Our recent trip to the AAPG Annual Convention in Houston was much enhanced by meeting some inspiring geoscientist–programmers. People like...
- Our old friend Jacob Foshee hung out with us and built his customary awesomeness.
- Wassim Benhallam, at the University of Utah, came to our Rock Hack and impressed everyone with his knowledge of clustering algorithms, and sedimentary geology.
- Sebastian Good, of Palladium Consulting, is full of beans and big ideas — and is a much more accomplished programmer than most of us will ever be. If you're coding geoscience, you'll like his blog.
- We had a laugh with Nick Thompson from Schlumberger, who we bumped into at a 100% geeky meet-up for Python programmers interested in web sockets. I cannot explain why we were there.
Perhaps the most animated person we met was Ted Kernan (right). A recent graduate of Colorado School of Mines, Ted has taught himself PHP, one of the most prevalent programming languages on the web (WordPress, Joomla, and MediaWiki are written in PHP). He's also up on all the important bits of web tech, like hosting, and HTML frameworks.
But the really cool thing is what he's built: a search utility for public well data in the United States. You can go and check it out at publicwelldata.com — and if you like it, let Ted know!
Actually, that's not even the really cool thing. The really cool thing is how passionate he is about exposing this important public resource, and making it discoverable and accessible. He highlights the stark difference between Colorado's easy access to digital well data, complete with well logs, and the sorry state of affairs in North Dakota, where he can't even get his app in to read well names. 'Public data' can no longer mean "we'll sell you a paper printout for $40". It belongs on the web — machines can read too.
More than just wells
There's so much potential power here — not only for human geoscientists looking for well data, but also for geoscientist–programmers building tools that need well data. For example, I imagine being able to point modelr.io at any public well to grab its curves and make a quick synthetic. Ready access to open services like Ted's will free subsurface software from the deadweight of corporate databases filled with years of junk, and make us all a bit more nimble.