Land Management Systems – An Overview

Land Management Systems

Land management systems (LMS) are used by a variety of companies to manage their assets.  Some of the companies that utilize land systems are E&P companies, mining companies, law firms, pipeline companies, and royalty partnerships. 

These systems maintain an electronic catalog of leases, company owned fee lands, rights-of-way, unit designations, and any other type of agreement that may need to be tracked.  These systems not only allow easy record keeping and reporting, but also provide help in managing those properties.  

When an organization's land assets become too complex to be managed via spreadsheet, it is time to evaluate the purchase or license of a proper land system.

The implementation of a land system will provide a boost in productivity in many areas.  The most obvious way is having a database of all leases that are acquired, and having the ability to organize those leases in a variety of ways.  Most systems have a scheme for grouping leases by prospect, project area, organizational ownership, and tract. 

Another seemingly obvious thing that a proper land system can do is track lease provisions and generate reports on those provisions as necessary.  For example, if a block of 300 leases are being sold, the landman or lease analyst could quickly build a report to list all leases which had provisions requiring notice or consent for assignment.

A great use of land systems is to generate a calendar of upcoming lease obligations.  It’s great to be able to, at a glance, determine if primary terms are ending, Pugh clauses are activating, or lease rental payments are coming due.  While there are many ways to manually track these items, an automatically generated calendar is a great solution.  Some systems provide a calendar module that can send automated emails, or even integrate with MS Outlook.

When a company makes the decision to begin evaluating land management systems, it is the beginning of a process that could take 3 to 18 months.  This open-ended time frame is largely dependent on the sales, design, implementation and testing processes that are required by the system provider and their client.  

While many of the land systems offer an “out of the box” package that is appropriate for use by most oil and gas companies, many companies require some customization for their business flow.  Others have more complex needs that may include production revenue management, AP/AR tracking, and other finance/revenue needs.  Those companies typically decide to utilize an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution that can be customized to their needs.  A short list of those companies:

Land Management Suites

Enterprise Suites (ERP)

EnertiaQuorum Land SystemP2 Energy Solutions (Excalibur, BOLO, P2 Enterprise Upstream, P2 Land), Integra Energy

When most companies get to the point where they need an LMS, one important thing on the list is integration with their current or future accounting system (unless they choose a fully integrated ERP). 

A few of the major accounting software packages that many land systems integrate with are WolfePakOGsysWaterfield and OGAS.  In addition, many “enterprise class” land systems also have their own proprietary accounting module that is available.

An investment in an LMS can be a costly venture.  There can be three, or more,  different types of costs that the purchaser must agree to:

Initial Licensing Fee

This fee can range from as little as $10,000 up to several hundred thousand dollars.  For systems with multiple modules (land, accounting, reporting, GIS, etc) you should expect to pay a licensing fee for each module you choose.  They may not present the licensing fee in this way, but rest assured that each module increases the price incrementally.

Per User Fee

Some software packages charge a low up-front fee and a larger per user fee ($500/mo or more), others charge a large licensing fee and little (or no) per user fee ($50/mo or less).  There is no free lunch, if you save on one fee you will likely pay on the other.

Annual Support / Maintenance

Many land systems have an annual support fee built into their pricing. This fee could be from $5,000 to $20,000 annually.  In some cases this fee is negotiable.

It is important to evaluate the workflow in each land system.  Some systems offer a workflow that allows faster entry of data than others.  While one system might be less expensive, is it really cheaper if your lease analyst team takes twice as long to enter data because of the interface?

Finally, a word about these licensing agreements.  Just like everything else in life, they are negotiable — if you aren’t experienced in negotiating contracts with software companies then you should find someone who is.  If you are interested in evaluating options for a land management system, or are currently implementing one please share your experience with us in the comments below!

If you have any questions about land systems, please contact me.

Randy Young

Randy Young

Randy is a land consultant with experience in field and in-house land work, land administration, and software consulting with systems used in the land management business. He is an active member of the AAPL, HAPL, and NHAPL and is a regular attendee of industry functions.

Randy’s latest projects have included land data systems integrations, with a focus on Quorum Land System.

  • Tim Supple says:

    As President of iLandman, I just wanted to let your readers know that we would like to have been mentioned in the list of Entry Level Land Systems. We recognize the ones mentioned and would also like to point out there are others. One of the more distinctive features between the different systems and it suitability for any customer is whether it is “Tract” based or “Contract” based. The distinctions between software on this bases if becoming more important then whether or not it is Entry or Enterprise bases. If you are looking at software, I strongly suggest you understand what that means and the functionality implications. As with all software, the value sharing information and data within an organization begins to blur the “entry” or “enterprise” distinctions. check it out.

    • Randy Young Randy Young says:

      Tim, I honestly didn’t realize you guys were going after the operator land system market. Thanks for letting everyone know you are able to fill those needs as well. I knew I would rattle some folks by not including every system, but it’s impossible to do so. I figured the moniker of “Entry Level” or “Enterprise” would as well, it’s a subjective term I chose because there are tract & agreement based systems in each category.

      Both types of categories (tract vs agreement based) have their own benefits and drawbacks. I intend an article on that in the future.

      • Marcus McCloud says:

        Hello Randy. In your 4/25/13 post you mentioned that you would be writing an article on tract vs agreement based systems. Is that available somewhere? Thanks.

  • Jeremy Funk says:

    As someone completely unbiased (I did sell the BOLO Land solution a few moons ago) I actually read this and thought, “iLandman won’t like being grouped in with the entry level class” – and sure enough, the President of the company chimed in. Just goes to show what a small space this can be, and that people are reading what you are writing!

    Informational, easy read. Thanks for posting.

    • Randy Young Randy Young says:

      In Tim’s defense, I originally didn’t have them listed in the article. After he brought it to my attention I added iLandman. Your right though, people do really read this stuff it seems.

