Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

SMRefract updates

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

A bunch of updates over the last couple of weeks:

• Improved Velocity Pick Display (Opaque background for value)

• Fixed crash on exit slice display without cancelling first. (A bugger to find: In programming as in life, one should never assume.)
• Weak Traces display now honours changes made in setup when close setup page
• Weak traces now include an offset limit for calculations (no limit is applied for noisy traces)
• Added support for Sercel GF files, both SEGD and SEGY. Channel names will be automatically assigned if viewing in MultiTrace
• Added ‘Control A’ function to select (up to) the first 12 traces in a file. Very useful with GF files
• Added Auto Trace Label feature. Only applies to SEGD V3 files. If enabled in Setup, the first 100 traces will have trace names assigned based on the SEGDV3   Trace Label header entry. This is only likely to be useful for similarities and only if the recorder operator assigns channels properly. The limit of 100 is to enhance loading speed and in any case anyone simming such a large number of vibs is likely doing it to show off.
• Added code to show available traces if less than specified number. IE if only 24 traces in a file, but 250 traces specified for display, now, the 24 will be displayed properly spaced. The original setting of 250 is saved so if opening a big file next time, it will display as expected.
• Added Autolabeller to Multitrace. You can label selected traces based on a trace attribute, and load and save label sets.

 

The latest User Manual can be downloaded from here:

http://www.seismatters.com/SMRefract/SMRefract%20User%20Ref.pdf

Still some more to do, but it’s coming along well.

SMRefract now supports Sercel UNITE

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Some more updates to SMRefract.
Added support for UNITE and a new feature of Relative Spectra displays to Multitrace.

Relative Spectra is resizable and customisable.
The latest manual can be downloaded from here:
www.seismatters.com/SMRefract/SMRefract%20User%20Ref.pdf

More SMRefract

Friday, April 7th, 2017

Continuing work on SMRefract.
The latest major feature is Header Decodes.
Full decoding of SEG2 and Sercel 408, 428 and 508 are complete, along with the file headers of SEGY files.

The 508, being SEGD V3 was quite tedious.
SEGD V3 really is an awful format. And as it stands is not even a viable standard.
Sercel were forced to use ‘optional’ blocks to provide needed information, the problem is that
other manufacturers (US ones most likely) will probably use the same block IDs.
The answer of course is to drop SEGD V3 completely and develop a sane, sensible format.
But without the input of the SEG “Standards Committee”

(Need I mention SaneSeis: http://seismatters.com/SaneSeis.html)

The scary thing is that these same idiots are apparently planning a new version of SEGY.
Considering the mess they made of SEGD, I dread to think what they will come up with in SEGY.

 

More details on updates to SMRefract, and the latest user manual can be found here:

http://seismatters.com/SMRefract.html

SMRefract – my latest Seismic Data viewer

Friday, February 10th, 2017

It has taken a while, but I have finally finished the viewer.

When I say finished, I mean it is ready to be used – it will be a work in progress for a long time.

It handles

  • Sercel 408 and 428 SEGD
  • Sercel 508 SEGD V3
  • Sercel UNITE SEGD V1.0
  • SEGY
  • SEG2 (From Geometrics, maybe from other vendors too)

As well as the usual shot display and filter capability, it can show

  • FFT of a selected zone
  • Zoom on a selected zone
  • Full spread status
  • Single trace
  • Selected traces (up to 12) from anywhere in the record
  • Decoded Headers
  • Line profiles of available statuses
  • Weak and noisy traces
  • Refraction calculations

It also incorporates a database to keep track of failed stations (although this is in the early stages)

I am not making it freely available as I am currently out of work.

But if curious, you can download the user manual by following the link from here:

http://seismatters.com/SMRefract.html

I will probably be prepared to provide a copy to anyone who can get me steady work.

New Seismic Viewer

Monday, March 28th, 2016

The new Seismic Viewer is coming along well, albeit a little slowly. I still need a good name for it though.

As well as the basic viewer, it now produces Single trace displays:

SMR Single Trace-s

MultiSelect displays – you can select up to 12 traces from anywhere in the record and display them side by side (With labels of your choice):

SMR MultiTrace-s

Spread error displays based on flagged errors in the file or on user specified values for resistance/leakage/tilt:

SMR Spread Resistance-s

It can produce Time and frequency slices and also(not shown here)

Line profiles:

SMR Profiles-s

Also Detection of weak and noisy traces that should otherwise be OK (IE resistance/leakage/tilt are good, but the trace is bad):

SMRWeakTraces-s

And it also includes an optional database that records spread errors.

So far, it only handles Sercel 408/428 and some limited SEGY, but I am expanding that.

The finished product will handle the abortion of SEGD V3 and SEG2 along with better support for SEGY.

I am not likely to release it until I get some more work – why give it to someone who would be doing work that I should be doing!

