Understanding GIS Mapping in the Oil and Gas Industry

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As technology becomes more advanced, the oil and gas industry is also beginning to take advantage of new technologies. However, some of these technologies, including the geographic information system (GIS), require some level of expertise, training, and software know-how.

Companies looking to take advantage of GIS can do so either in-house or by outsourcing this service to a GIS expert. You can easily incorporate GIS mapping into your gas and oil business, either with a consultant or by taking just a few hours out of your workweek to learn your GIS software.

What is GIS?

GIS is computer software that analyzes spatial and geographic data and then displays that data visually. It works by giving it a specific geographic location that has data you want to know more about. It can be used for monitoring a rare plant or endangered species, streams, rainfall levels, or resource management.

When GIS software first came out, it was prohibitively expensive for most companies to use. Luckily, however, there are now many cheaper options, and there are even a few open-source resources available, too.

How Does Gas and Oil Use GIS?

Spatial and geographical data are crucial to every stage of development for gas and oil. That’s because companies need to know where there are likely resources, what the geographic and environmental impact may be, where precisely they should start drilling, and where they should dig next.

GIS is vital for each of these phases. It may take some time to learn how to use GIS software. However, after learning how it works, you can visually map data to better understand your options while making decisions.

Additionally, GIS mapping is useful when presenting complicated information to an array of stakeholders. Production reports can be long and technical, making them hard to understand and follow. However, maps more concisely show those who less intimately appreciate your company’s day-to-day decisions and the factors that influence those decisions.

Advantages of GIS

GIS mapping can help minimize risks and maximize payoff for gas and oil. If your company doesn’t already use GIS or are looking to maximize how efficiently it uses it, consider the following GIS uses for gas and oil:

  • Explore and map existing sites and potential sites.
  • Determine which areas are most likely to result in successful digs.
  • Manage the risks of existing and potential sites.
  • Visually analyze data and statistics related to acreage rankings, petroleum leases, and more.
  • Analyze production ratings using nearly real-time data.

Outsourcing GIS

If you currently don’t have GIS software or your staff isn’t trained to use it properly, you can hire a consultant to help you start. Smaller companies with a limited workforce can also consider outsourcing this task completely, just as you can with other back-office duties, like land management.

Outsourcing back-office work for oil and gas companies or hiring a consultant can help ensure you’re taking the fullest advantage of GIS possible without having to spend countless days training your staff or learning how to use GIS technology.

Managing GIS In-House

If you believe your company would use GIS regularly, you have the workforce to manage it internally, and you can afford the technology, you could handle GIS in-house. Most companies that don’t hire a GIS consultant to use land administration software to take GIS.

Even if you chose this route, you could still hire a consultant to get you started, train your staff, and help you decide which software is best for your company. After an initial consultation, you can switch to managing GIS yourself.

No matter if you decide to use a consultant or not, it’s also worth noting that GIS mapping software is less expensive and more easily accessible than ever before. The U.S. Department of the Interior even has a list of maps and GIS data that can help track where companies have rigs and where leases are active. You can use this data along with your own to plan future expansions without interfering with existing leases.

GIS Mapping for Oil and Gas

As technology changes, so too do how oil and gas companies make decisions. Now, GIS mapping technology is more readily accessible, and there are even free options available. That means it’s easier than ever for gas and oil companies to take advantage of this technology.

With just a few hours of training, you and your staff can use GIS mapping to visually display and keep track of your current, future, and past digs. If you’re new to GIS mapping and want help navigating it, there are plenty of consulting agencies you can use to help you navigate GIS mapping.

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