IHS, Inc.

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IHS Petra is outdated, clumsy, unstable
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TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- I've been using IHS Petra (formally Geoplus Petra) for more than 3 years. I will start off by generally saying the software is outdated, clumsy, incredibly unstable (especially the ridiculous overlay file), buggy, and contains inadequate and outdated help menus and I can go on and on, but that's just a few things off the top of my head.

The menus are cluttered and certain items are buried and hard to find especially if you don’t use the program regularly. It’s a closed program so there is no ability to create custom menus or buttons so you don’t have to see every single option the program offers all at once. Updates seem to add on and clutter already clunky and sloppy menus.

I have been an ESRI software user for years before approaching Petra. The mapping capabilities in Petra are weak and that is putting it mildly. And what I mean by weak, the map module only displays "graphics" when showing map layers. So fields data cannot be loaded into a layer like you would expect in a GIS or like you can in a shapefile. As a result there is an inability to do any actual geoprocessing from the layers or anything that makes having a GIS so useful and powerful. I almost feel embarrassed to be using such archaic mapping tools especially since I have colleagues that are doing really fascinating things with some of their mapping, things that are impossible to even start in IHS Petra. I feel like I’m falling behind because of the limitations of Petra. Oh and text is also displayed as a graphic for everything, so good luck with managing labels and things of that nature. It’s more or less comedic in that you should have a sense of humor when operating this program or you’ll find yourself cussing and banging your head to the point where you don’t care who in the office hears you.

The software is also incredibly unstable. I find the program crashes on a regular basis, so I am constantly creating a back-up of the overlay file. The overlay file is actually the most unstable. Sometimes the software likes to create duplicate layers within the same layers, so sometimes I'll delete something to find that I didn't actually delete it because there was a layer underneath that one. I find that layers are occasionally deleted or partially deleted for no reason and a lot of times you don't even know it happened until its too late. A layer could have been partially deleted and you might not find out until days or even months later, so you end up having to create the layer over again which is not always easy and also brings me to another point. I find myself doing things over and over in Petra.

Whether it be regenerating a deleted layer or resaving some map settings and limits, it all becomes very tedious, time consuming and frustrating. And I’m too tired to start about what you have to get everyone in a work group to operate off the same layers or that the whole concept of the overlay file is ridiculous. But hey, if you made it this far, thanks for listening to my rant. I hope that there are others out there that share my pain. I know that there are others in this office.
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C.Griff on 08/10/2013:
I dumped IHS and their idiotic Petra software for TGS NOPEC. Personally as a professional geoscientist I have little use for "Nintendo Geology". The only reason I ever used Petra was to map huge areas very rapidly just to get an overview. But I NEVER used it to take an idea to the prospect level. I will never let some algorithm interpret the subsurface to that degree in any of my projects. So in reality Petra was a worthless toy and was costing me a small fortune every year.

So yesterday I had a demo of the TGS production database and their Longbow software. I spent 90 minutes with a production data rep watching him demo the software. It is very flexible and intuitive. Then I rigorously investigated their Log-Line! database and Oyster program. I can tell you for a fact TGS has far better log coverage across the nation than IHS. TGS had logs in their database I could not even find at the OCGS Log Library...and the OCGS is a much more complete collection of logs than IHS IMO. Additionally one of my peers that works south Louisiana exclusively could not find a couple of well logs to save his life via his precious IHS. He could not even find them on the state website (SONRISE) which is fairly complete. When he heard I had Longbow/Oyster he bet me it didn't have the logs. About 2 minutes later he lost the bet. I am now convinced beyond doubt TGS well log coverage is superior to IHS.

But here's the kicker...IHS has their BEP or base exploration package. For one region ONLY...example Oklahoma...you get production, well data, grid and access to their log rasters plus Petra software for roughly $11,000 per year. Petra's cost for that year is 6 grand alone.

Now compare TGS cost...you get all the above listed data for the ENTIRE NATION...all their well data, grid, production/completion/tests, and their superior log coverage smart raster database with Longbow software and unlimited downloads for raster logs for $10,250.

I have little use for Petra. I am a geologist...I will contour my own maps and place my own faults thank you. But I have great use for well logs. And TGS has the de facto best log coverage of any commercial database.

At this price and with the intuitive Longbow software IHS is going to have their hands full in the very near future. As a matter of fact the largest oil and gas company in the state (you know who) just signed a deal with TGS. Apparently they are weary with IHS inadequacies as well.
T Matt on 09/09/2013:
Can't read the scales on MANY images in the Oyster program. Sloppy depth registration, too. A little more care could be taken by TGS staff to scan the logs. Wind up searching for hard copies I can read.
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