MMS puts documents online

The US Minerals Management Service has put nearly a million scanned documents online. But access to the massive public dataset would benefit from a more user-friendly interface.

The Gulf of Mexico OCS Region of the US Minerals Management Service (MMS) now sports an online system for viewing and downloading public domain information. The Public Information Data System (PIDS) provides access to well summary reports, applications for permit to drill, pipeline rights of way and other documents.


MMS Gulf of Mexico Regional Director Chris Oynes said, “This is a tremendous improvement in our customer service capability and for the thousands of customers who use our oil and gas records for activity in the ocean. This Internet access to various records will potentially save them considerable time and expense.”

1 million documents

Documents are made up of sets of raster format (TIFF) images that can be viewed and downloaded separately. Nearly one million images are available for download. Documents are searchable by Lease, Permit, Plans, Rights-of-Way, Suspensions and Well Files. By year-end 2002 MMS plans to have converted its TIFF images to PDF. Check out the PIDS on

Comment—The system is about as user-friendly as a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Finding stuff is easy—so long as you know the exact name of the item you are looking for. Wildcards don’t work and there is no accessible list of codes to look up. The MMS won’t be doing IHS out of business for a while yet!

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