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Quick Workflows: New Mexico Lease Sale Mapping

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Quick Workflows: New Mexico Lease Sale Mapping

Robert White

Every month, The New Mexico State Lands Office conducts an online and in-person auction of various oil and gas leases, but without any associated GIS data.   I thought it would be an interesting exercise to map the proposed sale leases and try to use the GIS to make some additional assessments. This project, from start to finish, took about one hour.

We can see the leases listed on their website. I used notepad to quickly enter the data as it was in some non-downloadable raster form.  Note that I also had to reformat the legal descriptions slightly to our standard. Since this government organization is “all about New Mexico” it doesn’t include a meridian code for each parcel, for example.  It is just assumed you know that. (Please contact Mark Woloszyk at 800-736-6277 to obtain a free wall map showing all US meridian codes).


Next, I fed the CSV text file I created to the WhiteStar Legal Mapper.  I define which column contains the unique identifier (column 1) and the legal description (column 3).  Push “submit” and it performs the calculations. I can click on individual calculations to get a view of the resulting polygons and quality check for typos and errors.  I initially made a few.

Screenshot 2018-03-29 22.40.57.png

I then went to WhiteStar cloud and downloaded File Geodatabases for the WhiteStar Wells and WhiteStar Lots Tracts and Quarter Quarters for Eddy County, NM.  I also downloaded the leases shapefile from WhiteStar Cloud and added all of three data elements to an Esri ArcMap session.  Our automatic symbolizer symbolized the map. I then published the data to ArcGIS online and also created an Esri Story Map of the results where you can play with the data here.

By aggregating some basic data with the legals, I can see the lease polygons have a few plugged wells drilled on them (click on the wells to see the header data).  Even more interestingly, these parcels are adjacent to Carlsbad Caverns National Park.  Park land in fact lies between the individual leases.  This situation may have an impact on my logistics.

I call it the “power of one hour” to map leases quickly and leverage GIS to map legal descriptions and compare with other immediately available data to make better business decisions.