Legal Basis

The social concerns to the geoscientific research find expression in the legislation and form the legal framework for the areas of responsibility ot the Geologcial Survey of Austria and for setting priorities in the programme plan.

The Geological Survey is a federal institution and is subject to the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy. It serves the federal government as a central information and advice center in the field of earth sciences and has to consider the developments in science, economy and social needs in their work.

The tasks of the survey include in accordance with § 18 (2) FOG Federal Law Gazette No. 341/1981, as last amended by Federal Law Gazette I No. 74/2004, in particular studies and research in the fields of geosciences and geotechnical engineering, the geoscientific land survey and (as basic information for sustainable land use), collecting and evaluating geogenously related natural hazards, collecting and evaluating occurrences of mineral resources and raw materials, hydrogeological collection and evaluation of drinking and industrial water resources, preparation of expert reports and planning documents, collection, processing and up-to-date keeping of results and documentations using modern information technologies in cooperation with the governments crisis management. A proposal for the amendment of § 18 FOG was developed by the "Working Group of the Future of the survey", chaired by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research in 2008.

Protection and precaution of raw materials with respect to scarcer resources is a primarily social mission and finds expression in federal laws (Deposit Law Gazette 246/1947, Mineral Resources Law Gazette I32/1998 as amended, Alpine Convention - spatial planning and sustainable development Law Gazette 232/2002) and state laws (planning laws).

The knowledge on the occurrence and location of aquifers as a spatial body is a condition for the quality and quantity of water resources protection. The Water Law Gazette 215/1959 as amended, the European Water Framework Directive and regional planning laws of the states establish a legal basis for the measures necessary to safeguard this vital resource.

The composition and quality of agricultural and forest soils and their usability are interrelated to the geogenic background. Geochemical data are indicators of quality, deviations from the general geogenic background give indications of geogenic and anthropogenic enrichments (landfills, abandoned sites, contaminated sites). The survey and assessment of contaminated sites and waste deposits is a legal mission (Remedial Federal Law Gazette No. 299/1989 as amended. Federal Law Gazette I No. 136/2004).


The field of spatial planning has to take care of securing the habitat from natural hazards (Alpine Convention - spatial planning and sustainable development, Federal Law Gazette III No. 232/2002; Planning laws of the states). For this, the geogenic hazards have to be fully covered and presented (Alpine Convention - Soil protection, Federal Law Gazette III No. 235/2002).


The "Geodateninfrastrukturgesetz" (national Inspire Directive) shall, against the background of environmental policy, improve access to spatial data by citizens, science, business and administration.

With this Federal Law the Directive 2007/2/EC on creating an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Union (INSPIRE) is transferred at the level of Austrian law. The countries have implemented this Directive through spatial data infrastructure laws or amendments to existing laws. This policy provides a framework for the design of spatial data infrastructures of the Member States of the European Union, which is elaborated by rules of the European Commission.