About Us

GDS Instruments (A division of Global Digital Systems Ltd) designs, develops and manufactures materials testing machines and software used for the computer-controlled testing of soils and rocks. This technology is used to evaluate the mechanical properties that are key in geotechnical and earthquake engineering design. Karl Snelling (Managing Director), Jerry Sutton (Technical Director) and Clayton Dodd (Sales Director) have worked at GDS for more than 40 years. This combined experience ensures customers can expect a consistency in the GDS approach of its equipment and its support. GDS equipment is all still designed, sourced, manufactured and tested in the UK.

Brief History

In 2012 GDS became part of the Judges Scientific plc group of companies.  In 2011 GDS were awarded the coveted Queens Award for “Enterprise in International Trade”.  

Since being founded in 1979, it is estimated that GDS products have been used to help achieve 1000 Phd's. As well as being the first choice for academic research, GDS products have been used in many world renowned commercial developments including the Three Gorges Dam in China, the Millau Viaduct in France, the Vasco da Gama Bridge in Portugal, Terminal Five at Heathrow and the new Crossrail links in London.

GDS employs over 50 permanent members of staff at their offices in Hook, Hampshire, UK, as well as working with a network of agents spanning 40 countries. GDS UK based staff include 3 PhD's, 8 qualified geotechnical engineers, 4 software designers, 4 hardware designers and 5 electrical/electronics specialists, allowing GDS the ability to design, build, test and ship their products directly to the customer.

Values at GDS

GDS believes in providing the best equipment for the job combined with first class support from engineers who understand the equipment. GDS design and develop all their products in-house using their team of geotechnical engineers, software designers, hardware designers (3D CAD) and electrical/electronics designers and specialists. This allows GDS to have complete control of the design, build, test and shipping process. GDS' in-house expertise allows them the capability to design bespoke systems (hardware, electronics and software), which forms a significant part of the GDS business.

GDSLAB software supports every GDS computer controlled device manufactured since 1979, as well as devices from other manufacturers that have long since been made obsolete by them. This forms part our unique commitment to long term customer support.

When you receive training from or ask a question of GDS, your reply will be from, or via a geotechnical engineer. This is our philosophy for ensuring the best service possible.  Great service = repeat customers.

GDS Customers

GDS work closely with both Research and Commercial companies. Utilising our network of agents has allowed GDS to work in many countries around the world and become involved with some world renowned organisations / institutes on a variety of different projects. 


..."I must congratulate you and the GDS team for the thought and the practicality of the Design of the Oedometer Frame.I have now run 10 oedometer tests and the Software and the ease of running these tests has NEVER BEEN BETTER."

..."First of all, I and professor Kyriazis Pitilakis, as well as, Costas Senetakis and Argiro Souli from our Lab would like to thank you personally for your outstanding support, control, demonstration and training of the ELDYN.  Working more than 12 hours per day with you and with Orestis (NEOTEK) we learnt a lot and we are all grateful for your efforts and dedications. It truly made a difference! Thank you very much!"

..."I have been dealing with GDS Instruments for more than 10 years in the UK and Canada. During my dealings with the company they have been highly professional, providing excellent service and products. We have compared the products and service from a number of other vendors as part of our purchasing procedures, using a range of metrics and GDS consistently out perform their competitors. Their maintenance procedures and after sales service are also excellent. I have no hesitation in recommending GDS Instruments for soil testing instrumentation and apparatus."

... "I have had an exceptional experience with GDS. I was hired in 2003 to bring a geotechnical lab back to life after 5 years of inactivity. Through the unbelievable technical support and because of the the quality of GDS's products the original advanced triaxial system purchased in 1989 is working without a problem. I continue to use GDS and have confidence that their products will provide me with high quality data. The service and products provided by GDS are simply second to none."

..."Your technical support has been exceptional, rapid, detailed, and on target, even for a small customer like me. Please feel free to pass along my contact information to whomever you wish."

More testimonials...

Life working at GDS

GDS currently employs over 35 permanent members of staff at their offices in Hook, Hampshire, UK, as well as working with a network of agents spanning 40 countries. GDS UK based staff include 8 qualified geotechnical engineers, 4 software designers, 4 hardware designers and 5 electrical/electronics specialists, allowing GDS to design, build, test and ship their products directly to the customer. GDS in-house expertise, allows them the capability design bespoke systems, whilst at the same time as writing any new software without the need to outsource any of the work.

With GDS extensive product range, commitment to research and development and in-house expertise, they are perfectly positioned to assist with any of your Geotechnical requirements. 

In 2011 GDS were presented with the Queens Award for International Trade. The day started with a host of guests, suppliers and staff all mingling together in great anticipation of our special guests. First to arrive was the Lord-Lieutenant's Cadet George Harker-Smith, followed by the Deputy Lieutenant Khalid Aziz, both whom were dressed in full regalia. The Lord-Lieutenant Dame Mary Fagan then arrived to a traditional welcome from the Deputy Lieutenant and Cadet. After a meet and greet with the staff, a tour of the offices and products, the Lord-Lieutenant and her Deputy started the formal presentation ceremony. 

Above is a picture of GDS staff receiving their award.

Teambuilding at GDS


Friday 19th November, GDS Instruments took part raising money for Children in Need. BBC Children in Need is the BBC's UK corporate charity. The annual telethon aim is to help raise those crucial pennies needed to improve the lives of disadvantaged children and young people across the UK. The event see fundraiser all over the country take part in activates to raise money.

The staff at GDS spent the whole day in fancy dress, costumes included, Batman, Luke Skywalker, Orvill the Duck and Maverick amongst others. Cakes were sold to staff and delivery drivers, a raffle was held as well as other fund raising games. A collection around Murrell Green Business Park as well as a donation from the company brought the total sum raised to £1,000.00.

Many of the staff at GDS enjoy exercise and taking part in new challenges. A couple of years ago a group of staff decided they should take part in a challenge together, this challenge became the Crondall Triathlon. The event was a great success and was enjoyed by all those taking part and watching. 

Since Crondall a number of staff have taken part in events throughout the country at all levels wearing the Team GDS jersey.  In 2013 10 members of staff plan to tackled the famous London to Brighton bike ride.