Epos-France is France’s major contribution to the European Plate Observing System (EPOS) research infrastructure, and plays an active role in its development and evolution.


On a European scale, the European Plate Observing System (EPOS) was created in 2005-2006, with the idea of better harmonizing the production and availability of geophysical data in Europe. At the same time, the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) began to support the construction of distributed research infrastructures on a par with single-site infrastructures (e.g. telescopes and instruments associated with high-energy physics). In 2008, EPOS received its first label as a “European infrastructure project”, and funding for a feasibility study.

During this feasibility study, the foundations of the EPOS architecture were laid, namely two levels of activity: central services, providing access to all data and services common to all disciplines, and thematic services offering additional discipline-specific services. The thematic services also play a major role in structuring international scientific communities and organizing their formal link with European EPOS: governance, contracts, technical interactions for integration into central services, etc. The principle of EPOS disciplinary extension also dates from the feasibility phase: seismology, volcanology, GNSS geodesy, satellite data, geomagnetic observations, anthropogenic risks, etc.

The technical integration of all these services was the subject of European funding, supplemented by funding from each of the participating organizations. The same project prepared the structure of the EPOS ERIC organization (European Research Infrastructure Consortium, legal entity), which was created in 2018.


EPOS today

EPOS officially opened its integrated services and access portal on April 25, 2023. The interface connects around 250 data services in the internal earth domain, facilitating interdisciplinary research through increased ease of discovery and access to data, data products, and other services. A major project to enrich EPOS content in terms of data and services is currently underway (Geo-Inquire).

EPOS objectives

The considerable progress made in information technology in recent years has greatly facilitated access to the large mass of data produced in the field of solid Earth sciences, and made possible an integrated multidisciplinary approach. EPOS capitalizes on this development to provide a single point of access to data, products and services from different areas of the solid Earth sciences, based on pre-existing services in Europe.

The objectives of EPOS are to:

  • to promote multidisciplinary research for a better understanding of the Earth’s physical processes and their consequences, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis ;
    establish a long-term plan to facilitate the integrated use of data, models and experimental equipment from existing and new research infrastructures;
  • adopt appropriate legal solutions to manage distributed pan-European research infrastructures, based on a data-sharing policy for open access and transparent use of data, while ensuring mutual respect for intellectual property rights.

The EPOS research infrastructure aims to open up new horizons for research in solid Earth sciences. Transparent access to national and European data and services should benefit society as a whole in tackling major societal challenges, as well as being an essential asset for researchers.

EPOS delivery Framework

This figure shows the EPOS architecture. EPOS-ERIC (a legal entity in the form of ERIC, European Research Infrastructure Consortium) operates the Integrated Core Services (ICS), which are hosted in France (BRGM), the UK (British Geological Surveys) and Denmark (Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland). The Thematic Core Services (TCS) are operated outside EPOS-ERIC and supported by service contracts. Each TCS has a Consortium Board, which coordinates TCS activities. Together, the activities of EPOS-ERIC and the TCSs form the EPOS Delivery Framework. Data production takes place outside this framework, within the national Research Infrastructures. Note also that TCS services are generally operated by national Research Infrastructures © EPOS 2023

EPOS for research

The sheer scale of the physical and chemical processes involved in Earth sciences calls for new, integrated approaches to data analysis and interpretation in the context of rapidly increasing data volume and complexity. Thanks to an innovative, multidisciplinary approach, EPOS offers open access to geophysical and geological data, as well as to the most advanced modeling tools, while promoting interdisciplinary approaches to Earth science studies. EPOS provides a platform for integrating existing national research infrastructures into a European framework, with interoperable access to data and data products, analytical and experimental laboratories, with the aim of connecting these services to modeling tools and high-performance computing (HPC) data analysis.

EPOS for society

Natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides and tsunamis pose a threat to European societies and economies. By combining data and modeling tools, earth scientists can explore the driving forces behind European geohazards, and understand how they emerge and evolve. In addition, they can gain an accurate picture of potential exposure and, in some cases, improve forecasting capabilities. EPOS provides multi-disciplinary data and services that facilitate this research and enable scientists to provide valuable information to authorities and civil society, as well as to private players. The result is more effective decision-making, better risk management and mitigation, a stronger innovation sector and a stronger European society.

Europe is also experiencing a growing demand for resources, and it is a challenge to discover and exploit new resources and techniques, including storage facilities, without damaging the environment. The use of EPOS’s multidisciplinary data and information is beneficial to economic growth, as it can help to develop a secure and sustainable supply of natural resources – energy, water and raw materials – and to manage waste responsibly.