ABSTRACT: Digital Exploration Databases: Should I Build My Own or Purchase? A modern folktale of John Henry, a digital man for the '90s
Stephen A. Krajewski
Traditionally, data storage has been equated with file cabinets full of scout thickets, maps, cross sections, E-logs, and seismic lines. Recent time studies show that as much as 70% of daily exploration work time is spent accessing, transforming, and displaying this "paper data" by hand, and that only 30% of work time is spent evaluating data. The result of this approach is that exploration companies become libraries and explorationists librarians.
Installation of new tools such as inexpensive and powerful microcomputers and user-friendly database management software can make information more accessible and improve worker productivity; however, before these new tools can be effectively used, "paper data" must be converted into binary, digital data--logical patterns of 0s and 1s.
"Paper data" can be converted into "binary digital data" by manual entry of numeric and text data using a keyboard, recording point (well location), line (section, township, and range), or polygon (lease) data using a digitizing tablet or table, and rasterizing/vectorizing data using an optical scanner. Some exploration companies decide to undertake these data conversion operations themselves. Perceived advantages include the ability to customize data storage protocols, more accuracy in entering data, more consistency in selecting data for entry, and lower cost because of undervalued in-house hourly rates.
Database vendors cite advantages of purchasing digital data that include bypassing time-consuming and tedious manual data entry operations, delivery of digital data formats that are readily usable by commercial software packages, greater accuracy, and less cost. More important, they argue that users spend less time entering and managing data, and more time analyzing data.
This presentation compares advantages and disadvantages of constructing your own historic well database and digitized landgrid files versus purchasing digital data from commercial database vendors. Discussion topics will include hardware and software needs; availability of data; time requirements for entering, editing, and managing digital data; costs and data accuracy; computer literacy levels needed; and realized problems and benefits. Historic well and landgrid data for a 72-section area surrounding the Carson-Hamm field, a Minnelusa producer, in Wyoming's Powder River basin will be used to show whether John Henry, a digital man for the '90s, can enter digits all day long more accurately and more cost effectively than commercial database vendors.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91002©1990 AAPG Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Denver, Colorado, September 16-19, 1990