So, if you want a copy, get me some work.

SaneSeis and Seismic File Viewers

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Disappointingly SaneSeis doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

http://seismatters.com/SaneSeis.html

I have seen little to no interest in the concept. Unsurprisingly no one from the SEG has commented.
I had hoped to at least provoke some discussion on acquisition file formats with a view to finally replacing the SEG abortions, but I guess I am too insignificant for the powers that be to notice. Or perhaps the SEG doesn’t know much about the big world outside.
At least I tried, unlike the SEG.

The last couple of months have been a bit of a change. Was involved in a multi-disciplined geophysical study aimed at understanding some shallow artefacts.
Although the job involved the usual – High res seismic, gravity and upholes, the new technique to me was TDEM. Although it has some sound physics behind it, I am not yet convinced it is the answer that some claim it to be.
There are just too many assumptions made to give me confidence, especially for deeper results.
That being said, I am convinced it works for shallow work, in the 10s of metres rather than the 100s required for oil and mineral work.
So I have a plan to build a small system and test its effectiveness for use in archaeology (or for fun if the truth be known).

But that all comes after I finish my latest seismic file viewer, which is coming on fairly well, albeit slowly at the moment.
It will handle SEGD (V2 and the new V3 disaster, Sercel variants only though), SEGY and SEG2.
It will include routines for refraction and time slices, frequency slices, and other types of analysis.
An early release should be available in a month or so, but it won’t have all features.

SMRefract Jan 2016 s

SMRF2s

 

SaneSeis Update

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

As is usually the case, soon after I published the first draft of SaneSeis, I realised I was missing things, and that with a few additions could make it better.
The biggest change in this updated version is the addition of a Receiver Table after the Source Table.
I was very reluctant to add another variable length block, but the advantages outweigh the drawbacks. And in any case each entry within a table is fixed length, and the number of entries are defined in the file header, so, unlike SEGD it is very easy to calculate memory requirements and start of data.

The latest updates can be seen here: http://seismatters.com/SaneSeis.html

Other notable additions

  • Record type. Currently based on Sercel’s 428 definitions, there is plenty of room to add more
  • Recorder position. This seems to have been forgotten these days, but is still good information to have. SaneSeis records the Low Line/Point of where the recorder connects to the spread.
  • Source position mode in the source table. We need to know if the source position is the true position from the source navigation system or preplanned or something else.
  • Limits have been removed from the trace header – they are now in the Receiver table. This saves 20 bytes per trace header which on a big survey can add up to a useful saving. Resistance/Tilt/Capacitance errors are now indicated by 255=low, 0=in range, 1=High

So far very little feedback. PS has suggested that I incorporate EPSG codes. I am looking at this, but I do want to keep everything metric, so will not support feet, yards, miles etc. It is only the US that still uses these and it is about time they moved into at least the 18th century. SaneSeis coordinates must also remain Cartesian, so not all EPSG codes would be valid.
Comments and suggestions welcome.
http://seismatters.com/cgi-bin/feedback.cgi

SaneSeis – a new Seismic File Format

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

I have been quite critical of the SEG file formats over the years. And with good reason. SEGD, SEGY and SEG2 should have been retired years ago. They are based on decades old ideas that perhaps suited the equipment at the time. Unfortunately, the SEG does not seem to have realised that time has moved on – recording systems, methods and requirements have changed (for the SEG – actually they changed a long time ago!). When SEGD and SEGY were first released, they arguably were suitable for use at the time. No Longer. And SEG2 of course should never have been released at all, but that is another story for another time.

 
The problem is that SEGY and SEGD were ‘extended’ by the SEG instead of replaced. I can maybe understand the first revision SEGD V1 to V2 for example, but now we have an abortion called SEGD V3. There is absolutely no excuse for its existence. Unfortunately there are people starting to use it (I don’t know why) and people who plan to use it (again, I don’t know why).

 
Some years ago, I proposed in a very basic way what a modern seismic acquisition file format should look like (IMNSHO). It was based around flat headers and no optional sections. So, instead of just complaining about SEGD V3, I have sat down and actually defined an alternative based on discussions and thoughts I have had. I will not claim it is perfect or even ready for use just yet, but it does solve the problems with SEGD V3 and does match the requirements of high production, high channel count multiple source recording. It does borrow a little from the existing formats, but only the good parts.

 
For anyone interested, see here, I call it SaneSeis: http://seismatters.com/SaneSeis.html
I will welcome constructive criticism, and distribution of the ideas.

Tests and Tests

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Back from another trip in Oman with PDO.
It was all about tests this time, lots of tests.
Some quite interesting and successful, some very frustrating.
But I guess if we knew the results, we wouldn’t need to test.

