Updated data source

A new version of the NPD’s digital FactMaps portal was launched this summer. Astrid Espe, who has participated in this development, wants it to be a tool for everyone.

| Bente Bergøy and Emile Ashley (photos)

Astrid Espe

Astrid Espe is more than averagely interested in maps.


Along with the NPD’s FactPages, the revised facility provides access to virtually everything worth knowing about petroleum activities on the NCS.

Information on discoveries, fields, operators, licensees, wells, production licences, pipelines and seismic surveys is updated on a daily basis.

“FactMaps is nothing new – we’ve had it for about a decade,” says Espe. “But a lot’s happened on the technology side, and we realised it was starting to lag behind. So we’ve launched a new version, while also updating FactPages.”

Users get a better layout in both portals. And linking FactPages to the standard version of FactMaps provides more opportunities for search and analysis in the latter.

Figures for 2013 show that the two facilities jointly received about 20 000 individual hits per day, which means that someone was accessing data through them every five seconds on average.

“In the future, we envisage merging FactMaps and FactPages into a single solution,” says Espe.

The new map portal is available in two versions – standard (HTML5) and advanced (Silverlight). Those who have downloaded the Oil Facts app (see page 40) will be familiar with the first of these, which is designed to work on all digital platforms.

“Users who want more functionality should go for the advanced option,” Espe explains. “This allows you to filter data, for example, and to add third-party information or map services.

“But the data content of the two versions is the same. It’s also possible to use and process the FactMaps content as a service in your own solutions.”

Both portals are important and useful for specialists in the oil industry, not least in connection with licensing rounds. But the user spectrum extends much more widely, and includes government agencies, environmental organisations, students, financial analysts and journalists.

“The diversity is greater than you might think,” says Espe, who is keen to receive comments and suggestions from those who benefit from the service.

“We launched the new FactMaps this summer, without any particular fanfare. Fortunately, most of the feedback has been positive.”

She has been interested in maps since childhood, when she and her brother lay on the deck of a boat with an atlas apiece and explored everything from population figures in distant countries to the depth of the Hornindals lake.

“Since one of the atlases was older than other, we saw how the changes occurred in the world – and in the way it was presented, too,” she recalls.

But it took a few years before she realised that this was the route she would be taking – towards the coast with a map in her hand.

“I encountered geographical information systems (GIS) for the first time in the geography department at the University of Bergen,” Espe explains.

These computerised solutions are used to register, model, store, retrieve, manipulate, analyse and present geographically referenced data.

“The switch from the old paper atlas to digital data and GIS wasn’t that big a leap,” Espe observes. She has been working at the NPD on maps and communicating facts via the web since 2010.

“Our new version of FactMaps has made it much easier for users to study petroleum activities on the NCS, and I’ve learnt an incredible amount about GIS and system development along the way.”

Working with maps can cover a lot of ground, and her interest in this field means she participates in various national hydrographic collaborations – including Barentswatch.

“It’s not always that easy, but it’s inspiring and fun,” she says, “And no day is the same. It’s not least interesting and educational to see how people elsewhere work with maps and how our map data is used in various contexts.”

GIS and digital map data provide endless opportunities for comparing and communicating such information. But paper maps still have their place, at least in the NPD.

“Our NCS map – put simply, FactMaps in poster format – is still very popular,” Espe reports. “The 17 000 copies we printed for ONS in Stavanger during August all went, so we’re waiting for a new delivery from the printer.”


Managing and communicating data on the NCS is one of our most important jobs. The new Fact products have better functionality and are more tailored to user requirements.


Bente Nyland, director general, NPD