Register Today! Webinar on June 16 | Geopolitics & Energy – Supply Risks on the Rise

Importing Drillinginfo Data into Google Earth and Your GPS


Although Drillinginfo maps come with the ability to view Bing satellite imagery, some projects call for tools only found in Google Earth. As a Technical Advisor for Drillinginfo, I met an oil transporter that used Google Earth to calculate mileage between leases and crude storage terminals. They needed a way to marry well locations with street data. Exporting DI data into Google Earth/Maps is a simple way to accomplish that. I’ll also show a way to get your DI map points into your GPS.

Here’s how to get started. This method applies to all levels of DI memberships. All that is needed is the ability to export data in csv format.

1) Use your DI platform of choice to export the entities you wish to look at in Google Earth. The example here uses DI Classic, aka Well data such as permits, completions, production, and logs should all have associated latitude/longitude available as data columns in DI.

image (2)
The DI Classic search panel.

image (3)
A permit search in DI Classic. Gather the lat/long coordinates by clicking ‘Get Lat/Long for Selected Points’, and select an identifier, a descriptor, and optionally, something you will want to color and/or shape by. For instance, I can label the map spot with ‘API’ and color permits by depth.

Next, export your search results as a csv. Remove all extraneous columns. The only remaining columns should be: ‘Latitude’,’Longitude’,’Name’ and ‘Description’. The ‘Name’ column should be a unique identifier such as API, complete well name, or Permit Number. A fifth column, ‘Icon’ is a number which represents the icon the point will display with on the map. You can view icons and their associated numbers at

You can skip assigning an icon altogether or you can assign several icons to call out different data values.

AJ Figure 3 google earth
I temporarily retained the ‘Permitted Depth’ column in order to determine my icon scheme. I chose icon 160 (a green marker) for permitted depths of less than 9000 feet. I used icon 185 (a red marker) for deeper permitted depths.

Once you have saved your file in this format (still as a csv), you can use one of many freely available websites or utilities to convert to kml. Here is one I’ve had luck with:

AJ Figure 4 google earth

Once I’ve uploaded the file, it prompts me to save the file as a KML. I then navigate to the file in Google Earth from File > Open.

AJ Figure 5 google earth
The result. I can turn permitted well on and off.

AJ Figure 6 google earth

AJ Figure 7 google earth
Click on the placemarker to view the description; I used permit number for the description.

Useful things to do with your Drillinginfo data in Google Earth:

  1. View historical satellite imagery. Useful for complying with Lease terms which require that the land be returned to its original condition.
  2. Measure distances between wells or along a path (measure areas in Google Earth Pro)
  3. Get driving directions to a well
  4. Use ‘record a tour’ to create a video of yourself navigating around the map while narrating.
  5. Add the map info to your GPS (see below)

Adding map points to your GPS

To view the well permits on your GPS, you need to convert the KML to GPX, the most common GPS waypoint format. There are a number of free utilities to do this. I used this website:

Save the GPX file to your computer. A GPX file is just a set of points of interest. On your GPS, this is equivalent to restaurants, hotels, or any place you can specifically navigate to by name.

Connect your GPS to your computer with a cable as though you were going to download map updates. Even an older GPS will likely have a spot for a usb cable. On your computer, the GPS will appear as an external drive (like a thumb drive).

Your GPS may have a different folder structure than what is below, but somewhere you will see a folder for GPX. Paste your GPX file to that folder.

AJ Figure 8 google earth


AJ Figure 9 google earth
Find a folder containing a GPX file and paste your file there as well. After using your GPS once, the Drillinginfo GPX file will merge into the gps’s GPX file. If you want to delete these points later, you can edit the GPX file, which is laid out like a XML. Items are added in order of creation, so you can select a block of text and remove it.

AJ Figure 10 google earth
Three of our imported data points are shown in the GPX file. Each point starts with a tag (waypoint).

Untitled-1 google earthNavigate to each well by searching for its API number. This API carries over from when we originally designated the API column in our csv as “Name”. The “Name” could be any identifier, such as permit number, but it needs to be unique so we get one result when we search for it.

Your Turn

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

The following two tabs change content below.

Ashley Justinic

Ashley Justinic is a Solution Architect for Drillinginfo. She is part of the Transform team, responsible for facilitating the success of client geoscience projects using Transform software. Ashley earned a Bachelor's Degree in Geology at SMU in 2010, and a Master's Degree in Geophysics at SMU in 2012.