Oil and Gas Base Maps


While the Wells Information System (WIS) database keeps track of the well details, a linked mapping system is used to create maps showing the locations of the wells and other important geographical features. This mapping system is part of a Geographic Information System (GIS), a complex computer system that allows the user to capture, analyze, and display data in a spatial context.

The GIS associated with WIS consists of Arc/Info and ArcView software modules that can access and manipulate data stored in WIS to compile oil and gas well location maps. GIS requires spatial coordinates such as latitude and longitude in order to operate.

Oil and gas location data entered into the WIS database are given as footage offsets from nearby 2.5-minute latitude and longitude intersections. GIS must be used to convert these offset data to true latitudes and longitudes before it can correctly locate the well. For example, the James Noble No. 9 well is located 10,500 feet south of 40°12'30" north latitude and 3,350 feet west of 80°22'30" west longitude (Figure 1). In order for the computer to spot this well on a map, GIS has converted the location to 40°10'46.235" north latitude and 80°23'13.158" west longitude. It has also written those converted coordinates back to the WIS database. Now we can produce a map of the area showing the precise location of James Noble No. 9 and surrounding wells (Figure 1).

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Figure 1 – Portion of the West Middletown 7.5-minute oil and gas base map.

Because the map shown in Figure 1 uses the United States Geological Survey’s West Middletown 7.5 minute topographic quadrangle as a base, you can see not only where the oil and gas wells are located (see Figure 2 for an explanation of well symbols), but also features like roads, streams, manmade features, and political boundaries.  In addition, you can observe the lay of the land and determine elevations of various features using the brown topographic contour lines.

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Figure 2 – Well symbol legend.