Business Intelligence Tools / Geology & Geoscience

Load World Stress Map into Spotfire

In this post I’ll show how you can easily load the World Stress Map into Spotfire. The World Stress Map (WSM) is a set of data on Earth’s present-day stress field, with the purpose of characterizing and understanding stress patterns and sources. What application does this have to oil and gas, specifically unconventional? There are many considerations when planning a horizontal well’s trajectory, and the orientation relative to the stress field should probably be one of them.

Does a well’s orientation relative to the maximum principal stress (perpendicular or oblique) affect the wells productivity? The first step in answering this question is understanding the stress orientation by getting that data in a useable format. After loading the WSM into Spotfire, then you can visualize horizontal wellbore orientations in relation to the localized stress orientation, as shown in the picture at the bottom of the page. For more in-depth analysis on this subject, check out Dr. Mark Zoback’s latest book, Unconventional Reservoir Geomechanics: Shale Gas, Tight Oil, and Induced Seismicity.

Follow along with the free Spotfire dxp, which already has the map embedded:

Here’s what the WSM looks like. Each line represents one record, rotated by the orientation azimuth.

Downloading the data

The data is publicly available from the WSM website: You can save a few clicks by using the link in Step 1 below.

  1. Navigate to:
  2. Download the CSV version, wsm2016.csv:

  1. Unzip and save the file to a convenient location

Plotting on a Map in Spotfire

Now that we have the data, we can load it into Spotfire and plot it on a map. There are 4 columns we’ll use: ID, LAT, LON, & AZI.

  1. Add the CSV to Spotfire as a new data table
  2. Insert a map chart visualization

Add a Marker layer, using the wsm2016 table just loaded:

Marker by ID so that each marker represents one stress record:

Position with coordinate columns LON and LAT:

Change the shape to a line:

Remove any size by columns and increase the Marker size (will be helpful when zoomed in):

Now we have the lines, but they’re vertical, which is not very useful. Let’s rotate the lines according to the stress orientation angle, which is in the AZI (azimuth) column. Aggregate by Avg in case there are multiple records for one ID:

At this point, your map should look like this:

Co-visualize Well Path & Stress Orientation

Now that the stress map is loaded, let’s add some wells. I’ve loaded horizontal wells in the Delaware basin, and transformed the data to show the well sticks. Then added the well sticks as a new map layer. For more info on how to create the sticks, check out this post:

Zooming in to the well level, we can visualize the well orientation and stress map orientations:

Don’t forget to download the free Spotfire dxp here:

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