ESRI Petroleum User Group, London

EU PUG hears of shift in GIS from specialist to end user. Pokevision mega-GIS flies briefly. Survey 123 for Cairn’s ‘Daily Photograph.’ Pipeline GIS from PODS (and Esri). Esri Insights for big geo-data. BP’s OneMap. UK OGA new portal. Shell’s MyMap. Repsol’s GeoSite. SNAM’s Gas-to-go. Drones for pipeline survey. Oceaneering on ROV-based mapping. Getech on GIS object naming. BIM and GIS.

2016 was not a record year for the Esri EU Petroleum User Group’s London conference but attendance, at around 200, held up well in the current circumstances. Danny Spillman’s keynote underlined the shift in mapping focus from the GIS specialist to the end user, likely viewing a map on a tablet or phone. Today’s organizations are ‘connected’ through GIS which provides a web-based ‘system of engagement and of record.’ For more on the fundamentals of GIS, Spillman recommended Roger Tomlinson’s Thinking about GIS, particularly Chapter 6 on GIS information product description. Here ‘keep it simple’ is the key. ArcGIS Online offers ready-to-use maps and imagery, thanks to a new partnership with Digital Globe. ArcMap no longer fires up with a blank map but can be configured for self-service, smart mapping that aligns with corporate standards.

Spillman offered a couple of interesting use cases. The traditional ‘two dudes in a garage’ who created Pokévision used ArcGIS Online to create a real time Pokémon GO tracker. Pokévision went from zero to 20 million viewers in three days and ‘cost us some money to scale.’ Nintendo shut it down as it did not appreciate its data being scraped! A more relevant example is new drag and drop functionality that turned an Excel spreadsheet of production data into a bubble map. Maps can be driven filtered and tweaked from an open Excel spreadsheet. Data can be matched on field names, re-symbolized and saved as a new map or exported as an interactive PowerPoint slide. Geophysical specialist PGS uses Story Maps to show successive years of North Sea exploration.

Lorien Innes ran through some of Esri’s educational efforts including the Life-long learning program, the PUGOnline resource that now houses the PUG List of ‘to do’ items, the ESRI Young Professionals network and the new(ish) GeoNet community. Esri has also announced the PUG Fellows program for retirees-cum-mentors who can have access to free copies of ArcGIS for personal use.

Catherine Hams described how uses the Survey 123 app as a component of Cairn Energy’s ‘Daily Photograph,’ an HSE app for field survey. Fieldworkers can capture data and imagery which go straight to the CairnMaps ArcGIS Online portal. The application provides engineers, drillers and accountants with an understanding of what is happening on the ground and what is feasible. Paradoxically, users love it because it is form-centered and they ‘don’t have to make a map.’ Information is shared with joint venture partners through LinkedIn! The app is now being extended to inventory management. Otka’s single sign-on authentication and mobile device management is also being added to this ‘simple solution that people are gravitating towards.’

Jeff Shaner provided an update on ArcGIS for Pipelines which can leverage either Esri’s own Utility and Pipeline data model or PODS’ Spatial/APR. New functionality in ArcGIS 10.5 allows for capture of pipeline data into the geodatabase including inline inspection data. GIS is presented as a system of record for all pipeline data. Again, Excel ‘beloved of engineers’ can be used to filter on high value anomalies and switch back to a shareable map for field inspection.

ArcGIS Insights, Esri’s own ‘big data’ toolset is also announced for 10.5. This includes GIS Tools for Hadoop, an ‘open source’ toolkit for big spatial data analytics. Insights also adds a temporal component for slicing and dicing data with spatial and time tags, allowing for retrieval of ancient data on vessel and vehicle movement from the data lake. Insights offers configurable, SharePoint-esque workflows for interaction and data exploration. These can be saved as shareable workbook for further tweaking.

