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October - December 2002
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Managing Enterprise Land Assets Using GIS
By Michael F. Tepera and Todd Buehlman

In Cooperation with the PLAT team at Burlington Resources

Burlington Resources, a large energy company, wanted to manage its diverse land information through a common desktop GIS environment. Idea Integration, an Esri business partner, designed and built an enterprise GIS solution that facilitates the capture, storage, display, and analysis of land-related data.

PLAT's Land DataMart diagram
The AMD synchronizes PLAT with business logic from external databases.

The Petroleum Land Analysis Tool (PLAT) is a custom ArcView extension that integrates multiple enterprise land information databases through a unified desktop GIS and allows effective management, query, analysis, and mapping of this spatial and textual land data. The interface provides point-and-click query in plain English and hides database complexities from end users. It provides powerful land analysis functions that were previously difficult to achieve.

Business language, database information, and data sources are integrated through the use of XML-defined metadata definition layers. Connecting multiple databases through middle-ware metadata enables the power of multiple enterprise databases to be accessed from the desktop GIS and results in more effective management of the enterprise land assets.

Business Problems and Objectives

Burlington Resources is an oil and gas exploration and production company with hundreds of thousands of acres of leaseholdings that cover several states. Divisional offices, located throughout several states, have land departments that are responsible for managing the company's leaseholdings.

The company had petroleum and land data residing in several distributed databases that served the regional office business applications. This system prevented consolidation of the business data and made it difficult to fully exploit the value of this data. Multiple systems were used in the query and analysis of the overall leasehold position. Map production was time-consuming and inefficient. Integrating enterprise land information available via a desktop GIS environment would allow Burlington Resources to effectively manage, query, analyze, report, and map leasehold assets.

The Solution

Although the system was developed as an extension to ArcView 3.2, consideration was given to new Esri technology, ArcGIS, and Web-solutions. However, a desktop ArcView solution was preferred to enable rapid design and deployment. The solution was designed in a modular manner to allow a managed migration to new technology in the future.

PLAT was designed to pull from multiple external databases using a highly customized DataMart.

The implementation of Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) integrated proprietary external databases with ArcView through a custom defined metadata layer. Browsing, querying, analyzing, and mapping of this data are centralized through customized dialogs and controls that provide intuitive access to business data. The system provides access to Esri shapefiles, Esri SDE layers (including CAD layers), and tables from ODBC-compliant databases.

PLAT Core Components

Application Meta-database (AMD)--AMD facilitates access to multiple enterprise databases and defines the functionality available to users and the appropriate business logic. For example, it identifies which business criteria the user can query or analyze within or across different business objects. Leases, wells, and payment information are all business objects defined by AMD. AMD defines the data source (i.e., database) in which an object is stored and which relevant attributes are associated with this business object. Attributes for a business object may be stored in multiple databases. In addition, the AMD defines properties about the system initialization state such as which map layers will be viewed upon start-up and how those layers will be symbolized.

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