Scientists from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT have developed a new, more effective way of identifying oil basins using a unique digital mapping approach. Using advance JPEG compression, Professor Dennis McLaughlin and his associates have devised a geospatial mapping tool that can be used to chart scattered wells and help facilitate oil extraction.

The new technique uses oil flow rates and pressure data from oilfield wells to create a realistic image of the subsurface reservoir. JPEG compression then helps pack pixel-rich imaging data into a few essential fragments of information that require only a small amount of storage.