A few years ago, we published a free e-book entitled “Why Use GIS in Petroleum?”. With many thousands of downloads, it has become our most successful publication. People across the industry clearly value the concise overview of the Top 10 use cases for GIS in Oil and Gas. 

As time is moving on, our venerable publication may be due for an update. While we consider how to revise it, this blog post shares some thoughts and trends we’re seeing in the industry – and we are keen to hear your views as well (see below, it involves a prize!). 

A new breed of digital workflows 

Recent Petroleum User Group (PUG) events in Houston and London showed that most oil and gas organisations have now embarked on digital transformation, or ‘digitalisation’. Equally there remains an enduring need for things like good data management or analytical skills. 

Of course, our industry has been digital for decades. Digital transformation is no longer about making things digital that weren’t digital before, like replacing hand-drawn maps with GIS. Today, thanks to the relentless progress and versatility of computing platforms, it’s about re-imagining geospatial workflows from the ground up. 

True digital transformation goes beyond optimising the mere ‘business as usual’. And companies who are willing to experiment are most likely to reap the biggest rewards. This is evident in areas such as machine learning, where you won’t know what you’ll find until you find it – from accident hotspots hidden in well supply traffic data, to geological analogs buried deep in corporate document libraries. 

The enduring role of GIS 

GIS has always been good at many things but, in this brave new digital world, one of its most enduring features is the ability to join up data silos. In our industry, the ingestion of data from multiple sources into a single view remains one of the most challenging and rewarding problems. 

Organisations who successfully implement spatial integration reap significant benefits. From digital maps to operational dashboards, from scientific analytics to business intelligence, GIS simply helps people make sense of data – whatever the source or format. 

But of course, the way GIS works has evolved too. Thanks to the latest advances in platforms, sensors, analytics and visualisation, GIS is now offering entirely new ways of working. Why spend days interpreting imagery when an algorithm running in the cloud can do it for you in seconds? Why slave away in an office cubicle when, in a few clicks on your phone, you can create your report out in the field? Why decipher complex maps or cross-sections when you can visualise everything in 3D? 

Take the survey 

These are just some of the thoughts on how we think GIS has evolved over the past few years, and the opportunities this now offers our industry. At the same time, we’ve seen persistent demand for services like spatial data management and GIS training. 

What do YOU think? We’d love to hear from you. Take our 3-minute survey to share your GIS priorities and aspirations. We’ll post the results on our blog and, in return for taking part, you’ll be entered into a draw to win a copy of Esri’s fabulous new 500-page book on modern cartography. 

As they say, you have to be in it to win it. Good luck!! 


Written by Thierry Gregorius

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