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Landing the Big One: New Technology for the Landman


A few years ago while heading back home to visit my parents, I zoned out, as I often do when driving, and began thinking about a CPL luncheon I recently attended.

The speaker was going over the nightmare that is Texas’ legal descriptions and the history of what makes it so unique.

The piece of the discussion that I was fixated on was around the safety net that the State of Texas put in place early on to help stop title failure due a mistakes in writing or typing the property descriptions for real property records. He highlighted the fact that at the end of most tract descriptions, sometimes in lieu of tract descriptions, the drafting party will make a reference back to the source deed from when that particular tract of land was created. I realized that meant that every time that property was sold since its inception, the drafting parties always referred back to the same source deed.

That’s when I blurted out “Prior References!” to my wife. I went on to explain to her, in great detail, how we could capture the prior references not only in the tract descriptions but anywhere in the body of the documents when we process Syndicate records and by doing so in a relational database we could change the way the entire Land and even Title industry links chains of documents by allowing them to enter a record and bringing back every document that has referenced it… to which she said, “You’re soooo weird.”

Weird as I may be, today at Drillinginfo we have taken that step forward, along with quite a few other improvements.

“Prior References.”

Running title in Texas is always the equivalent of a super marathon, so let’s take a look at some of the features of our new Courthouse 2.0 tool, which you should see on the front page of your gallery as you’re logged in. (You will only have access to land information to which you are subscribed).

First a simple search of Grimes Title Plant where either the grantor or grantee is Weber Energy immediately flows back 143 results.

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That’s pretty cool. Let’s click on a Memorandum of Oil and Gas Lease from Worden Rose M Garza…

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And now you have the document itself, and can click on the blue button to add to your runsheet.

This is all well and good and outside of its blazing speed and clarity is pretty much what you’d expect. But let’s focus on the prior reference mentioned in the tract Description (vol 396 page 520). If we were to enter vol 396 page 520 into the new Prior Reference tool, we will see the 14 documents filed in Grimes County that have referenced that source deed. Just like that, we have been able to find every deed and lease that has taken place on this property since its inception. Now that’s a powerful new way to run title searches!

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We’ve closed the gap

Literally, we have closed the gaps on our polygons. We are excited to have rolled out the result of a process where we have upgraded our basemap to a more spatially accurate one for better concordance to various aerial photo layers, while simultaneously normalizing all the various tract layers to one another and the basemap.

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We’re closing the gap (part 2)

Very soon, you will be able to do your courthouse searches from within the landtracs polygons in production workspace and vice versa. All of the relevant information from legal descriptions to production records will be easily available in one place.

Speed and Performance

The new system architecture is very fast. And by viewing searches and saved runsheets in the same view you will save even more time. But you don’t have to take my word for it – watch our CEO Allen Gilmer navigate through a number of our leasing improvements in this 6 minute video.

Your Turn

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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Silas Martin

Silas is the Director, Data Acquisition and Enhancement at Drillinginfo. He spent the better part of a decade in the courthouses and title offices of East Texas and has field experience in: TX, LA, AR, MS, OK, KS, PA, OH, WV, CO, WY, UT, CA, ND, MT, MI, and NM.