Have been home nearly a month now, just did a trip up to Petchabun.
No golf there this time, just a quick look around.
The Khmer ruins at Sri Thep were one of the highlights

m_Aug_2015_Sri Thep DSCN2608_7_9_Detail -1 m_Aug_2015_Sri Thep Prang Reusi DSCN2689_8_90_Detail

Along with Wat PhraTat Phasorn Keaw in Khao Kor.

m_Aug_2015_Khao Kor Wat PhraTat Phasorn Keaw DSCN2783_2_4_Localtone m_Aug_2015_Khao Kor Wat PhraTat Phasorn Keaw DSCN2776_5_7_Localtone
I am developing quite an interest in Khmer ruins, it may become my retirement project.
If I can ever afford to retire that is.
Lots of pictures of Khmer sites for anyone interested:

http://seismatters.com/coppermine/thumbnails.php?album=88
http://seismatters.com/coppermine/thumbnails.php?album=89
http://seismatters.com/coppermine/thumbnails.php?album=90
http://seismatters.com/coppermine/thumbnails.php?album=93
http://seismatters.com/coppermine/thumbnails.php?album=94

Chiang Mai

Saturday, May 9th, 2015

Just back from a trip to Chiang Mai.
Went up with a couple of old friends to play some golf and look around. It has been in the back of my mind for some time to move out of Bangkok and Chiang Mai was worth a look considering the history and golf courses.
The Golf was good, we played Lanna, the oldest course there and Green Valley. Both were great, but anyone considering Lanna should be sure they are not talked into playing the 9 holes on the race track. These were a disappointment. The rest of the course though is nice – a mature course with a lot of character.

Golf_ChiangMai_2015_Lanna IMG_1043-s

Green Valley is one of the nicest courses I have ever played on. It is very much a manicured course and very well done. Everything was perfect – Tee boxes, fairways, greens, caddies, the restaurant in the club house. A magnificent course and I highly recommend it. I just wish I could have done it justice.

Golf_ChiangMai_2015_Green Valley IMG_1070-s

My golf is getting worse every day. I still enjoy it though, but there are times I wonder why.
Would have liked to have played at least one more game, but my playing partners were not up to it. Suffice to say the British Empire was not built by the likes of these two. They kept complaining about the heat! It wasn’t hot, only a warm 40 degrees or thereabouts.

 
Although the golf was great, Chiang Mai was a bit of a disappointment. These days it seems to be filled with halfwit Americans (as if there are any other kind), fat European and Australian women failing to look attractive in short shorts (which the local ladies manage very nicely) and snot gobbling Chinese, who, when they are not hawking and spitting are taking pictures of themselves with telephones on sticks. All a bit strange to me.

 
I will certainly go back for some golf, but not sure it is my final resting place.

It’s been a while

Friday, May 1st, 2015

A long time since my last post.
Quite a lot has happened in the industry. Of course the collapse of the oil price has affected all of us.
The oil companies seem to be in panic mode and have cut projects.
All a bit silly really, we all know the price of oil will rebound, and probably to higher levels than we have ever seen. Now would be a good time to invest past profits into new exploration projects and more importantly research and training of the next generation.
Although not an immediate priority, tight oil in small reservoirs will become very important in years to come. Identifying and testing these structures now would give any oil company that does, a competitive advantage when current fields are either depleted, or due to political or environmental reasons inaccessible.

 
Not going to happen of course, these days accountants control everything, not real people. The damage accountants have done to the world over the last 40 years or so is unforgivable. And worst of all there is no accounting for the actions of accountants – pun intended. They get away with destroying lives, economies and countries and are never brought to task. Accounting should be considered a crime against humanity and all accountants jailed or preferably, executed. At least they could be useful as fertiliser. They aren’t much different to dogs really – see here:

http://www.seismatters.com/wordpress/?p=34

But enough of that.
Along with everyone else, my work activities have been somewhat curtailed, but not stopped.
I have had a couple of trips back to Oman for PDO, and very interesting they were.
My focus was mostly on tests of new techniques that could potentially increase daily production 4 or 5 fold. There are more tests planned in a little while that I will likely be involved with. These have a slightly different focus, but are still source related.
I am still not a believer in very low frequency vibroseis sweeps, but that may change with new equipment. For low frequency acquisition to be viable, it needs to be approached from both the source and the receiver side. There are practical limits on the size of vibrators that we are reaching now – and very low frequencies, demand big vibrators. So we must look at the receiver side. Sercel released the SG5 a year or so ago – a 5Hz high sensitivity geophone, but it has had limited uptake mainly because they try to push it as being a single element replacement for 6 conventional elements. My evaluation of tests indicates that this is not the case. The true benefit of the SG5 will not be seen until 3 or 4 are connected in series. Four looked very, very good (amazingly good – almost a quantum leap as we so often hear in the media) as we could also create an areal array – even a small array is hugely beneficial in attenuating ambient noise. That, and sensitivity are two things that the theory people always seem to overlook. Single element sensors sound very nice, but if you don’t get signal into the digitiser, then all we are doing is sign bit summing and relying (requiring) huge fold to produce anything at all. Why bother with a high fidelity recording system in this case?

