Houston Association of Professional Landmen

Geographic information systems increasingly important to landmen.

Speaking at the 2011 Houston Association of Professional Landmen’s (HAPL) Technical Workshop, Bill Gardner (GIS Data Maps) offered a primer on GIS usage. Today’s landmen are required to keep up with multiple larger prospect areas. Mineral leases are no longer ‘pristine’ and systems need to support JOA’s, farmouts and top leasing. Clients are increasingly using GIS systems and storing their data in online databases as Shapefiles. GIS systems can then create maps on the fly blending data from company material and from third party data providers such as the landman’s favorite, Tobin.

GIS market leader is (no surprises to Oil IT Journal readers) ESRI. But according to Gardner, some open source GIS systems are gaining in popularity—notably, Quantum GIS (QGIS/www.oilit.com/links/1105_16) and the Geographic Resources Analysis Support System (GRASS/www.oilit.com/links/1105_15) originally developed by the US Corps of engineers.

Gardner warned that clients are having a hard time keeping pace with the amount of GIS data coming in and now expect their service providers to supply GIS data. This means that smaller companies and independents will have to show that they know what they are doing before their data is accepted. This includes provision of appropriate metadata such as lessee, gross acreage and expiry dates. Projections are another key issue for GIS data as are license restrictions on third part data sets. Training is key—Gardner recommends ‘GIS for Dummies’ (www.oilit.com/links/1105_14) but notes ‘you didn’t become a landman overnight, don’t expect to become a GIS expert in a week!’ More presentations from HAPL on www.oilit.com/links/1105_13.

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