How Valuable Is The Technology In Your GPS To A Big Oil Company?

While you might think of big oil companies as using incredibly complex and intricate algorithms to scope out where the next big oil deposit may be, the truth is that the technology they use is a different form of what’s mounted on your car’s dashboard. That technology is satellite imaging, and it’s incredibly useful in finding oil and gas deposits when big energy companies are trying to see where to dig next. 

What do These Companies Use?

While the exact technology is a trade secret, oil and gas companies use satellites to get a clear picture of a huge variety of areas, which are then compiled into maps which can be used to determine areas that are good candidates for a potential oil well. However, these maps aren’t just used for determining where there is oil, but also where the oil is easiest to access. For example, if a satellite image comes up with a high potential for oil in your back yard, then subsequent mapping would show this feature, and the company would then plan out how exactly to access the oil, or whether to try to access it at all. 

What Else are These Maps Used For?

The oil and gas satellite maps produced for oil companies aren’t just used to predict oil deposits, but also for a wide variety of environmental reasons. These maps are often displayed as topographic maps in addition to photographs. In fact, these maps can be customized to show property lines, public water supplies, and any number of important factors that could influence a company’s decision to drill for oil in a certain area.

The good news is that these maps aren’t used to examine private property in any depth, or for any reasons that would be considered untoward, thanks to federal regulations on the use of satellite imaging in the United States. Specifically, any person or entity who is using satellite imagery in the United States is subject to a licensing process meant to regulate the process and its products, ensuring your privacy. 

While you may not be getting an offer for your dashboard GPS anytime soon, oil and gas companies still continue to rely on the same kinds of technology for huge projects every day. Whether it’s to see where the next big boom town will be or who needs to grant permission for access, the oil and gas industries would be far worse off today if it weren’t for the amazing power of satellite imaging. 

Author: Ismael Caldwell

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