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Big Data in Geoscience – How to approach our largest challenge of today?

In the past decades, the amount of digital subsurface and geoscience data has grown exponentially, and many companies and government organizations are dealing nowadays with Petabyte-scales of data, still growing fast. On the other hand, hardware, storage solutions, technical applications and data management utilities have not kept up with such rapid developments. This resulted in a big gap and hampers the use of AI and data-driven workflows in complex subsurface projects, be it in hydrocarbon exploration and development, geothermal energy projects, CCS, H2-storage and the search for nuclear waste sites, but also integrated scientific research programs.

The Open Subsurface Data Universe (OSDU) project is aiming at addressing this challenge and has already resulted in a fundamental change the energy industry approaches data management. OSDU is a consortium with now some 228 companies with geoscience, software technology, data center and service industry backgrounds pooling their efforts to address above challenges via a common open-source, cloud-agnostic data platform, ie OSDU. Also, government organizations and universities are participating in the project.

Georeferencing, data security and accessibility via API layers in the cloud are key features in making data searchable, secure, sharable, and easily retrievable. The project managed by the Open Group Organization has generated not only a fully scalable geoscience data platform but also a new application ecosystem for geoscientists and engineers with many more use cases to come resulting in a revolutionary change on how we can deal with geoscience data and workflows.


Jürgen Grötsch1
1Energy Transition Centre Amsterdan, Netherlands
GeoMinKöln 2022