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Welcome to the first installment of Inside Drillinginfo’s Map Drawers! If there’s one thing oil men love, its maps. We here at Drillinginfo are very proud of our GIS teams who get their hands dirty in the data everyday and turn out more and more beautiful maps (and mapping technology). Each installment will include a high res version of the map – suitable for your desktop – and a few words about what makes the map so awesome! I asked Senior GIS Analyst Lyndon Looger a few questions about this map.

Title: Permian Basin

Who asked for the map, and what did they ask for?

DI Analytics needed an internal map to show some of the resource plays that are currently being explored in the Permian basin. The map was originally for internal use to demonstrate how complex the Permian Basin really is.

Which DI Cartography group made it?

GIS Strike Force

Completion Date/Date of Production?

March 19, 2013

Medium:

Digital/Print

Type or style of Map (Projections?):

State Plane Central 4202; this local projection fit a large portion of the data included in the map and still allowed for a somewhat accurate scale bar without too much visual distortion. An equal distant projection was considered but the distortion visually just didn’t look right. Since this map was created as a visual tool that aspect took priority when choosing a projection.

Sources of Data and How Processed?

This data came from a number of sources. The Permian Basin outlines came from the University of Texas (BEG) Bureau of Economic Geology. The play outlines were mostly derived from Drillinginfo data. By taking the DI wells and production databases wells were selected by their different formations. Both a clustering tool and a smoothing tool were then used in ArcMap to group the wells and create polygons from them. Where the polygons did not look right, small manual changes were made to remove anomalies that did not seem to fit with the geology of the region. One play in particular was difficult to find info on, the Cline Shale. For this, the general shape was provided by our analytics team and came originally from a Devon Energy Map from April of 2002 which had been used in prior maps put out by DI Analytics.

Choice of Scale and why/Direction and why?

This scale was chosen because it does a good job of displaying all of the data relevant to the region and also allows for general shape recognition of Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. The North orientation was chosen simply so that people would recognize what they were looking at.

Choice of Color Palette and Fonts and why? Transparencies?

The colors were chosen to allow for easy differentiation between the plays when viewed on the map, where similar colors had to be used it was made sure that they did not exist in the same spatial location on the map. Features were made somewhat transparent so that one could see multiple plays in an area. In order to make the plays stand out a little more a darker outline was used around them that would help define them when the map started to get confusing. The fonts were chosen to be simple while getting away from the default Arial font.

Legends/Insets/Annotations/Other Elements and why?

The legend was made to be simple and show the colors associated with each play. It was decided to label the Permian basin and its features on the map and leave the labels off of the plays simply to keep from cluttering it up. Permian structure is central to why the plays are positioned where they are so it was very important to show this and to annotate the basins and platforms on the map.

Why we love it?

We love this map for a number of reasons but mostly because it shows how hugely complex the Permian Basin really is, especially when compared to say the gulf coast. This map also illustrates some tricky cartography to show so many overlapping polygons and still allow the map reader to make sense of the data. Finally, we really like the map because the majority of the plays were generated directly from DI well data and ArcGIS Tools.

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Your Turn

What do you think? Is there anything else you would like to know about this map? Is there an oil and gas concept you would like to see mapped? Leave a comment below.

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Eric Roach

Eric Roach is the editor of Drillinginfo's blog, which was selected as the Top Oil & Gas Industry Blog based on visibility, engagement and relevance. He also prepares a weekly newsletter of top industry news for blog subscribers, and would be grateful if you would subscribe and tell your friends. (There's a box on the upper right of the page where you can subscribe).