Tim Hunter-Rowe introduce BP’s ‘sustainable’ corporate mapping solution aligned with BP’s operating management system. OneMap operates across 22 sites around the world with various restrictions on data use, different levels of GIS maturity and both Windows and Solaris operating systems. In 2013 BP decided to go for ‘one big GIS,’ defined centrally and deployed regionally. The oil price drop and downturn threatened the project. But further analysis found more geospatial requirements from seismics through tankers to pipelines. A compelling business case was made to management showing how much time was spent on real geoscience and how much on format conversion (up to 80%!), the key selling point. OneMap was designed to dovetail with Chili, BP’s major petrotechnical reboot, adding on GIS as data management enabler. More effort went into convincing IT of the need for GIS and what it meant in terms of many servers and database management systems. The system was rolled-out in Aberdeen late in 2014, allowing stakeholders to manage their own data. User feedback provided more learnings and tweaks. Keeping up with a fast changing IT environment led to an iterative ‘agile’ approach. Various third party providers supported the project. Voyager’s data discovery tool was used to audit BP’s legacy geographic systems and determine what to migrate. Safe’s FME was used for transactions and data import. Geo Jobe helped with batch movement of portal content and Vestra monitored system operations. Roll-out has met with some resistance. Digital natives understand web maps but older GIS users like maps with hundreds of layers! Hunter-Rowe offered an a propos quote from Peter Drucker in this context in that ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast!’ Notwithstanding this, OneMap is moving from a ‘project’ into a ‘water and feed’ phase. Sure, the downturn has affected budgets, but on the other hand, there are new opportunities in big data, the IoT and mobile. Hunter-Rowe wound up citing a Forrester Wave August 2016 report that sees GIS as ‘informing the organization and scaling to large data sets with easy-to-use interfaces and methods for delivering insights.’

John Seabourn (UK OGA) teamed with Graeme Blakey (DataCo) to present the OGA’s new web services-based Rest endpoint for government datasets for licenses, blocks, fields and production data. So far most of the 15 million requests/year have come from Greenpeace and other activists! The portal is to evolve to become a front end to the putative UK National Data Repository, bringing together UKOGL, BGS and CDA. OGA recently published its IM strategy. A GIS strategy document is in preparation. More from the OGA.

James Bowler presented Shell’s MyMap application. This is used to ‘keep an eye on the neighbors,’ or in other words, as Shell’s GIS enterprise environment for managing new UK exploration opportunities. MyMap, an ArcGIS for Portal development is a component of Shell’s enterprise application environment. Other pieces are Shell’s own Geosigns interpretation suite, Petrel, SharePoint, FME, Blue Marble and Spotfire. MyMap lets Shell keep tabs on the hundreds of marketing flyers and online opportunities it receives every year. These are captured to Excel/SharePoint, passed through FME and into a geodatabase for ingestion by MyMap. A 30 column Excel table and labyrinthine FME workspace processes opportunities, block names and geometries from SDE adding geoprocessing to figure distance to Shell infrastructure. The results are displayed on a nifty map that includes Shell’s ‘hot’ wells. Bowler reported that ‘folks were surprised to see the map results.’ MyMap shows the merit of situational awareness and conversely, the fact that often stakeholders are not aware of what is really on offer. The tool now maintains an ‘evergreen’ new business opportunity landscape around key production hubs.

Repsol’s Dana Remenova teamed with Paula Peroni (DigitalGlobe) to show how Repsol integrates image services in its GIS workflows. Repsol’s goal was to provide instant access to E&P imagery and derived products from its Madrid-based ‘GeoSite.’ Satellite, DEM, bathymetry and other layers are combined to create Repsol’s flagship content, a custom base map for its worldwide assets. The system is used for seismic survey planning, HSE/environmental monitoring and base mapping. GeoSite embeds commercial data from providers including IHS, Neftex, Bing Maps, TCarta and oil seeps imagery. The system also feeds image data to Petrel.

