Oil & Gas business decisions, safety of personnel, assets, operational activities, and also protection of the natural environment, are often dependent on having complete, correct, consistent and current information of our operating locations and areas of interest. Geomatics is the combined discipline of Survey & Positioning and Geospatial Data Management, and provides accurate positioning and mapping support across the full O&G life cycle.

The most recent update about the Committee’s work is available here

Our key work areas


Seabed Survey Data Model

P6 Data Model

Earth Observation

Geophysical operations

Practical Geodesy



Think the Earth is round? Think again. Actually the Earth – land and sea – is continuously changing shape, influenced by factors such as its rotation, gravity and tectonic movement. Our Practical Geodesy work supports the description of the definitions of coordinates for describing locations on, above and below the surface of the Earth.

In order to improve our industry’s surveying capability, IOGP develops and maintains specialist tools and resources.

EPSG Dataset

The EPSG Geodetic Parameter Dataset is a collection of definitions of coordinate reference systems and coordinate transformations. These may be global, regional, national or local in application. To learn more visit

The Dataset is maintained by IOGP members through the Geodesy Subcommittee of the Geomatics Committee. It is distributed publicly at no cost requiring acceptance of the Terms of Use.

In October 2020, the EPSG Registry has migrated from a previous platform. The EPSG data model has been upgraded to follow the ISO 19111:2019 revisions for dynamic datums, geoid-based vertical datums, datum ensembles and derived projected coordinate reference systems. For an overview of the model changes see here.

Dynamic Coordinate Reference Systems

Following the release of updated GN25 Dynamic versus static CRSs and use of the ITRF and new GN26 Coordinate Transformations in the US Gulf of Mexico OCS, the Committee has now delivered a video introducing the concept of dynamic coordinate reference systems. The video is shared under the same T&C as other IOGP Publications and can be reproduced in whole or in part provided (i) that the copyright of IOGP and (ii) the sources are acknowledged.

Guidance Notes

Several IOGP’s short documents give guidance to the industry on geodetic topics:

We are also the custodians of UKOOA Report: Guidance notes on the use of coordinate systems in data management on the UKCS.

Information about Guidance Notes on other Geomatics topics may be found on other pages of this web site.



Geo-information (which includes location, coordinate and geo-code) accounts for about 80% of exploration and production data. Much of this information is stored in a variety of applications, databases and formats, including the widely used Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

Common geography provides an extremely powerful means to integrate E&P information in support of business decision-making for exploration, new business, construction, field development and decommissioning – in fact every aspect of the upstream life-cycle. We develop industry guidelines, good practices and specifications regarding the use of this data.

Common Operating Picture in Oil Spill Response

Responding to an oil spill requires access to and understanding of many types of information. Effective, coordinated operations for the response are based on a shared, common picture of the situation. Interoperability provides shared situational awareness of the crisis and the response activities. What is needed is a common picture of reality for different organizations that have different views of the spill so that they all can deal with it collectively. The video below (courtesy of Shell) explains the concept of the Common Operating Picture (COP).

OSRJIPCOP_Shell_COP_Animation from IOGP on Vimeo.

To support implementation of an effective COP and the requisite data management by the response community, the IOGP and IPIECA published Recommended practice for Common Operating Picture architecture for oil spill response. The report has also been approved as an OGC Best Practice.

Shell Standard legend

Maps are one the industry’s most important communication tools and cartographic symbols standards are essential for their intuitive and consistent interpretation and understanding. Many symbols are universally understood, such as blue for river and green for vegetation, others must be explained.

Shell has developed a comprehensive cartographic symbol set to support hydrocarbon exploration and petroleum engineering, the so-called ‘Shell Standard Legend’ (SSL). Its origin can be traced back some 95 years and since 2014 it is publicly available for sharing with industry and academia.

The SSL is published in two version, one supporting the convention “oil=red”, and one “oil=green”, recognizing that these two mapping conventions are in use around the world by different operators and governments. Each publication consistently uses one of these color conventions throughout the document and categorizes the symbols according to:

  • Hydrocarbons (such as fields, prospects and shows)
  • Topography (control points, markers, offshore structures, contours, road symbols)
  • Geology (morphology, lithology, faults, chronostratigraphy)
  • Geochemistry (source rock, maturity)
  • Geophysics (seismic stratigraphy)
  • Wells (well symbols by hydrocarbon type and status)
  • IOGP Data Models symbology (incl. Seabed Survey Data Model)

IOGP has welcomed Shell’s offer to release these documents to industry and is pleased to make them available for download:

In addition to the standard documents Shell also makes available files to support the Shell Standard Legend. These are available from the Esri Style gallery:

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, neither the IOGP nor any of its members past present or future warrants its accuracy or will, regardless of its or their negligence, assume liability for any foreseeable or unforeseeable use made thereof, which liability is hereby excluded. Consequently, such use is at the recipient’s own risk on the basis that any use by the recipient constitutes agreement to the terms of this disclaimer. The recipient is obliged to inform any subsequent recipient of such terms.