MEMS technology is still not there despite the various manufacturer’s claims. And Sercel’s approach of integrating it into the DSU which in turn is integrated into the cable is not good. It creates coupling issues due to its size. The few people who read this will know I am not a fan of IO electronics (I like some of their vibs though), but one of the few things they got right with their Vectorseis, was to separate the sensor from the cable and digitiser. It still doesn’t make me a fan, but they did get one thing right.

My time off has been good. Recently I did a trip around the north East of Thailand with an old seismic friend.

We covered, Korat, Khon Kaen, Udon, Nong Kai, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan and Surin, and also made a special trip to Phanom Rung.
My interest was mainly the Khmer ruins along the way, of which there are many – some pictures here:

http://seismatters.com/coppermine/thumbnails.php?album=90
http://seismatters.com/coppermine/thumbnails.php?album=91
http://seismatters.com/coppermine/thumbnails.php?album=95
http://seismatters.com/coppermine/thumbnails.php?album=93

And the root page here:
http://seismatters.com/coppermine/index.php?cat=14&page=2
It was a good trip. I had never seen a lot of the country we covered.

 
One spot that deserves special mention is the Ho Kham Resort on the way east.
We had continued a bit further that we should have that day, it was getting dark and started raining, so we were prepared to stop anywhere for the night. Ho Kham resort appeared just at the right time, so we drove in and asked if they had a couple of rooms available which they did. Then we asked about food, they said they weren’t really open, but they could cook us some fried rice.
How about a beer or two? No problem.
And we got coffee and toast in the morning. All for 800 Baht all up for 2 rooms right on the river + food and beer, and with a smile despite them not even being properly open for customers. It was old style Thai hospitality, and quite refreshing. Google Earth Coords: 18.441169, 103.423328
Here are pictures of the river from the resort.
http://seismatters.com/coppermine/thumbnails.php?album=95

 
I’m going up to Chiang Mai in a couple of days to play some golf.
When I get back, will maybe start a rewrite of some of my Vib QC stuff.
That should keep me occupied until the next job.

Everything comes to an end

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Back home again, my time with PDO is over, at least for now.

It is what might be called a bittersweet moment –

Working for PDO was great, but I guess my problem is that I need excitement, challenges perhaps, or just the need to feel I am making a difference. A huge ongoing 3D in a featureless environment with a stagnated and inward looking crew is not for me.

I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to work for PDO though, and I think we parted on good terms.

In my time there, I saw PDO as a company that is quite open to ideas – even quite radical ones and are willing to test.

In fact just before I left, we tested a bunch of different sensors –

  • MEMS
  • Low frequency geophones
  • High sensitivity geophones
  • Active geophones
  • And most interestingly, High sensitivity, Low frequency geophones.

As the test results are of course property of PDO, I won’t say much here except that we are possibly on the edge of a big change in sensor technology, and it does not look like MEMS to me.

So, now I am back looking for work. Not an unusual situation I admit, but one I hope ends soon.

Have to say I am enjoying the golf though.

HP Pavilion 15-e007TX

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Some time ago, I stated quite emphatically that I was never going to change from Windows 2000. Well, I have to eat my words.

I am finding that some applications struggle under a 32 bit OS and I finally bit the bullet and purchased a new laptop. This time an HP Pavilion 15-e007TX.

It’s a 4th generation i7 based machine and available at a good price. It only comes with a DOS OS though, so the challenge was to install Windows 7, when HP are pushing Windows 8. It was quite a struggle to find all the drivers for W7 – something I am not alone in, it seems many people want W7 rather than W8. Not surprising really.

 

For anyone interested, here is what I ended up finding and using:

For network go here (the driver on the HP site didn’t work for me):

http://www.realtek.com/downloads/downloadsView.aspx?Langid=1&PNid=13&PFid=5&Level=5&Conn=4&DownTypeID=3&GetDown=false

And  download this:

Win7 and WinServer 2008 R2 Auto Installation Program (SID:1606895)

 

Download HP’s ‘HP Support Assistant for Microsoft Windows® 7 (32/64 Bit)’

from here:  http://h18021.www1.hp.com/helpandsupport/hp-self-support.html

 

Then run the diagnostics section and let it update. It will probably only update the Bluetooth driver but it’s a start

 

Download the media card driver from here:

http://h20565.www2.hp.com/portal/site/hpsc/template.PAGE/public/psi/swdDetails/?javax.portlet.begCacheTok=com.vignette.cachetoken&javax.portlet.endCacheTok=com.vignette.cachetoken&javax.portlet.prp_bd9b6997fbc7fc515f4cf4626f5c8d01=wsrp-navigationalState%3Didx%253D%257CswItem%253Dob_123664_1%257CswEnvOID%253D4059%257CitemLocale%253D%257CswLang%253D%257Cmode%253D%257Caction%253DdriverDocument&javax.portlet.tpst=bd9b6997fbc7fc515f4cf4626f5c8d01&sp4ts.oid=5405424&ac.admitted=1383744398575.876444892.492883150

 

Then go to HP’s FTP site   ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/softpaq/

And download and install the following Softpaqs

 

sp62227     Intel Rapid storage

 

sp62582     Intel Graphics driver – important, do this before the Radeon drivers!!!

