NGI is an independent international centre for research and consultancy in engineering-related geosciences, integrating geotechnical, geological and geophysical expertise.
We find good and sustainable solutions for building infrastructure on land and at sea, and within environmental technology, contaminated soil and natural hazards – such as landslides and avalanches. Our research provides knowledge required to solve some of the most important challenges facing the world related to climate, environment, energy and natural hazards.
Our core tasks are to contribute to the social development through research and consulting. The research at NGI should be relevant, so our results can be used by the market and benefit society, business and industry. Research and consultancy therefore go hand in hand. Our research integrates knowledge across geotechnics, geology and geophysics. Public authorities, business and private industry in Norway and abroad use our geo-expertise to ensure that we build our society on firm ground.
Geotechnics means understanding how to use materials from the ground, such as sand, clay and rock, as building materials and subsoil. We need to measure and analyse the properties of the materials in the ground. How strong are they, what can they tolerate and how do they behave? With a combination of ground surveys, analyses and calculations, we assess how excavation works and foundations should be designed and constructed. Finally, we observe what is being built to investigate whether it is performing as expected from the calculations.
Prior to a project, we investigate and describe the ground conditions. In the laboratory, we test and determine the strength properties of the materials. This is crucial for calculating how well the ground will withstand the load from excavation works or construction and expected loads throughout the life of the building. NGI also assesses environmental aspects and contamination of the soil to find sustainable solutions.
Geo-hazards, such as landslides and avalanches, are a key area within the geosciences in terms of the way in which geological processes can negatively affect life, society and the environment, and of measures to reduce the risk.
An important part of our research activity is about developing new methods, equipment and technology for ground surveys. NGI has Norway's largest equipment fleet for ground surveys, with traditional drilling, sampling and probes, as well as various geophysical survey methods.
In the geotechnical laboratory, we investigate and describe different physical properties of the soil samples we have collected from field surveys. For example, NGI's investigations in the laboratory have provided answers to how the clay on the seabed beneath an offshore platform reacts to the load from storm waves, wind and currents. This knowledge has opened the way for major offshore developments around the world, including large offshore wind farms.
Analysis of the interaction between buildings and the ground
Developing and improving calculation methods is a key area of work for NGI. Analyses and numerical calculation methods provide answers to how the ground or seabed will behave as a result of the planned construction or the operations to be carried out. We use both simple methods and advanced mathematical models for such analyses.
Instrumentation for monitoring and model testing
NGI develops and uses measurement techniques (instrumentation), advanced measuring equipment and computer technology to observe and monitor geological processes, construction work and installations, for example. The measuring equipment is also used in model and field experiments to develop new methods for foundations and excavation works.
By monitoring, observing and recording what happens during the construction process or excavation works, we can check and verify whether the reality matches our calculations, plans and requirements.
By comparing the measurement results with calculations, we can continuously improve the calculation methods and parameters we use to describe how the ground conditions behave under different types of load.
The amount of contamination of soil and groundwater is an important issue in all construction activities. Contamination in the soil may stem from emissions from industry and heavy transport, waste dumps and landfill sites.
NGI develops knowledge and methods to investigate whether the ground or seabed is contaminated, how we can prevent the pollution from spreading into the food chain, and how we can clean up contaminated land.
NGI has its head office in Oslo, a branch office in Trondheim, an avalanche research station at Strynefjellet in Western Norway, and overseas offices in Houston, Texas and Perth, Western Australia.
NGI is certified by BSI and holds and operates a Quality Management System which complies with the requirements of ISO 9001:2015, and an Environmental Management System which complies with the requirements of ISO 14001:2015, for the scope of Research and development, consulting and services within the geosciences.