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AGS Data Transfer


THE AGS FILE FORMAT

Press Release - March 2018

AGS Format 3.1 to be retired from 8th March 2018

This earlier version of the digital data transfer format will cease to be supported from 8th March 2018.

Version 3.1a of the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS) digital data transfer format was published in March 2005 and has been widely adopted within the ground engineering industry.

In May 2010 version 4 of the AGS Format was published, and has been gaining users and popularity since then. The latest 4.0.4 update was released in February 2017 in response to new laboratory industry standards and updated UK practice, and contains many features that are not available in the old 3.1 version.

The maintenance and updating of the AGS Format is carried out by a working group of volunteers. The decision to retire AGS 3.1 has been taken in order to allow the working group more time for future developments, and to speed up the response times to queries posted on the website.

Jackie Bland

Working Party Chairman

Press Release - January 2018

AGS Data Format Registered Users

The AGS publication 'Electronic Transfer of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Data' (AGS data format versions 1-4.0) has been maintained on behalf of the industry for the last 25 years using a one-time fee for registered users. As the AGS Format's use has grown, the process of responding to queries, extending the format and maintaining the website has become more costly and time consuming and this has to be addressed. Whilst the publication itself will still be completely free to download and use, for those wishing to make themselves familiar with its content. However, the AGS has decided that an annual fee should be payable as a contribution to its upkeep for those organizations sending or receiving AGS files.

This will come into effect on 1st January 2018 with the annual fee for AGS member organizations set at £50 and non-member organizations £150.

From April 2018, the existing list of Registered Companies will be cleared and only those organizations and individuals who have paid the fee for that year will be included in the revised list. A graphic and certificate will be supplied annually by AGS to those who are registered for inclusion on their website, email and social media feeds to demonstrate their registration and involvement. We would ask that, if you are a consumer of AGS data, you check that any company supplying you with AGS data is shown on the list of Registered Users.

Jackie Bland
Working Party Chairman

Press Release - March 2017

AGS 4.0.4

In response to new laboratory industry standards and updated UK practice the "AGS4 Addendum October 2011" document has been updated and amended and shall be known as "AGS 4.0.4".

Detailed amendments are listed in Appendix 3 but summarised below:

  • The term 'Moisture content' has been replaced with the term 'Water content' in accordance with BS EN ISO 17892-1:2014.
  • PMTD_SEQ heading in the'Pressuremeter Test Results - Individual Loops' (PMTL) group is marked for deletion.
  • New headings are GCHM_DLM, GCHM_RTXT, LOCA_NATD, LOCA_ORID, LOCA_ORJO, LOCA_ORCO, SAMP_RECL and RDEN_IDEN.
  • Data types have been changed for CHOC_REF, FRAC_FI, FRAC_IAVE, FRAC_IMAX, IPID_RES, LVAN_VNPK, LVAN_VNRM, RPLT_PLS, RPLT_PLSI, TRIT_CU.
  • Window Sampling amended to Dynamic sampling throughout document.
  • Under section 8 Rules, item 8.3 Group Hierarchy, there are 10 groups that are not part of the parent-child hierarchy - PREM was previously missing from the list and has now been included.

The newly defined headings should be viewed as user defined headings and thus, if used, the DICT group needs to be present in every AGS 4.0.4 submission.

All current abbreviations are applicable to AGS 4.0.4.

Jackie Bland
Working Party Chairman

Press Release - October 2011

AGS4 Addendum 3

Further areas of the document have required updating. We have prepared an amended version of AGS4 to be known as "AGS4 Addendum 3", which wholly replaces “AGS4”.

Major changes from initial release in May 2010 to October 2011 include:

  • ????_TESN heading added to each laboratory testing group
  • CMPG_TESN added to CMPG and CMPT as key heading
  • ????_REM added to CMPT, DETL, FRAC, GEOL, GRAT, MCVT, PLTT, PMTL, SCDT, TRET, TRIT groups
  • CHOC_REF changed to a key field
  • DICT_UNIT data type corrected to PU
  • Exploratory hole orientation and inclination group (HORN) added
  • 'Natural Moisture Content Test' group (LNMC) title amended to 'Moisture Content Test'. LNMC_ISNT heading added to indicate whether the test result has been assumed to be a natural moisture content.
  • Monitoring Readings group (MOND) expanded to incorporate detection limits, measurement method and accreditation
  • Appendix 3 has been removed from this publication in favour of a more easily updated Guidance Document on the website.
  • Ø characters in heading names corrected to 0 characters.
  • IPID_RES suggested type changed to 2DP.
  • LRES_WCND changed to LRES_WRES to express results as water resistivity in ohm m. LSLT_MCI added.
  • Heading PMTL_RRM corrected to PMTL_REM (PMTL group).
  • PTST_TYPE type changed to PA and example updated.