 

sp62228    Audio drivers

 

Install the USB drivers form here:

https://downloadcenter.intel.com/confirm.aspx?httpDown=http://downloadmirror.intel.com/22824/eng/Intel%28R%29_USB_3.0_eXtensible_Host_Controller_Driver.zip&lang=eng&Dwnldid=22824

 

Finally the Radeon Graphics drivers from here:

http://support.amd.com/en-us/download

 

It is important that the Intel Video drivers be loaded before the Radeon ones. You will not be able to load the Radeon drivers until the Intel ones are installed.

 

Some good links here that might be useful to some:

http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Other-Notebook-PC-Questions/How-can-I-download-drivers-for-Windows-7/m-p/2952677

 

Once the drivers were installed and the updates to the updates of the Windows updates were complete, it was a matter of making Windows 7 useable.

The first thing of course is to turn off all the Aero crap. Whoever came up with that deserves a slow and painful death.

 

Then to get the network activity monitor back, download and install this:

http://www.itsamples.com/downloads/network-activity-indicator-setup.zip

 

One thing that had me going for a little while was that external USB hard drives were not recognized. Luckily it was a simple solution – go to Device manager select each of the USB Root hubs shown, and for each one turn off the power saving option.

 

There are a bunch of other tweaks possible, but it is very difficult to locate settings in Windows 7. My solution was to use a package called “Ultimate Windows Tweaker” from here:

 

http://www.thewindowsclub.com/ultimate-windows-tweaker-v2-a-tweak-ui-for-windows-7-vista

 

It takes away a lot of the pain and frustration.

 

Despite my misgivings, Windows 7 is turning out to be useable but it will never be as good as 2000.

Is it faster though? In some areas, yes, but not much. Even with a 4 core processor, and 8GB of RAM it is only a little faster than my 5 year old Fujitsu with Core 2 Duo with 3GB.

I had hoped the new processor, 64 Bit architecture and extra memory would have made a significant difference, but it doesn’t. I can only assume the added processor power is consumed by the OS. A bit sad really. I still look forward to the day when I can move to Linux.

 

Android Apps

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

It seems that my last post (since removed) upset some people.

It was intended to provoke a reaction, and by some accounts, I guess it was successful.

The equipment vendor involved claims to have a solution to one of the issues with their equipment. To date I have seen little information though. Maybe there will be more when I get back next month. I guess I will just leave it at that.

 

Despite the not to be mentioned again issues, the last trip was certainly better than the one before. The crew is working through some very challenging terrain, and making quite good progress. Things could always be better of course, and perhaps if advice given was taken, then things could be. By the time I get back, they should be in more interesting areas, with challenges of their own – sand dunes being one. It has been some time since the crew, and in fact I have worked in dunes. It’s probably going to be a bit of a struggle to start with for all of us, but it is the nature of seismic crews to manage anything thrown at them. They aren’t necessarily happy about it, and nor they should be, but seismic crews do venture where no man has gone before. A bit like Captain Kirk I suppose, but without the Enterprise.

 

During my last break, I got interested in Android tablets and wrote a small app for, of all things HSE. And no, I have not suddenly turned queer and embraced cosmetic safety in all its gory glory. My approach remains quite pragmatic – I believe the essence of safety is common sense, not hiding in an office writing 200 page reports about the dangers of wanking in the shower.

 

That being said, camp inspections are important and a lot of a rep’s time is taken up in write-ups of inspections. This is where my new app comes in. It runs on an Android Tablet and allows the rep to easily and quickly generate useful incident reports.  I call my system SeisStop, as it is loosely based on Stop Cards as invented by Dupont. It is two parts – the Tablet App and a small application on a PC that allows for editing and printing the incidents recorded by the tablet.

 

The Tablet App allows you to take pictures, make notes and tag the usual issues.

Drop down lists make for easy selection of areas, departments and responsible party.

SeisStop 1

(This one is not the crew BTW, but me at home, I probably should tidy up)

 

The PC part (not shown here) allows each report to be edited and printed. One big thing is that the pictures are tied directly to each report. Much better than having to sort it all out later on.

 

It worked well for me and I plan to develop it further, possibly to a commercial stage.

