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Inside Drillinginfo’s Map Drawers #7: Eagle Ford Shale Oil Gravity


Things sure move fast in this day and age. Where once it was acceptable to use a stately tree or remarkable rock to denote a legal boundary, now we check the traffic map on our phones before we leave the office.

So it goes in our Drillinginfo GIS department. While many of our maps are designed to create long-term context around a play or concept, many more are a snapshot of an ever-changing time-scape.

And then some maps are made to help create context for a sudden change in the world, like when the Department of Commerce loosened a 40 year old restriction on the foreign export of condensate. I asked GIS Analyst Matthew Gray a few questions about this map of Eagle Ford Shale Oil Gravity.

Map Title: Eagle Ford Shale Oil Gravity

Who asked for the map, and what did they ask for?

Kristi Machicek, Marketing Communications Specialist, requested it after receiving a request from Alison Sider, a Wall Street Journal reporter, requesting any oil gravity maps Drilling Info had for an upcoming article.

Which DI Cartography Group made it?

GIS Strike Force, in cooperation with DI Analytics

Completion Date / Date of Production?

June 23, 2014

Medium: Web / Print / Digital? (if web, WMS? WFS?)

Digital –

Type or Style of Map (Projections?) (GCS? PCS?)

This map is in the USA Contiguous Albers Equal Area Conic projection. This projection was chosen because it preserves area over large regions, and having area preserved as accurately as possible was important for the interpolation tool that was used to create the map.

Sources of Data and How Processed?

The data was sourced internally from DI Analytics. It originally was a point shapefile representing wells and their associated Oil Gravity values. To interpolate values between the wells, the Natural Neighbor interpolation tool was used. Contour lines were further planned to be created from the Natural Neighbor raster, but it was decided in the end to just stick with the Natural Neighbor raster instead.

Choice of Scale / Direction and why?

The scale is set at roughly 1:1,000,000. We chose this to get a good view of the data’s extent.

Choice of Color Palette and Font(s) and why?

Grey and dark grey were chosen for TX counties and Mexico so that the actual data of the map would stand out and be the main focus. The green to red color scheme was chosen to symbolize the oil gravity values because it highlighted the higher values well with the red and orange, and it overall is a common color scheme in cartography. Arial was chosen as the font since san-serif fonts are desirable for map titles and labels.

Legends / Insets / Annotations / Other elements and why?

The legend was designed to be as simple as possible for this map. Three was chosen as the interval to use for the data breaks because it actually was the perfect number to use based of the data’s range.

Why we love it?

We love this map because it gives a clear and concise view of the estimated oil gravity values for a very large portion of the Eagle Ford Shale, which is incredibly important since the ban on exporting oil and gas condensates was recently lifted.

Your Turn

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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Eric Roach

Eric Roach is the editor of Drillinginfo's blog, which was selected as the Top Oil & Gas Industry Blog based on visibility, engagement and relevance. He also prepares a weekly newsletter of top industry news for blog subscribers, and would be grateful if you would subscribe and tell your friends. (There's a box on the upper right of the page where you can subscribe).