Since the Railroad Commission exports all data to .SHP formats, your primary concern, in regard to using RRC digital map data, is to get a GIS software package capable of importing and using .SHP files.
Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) developed the .SHP file format for use in its ArcView GIS software. The file format is recognized and accepted industry-wide and is easily imported and used in many GIS and CAD software packages.
The Texas Railroad Commission makes no recommendation regarding the use of GIS. RRC digital data customers who intend to use RRC digital data with software other than ArcView or ArcInfo are responsible for investigating and confirming to their own satisfaction that their specific software supports the full importation and use of .SHP graphics and database files.
Information about many different popular GIS software packages is available on the Internet. At an Internet search engine site, type in "GIS" and "software" and "vendors" In return, you will get the Internet addresses for many different GIS software vendors.
Your best source for information about ArcGIS and ArcInfo software is ESRI, the company that produces the software. Their Internet web address is: http://www.esri.com
In addition to getting information about ArcGIS and/or ArcInfo, you may want to investigate ESRI’s free, downloadable software called ArcGIS Explorer. ArcGIS Explorer’s capabilities are limited compared to ArcGIS and ArcInfo, but it is available at no cost and may facilitate your introduction to GIS