A theme of the 4th Annual SMi Data Management conference held this month in London was the extension of traditional data management into the areas of document and knowledge management. Some of the new offerings in this field represent ground-up development with E&P domain-specific functions and bespoke document management and knowledge work tools. Other vendors are deploying more or less horizontal technologies coupled with domain specific developments.
It is interesting that many of these duplicate and may ultimately replace domain-specific legacy software from the vendor’s own stables. Why the sudden interest in horizontal tools? It is probably the distribution and sharing aspect of the new breed of knowledge management software that is the key. After all, Documentum has been around for a decade or so and has had zero impact on the upstream. But expose a document repository to users over the web and add in a search engine and what do you have? Excited end-users that’s what!
Tools that are currently being deployed in various E&P projects include the Fulcrum search engine (in Landmark’s Knowledge Reference System extensions to Open Explorer). Cold Fusion and the Verity knowledge management tool have been deployed in GeoQuest’s Knowledge Hub – using the cutely named ‘hublet’ technology. Spectrum have extended the Open Text LiveLink document and knowledge management products to include a link to GeoQuest’s Finder.
Mark Forsyth from SGI described how E&P visualization can stress system infrastructures to the limit. Volume visualization requires pixel fill rates approaching 10 k pixels per second, leading SGI’s chief scientist John Mashey to coin the term ‘infrastress’ to describe the resulting network loading. SGI’s studies forecast infrastress maxing out over the next couple of years, in the interim, system and network administrators will have a hard time keeping up with demand.
One observer pointed out that though high end hardware was doing a good job the same could not be said of software – for example the high performance Open GL API is not yet implemented in the major vendor suites. Forsyth fended this one by pointing the questioner in the direction of Magic Earth – SGI’s showcase for Visualization Technology.
Unified Front End
The UK’s industry-funded shared data repository Common Data Access is to be taken over by the UK Offshore Operators Association (UKOOA). COO Malcolm Fleming outlined the plans for convergence with the web-based data portals LIFT and DEAL which are all to be accessible from a unified front end at a future date.
Bruce Rodney (Exprodat) picked up the knowledge management theme and compared the ‘old way’ of back populating the corporate database with the results of an interpretation with a new style of data management. Rodney advocated the use of lightweight knowledge capture tools such as Landmark’s OpenJournal or Exprodat’s new Knowledge Documentor tool which will capture attributes and provenance of seismic interpretations. Rodney sees the focus of upstream IT shifting from interoperability to interconnectivity with XML as the glue – “Data Management needs to be repositioned as Enterprise Information Management – to catch some of the money which is otherwise going elsewhere.”
James Johnson’s presentation of Ovation’s HFS-based data storage system sparked off an interesting debate as to how much data should be kept in-house. The consensus was the less the better.
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