Representation of our world by geographic data reduction methods known as maps and globes has a long history. The rapid growth in digital mapping methods created a large variety of GIS technologies that are used for different purposes in our daily lives. Yet, the mindset of many did not change, treating the maps as pictures. In the 21st century, maps are the spatial datasets available for analytical tools. Our geophysical operations planning, execution, and preparation for data analysis, for example, use the GIS platform and link different workstreams of operations planning together. We integrate geophysical datasets of indirect subsurface characterization parameters with more sparse direct geologic information available from drilling the wells and collecting geologic samples in the outcrops. Design of the surveys and precise positioning of the seismic data acquisition arrays during operations have a direct impact on the interpretation project outcomes in well or carbon injection site selection. Our intention is to share our experience in geoscience data organization, integration of different resources available in the area of interest for seismic operations planning, geologic studies, and exposure of the information to the decision makers for dynamic project management and analysis.
In our projects, GIS tools are connectors between various complex datasets to expose information for easy visualization by any team member. Delivery of the projects on time and on budget under the pressure of schedule requires exposure of all team members to all data layers and to move interactively in a digital environment integrating public and proprietary data sets. Because of this, the company's focus is on creating an interactive platforms where the different sources of information are integrated and can be consulted, analyzed, and even edited in a shared mindset by the multidisciplinary team members. GIS is a common language available to geophysicists, geologists, drillers, operations planners, and local communities.
The use of GIS technologies and applications for all kinds of purposes in geotechnical projects grew dramatically in the beginning of 21st century. However, GIS tools and geodatabases are still not used to their full potential by technical and scientific community of oil & gas industry enabling statistical analysis, dynamic maps, and all other kinds of interactive visual and numerical analytics that facilitate and streamline operations at all levels.
Breaking the old paradigm of “map is a picture”, our corporate vision is focused on the integration of technologies and data using GIS tools as a connector between the complex geological and geophysical datasets in a fluid and simple visualization of them by any team member. The workflows are established under the premise of having a horizontal communication language where all team members have the ability and motivation to understand, integrate and value the importance of each discipline involved in the development of the projects. Therefore, the GIS becomes a linking bridge between the different professional perspectives allowing the whole team to understand the scope, the objectives and required level of collaboration between the specialists working in each project.
As a result of this approach, we have sought to land all geographic spatial information in a shared, attractive and visual environment where the geoscience story tailored for the people with different levels of technical skills and specializations. Interactive geographic Portal for each project is a solution where the different sources of information are integrated and can be validated, consulted, analyzed and even edited in a practical and simple way by the members of the team or by the clients.
The challenge in many frontier areas or any new study area for the team is in the variability of the data sources and formats. Often the project requires going back to publications and paper products in need of digitization, georeferencing, vectorization, and other data manipulation techniques. All these datasets had to be added to the project geographic database necessary for the QC and integration of spatial data, since the data comes from different sources in different formats and spatial origins.
The foundation of the success of our projects is in the interdisciplinary geographic work environment that is simple and clear to everyone involved in the project yet, at the same time, robust enough with all the necessary tools required by the objectives of the subsurface characterization projects. Our scientists with the knowledge of local geology contribute to a collaborative product online via the geospatial portal. For example, one of our projects in South America has team members with the required skills and knowledge spread around the world because our team members are selected not by co-location but by the quality of their contribution to the project. Geographically spread teams require a creative approach to collaboration. The solution is found using an interactive platform that allows geologists and geophysicists active participation in the creation of new geospatial data, where the positional information and quality control on dataset resolution, precision, and accuracy is validated by a qualified mapping specialist with the understanding of the importance of geodetic integrity of the datasets.
The standardization in naming conventions and formats also contributes to the clarity of the communication channels allowing integration and elimination of redundant datasets. As a result of this process, we have transformed a huge collection of analog data into geo-referenced digital information of known quality and fed it into our databases published on our online platforms.
The purpose of the creation of the Geodatabase is to collect tables with spatial location information for the layers, integrating geological, geophysical, and topographical information. This information is used to identify and characterize potential subsurface prospects, optimizing resources in project execution and reducing time in data analysis. Commonly used GIS analysis tools are correlation, superposition, blending, and information reclassification. Such methods allow fast and efficient integration of spatial data for further standardization and publication.
Integrating all these data into a common GIS environment also allows QC of all the layers against each other at different scales and the creation of a common set of layer attributes, metadata, and optimal formats for stored information to avoid inconsistencies, positioning errors, and redundancies in the information. Standardization of naming conventions, scale-dependent layer simplifications, and representations (color, shapes, etc.) improves project team communication and facilitates universal mapping language development.
An efficient collaboration is created between all team members by the introduction of basic GIS skills into the tool kit for everyone on the team. Geologists appreciate the need to learn the basics of the display of the information in the GIS environment and GIS experts have learned how to help them to optimize geologic analysis in the workflows better. The feedback loop is created when each communication between different disciplines is improving with the next work session solving the project challenges.
A portfolio of GIS tools in the management and visualization of geoscience data is an enabler of more efficient and accurate decision-making at the operational level in each of our projects.
By spreading generic GIS skills across the company and providing training to all management levels the company created integrative geographic communications between the disciplines within the project teams, project managers, and with the clients.
The geospatial data spread between different siloed repositories often gets lost when projects get moved. Creation of Map Packages, where the data and map products are protected from the broken data links, preserves integrity of the project and provides a single version of the truth.
Published maps with dynamically updated layers streamline communication during the operations.
Web-based maps are especially important for geographically spread teams. Online GIS tools now allow even drawing of the new layers which was not available before. Our team has a variety of projects around the Globe and the GIS portal facilitates interactive exploration of the datasets showing in detail attributes, topology, and metadata that describe subsurface and surface features at the required level of detail to provide enough technical information to make quality decisions easier and faster.
The blend of desktop mapping and web mapping now is simple and even scripting is aided by new AI tools making it more friendly and accessible to non-developers. Our web maps are also get embedded into the data rooms and different web applications to be shared with the clients.
Example of GIS Portal for U3 Explore Venezuela Project