I am working developing more apps that should be of interest to reps and contractors. The only downside was that the Tablet I have (Acer A1-810) is not easy to read in bright sunlight.  This is an issue common to most tablets I have seen. It just meant I did most of my camp walk arounds in the early morning.

I highly recommend the Acer Tablet though. It performs very well and is priced very reasonably.

 

For those interested in these things, an update to SMTAN2 is available which adds some extras in the Statistics page. See here:

http://seismatters.com/SMT%20Analyser2.html

 

Storms, Earthquakes and new vibs

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

A strange sort of trip this time.

I had plans to do all sorts of things, but in the end didn’t get as much done as I wanted.

The most notable event of the trip was a storm that came through at the end of April.

It cost us a couple of days down and the crew lost around 50 FDUs due to lightning.

Burnt FDU 2

This is not many considering there is around 25000 out on the spread, but was a bit of a wakeup call to the contractor. My only surprise was that it hadn’t happened earlier. In Saudi, every crew, every year suffered from lightning strikes and it was not unusual to loose 100s of FDUs at a time. And that with a much smaller spread.

I have been asking Sercel for years to introduce cheap fibre optic isolating sections that can be inserted at various points in the line. Sadly, they don’t seem all that interested and the currently available Fiber optic extention cables are far too expensive to use considering the number required.

 

The rain produced an interesting effect out in the subkha:

Fine salt formation 4 Fine salt formation 2

These are salt formations created by the wind picking up saturated salt water. Almost plantlike.

 

The crew commissioned 5 new 380 Vibs. This makes 21 on crew now, with another 6 arriving soon.

The acceptance tests were a bit painful. I really wish BGP would learn to look at the results of tests before passing them on. We seem to go through this every time.

We also suffered from earthquakes in Iran. These were quite a problem for some time, maybe still are. I was pointed to a useful website that displays the location and magnitude of earthquakes in a specified area, maybe useful to someone else:

 

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map/

 

I do tend to criticize Americans a lot, and it is justified of course – they are largely (very large) morons, but to give them their due they have made some amazing resources available to all, and for free. So I will take a day off from knocking them.

Back to normal tomorrow though.

 

Seismic File Formats

Friday, March 29th, 2013

For some testing coming up, I wanted to be able to create display panels. Something like this:

Shot1 Shot2Shot 3

Nothing exciting, just the ability to compare shots or parts of them and the individual and relative spectra. It should be easy with modern Field Processing Systems, but it is not the case. Most systems have some limited ability to produce panel displays, but it is tedious at best and there is also the problem of getting the message through to the processor. Although there are some good ones, in a lot of cases, they are more interested in sleeping, eating or tugging their slugs than doing useful work.

However, I digress.

To solve my problem, I dusted off some old code and created what I call SEGPanels:

segpanels

It handles SEGD and SEGY (and is not available for download)

 

In the process I had another look at the SEGD and SEGY standards.

I wish I hadn’t.

But what makes a bad story worse is the latest incarnation of SEGD.

I knew version 3 had been released, but had not looked at it closely. It makes death look attractive.

The description is available here:

http://www.seg.org/resources/publications/misc/technical-standards

The authors had a chance to create the first really useful, useable format for recording high volume oilfield seismic data. Instead they opted to modify the current abortion.

To be fair they have made some positive changes, like dropping multiplexed data, but they should have discarded the current pig’s breakfast entirely and created a new format from scratch that suits what we do.

Actually it boggles the mind that they have managed to make a bad format even worse.

Here is an extract from the document:

All General Header blocks except  General  Header  Blocks  #1–3  are  optional,  and  can  appear  in  any  order

Optional and can appear in any order!!! What fuckwit thought of that one?

 

– From a file point of view the version is not identified until General header 2 is decoded

– They kept the Header blocks 1 and 2, hardly changed

– They kept channel sets

– They included even more optional blocks of crap

I wonder how many of the standards committee members actually deal with real seismic data. Have they ever had to read seismic data? Do they have the slightest idea of QC?

Do they even know what a seismic crew does?

I’ll tell you –

It records data, lots of it. Not much else. That’s its reason for being.

It does not need a complicated file format.

A simple flat file header of fixed size, fully described and no optional fields or blocks followed by the data comprised of a well defined trace header and then data repeated until all traces are written.

There is probably a need for a Manufacturer header and a user header, but nothing else.

It is time that the industry (and especially the SEG) recognises that there are (at least) two levels involved, not one seamless process. For the members of the SEG, these are:

–         Acquisition

–         Processing

The needs are very different.

SEGD V3 seems to be an attempt by a bunch of technical illiterate and inexperienced junior geophantasists to merge acquisition and processing. And it failed miserably. We can perhaps forgive the earlier versions of SEGD as processing and storage technology was in its infancy, but the creators of version 3 should hang their heads in shame.  Sadly some of them are respected members of the industry, which is a sad reflection on our industry.

