Symposium Showcases Latest in GIS Technology

The 10th National GIS Symposium showcased the latest geospatial advancements and their use in commercial and public service sectors. Fahad E. Al Helal, vice president of Project Management at Saudi Aramco, shared how Saudi Aramco uses cutting-edge geospatial information services (GIS) in operations that help diversify and strengthen the Saudi economy. “We are a fully integrated global enterprise committed to providing sustainable energy supplies to the world while contributing to the Kingdom’s prosperity,” Al Helal said. “Given the magnitude, diversity, and geographic dispersion of our operations, geomatic services — including the use of GIS — have played a critical role in Saudi Aramco, not only in managing spatial information but also in providing value added solutions to business users. GIS in Saudi Aramco Operations GIS technology has become such an important part of a person’s daily life — from the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) found in automobiles and mobile phones to the customized maps on desktop computers — that it is hard to imagine life without it. This is true for industries as well: Saudi Aramco uses GIS in 95% of its departments. With GIS solutions, our departments are able to do the following:

  • Saudi Aramco’s Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) enables a business to remotely track the location of its vehicle fleet on the Internet.
  • Exploration and Drilling uses GIS in many applications, including: intelligent-field sensors, geological interpreting and visualization tools, satellite imagery, geological modeling systems, well correlation and cross-section tools.
  • Project Management uses GIS applications to create a framework for construction projects to monitor their progress.
  • Pipelines and Distribution, together with Information Technology, has developed a GIS application called ePipe. It provides a real-time, one-stop shop view of Pipelines' operations across the 20,000-plus kilometers of hydrocarbon pipelines network.

Al Helal encouraged participants, who included GIS industry specialists, service providers and academics, to help develop a thriving GIS industry in Saudi Arabia. “With the right experience, our national geoinformatics industry will be well-placed to address the trends in the future,” he said. The annual forum was held under the patronage of HRH Prince Saud Bin Nayef Bin Abdulaziz, governor of the Eastern Province, and organized by Dammam College. Saudi Aramco was the official sponsor of the symposium.