Salvatore Amaduzzi showed a field service management application that OverIT developed for Italgas/SNAM. The ‘Gas to Go’ iPad app combines work orders from SAP and Maximo in a GIS interface. The scheduling engine can handle 120k work orders/day, pushing a daily plan out to the handhelds. An augmented reality function lets users co-visualize tag information as they operate. The system is built on standard Esri architecture. Street-level imagery is overlain with underground information of pipes and cables. OverIT is also working on a proof of concept for an offshore platform, adding shape recognition to id objects, all connected with plant scada systems. The augmented reality is delivered with Epson Moverio smart glasses. These are ‘OK’ but the Microsoft HoloLens is ‘really incredible’ (except they cost $3000!). Google glasses are ‘deprecated.’

Jeff Allen presented a proof of concept that set out to capture map grade ortho imagery from a drone. There was some resistance to using the drone over a conventional survey. There were HSE concerns regarding distractions to welders and landowners, so a remote area in large nature preserve was selected for the test. SenseFly’s eBee fixed wing drone carrying a Sony CyberShot snapped images to id welds and markers on the pipe wrapper. Pizza pie locators were added for GPS control. Esri Drone2Map software was used for post processing. Spatial accuracy was deemed fit for purpose. With a couple survey control points accuracy was down to pipeline diameter. The technique should be useful for future integrity management to explain the ‘story’ of the line and for right of way restauration. It took only 15 minutes to fly the survey but several hours to get the drone out of the tree it got stuck in!

Pete Veenstra (TRC Solutions) provided an update on the Pipeline open data standards (PODS) organization’s Next Generation Lite data model. PODS traditionally is a US organization but is working on alignments with Iploca. PODS is expanding its remit to include best practices for pipeline data management and plans to become a ‘fully-fledged standards organization.’ PODS Next gen is a complete rework of the data model which had become unsustainable. The model has been modularized and simplified with fewer tables. Next gen will be well documented and ‘less daunting for implementers.’ NG embeds published standards from OGC GML and ISO standards for linear referencing. The NG Lite edition, a free giveaway, is intended as a working preview of the core NG model. This is ‘much simpler than anything implemented before by Pods or Esri.’ Lite is delivered as a conceptual model in Visio with a logical model in Spark Systems’ Enterprise Architect. ShapeChange auto-generates code for the physical model. Deployment patterns are available for a generic Rdbms, Esri geodatabase, hybrid, PostGIS APR and relational with XYZ in tables. NG is scheduled for completion by end 2018.

Oceaneering demoed its technology for video streaming and storage as featured during the Macondo aftermath. Oceaneering adds machine vision, people tracking for video, drone and ROV streams. Data is captured to the Oceaneering Media Vault. Speech to text and OCR are also available to extract metadata from video. Oceaneering provides an API for machine learning applications. These include detection of facial emotions, loitering activity and abandoned baggage in airports. A plug-in widget for Esri maps allows for search for particular video assets and zoom-in to a frame. All this runs in the cloud as Oceaneering Azure Media Management. Video streams can be blended with a 3D model into a ‘VR-based 3D asset performance management dashboard.’

Neil Wrobel (Getech) presented a geo- ‘logical’ approach to data naming. Getech has a large GIS archive of shape files, layer files and geodatabases. Naming these assets has evolved over the years, settling on a convention for abbreviated, human-readable tags of 30 characters. Most recently the arrival of Exprodat’s 20,000 earth system modeling datasets (now available from the Esri Globe) broke the naming system. Getech decided to move away from human readable names to a lookup table that supports time-slider access to its maps. Wrobel also reported a move from Oracle to the PostGreSQL database.

Claire Ellul (UC London) presented on the interface between building information management (BIM) and GIS. In other words, combining CAD with GIS. The UK Government’s construction strategy requires 3D BIM by 2016 with all information electronic. Integration is currently done with Safe Software’s FME but there are gotchas like unit conversions and CRS issues. Concepts differ between the two environments. Where GIS sees a ‘room’ BIM sees a floor, walls and ceiling. Planning of refineries and other large assets currently need both approaches. But these will have to be integrated to achieve the goals that government has set out. Elluls’s talk resonated with those interested in standards and in engineering data management, as seen from both sides of the debate. In a personal communication we elucidated that at the present in the UK there are no significant standards for BIM. Autodesk Revit is the de facto standard.

Read the ESRI EU PUG presentations here.

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