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Apache Maps Out a New View of the World with the Help of IHS

Headquartered in Houston, this independent energy company has operations around the world so its GIS team implemented a state-of-the-art system that provides users with both internally sourced spatial data and streamed industry data – saving time and providing a more complete picture of areas of interest.

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  • Provide support tools to assist with the Apache Geoportal initiative
  • Create a mapping application that keeps spatial data from all the internal and external sources up to date


IHS Energy with ESRI ArcGIS


  • Users have access to internally sourced spatial data with IHS information
  • A more complete picture of areas of interest
  • Latest and most complete information with directly streamed data
  • Time savings due to streamed data

Apache Maps Out a New View of the World

Apache Corporation is one of the world’s top independent energy companies. The company’s primary activities are focused on exploring for, developing and producing natural gas, crude oil and natural gas liquids. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Apache has operations in the United States, Canada, Egypt, the North Sea, Australia and Argentina. Apache has approximately 5,300 employees.

Business Challenge

With its focus on empowering all of its employees to be able to make more informed decisions, Apache has been at the forefront of a movement in the oil and gas industry of implementing enterprisewide geographic information systems (GIS). In doing so, Apache is transforming its oil and gas data into geographic information that lets users throughout the organization view critical exploration and production information within the context of a map.

Of course, there have always been employees at Apache who rely on maps to do their jobs. These advanced map users would build their maps with ArcGIS for Desktop, a powerful mapping tool. But with an array of features, Esri ArcGIS isn’t for everybody, especially casual users. Depending on the size of the project, building a map with ArcGIS can be time-consuming for even experienced users, while the associated load times can be long and the data latency issues can be frustrating. Furthermore, supporting desktop tools like ArcGIS puts pressure on IT administrators to keep their applications stocked with the best and most current spatial data.

In 2010, the Apache GIS department, headed up by Bruce Sanderson, launched a new initiative: the development of the Apache GeoPortal. The goal of the GeoPortal project was to make maps and spatial data available to all Apache employees who needed it—especially the more casual users who don’t have the time or knowledge to build maps with ArcGIS. Today, the GeoPortal offers easy access to maps, spatial layers, documents, pictures and videos. It also provides what Apache calls map apps—pre-built, regularly updated maps that can be viewed in the GeoPortal’s built-in map viewer.

“The GeoPortal is an intranet website for getting to maps and data where we’ve done a lot of the legwork for our users,” explained Sanderson.

Providing rich, up to date data from both internal sources and from vendors such as IHS really encourages users to come to the GeoPortal for maps and data.

Bruce Sanderson,
Head of GIS Department, Apache Corporation


In 2012, Apache connected their GeoPortal to IHS Energy Map Services, a suite of web mapping services that enables mapping applications to show the latest IHS energy information.

“Without content, our GeoPortal would fall flat,” Sanderson said. “Providing rich, up to date data from both internal sources and from vendors such as IHS really encourages users to come to the GeoPortal for maps and data.”

By integrating well data from IHS into its portal through Energy Map Services, Apache allows users to mash up internally sourced spatial data with IHS information to get a more complete picture of areas of interest. Apache also is assured that it is providing its users with the latest and most complete information, since the spatial data is streamed direct from IHS servers. And because IHS hosts the information on its servers, Apache IT administrators don’t have to spend valuable time loading or managing the content.

Integrating the services was easy, said Sanderson. “IHS did all the work—all we had to do was make the connection.”

In addition, Apache uses IHS Enerdeq® Web Services to provide more information on wells to its GeoPortal users. They can click on a well in a map to see additional details about the well and quickly generate a dynamic report such as a scout ticket, or a production summary.

“I’m very impressed that IHS has gone down this path,” Sanderson said. “They’re leading the vendor community in terms of offering these types of mapping services.”

Business Benefits

  • Provides easy access to IHS energy spatial information for Apache’s growing community of map users who don’t have the time or experience to build maps using desktop mapping tools
  • Delivers the most current well information available to Apache map users so they can make the best informed decisions
  • Data is hosted on IHS servers, eliminating the burden on Apache IT administrators to manage or upload data
  • Enables Apache to offer richer geographic energy content through the Apache GeoPortal
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