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A "regular" partial legal or map description not described using lots or tracts. Aliquots are technically mathematical portions based on the height and width of the section to which they belong.
Example: E2, NWNW, SW, S2SE

Basic Grid

Spatial framework of townships, sections and quarter-quarters to which map tracts are attached. Basic grid does not allow Tract Gross/Net Processing and requires lot replacement - a system of replacing lots with their quarter-quarter equivalents (lots 2, 3 = NWNE, NENW). Compare Basic with Extended Grid.

Client-Supplied Outlines

Any form of digital or hand-drawn information displaying an area of interest.
Example: Outlines can include AMIs, blocks, contract areas, Indian reservations, military bases, etc.

Company Logo

Identifies the map with your company. We prefer you supply your logo in JPEG format.

Cultural Data

Roads, streams, cities, etc. Compare to Topography which includes elevations and land contours. Two formats are possible (though not always available).
Raster: Non-searchable, large file size, difficult to print;
Vector: Searchable, easier to highlight features and print.

Custom Text Labels

Beyond our standard text labels, any field value in your dataset can appear on a map, subject to fitting inside the polygon tract size, of course. However, custom labels require custom setup and testing. We suggest you speak with us about your special needs.

Depth Codes and Chart

A Depth Chart is a visual representation of all the various depth phrases present in your dataset. It contains Depth Codes which distill those phrases into a single alpha character which we then manually enter into your dataset. Depths usually apply to severed working interest or operating rights conveyances. Federal data do not contain them so they must be gathered in the field using land professionals. The resulting dataset is searchable and mappable as to all depths passing through a particular target zone, or as to all owners of all depths. One benefit of our method allows you to order a map focused on a single target depth while ignoring all irrelevant depth ownership.

Digitized Grid

When grid is not available, we can make it for you. Normally this is a one-time procedure for an entire project. We provide a printed map with unique Tract Names prominently displayed for use by data entry personnel. We also supply the resulting electronic grid licensed for your perpetual use.

Error Report

Many factors conspire to produce non-mapping tracts, overlapping text labels and other map or data entry anomalies. Several types of Error Reports are available depending on conditions and the appropriate ones will be furnished to best-describe the problems we encounter.

Expired Lease Layer

When the earliest lease expiration date has passed, we have an automated routine which indicates that one or more leases in a particular tract may have expired. Of course, only additional research can verify that the leases have actually expired. Therefore we label the layer on the map legend as "Possibly Expired - All or Part."

Extended Grid

Spatial framework of townships, sections, quarter-quarters, lots and resurvey tracts to which map tracts are attached. Extended grid is required for Tract Gross/Net Processing and provides a more accurate map because lots need not be replaced with their quarter-quarter equivalents. As a result, resurvey lots and tracts are displayed similarly to how they appear on OG or MT plats. Compare with Basic Grid.

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Federal Closed Cases

A dataset of expired federal leases which contains a history of previous lease activity. We prepare an underlying layer from these data showing open (unleased) federal lands when no current federal leases are present on the map. Compare with Federal Open Cases below.

Federal Open Cases

A dataset of current federal leases which also contains units, contracts, participating areas, rights-of-way, and other important data which can be mapped upon request. Compare with Federal Closed Cases above.

Federal Stipulations

Federal leases may contain restrictions to drilling activity. When available as GIS searchable files, such items as elk birthing, plover, raptor, and grouse nesting areas can be displayed on the map.
Example: Show an indicator for all leases within 600 feet of a plover nesting ground.

Federal/State Sale Results

The bid results of all tracts listed at recent federal or state lease auctions. The federal dataset is available as either a digital file or a separate map. Adding the tracts to an existing map requires manual data manipulation and entry. State sales often require manual data gathering and entry. Ask about our ongoing update service.

Fee/State Ownership

Generally, Fee and State ownership require case file and land title research by land professionals. Based on the appropriate ownership reports, we add data to your dataset which in turn adds tracts to your map. For fee ownership, we provide two methods of data entry:
Basic: We make a single summary record for each depth. For example, 8 family members all leased to the same company (for all depths) over a two month period would yield a single record using the earliest lease expiration date and having the sum of all 8 interests.
Advanced: We make a single record for each lessor/lessee/depth combination. This method provides greater accuracy and is more aligned with ownership reports.

Fee/State Unchecked

Many projects start out by using Federal Open and Federal Closed Cases datasets. As such, all fee and state interests appear as white empty spaces on the map. See White Space Cleanup. In order to help advance the project, we review the OG plats and manually enter "placeholder" records, which can then be displayed, on the map to indicate where additional fee or state title research is required.

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Geographical Information System. The process of using text-based data to display a visual representation of those data. Think of this technology as making dynamically updated pictures of all your data.
Example: Show all tracts where at least one lease is expiring between now and year-end within a 3-mile radius of a proposed drill site.