Incidentally, SEGD is not the only foul file format the SEG has created (SEGY, SEG2 and a couple of others come to mind). In fact I have not seen one recent/modern attempt that I consider worthwhile, with perhaps the exception of SPS, but of course that was not a creation of the SEG, was it.

It’s time the SEG recognises that their role is to ratify formats, not create them.

In other words, they need to stay away from things they know absolutely nothing about.

 

 

Back home for a few weeks

Monday, January 14th, 2013

It was quite an easy trip this time, time passed quickly mostly due to some third party testing of a new type of seismic recording system.
I am not permitted to talk about specifics, but they have a lot of things to sort out and suffice to say Sercel have nothing to worry about.

One piece of equipment I can talk about is the Force III vibrator controller from
SSI :

http://seismicsource.com/html/products/sourcecontrol/force3

This was used as the controller for some of the testing with the new recording system
It still needs some work, but it is already way ahead of I/O’s VibPro. Of course that would not be very difficult.
Two huge advantages are no DR Plate and No DSS box required.
They need to work on the operator interface, the QC package and better connectors, but the system looks like it has a future.
Its biggest downside is that it looks so much like a VibPro. Pity really, I would have thought they would want to divorce themselves in every way possible from that thing.

SSI has other offerings, some of them quite interesting, but they really need to consider the naming of some of these – juvenile names like BoomBox and BirdDog are relics of a bygone era.
I am certainly put off by the names (despite 33 years in the industry) and would never consider them for use on a crew because of it. Especially when there are other, very capable systems on the market with more professional names. It is not 1975 anymore and names like these reflect poorly on a company’s image.
Although I suppose if they only want to sell in North America it’s OK, perhaps even required.

Some updates to SMTAN2 coming soon.
More QC software in development.

Going back to work in mid February, I think.

Still Oman

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

Still with PDO in Oman. It all sounds a bit boring I suppose, but from the technical side it most certainly isn’t.
PDO are very progressive in their use of technology and in testing new – and even old ideas. Quite interesting for me, because I have lots of ideas, and as it has worked out, some better than others. But if we don’t test, we never know for sure.

Something I like to say to people when they question the value of a particular test is that
we are doing Geoscience, not GeoArt. In science, we start with an idea, generate a hypothesis, test it and then develop a theory, which we then strangely enough look for ways to disprove with more data. If we can’t, then it becomes accepted.
But without the tests, even ones where we are reasonably sure of the outcome, we cannot say our theory is valid.
The problem in seismic these days is that to test on the scale required to prove an idea is expensive. It means we have to be very careful how we design tests, and be prepared to accept that the test results we receive, although valid, may not end up being as useful to us as we expected. But they can often lead to new ideas, and new tests.
This is what keeps me interested in working with PDO – and to paraphrase an old colleague from my Geosource days in Oman – this stuff is never ending.

But going back to the boring side – the crew I am working on is working in the most boring place I have ever been.
I know I have said it before, but I was wrong. Every other boring place pales into insignificance compared to this place. It is flat, featureless, dry and hot, very very hot in the summer and fucking cold in the winter.
Why didn’t I become an accountant instead? (Just joking, I do have some morals and ethics, and I like women)

Anyway enough of seismic and a bit on technology, or more accurately the abuse of it.
There is a poofter in the Netherlands trying to hack my WordPress page.
It’s IP address is 5.39.218.140
This individual deserves nothing less than a slow and painful death.
I have no time for these pricks who think they can steal other peoples property with impunity.

Time for a purge of Internet thieves (and of accountants).

Kanchanaburi

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

A Cultural few days in Kanchanaburi with the GF. Interesting, but at times depressing

Kanchanaburi is famous of course for the Death Railway and the Bridge over the River Kwai. Which is something I have to correct – it is the bridge over the Rive Kwae – it rhymes with ‘air’ as in the Bridge over the River Kwair. The mispronunciation is understandable I guess –
I suspect with an English spelling of ‘Kwae’, a lot of English speakers would say Kway which in Thai, is a common, although vulgar reference to male genitalia. (‘Cock’ for the American readers, if there are any who have managed to get past the big words and read this far).

Amazingly peaceful now – photos here :
http://seismatters.com/coppermine/thumbnails.php?album=79

The Cemetery is especially depressing, but a place that should be visited.
Of interest to me was the statistics – although it claims a special place in the hearts of Australians, the most deaths of men of European extraction associated with the railway were British, by a factor of two. And we must not forget the others – 5 times or more of regional people that perished under brutal conditions.

It’s easy to simply blame the Japanese for what happened of course, and there are no excuses, as there are none for the atrocities in Europe committed by the Germans (and even at times the allied forces), but we have to move on – without forgetting.
I guess that is why war Cemeteries are so important.

