GIS-UDRIL – A Useful Acronym

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

This is always a crazy time of year at AAPG – getting ready for the annual meeting and budget review. It is a crazy time for me personally, as welI – getting ready for a new job and also working to complete projects before I leave.

On top of that, I currently am coaching girls’ indoor soccer and basketball, plus we are starting practice and games for outdoor soccer. Obviously, I have trouble saying “no.”

My daughter, Zoe, age 11 now, is our goalie (with an attitude), and after one unusually rough game she asked me in the car on the way home, “Where do referees come from?”

I thought to myself, “Wow, that’s a loaded question!”

I tactfully explained to her that referees were people, too, and they were interested in sports and usually were paid a small amount for their efforts.

“Paid!?” she replied disgustedly. “I thought they were doing community service … like those guys pickin’ up trash along the highway!”

We sometimes do not understand certain things due to the lack of information.

Last year we conducted a few polls on AAPG programs and we realized that many members are not familiar with all of AAPG’s digital programs. For example, AAPG has three primary digital information programs with Datapages – the Archives, Search and Discovery and GIS-UDRIL .

Many of you probably just said, “GIS … what!?”

The GIS-UDRIL- project was started 10 years ago to capture much of the geo-referenced information in the Datapages library and other resources. GIS-UDRIL is an acronym for Geographic Information Systems – Upstream Digital Reference Information Library.

It is an expansive project that provides digital products and services to the upstream petroleum companies by preparation of GIS-linked databases and atlases of geo-references maps and other images. That’s the official definition.

In other words, we are taking maps and datasets out of the BULLETIN, Special Publications and other society publications and placing them into an easy-to-use and easy-to-retrieve system like ArcGIS or Google Maps.

The following are a few examples of maps and datasets contained in GIS-UDRIL:

  • Black Shales Atlas (390 maps).
  • Salt Dome/Salt Structures Atlast (1,700 salt structures).
  • Coalbed Methane Atlas (60 maps).
  • South Atlantic Margins Atlas (204 maps).
  • Gulf Coast/Gulf of Mexico Atlas (332 maps).
  • State atlases – Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming (146 maps).
  • Western Canada Atlas (140 maps).
  • Deep Water Deposits Atlas (112 case studies).
  • Incised Valley Atlas (25 case studies).
  • Arabian Plate Atlas (90 Maps).

There also are many detailed collections. For example, the GIS-UDRIL Oil and Gas Fields Database contains almost 2,000 global oil and gas fields with hyperlinks to illustrations, maps, images, discovery history plus an Excel database with drilling, completion, production, reservoirs and source rock data.

The GIS-UDRIL Seismic Atlas contains nearly 3,000 seismic lines from around the world.

Many new map projects are in development through the AAPG GIS Publications Committee. In addition, new collections are being developed through the AAPG-OSU Geoscience GIS Consortium, a partnership between AAPG and Oklahoma State University. This partnership was created in 2008 when the AAPG Foundation received a generous gift of nearly $10 million from Boone Pickens.

I carefully explained to Zoe that referees were not from a work-release program. She seemed satisfied and felt better about the situation once she knew the facts. I think she knew I was serious because I finally stopped laughing.

If you want more facts on GIS-UDRIL you can see it online at, or you can come by the headquarters/Datapages booth at the upcoming annual convention in Houston for a demo.

The GIS-UDRIL project has just scratched the surface of available geo-referenced data in AAPG, its affiliated/associated societies and in industry. In the future it will be one of the key delivery systems from AAPG to its members and industry.

“One cannot know everything,” Horace once said – but now you know a little more about AAPG.

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Director's Corner

Director's Corner - Rick Fritz
Richard D. “Rick” Fritz, an AAPG member since 1984 and a member of the Division of Environmental Geosciences and the Division of Professional Affairs, served as AAPG Executive Director from 1999 to 2011.

The Director's Corner covers Association news and industry events from the worldview perspective of the AAPG Executive Director.

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