Blue Marble User Group

Shell’s geodetic framework. Noel Zinn (Hydrometrics) on earth-centered, earth-fixed scheme.

Martin Rayson described how Blue Marble’s Geographic Calculator has been leveraged inside Shell’s geodetic framework (SGF). The SGF was initiated to bring order to geodetic parameter usage across Shell’s application portfolio. Applications tend to use different coordinate transformations and units of measure with little indication of authority. A central geodetic database has been established to feed reliable information to applications and enforce naming conventions. This, the Shell Geodetic Parameter Registry (SGPR) , is a proprietary version of the European Petroleum Survey Group’s (EPSG) database. SGPR was developed for Shell by Galdos Systems in 2009.

Shell’s set-up presupposes that vendor applications are capable of consuming such information in an automated fashion which is not always the case. In such cases, manual data population is required. This is the situation for many E&P apps including R5000, ArcGIS, PowerExplorer and others. Others, notably Blue Marble’s geoCalculator allow for ‘hardwired’ automated population from the registry.

For the geodetics purist, Noel Zinn of Hydrometrics (Zinn was previously in ExxonMobil’s survey department) described an earth-centered earth-fixed (ECEF) scheme for geodetically rigorous, 3D visualization, powered by Blue Marble’s Geographic Calculator. ECEF schemes locate points on the earth’s surface (or anywhere else) with Cartesian coordinates, avoiding the distortion of map projections – so long as you have a 3D visualization system. The advent of ‘Globe’ GIS systems such as ArcGlobe and Google Earth has brought increased attention to ECEF schemes – although neither of these deploy such. It is in geoscience visualization that the ECEF scheme comes into its own – especially as we try to achieve ‘plate to pore scale’ visibility.

Zinn proposes a ‘revolutionary’ step that uses an ECEF coordinate system to bring a 3D Earth into the visualization environment, maintaining geodetic rigor and eliminating projection distortion. At which point, ‘Each prospect can be worked locally, all projects fit together globally and are suitable for both local and regional studies.’ More from this interesting presentation from and from

This article originally appeared in Oil IT Journal 2010 Issue # 12.

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