Seabed Survey Data Model

Seabed Survey Data Model

Since its publication in April 2011, the Seabed Survey Data Model (SSDM) has become the de facto industry standard for delivering seabed survey data in geographic information system (GIS) format.

Historically, geographical features interpreted from seabed survey data have been delivered in unstructured CAD files. This has made the management, integration and exchange of the survey data and interpretation of results difficult. To address these issues the IOGP Seabed Survey Data Model (SSDM) Task Force was formed in 2010 to define a standard GIS data model for delivery, management and exchange of seabed survey data. In January 2017 IOGP successfully released an updated version of the model (SSDM V2) incorporating the industry feedback received so far.

Version 2 of the SSDM package may be downloaded here (21 MB). The zip will unpack itself into the following structure:

  • 1_Change_Log
  • 2_Data_Dictionary
  • 3_Data_Model_Templates
    • 2a_GIS
    • 2b_SeabedML
  • 4_Data_Model_Guidelines
  • 5_Symbology
  • 6_Metadata
    • FGDC
    • ISO19139
  • 7_ Feedback_Form

The IOGP reports supporting SSDM Version 2 are also available directly via the IOGP library:

Other useful documentation:

P6 Data Model

P6 Data Model

The IOGP P6/11 seismic bin grid data exchange format defines the following parameters for a 3D seismic survey:

  • Coordinate Reference System (CRS) and coordinate transformation parameters between global and local geodetic CRSMaster bin grid definition/coverage
  • Bin grid origin and increments
  • Scale factor of the bin grid
  • Nominal bin width
  • Full fold definition/coverage

Since the creation of the original P6 format in 1998, Geographic Information System (GIS) has become a common application used by operators to manage, analyse and map geo-information. GIS enables integration of geo-information of which seismic positioning data is an essential component. The requirement to be able to visualize and use seismic bin grid definitions and data in GIS has become increasingly important for:

  • Seismic positioning QC (is a bin grid in the correct geographic location relative to surrounding seismic surveys, wells, permits etc?)
  • Improved spatial understanding of seismic coverage
  • Linking survey outlines to documents to enable map based search for seismic acquisition and processing reports

With this in mind, IOGP has developed a GIS data model for the storage and visualization of seismic bin grid definitions that is based on the new IOGP P6/11 seismic bin grid exchange format.

The P6 GIS Data Model package may be downloaded here. The zip will unpack itself into the following structure:

  • 0 – Data dictionary
  • 1 – Guidance note – Report 483-6g
  • 2 – Data Model template
  • 3 – Symbology
  • 4 – P6GML
  • 5 – Example dataset
  • 6 – Presentation
  • 7 – Feedback form

Earth Observation

Earth Observation

Crisis response teams tackling the 2011 Japanese Tsunami disaster and the 2010 Haiti earthquake were helped by access to information generated by a space technology known as ‘Earth Observation’. This view from space can also help the oil and gas industry – and not only in a crisis.

Also known as ‘remote sensing’, it involves using earth-orbiting satellites or dedicated survey aircraft to obtain timely access to information about the status of the surface of the Earth.

The advantages of this technology – both onshore and offshore – include:

  • Establishing historic baselines for new developments to minimize health and safety risk exposure to people carrying out routine monitoring operations.
  • Allowing timely and effective decision-making during an emergency response

Other applications could include:

  • Sea ice monitoring
  • Environmental baseline mapping
  • MetOcean parameters mapping and derived modelling.

Earth Observation for environmental monitoring

Remote sensing data has been increasingly used for environmental monitoring in recent years. IOGP has recognized this trend and created a Task Force comprising members of Geomatics and Environment Committees to develop a document to provide good practices and lessons learned for the oil and gas industry. The objective of the Report No 629 Environmental sampling and monitoring from airborne and satellite remote sensing is to provide clear guidance to the environmental professional on how remote sensing may be applied to the range of common use cases encountered across the asset life cycle. Please also see this video and flyer.

Remote Sensing for Oil Spill Response

Satellite Remote Sensing is often used to provide support to Oil Spill Response. In 2016 IOGP and IPIECA delivered a Good Practice Guide (GPG) for Satellite remote sensing of oil spills at sea. This Report builds on two reports, the first produced on behalf of the IPIECA-IOGP OSR JIP entitled, An Assessment of Surface Surveillance Capabilities for Oil Spill Response using Satellite Remote Sensing, and the second published by the American Petroleum Institute (API) entitled, Remote Sensing in Support of Oil Spill Response.