Interest Verification

When you have cursory ownership information or a doubtful lessor/lessee interest combination, we can mark the corresponding records as unverified and display a text indicator on the map. You can expand on this feature as follows: All interests in a project can be deemed unverified until they are compared to official ownership reports. An automatically updated map indicator layer can show all tracts remaining unverified.

Jeffersonian Description

Land descriptions based on Township and Range. We can also map Texas descriptions using Abstracts, Blocks and Surveys, as well as complex metes and bounds areas or town lots.

Licensing Issues

Your data: All data you collect and supply remain yours in perpetuity. Any data you hire us to gather or manually-enter also belong to you.
Third-party Data and Grid: Subject to the terms of their applicable license agreements. Generally, third-party data and grid are licensed for your internal use only. You are not allowed to share electronic data with prospective buyers, partners, or any unlicensed parties.

Legal Description

A simple or complex representation of a tract of land. Legal descriptions are non-mapping. They need to have a corresponding map description. For clarity, Legal Description is part of a larger matrix of data which includes Meridian, Township, Range and Section. Together they accurately describe a tract of land for transaction or recording purposes.
Example: Section 1: Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, S2N2; S2 Section 2: All that part of SE lying north of the railroad


A legal or map description based on the official government survey which is not described using aliquots or quarter-quarters.
Example: 1-3; 6-10, 11, 12, Lot 4(34.56)

Lot Replacement

A manual or automated process where lots are replaced by their aliquot or quarter-quarter equivalents. Generally, this procedure is necessary when using Basic Grid but not usually required when using Extended Grid.
Example: Section 1: L1, L2, L3, L4 = NENW, NWNW, NENW, NWNW = N2N2

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Map-compliant Data

Text data in columns (fields) and rows (records) adhering to our mapping standards. For Jeffersonian Descriptions, each row must have the following bare minimum columns: Meridian, Township, Range, Section and Map Description. Of course, you will want to include other columns in your dataset like Legal Description, Lease Number, Lessor, Lessee, Expire Date, etc. We can supply you with both sample files and training. Map-compliant data can originate in databases, spreadsheets, or land management systems and be supplied to us for processing. Likewise, we can manually enter your information in map-compliant form and supply the resulting file to you. A sample file can be supplied, please contact us

Map Description

Text accurately describing (or approximating) a legal description used in making a GIS map. Legal and map descriptions are often identical. For clarity, Map Description is part of a larger matrix of data which includes Meridian, Township, Range and Section. Together they describe a tract of land for mapping purposes. For accurate mapping, map descriptions must be identical for all records in a particular tract. Two seemingly identical descriptions are not equivalent for mapping. For example, S2NE is not the same as SWNE, SENE - even though they apparently describe the same shape on paper.
Example: For the corresponding legal descriptions: Section 1: ALL; !5_154N101W_2_SE_NRR (where this polygon was hand-drawn one time and given the name shown). Note that such map descriptions begin with a bang (!) also called an exclamation point.

Map Legend

A listing of the major map components showing color, line thickness, text label abbreviations, etc. used to further explain the attributes of a map. Legends can be simple or complex depending on the project.
Basic: Colors and labels corresponding to map layers. Includes information on interest and status codes, lessee sort order, etc.
Custom: Dependent on map content. May include separate legends for federal stipulations, well spots, etc. See Map Legend example.

Map Report

Text labels on maps are limited by tract size and can only display a small amount of information. On the other hand, a Map Report provides the complete details of each tract. It shows all owners and interests, as well as non-mapping tracts and data entry errors. We deliver this report electronically in PDF format, bookmarked for easy navigation. Several types of map reports are available, depending on their purpose. You can look at an Error Report to get an idea of how comprehensive these reports can be.

Manual Layers

Any conceived object, outline, symbol or text label can be manually drawn on a map to enhance your understanding of a project.

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Non-Mapping Tract Cleanup

Both user-supplied and federal data often contain non-mapping tracts. This is normal and expected. Additionally, there may be technical reasons certain tracts do not map. We can supply reports and indicator layers showing these problem areas and we can manually repair them.

Non-Mapping Tract Layer

Shows an outline of each section where any tract or description within that section fails to map. Normally, we don't display this layer on our final product though it is available to toggle "on" should you desire. This is an automated process which differs from QC Problem Layer.

OG Plats and Supplements

A paper representation of a township corresponding to Extended Grid. One copy of these plats is required for map quality-control and proofing. When no OG plat is available, we substitute MT plats. We keep the plats at our office until your map project is completed in full. If you would like your own in-house copy, we will gladly have one sent directly to you. If you intend to supply the plats to us, make sure to order all Supplements in addition to the full townships themselves.

Overlapping Tract Cleanup

User-supplied data often contain inconsistent map descriptions. This causes conflicting tracts and text labels on the map.
Example: One record indicates Section 12: N2; another, Section 12: NE, NW. Even though these descriptions are seemingly "identical," they will map differently. Absolute tract consistency is the key to a good map and our front-end quality-control tools help identify and correct these problems.

