Puzzling out what lies where in the Gulf of Mexico will beeasier with the availability of digital coordinate data for all ofthe Gulf’s gas and oil pipelines. The U.S. Department of theInterior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) has introduced anautomated pipeline mapping system that covers 20,000 miles ofpipelines in federal waters.

Every year, the MMS gets about 10,000 requests for maps. Theprocessing time for maps had been as long as eight weeks, and themanual hand-drawn mapping process as slow and limited. Lengthypipelines, especially deep-water pipelines, could take an entireworkday to draft by hand. The new digital system allows coordinatesto be downloaded in less than 20 minutes. A color map can beproduced in less than an hour. The system allows customers to orderone map to cover a wide range of pipelines. Maps can range from 8 «x 11 inch to a standard 6 to 9 block cell map. Customized maps withareas of interest chosen by blocks, longitude and latitude or anarea name can be created, and the entire Gulf can be mappedfeaturing the major pipelines.

Pipeline location data in ASCII format can be obtained from theInternet for free. Customers may also order data on diskette ofproposed or as-built pipelines through the MMS public informationoffice. For more information, call (504)736-2519, or (800)200-GULF.

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