OGEO Portal

The OGEO Portal, supported by the Earth Observation Subcommittee, creates a platform designed to allow an improved communication between the service providers and the oil and gas companies. To find out more go to

Geophysical Operations

Geophysical Operations

The IOGP’s Geophysical Operations Subcommittee monitors and identifies the need for industry guidelines or standards for exploration, development and production related geophysical operations, with the objective of recommending good industry practice to improve the safety, quality and efficiency, and to develop new guidelines and standards as required. Specific areas of interest include:

  • Positioning for geophysical operations, especially seismic surveying, on- and offshore
  • ‘P’ geophysical position data exchange formats (P1, P2, P6)
  • Drilling hazard site and development route geophysical surveys
  • Geophysical instrumentation such as Multibeam Echosounders, Sidescan Sonar, Sub-bottom Profilers and Magnetometers, where they are used for seismic and drilling hazard site surveys.

We promote continuous improvement in the quality of geophysical data used to assess drilling or development risk due to shallow / seabed hazards and also in seismic positioning, in support of increasingly demanding geophysical objectives and the developments in acquisition techniques necessary to achieve them.

We maintain the following IOGP Geomatics Committee guidelines and data exchange standards through regular reviews and document updates in accordance with the IOGP requirements, either in direct control or through temporary Task Force(s):

Number Title
373-18-1 Guidelines for the conduct of offshore drilling hazard site surveys
 373-18-2 Conduct of offshore drilling hazard Site Surveys – Technical Notes
483-1 P1/11 (v1.1) Geophysical position data exchange format.
Read more information regarding new P1/P2.
483-1u P1/11 (v1.1) Geophysical position data exchange format – User Guide.
Sample P1/11 V1.1 User Guide files from Appendices B, C and E are available here.
483-2 P2/11 (v1.1) Positioning data exchange format.
Sample file P2/11 V1.1 is available here.
Read more information regarding new P1/P2.
483-6 P6/11 (v1.1) Seismic bin grid data exchange format
Read more information regarding new P6
483-6u P6/11 Seismic Bin Grid Data Exchange Format – User Guide (483-6u)
483-6g P6/11 Guidelines for the use of the P6/11 bin grid GIS data model
Read more information regarding new P6 Data Model.

We are also the custodians of several legacy positioning formats:

Number Title
 483-1 P1/11 (v1.0) Geophysical position data exchange format
483-2 P2/11 (v1.0) Positioning data exchange format
UKOOA P1/76 Data Exchange Format
UKOOA P1/78 Data Exchange Format
UKOOA P1/84 Data Exchange Format
UKOOA P1/90 Data Exchange Format – Post Plot
 UKOAA P2/86 Data Exchange Tape Format – Raw Marine Positioning Data
UKOOA P2/94 Data Exchange Format – Raw Marine Positioning Data
UKOOA P6/98 Data Exchange Format – 3D Seismic Binning Grids
P-EPSG EPSG Co-ordinate Reference System Description in UKOOA P Formats
SEG P P1, P2, P3, P4 Standard exchange formats for positional data

We liaise and cooperate with other IOGP subcommittees, task forces, industry groups and other stakeholders on matters of mutual concern.

Please send any P formats feedback to

March 10, 2016, Webinar slides:

Surveying and positioning

Surveying and positioning

We monitor and identify the need for industry guidelines or standards for survey and positioning operations and recommend good industry practice to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of these operations and to develop new guidelines and standards as required.

We also maintain the following IOGP Geomatics Committee guidelines and data exchange standards through regular reviews and document updates in accordance with the IOGP requirements, either in direct control or through temporary Task Force(s):

We liaise and cooperate with other IOGP subcommittees, Task Forces, industry groups and other stakeholders on matters of mutual concern.

Geospatial integrity of geoscience software – GIGS

Geospatial integrity of geoscience software – GIGS

GIGS is an open-source digital testing framework designed to assist in evaluating the capability of software in establishing and maintaining the spatial integrity of geospatial data. It is primarily aimed at geoscience applications but elements can be readily applied to any software that handles geospatial data.

It can be used to effectively guide the development and assessment of spatial technologies to ensure they are high quality and follow industry good practice.

GIGS has recently undergone a significant revision to make it simpler to execute, more flexible in its usage and easier to automate within software development environments. Geospatial integrity remains a key risk in the energy industry as spatial data applications continue to evolve and expand.

The testing framework comprises a series of qualitative evaluations that assess software functionality and configuration, coupled with data-driven tests that quantify the accuracy and robustness of geodetic engines and libraries downloadable from

  • GIGS Guidance Note (IOGP Report 430-1), describing the GIGS process
  • GIGS User Guide (IOGP Report 430-2), providing specific procedural information on the GIGS Test Series and GIGS Test Dataset
  • GIGS Test Series package, containing the framework of tests in a checklist structure to undertake the evaluation, delivered by web portal or spreadsheet format
  • GIGS Test Dataset package, comprising a compiled set of data files used for testing algorithms and data exchange capabilities
  • GIGS Media Pack, made up of presentation material and engagement content

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