different types of experts from all European countries. ‘ThermoMap’ identified a bundle of barriers that could hinder the project implementation. These obstacles complicate the different tasks of the project. A clear strategy to overcome the main barriers in an efficient way will be developed during the project timeline.

ThermoMap Partners




The ThermoMap project has produced a web GIS and a calculator to help users understand the very shallow geothermal potential in different parts of Europe.

MapViewer Calculator

ThermoMap MapViewer

The visualising of the very shallow geothermal potential is facilitated by using a specially developed WebGIS service with distributed data sources and its interface, the Open-Source MapViewer.

The ThermoMap MapViewer is intended for the public, for planners and engineers, public bodies and scientists, to give them an overview (European Outline Map) and more detailed informa¬tion and usable data about the local shallow geothermal conditions in selected test sites across Europe (Test Areas). Private users may check the potential of their residential district, community planning and administration authorities may test the geothermal potential of their en¬tire administrative unit.

The ThermoMap WebGIS follows the principles and concepts of a distributed Spat¬ial Data Infrastructure. The databases are located on the several partner servers. The technology used for providing the data as Web Map Services in the Test Areas is different (e.g. Open-Source GeoServer, ESRI ArcGIS Server), but the data structure and compliancy to OGC standards (Open Geospatial Consortium) to retrieve the required informati¬on are precisely predetermined.

As one of the main principles the MapViewer is tailored to the project requirements and intends not to be a complex GIS expert application. The focus concentrates on bringing together the distributed data sources, zooming to areas of interest and ge5ng meaningful, interpreted and compiled information of a certain map location.

A special query tool was developed that displays interpreted information (in the ‘vSGP Infobox’) which can also be printed as a Local Information Sheet enriched with map details and diagrams (‘Report’).



As the ThermoMap test areas are exemplary case studies, for the majority of locations the data output is only a first rough estimation of the very Shallow Geothermal Potential, since the European Outline Map is based only on available area-wide data of very generalised quality.
However, if detailed external data exists, for example from a local subsoil analysis or drill hole descriptions, there is a new possibility to improve the estimation results. The vSGP Calculator is intended to enhance existing data or generate new data.

The incorporated calculation function loads all available data from the European Outline Map for a specified map point to the calculator. The user can utilise the existing data or replace or amend it with their own data. In general, the processing standards defined by the ThermoMap consortium are reproduced for a single map point calculating the vSGP with this tool. With the new calculated results an individual report as output can be printed. The calculator is accessible from the European Outline Map. (
Compared to the accuracy level of the European Outline Map, the calculator offers the possibility to reach at least the same or even a greater level of accuracy as in the Test Areas for a single map location.

The vSGP Calculator is also accessible outside of the MapViewer for calculating the vSGP in non-european countries; in this case no values are pre-filled, and the address has to be specified by the user for the overview map in the individual report