How a Map made a Weekly Report Understandable at a Glance

12-07-2018 06:11 AM
Esri Contributor

I came across a great example from Esri Business Partner S&P Global Platts ( of how they use the same starting data in different ways in their weekly summary on US drilling rig activity. The Platts Upstream Indicator is a free report available at It starts off as a data extract from SQL Server which then gets massaged into different styles of information presentation.

The raw data looks like this and maybe helpful for a data scientist but is not useful to any business user wanting to answer the question "what is happening in the US drilling rig market this week?" :

  1. Reporting as a Summary Table - This style of summary has lots of details and uses the geography of state or offshore for reporting unit. You have to study this table to understand what has been happening as there are still lots of numbers.

2. Reporting as a Chart - Really great to show trends over time and uses the "where" as activity by major oil and gas basin. Again, lots of information represented that a user would need to digest before understanding what was really going on.

3. As a Map - As a GIS Professional this is my favorite reporting style as it has everything you need to know in just a glance. It tells you;

  • Where are the producing basins (as the slightly darker areas) and in what state(s)
  • By proportional symbol what and where is the level of rig activity this week (...the hyper-active Permian Basin in West Texas sticks out)
  • Simple composite labels at each location give just the right amount of stats on absolute numbers plus changes up and down from the year before,

This map is so well designed that in a matter of a few seconds you can assimilate everything you need to know as to the state of play in the US rig market that week.

This was not the first map that this weekly report has used but this latest design introduced around August 2018 is by far the clearest and most thoughtful cartography the S&P Global Platts GIS team in Denver has produced. The mapping was done with Esri's ArcGIS Pro and apart from a couple of manual tweaks is mostly scripted as an automated process to create.

A picture is worth a thousand words but in this case a map is worth a thousand rows in a table. Very nice job S&P Global!

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