      Thanks for commenting — I’d love to hear your thoughts on the future of BOLO….

  • Dan Liggett says:

    Randy, your post is an interesting read. You are right to point out, though, that you omitted some effective land management systems. geoAMPS, a technology company located in the Columbus, Ohio, area, offers both entry level and enterprise class land management systems and would like to be included in your lists. Thank you, Randy, for posting an interesting article on an important topic.

    • Randy Young Randy Young says:

      I’ve been impressed at the prompt response I’ve gotten from several software companies. I guess that goes to show you who would be responsive with support requests.

      I’ll add geoAMPS to the list.

  • Renato Salvaleon says:

    I’ve skimmed on some of the enterprise class and most of them are for the Oil & Gas industries. How about a solution for power utilities?

    • Randy Young Randy Young says:

      Renato, I know several pipeline companies use Quorum. This seems like a similar situation (dealing with rights-of-ways and facilities). I’m sure some of the more utility focused software solution providers might advertise with the IRWA. That might be a good place to start.

  • Great overview of systems in the E&P space! As a vendor offering the leading enterprise land and agreement management system to the mining space, I wanted to introduce myself and humbly ask to be considered in the list, considering mining companies were included in the first paragraph!

    Spatial Dimension offers one of the “enterprise” systems mentioned: FlexiCadastre uses a workflow-centric and spatially-enabled approach to provide a scalable, enterprise-ready and integrated solution to drive the efficient administration of mineral rights and contracts across multiple global jurisdictions. Using a web portal for data management and reporting, advanced task management, highly configurable business process management and best of breed Esri GIS technologies, over the past 10 years FlexiCadastre has become the world leader in mineral rights and agreements management solutions.

    We have deployed our solution in 70 jurisdictions around the world and have both Corporate and Government Clients (a dozen countries currently manage their Mining Cadastre with FlexiCadastre). Our Corporate clients include many of the world’s largest miners such as Rio Tinto, Vale, Barrick, Goldcorp, Anglo American, Anglo Gold Ashanti, Kinross, Teck and many others.

    If anyone is interested in learning how FlexiCadastre could help your business, please feel free to contact me!

    Brian Greening, Spatial Dimension
    +1 604 770 3539 / brian.greening@spatialdimension.com

  • Victoria says:

    I recently started working at a company where they have Solomon for their Land System Records Management. I have used Bolo, Landpro, Documentum, and Tobin before and so I am not too familiar with this program. I find it is time consuming, but that may be because I am not familiar enough with it. Is anyone out there knowledgeable on Solomon and it’s pros and cons?
    The folks here hardly use it, especially the Landmen. I have been ask due to my previous experience with other systems to assist them in evaluating and suggesting how they can utilize this system or if they should get another and why. Can anyone shed light on what I could offer them?

    • Randy Young Randy Young says:

      Hey Victoria, I’ve never heard of Solomon (nor did google trickery turn it up!). Is it a land management system, or some other type of system that has been re-purposed for their uses? There are quite a very systems that were originally built as a custom solution and later sold to others, on a very small scale basis, this might be an example of that.

      Depending on the companies size, number of leases, budget, and a few other factors the you could probably get a pretty good idea of what might fit well for them. I do a bit of that consulting on the side to help companies evaluate systems, negotiate software licensing, design what they need, figure out how to do the testing before delivery, etc. The services they might need really depends (again) on size and budget.

      I personally think land management systems are very useful if the company is committed to using them and keeping them updating & maintained. Feel free to send me an email, I think you have it…

  • Victoria says:

    What system provides a calendar module that can send automated emails, or even integrate with MS Outlook to generate a calendar of upcoming lease obligations and doesn’t charge extra fees for this convenience?

    • Randy Young Randy Young says:

      Victoria, most land systems have an obligation calendar module. That’s a basic requirement for most companies. Specific needs for sending emails, outlook integration, etc is something that you put on your list of things you must have/need/want and discuss in the evaluation process.

  • Victoria says:

    RANDY, try: CGI’s PetroComp Windows Software for Microsoft Dynamics SL. It’s by CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc. 2009

  • Terry Wray says:

    My company, Pandell, has 2 software offerings for landmen. They are GeoNexus (Leases, Contracts, Wells) and Landscape (Surface Asset Management). Our GeoNexus product is web-based, so it’s available worldwide, with no IT overhead. Our Landscape product has a tablet-based component for remote land negotiation. We are a Canadian company, but we’ve already implemented several key features for the US market. I’d be happy to arrange a demo of either of our systems. Please contact me at terryw@pandell.com.

  • Courtney Morgan says:

    In addition to the aforementioned land management systems, I would like to the highlight the LandWorks property management and GIS suite. We provide both entry level and enterprise class land management solutions that can be completely integrated with our GIS or a third party system. As a result of our knowledge base rooted in experience, the LandWorks Property Management module (LPM) and our GIS offers what we would consider to be the highest level of functionality in combination with the most concentrated customer service- it’s truly at the heart of what we do here. Most recently, we have launched a web-based AutoMapper that provides the ability to map legal descriptions as polygon map overlays in just a few seconds. Please visit our website (www.landworks.com) to learn more about our product mix and take advantage of the Web AutoMapper promotion that allows any user to map 500 polygons free!

  • Keith Hollingsworth says:

    I currently work with two companies who each use different programs. One uses LandPro while the other uses LandBoss; however, we’d like to have just one program for all to use. I’ve already talked with both programming companies about the migration process of data from one system to the other and the costs associated with it. My issues are functionality based. Does anyone have any knowledge based recommendations as to which they prefer based off of use and functions? If so, would you please provide the difference and reason why you prefer the specific one. Thank you in advance…

  • >