Petra Layers

Raw tract and text layers using a basic color palette for use with Petra presentation software. Our tools can generate these files which we deliver in electronic format. Keep in mind that Petra does not have the capabilities of our GIS presentation software so we will likely not be able to supply every layer, color, outline or cross-hatch appearing on your map. We will, however, be able to supply enough files to enable your exploration department to show valuable leasehold and expiration information in their Petra maps.

Photographs - Aerial or Satellite

"Bird's-eye view" photographs available in raster format. We can superimpose your map tracts on top of these photographs to provide accurate well locations, for example, based on the real "lay of the land."


A geographic representation of a tract having at least 3 sides and corresponding to a grid location. Generally, polygons are shaped like the tracts they represent. When not available in the grid, complex resurvey tracts, partial lots (N2 of Lot 5) and metes and bounds descriptions must be manually drawn one time in order to be used.

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An aliquot, approximating 40 acres in size. In lot replacement routines, each lot is translated into its quarter-quarter equivalent, which in turn is treated as an aliquot for mapping purposes.


Quality Control. The process of proofing data and repairing non-mapping, overlapping or problem tracts. Quality Control is an area where we excel using our proprietary data processing software.

QC Problem Layer

Part of our map quality-control process. Problem tracts are identified and manually outlined on the map. When repaired successfully, outlines are removed. Normally this layer is not displayed but is available to toggle "on" if desired. This enhancement differs from the Non-Mapping Tract Layer in that it is a manual process involving visual identification of problems.

Resurvey Tract

A specific piece of land usually created through a government resurvey. We tend to use this term to distinguish between normal tracts.
Example: T57A, 41, Tract 35C

Text Labels

Text corresponding to your dataset which appears inside the outlines of map tracts.
Basic: Includes Case File or Tract Number, Status Indicators (for severed operating rights, pending, suspended, protested and HBP), earliest Lease Expiration Date per tract, Lessee Name, Interest Percentage and Interest Verification. Note: All labels are subject to physical tract size, complexity of leasehold, etc. Further details can be supplied via a Map Report. See Custom Text Labels.


Elevations, roads, rivers, streams, etc. Compare to Cultural Data which does not include elevations or land contours. Two formats are possible (though not always available).
Raster: Non-searchable, large file size, difficult to print.
Vector: Searchable, easier to highlight features and print.


Any piece of land having a common map description. Tracts produce polygons on a map. Compare with Resurvey Tract.

Tract Gross/Net Processing

Federal datasets (and perhaps your own) do not contain gross and net acre values. We can quickly enter them for you. To allow us to do so, you must order Extended Grid. Our procedure greatly diminishes the need for manual data entry. In fact, we can process 20,000 records in about an hour or two. Generally, 90-95% of tracts are processed successfully.
Considerations: Gross and net acres are required for unit calculations, bid per acre statistics, and so forth. For technical reasons, we must perform this procedure at the beginning of a project. Since we rely on third-party data files, we make no warranty as to either accuracy or percentage of records processed successfully.

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Upcoming Federal/State Sales

The open tracts available for bid at upcoming federal or state lease auctions. The federal dataset is available as either a digital file or a separate map. Adding the tracts to an existing map requires manual data manipulation and entry. State sales often require manual data gathering and entry. Ask about our ongoing update service.

Well Spots

A searchable dataset for oil and gas drilling activity displayed as symbols on the map. Wells can be labeled with several criteria depending on available tract size.
Basic: One layer without labels and not appearing on the map legend.
Advanced: Any combination of queries, layers, labels and map legend.

Wilderness and Environmental Areas

Outlines of all varieties of environmentally sensitive or restricted areas. Generally, these areas affect drilling and federal or state leasing activity. In the case where a government entity offers a tract for lease such as, "NW4 lying outside the Foy WSA," the WSA layer is required to properly draw the two tracts (one inside and one outside the WSA.

White Space Cleanup

Regardless of all our efforts, there are often white areas on the map. In fact, they are expected. They are caused by a variety of factors.
White Knights: Large white areas caused by missing or non-mapping data. For example, in a First- or Expanded-Look map (based solely on federal data), there are no records for non-federal tracts. Therefore, any fee or state tracts will appear white. See Fee/State Ownership and Fee/State Unchecked. Sometimes, a grid problem or inappropriate map description will not allow a tract to map. These must be repaired on a case-by-case basis.
Slivers: Small areas caused by either grid problems or the "non-meeting" of lots and quarter-quarter or aliquot tracts. This occurs because our software automatically draws Q-Q tracts (E2W2) based on the fractional portion of an entire section's width and height, whereas all lots attach directly to their spot in the extended grid. We can get rid of nearly all such problems.


The combination of all files required to produce a map for a given presentation software tool. There may be well over a hundred files for complex maps.

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