Fieldbank - Epicentre based gravity and magnetics database (February 1998)

Potential field specialist Ark Geophysics, inconjunction with the British Geological Survey has developed an Epicentre-based data modelfor gravity and magnetic data. This is to be marketed as a combined software, services andrepository package called Fieldbank.

Speaking at the recent SMi E&P Data Management and Data Repositories conference, Kitty Hall of Ark Geophysics Ltd. described gravity and magnetic data as an important hydrocarbons exploration tool and a cost effective supplement to seismic data. These data types often get short shrift in terms of data management with tapes maps and reports "scattered in drawers and filing cabinets, accessible only through the historical knowledge of one or two long serving members of staff". A joint project between the British Geological Survey (BGS) and Ark Geophysics sets out to rectify this situation with the development of FieldBank (Potential Field Data Bank).

ARK and BGS are both members of the Petrotechnical Software Corporation (POSC) but when the project started, there was no open data model for gravity and magnetic data. Neither data types are described by the current release of Epicentre or the Public Petroleum Data Model (PPDM). BGS and Ark worked with Petroleum Exploration Computer Consultants (PECC), Elf Aquitaine and POSC to extend Epicentre to incorporate potential field data. These extensions were applied to PetroVision, CGG/PECC's flagship Epicentre data base.

PetroVision extended

The project was funded in part by the UK Department of Trade and Industry and the extended model will be released next year. Data is populated in two ways. Maps, text files or grid data can be stored as a potential field "object" as in a document management system, with meta data about the object stored in PetroVision. Or the new PetroVision extensions can be populated with the potential field data itself. The Epicentre part is modeled using Express I, but FieldBank uses an English language interpreter above which simplifies loading

Currently this level of population realized down to the gravity or magnetic profile level - a "track" in FieldBank parlance, somewhat easier to get your tongue around than the corresponding Epicentre nomenclature of "two dimensional geometry set". No particular format is implied for objects, which can be scanned images of Bouger maps, text files with values along profiles, observers logs or grids of data. Essentially, the metadata is stored in Epicentre, but the bulk data is store in its native format. But FieldBank is more than just a data model.

Data repository

The BGS is the custodian of the National Geoscience Archive, with hundreds of thousands of line kilometers of airborne, land and marine data from all over the world. FieldBank is to be run like a data repository with clients accessing on-line data through an entitlements index. When complete FieldBank will represent a world wide on-line data bank for gravity and magnetic data. An index of navigation data is viewable by all subscribers while the actual data is restricted to those entitled to view or extract it. Data from many countries has been loaded into FieldBank, much of which is available for trade or purchase. This approach enables subscribers to trade and share data between each other as well as to access public domain data and non-exclusive data. FieldBank also provides the loading of static views of a company's datasets as Web pages which can be browsed over the Internet and also loaded to the company's own Intranet for ease of access. This enables users to identify useful data before using the on-line connection to make further investigations and perhaps to download some lines or grids. Requests for trades with other companies or speculative data purchases can be initiated and compilations or maps requested. More info from the FieldBank website on

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