Jackie Bland
Working Party Chairman

Full information on the new format can be found here

Press Release - May 2011

AGS4 Addendum 2

The remit of the Working Party is to monitor the use of the AGS Format for the electronic transfer of data in the geotechnical and geoenvironmental industries.

After consultation with developers and other interested parties, we have identified some areas of AGS4, released in May 2010, which need updating. To this end, we have prepared an amended version of AGS4 to be known as "AGS4 Addendum", which wholly replaces AGS4.

Major changes include:

  • _TESN heading added to each laboratory testing group
  • _REM added to CMPT, DETL, FRAC, GEOL, GRAT, MCVT, PLTT, SCDT, TRET, TRIT groups
  • CHOC_REF changed to a key field
  • DICT_UNIT data type corrected to PU
  • Exploratory hole orientation and inclination group (HORN) added
  • 'Natural Moisture Content Test' group (LNMC) title amended to 'Moisture Content Test'. LNMC_ISNT heading added to indicate whether the test result has been assumed to be a natural moisture content.
  • Monitoring Readings group (MOND) expanded to incorporate detection limits, measurement method and accreditation
  • Appendix 3 has been removed from this publication in favour of a more easily updated Guidance Document on the website.

With a view to providing more general guidance in specific situations we have developed a series of Guidance Documents which are held on the website. These documents will be revised and added to when the need arises.

Jackie Bland
Working Party Chairman
Full information on the new format can be found here

Press Release - 25th May 2010

AGS 4 Publication

The "Electronic Transfer of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Data Edition 4 " publication has been released.
Full information on the new format can be found here

Press Release - May 2005

AGS 3.1 Publication Update

The "Electronic Transfer of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Data Edition 3.1 " publication has been updated with post publication corrections.

  • ?ICCT - removed key field markings against ?ICCT_UNIT and ?ICCT_METH and added ?ICCT_ULIM to maintain compatibility with CNMT group, page 34.
  • ?IFID - added ?IFID_TESN as key field and added ?GEOL_STAT to maintain consistency with other in situ test data groups, page 35. 
  • ?IPID - added ?IFID_TESN as key field and added ?GEOL_STAT to maintain consistency with other in situ test data groups, page 37. 
  • ppmv - parts per million volume used in example of ?IFID_RES added to UNITS listing in Appendix 1. 
  • Change to description of HOLE_ID throughout document marked as Rev. 
  • Revised examples for ?BKFL_LEG, ?CBRT_REM, ?CLSS_REM, CONG_REM and ?TRIX_CU. 
  • Added missing Del flags to deleted fields in INST and STCN. 
  • Removed reference to a 'SPEC_TYPE' field in Appendix 6 discussion on user defined abbreviations (Section 7). 
  • Removed duplicate entries for HCARS and PAHS from CODE listing in Appendix 1. 
  • Amended Appendix footers to AGS Edition 3.1 
  • Corrected spelling errors on ABBR table.

An updated version of the publication can be download from this Website.

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Press Release - December 2004

The AGS Data Format committee wishes to announce the publication of Revision 1 to the third edition of the AGS Data transfer format. 

The AGS Data Format subcommittee has monitored the use of the format within the industry since the launch of AGS 3 in 1999. The committee considers that it is now appropriate to issue AGS 3.1 to include the developments which have occurred over the last few years. In accordance with section 9 of the AGS 3 publication the majority of this document includes format additions requested by the industry.

There are no major changes from AGS 3 and therefore the committee have decided to call this Revision 1 of the AGS 3 format (AGS 3.1) rather than AGS 4. The changes in this revision are new fields, groups and pick list items all sitting within the AGS 3 framework.

AGS 3.1 is compliant with the rules in AGS 3 and therefore the ? remains in all new headings and groups even though these are now in common use. 

This revision brings together AGS 3, the “The AGS-M Format - for the electronic transfer of monitoring data “ published by AGS and CIRIA in 2002 and other groups and headings, which have been suggested on the AGS website and used by the industry. 