A less depressing site was Wat Dum Suea, not far from the town of Kanchanaburi.
A magnificent temple with Thai and Chinese style buildings.
Quite a climb to get to it, but well worth it. I actually felt quite pleased with myself at the end, due to a group of Russian tourists who had just arrived – some quite young and fit and where obviously struggling as they made it up the last few steps. Maybe my time isn’t up just yet.

Another place worth a visit is the film set of the epic Naresuan movie.
The film was criticized by many of the so called intellectuals (foreign of course) but I enjoyed it.
Movies should (in my opinion) be treated as entertainment, not fact. So what if there are some inaccuracies? Movies tell a story, and stories aren’t all true. I am sure a lot of the same intellectuals thoroughly enjoyed Star Wars or Shrek. Both clearly factual, at least in their narrow minds.
The set itself is massive. Interestingly a lot of it made out of Styrofoam.
Unfortunately the foam is deteriorating and it makes the price of admission a bit hard to swallow. A bit of maintenance and it would have a long term future. Here’s hoping they make another movie, using the same set and area.

The big disappointment was the Tiger Temple.
This is quite famous, and we were looking forward to it. Unfortunately, it has been hijacked by a bunch of foreign backpacker types who seem to have made it into their own private petting zoo. Thais are obviously second class to them. They have priced everything well out of the range of normal Thai people and almost act as if they don’t exist. Personally I was embarrassed.
The only high point was meeting a monk who was from Udon. We (the GF and I) at last had someone sensible we could talk to.
Having been to the Tiger park in Chiang Mai, we were very disappointed. Whether the Tigers in Chiang Mia are better or worse off, I don’t know. What I do know is the Thai style of doing things beats what is going on at the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi.
The Thai style is far more personal and interactive. What is done at the Kanchanaburi Tiger Temple is mass tourism –
Getem in – take their money – getem out.
And the attitudes of the foreign ‘volunteers’ to local visitors is abysmal.

BTW, the Thais have an entertaining expression for backpackers – ‘Farang Kee Nok’ which pretty well translates directly to ‘Bird Shit Foreigner’.
It indicates to me that a large portion of the populace has had enough of these obnoxious parasites. Unfortunately, Budget airlines and a culture of ‘entitlement’ in places like Australia and the US particularly, mean we see a lot of them, many on their ‘Gap Year’ which they are ‘entitled’ to simply because they have successfully made it to the amazing age of 17 or 18 or whatever the legal rooting age is now.

Can’t say I am entirely innocent – in my younger days, I thought I was entitled to all sorts of things too.
Funny what 32 years in seismic does to a man.
A good read on rights and entitlement is Heinlein’s ‘Star Ship Troopers’ – a pig awful movie except for Denise Richards (a bit long in the tooth now at 40+, but I would still pay to see her naked), but quite a good book. Its message is more political than Science Fiction and quite appropriate for the world today.

Almost a Year With PDO

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

It’s been some time since an update. That’s because not a lot has changed.
I’m still working in Oman – although on break right now.

BGP have upgraded their crew – now 30000 channels available, although
only recording a little over 24000. Only 24000!!
Have to admit feeling a bit old – I started in the industry on a crew with 24 channels and it
was two 12 channel systems hooked back to back. Then I joined Digiseis in Australia and they had a massive system – a 48 Channel MDS10.

Then I moved to Geosource after a brief and painful sojourn with Western in India (now there is a story, but not for now). Geosource were operating 120 Channel MDS10s. I never thought it would get much bigger until they put me on the MDS18 crew with 240 channels.

Now I am talking about ‘only’ 24000 channels. Wish I could go back to 24!
And although a big channel count, it seems bigger crews are starting in Saudi in a few months.

I can see it getting to 100000 channels in only a couple of years – Sercel seem to be prepared for it with their new Giga-Transverse, but I suspect there will be a move away from cable based systems when we get to huge channel counts. Sercel and Geospace both have good working cableless systems – the UNITE and GSR respectively. I hope I get a chance to see them in operation some time soon.

BGP’s upgrade was mildly interesting. All new ground equipment, recording system and vibrators.
I had hoped BGP would have taken some of my advice on board and prepared properly for the technical audit and parameter testing, but as always they decided to just muddle though. A bit disappointing from my point of view – they had the chance to shine, but came off looking more than a little battered and scuffed. Maybe next time. But I certainly don’t expect to be there.

I did get one wish though – they have employed a crew tech, but he is older than I am!
Seems like an OK guy though, will have to see how he works out, it’s going to take an effort from both sides.

The major highlight was finally meeting a genuine Seismic Hero – a vibrator legend –
G-AT. Those in the know will recognize the initials.
I hope to meet up with him again some time. Hopefully I will be in better form then and maybe talk some sense.

Another 4 weeks off then back to it.
Have to admit – working for PDO is OK.