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Are your Federal Leases Expiring?

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Are your Federal Leases Expiring?

Robert White


Every month, the Bureau of Land Management publishes the LR2000 data.  These massive files are a compilation, by state, including legal descriptions, of leases, permits, contracts, grants, agreements, mineral patents, etc. issued by the BLM on federal actions affecting public lands of the United States.  I wanted to see what it would take to extract and map just the federal oil and gas leases expiring in 2018 in Wyoming and their associated working interests.

The raw data are in a “pipe delimited text” format probably dumped from an Oracle database.  These data have no header information, so I had to manually create header columns for each table by reformatting an included text file.  I then used FME Workbench from Safe Software to read the data and write PostgreSQL tables. 

After analyzing the data, and with some help from the BLM, I was able to construct a query based on BLM database action codes, disposition codes, and my desired timeline - January through December 2018.  Running this query against my PostgreSQL tables,  I was able to produce a results table of the desired records.  The query took about ten minutes or so to run on my Surface Pro laptop.

I then used an FME workspace I had developed over the course of a couple of weeks to extract and massage the legal descriptions and publish them directly to ArcGIS Online. Every raw data source provides PLSS legal descriptions in a slightly different format. We have written a sensible standard we hope others will follow. 

Once cleaned up (Meridian, Township and range formatted, quarter quarter and lot descriptions checked), I can then pass the  properly formatted legal description along to the WhiteStar Legal Mapper  (WhiteStarLegalMapper) transformer which uses a REST endpoint to  produce the polygon geometry.  The polygons are returned to the FME workspace which then publishes it directly to ArcGIS Online using my account.  Once published, I produced an Esri  StoryMap. 


You can see the 2800 statewide leases displayed on a map of Wyoming.  These data are real, live and unretouched - probably a business opportunity or two is lurking here.

Now that I have an FME workspace created, I can reuse it next month to examine a new batch of leases and make it a permanent part of my workflow.

WhiteStar Legal Mapper

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Join WhiteStar at the ESRI Petroleum GIS Conference
May 9-10, 2018 | Houston, TX
Booth #400