A complete list of all additions, revisions and their history is available on the AGS web pages (http://www.agsdataformat.com) The AGS data format website has been updated to display all the additions in this document together will the appropriate guidance notes. The website also allows the visitor to view the field version history and an appropriate discussion threads that have contributed to the changes

It is expected that all registered users will be able to use these additional headings for projects starting after March 2005 but this is solely up to the relevant project members to agree.

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Press Release - September 2004

The Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists announce a project to take the AGS data transfer format into the future.

Much work has been done, both in UK and overseas, to research ways to bring the AGS interchange system more in line with Extensible Mark-up Language (XML) - the global standard for data transfer in web-based communications. However, the overriding responsibility of the Association is the protection of its members' interests, so any solution would need to preserve: (a) compatibility with established practices, (b) the ability to use data compiled in earlier editions, and (c) the independence of the format from particular software environments.... more

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The Underlying Philosophy

The purpose of the AGS Format is to provide a means of transferring geotechnical and geoenvironmental data between parties. From the outset the fundamental consideration has been that potential users of the Format should be able to use standard software tools to produce the data file. These tools may range from simple text editors and word processors, through spreadsheet packages to sophisticated database systems. In order to ensure the widest possible level of acceptance it was also agreed that the Format should use the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII).

To minimise file size and eliminate potential conflicts it was also considered that the data file should only contain fundamental data such as exploratory hole and test data required to be reported by the relevant British (or other National) Standard or similar recognised documents. Interpreted or derived data should not be transmitted – any further processing being at the discretion, and under the control of the receiving user.

To provide maximum flexibility and to enable hardcopy printout for checking or other purposes, a "data dictionary" approach as first proposed by Greenwood (1988) has been utilised as the foundation for the Format. This concept is both compatible with the needs of software developers and simple to implement.

File Format

The AGS Format file is a text file, containing tables of information on all aspects of the geotechnical site investigation. Each table comprises a Group name, column Headings and data Variables as illustrated in the example 

Group Names

The AGS data book, AGS(1992), AGS(1994), contains all the tables required for a site investigation. The group name is shortened to a four-letter code, often the first letters of the table description. Group names must be on a line by themselves and surrounded by quotes. A list of AGS(1994) Group names is included in Appendix A.

Column Headings

The column headings (or field names) must be listed below the group name line as shown in Figure 10. Every column must be surrounded by quotes and separated by a comma thus allowing programs to determine where the start and end of each data item is. Each header is abbreviated to a code listed in the AGS data book.

The column header codes allowed for the hole table are shown in Figure 11, only the codes marked with a "*" are mandatory within a table. The hole group in Figure 10 contains 8 column headers.

Data Variables

The third section of the hole table actually contains the data for all the holes in this project. Each column must again be surrounded by quotes and separated by a comma. The information for the second hole in the example file is summarised in the table below

A full list of the data file rules are contained in the AGS data book and can be downloaded from their web site.

Field Name

Description

Value

HOLE_ID

Exploratory hole name/ number

504

HOLE_TYPE

Type of exploratory hole

CP

HOLE_NATE

National Grid six figure Easting

12

HOLE_NATN

National Grid six figure Northing

13

HOLE_GL

Ground level relative to National Datum

2.5

HOLE_FDEP

Final depth of hole

9.2

HOLE_STAR

Date of start of excavation

12/1/1990

HOLE_LOG

The definitive person responsible for logging the hole

FHS

Flexibility

The file structure described above, with its use of the data dictionary concept and subdivision into small groups, allows a high degree of flexibility. New groups can readily be added without disturbing existing groups, which is particularly useful in the international context, allowing local requirements to be incorporated. Similarly, fields can be added to existing groups to take account of particular needs as appropriate.

www.agsdataformat.com and its Relationship to the Format

To meet the rapidly changing needs of its users the Format must continue to develop. Promulgation of changes has been achieved by the publication of a First Edition in 1992, AGS(1992), and a Second Edition in 1994, AGS(1994), both in hardcopy form. However, the recent expansion and broadening of the user base has made more frequent updates necessary. Since this has made hardcopy updates no longer practical it was decided to make use of the AGS web site to publish the Third Edition in 1999. While placing the Format in open access on the web site permits more frequent updates, all changes are subject to rigorous control and notification procedures.

The flexibility introduced by the use of the web site has also allowed the possibility of supplementary versions tailored to particular national requirements. This eliminates the dependency on UK conditions and requirements and allows true international usage.