SMSim3 Available

February 16th, 2020

SMSim3 is now ready.
It is easy to use, quite configurable and can produce ‘report grade’ graphics.

It handles a variety of file formats:

  • SEGD Versions 2 and 3
  • SEGY IBM and IEEE floating point
  • Sercel Ground Force files
  • Verif-i VFI files from their Sandwich box tester *(Limited- see manual)

You can produce the usual sim displays, plus a lot more –

  • Comparison displays
  • Mass-BP plot
  • Tapers and envelopes
  • Distortion analysis

There is a camera function to select and display only the traces you want

A unique feature for added QC is Stored Pilots.
You can even convert Custom sweeps from Sercel format to VibPro format and vice versa

Details Here:

SMRefract and broken pins

February 8th, 2020

On a recent job, I noticed traces going dead during the day for no apparent reason.
Although it is not uncommon to see the occasional intermittent trace, this was occurring too often for my liking.

Luckily, SMRefract includes a database facility that can provide a history of bad stations.
What I saw was traces that were repeatedly intermittent.
A bit of investigation in the field revealed that FDU pins were breaking off inside the molding. It usually wasn’t obvious until the pin was actually wiggled, although in some cases the pin would pull
out when the geophone string was disconnected.
Even more entertaining was that some of the troubleshooters were well aware of the problem and instead of changing the link, would insert a piece of wire or solder into the female pin of the geophone string to ‘fix’ the station.

Quite a creative idea, but it just meant that bad equipment rolled to the front, requiring it to be fixed again in the future. It also meant that geophone strings with a blocked female pin would (attempt to) be connected to good FDUs, likely damaging them too.

I found that using SMRefract to detect these stations was practical, but a bit tedious, so have made some major changes in the Database dialog. There is now an ‘Output List’ where you can add traces you want to look at, and you can output Garmin or KML files that can be directly uploaded to a GPS if you want to go look at them.

Another new feature added is that FDUs that fail for the same fault at different locations can now be listed.
This enhances the ability to detect the FDUs with broken pins, and it will also allow you to detect FDUs that repeatedly fail tilt/leakage/resistance inexplicably and FDUs that perhaps show up as noisy more often than they should. Furthermore it allows you to see if bad equipment has in fact been removed from the line.

Here we see an FDU that had been checked and found to be bad (by me) and the recorder notified

And here the same FDU failing for the same fault a few weeks later at the front, meaning it was not changed when I asked.


Details of changes will in the manual in a few days.


Downgrading to Windows 10

February 3rd, 2020

With the end of support for Windows 7, I reluctantly decided to try out Windows 10.
The ‘upgrade’ went very well, although it took several hours.
The problem then was to make it usable.
Perhaps the underlying code-base of W10 is more stable and secure (maybe). To be honest I don’t care – Windows 7 proved
itself to be more than capable in both regards. I just want a system that is usable.
Sadly, it is quite obvious that Microsoft let the 5 year olds loose with the visual aspect of Windows 10.

The first thing to do of course was to turn off Cortana, the Aero crap and Microsoft telemetry.
Then try to adjust the visual appearance.
Windows 10 pretends to allow for customisation, but you cannot turn off themes. Themes are probably the single worst feature that Microsoft has ever come up with.
It appeals to managers, accountants and 15 year old school girls, but is a major source of frustration to anyone who actually needs to use a Windows computer for work.
You cannot individually set colours for the various parts of a dialog (title bar etc) or for the desktop, without affecting other parts – it is called the ‘Accent Color’ for some unknowable reason.
To make it even worse, the dialog windows now do not have any visible edge and the Title bar has been made far too large.

There is some good news though, there are 3rd party tools that can improve the visual aspects of Windows 10 but they do not entirely cure it. The user interface is simply terrible, to the point of being barely usable.
It is no real surprise that many people are now seriously considering a move to Linux.

Something that came as a further unpleasant surprise to me was that some of my QC software would not work under Windows 10.
Most of this was my fault – I even had comments in the code along the lines of “maybe a problem here, should check return value”
Once I fixed these oversights, things worked.
And it motivated me to add some features and fix a few niggling issues, more in another post in a few days.
So SMRefract, VAPSDB3, PN2 and SMSim3 now all work well under Windows 7 and 10.

For anyone considering a downgrade to Windows 10, you need:
to give you a usable start menu – the W10 one is unusable
to disable a bunch of Microsoft spying and useless shit
This removes the ribbon bar crap from file explorer and makes it work better

Then you can spend a few hours trying to get a colour scheme that is barely usable, because that is the best that is possible.
Until you install this one:

And enable the ‘Aero Light’ Theme, which is apparently deliberately hidden to prevent users from having a usable machine.
With it, you can get a just acceptable visual interface.
Sadly, we don’t have much choice anymore, Windows 10 is here to stay, or until Microsoft decide to screw us over again.

If only ReactOS had the support it needs to be completed:

Another belated update

November 8th, 2019

A bit of a slow period lately.

A bit more work on VAPSDB3, it can now produce a surface velocity map. It is experimental at this stage and will require validation, but the results look believable. Of course this is only one piece of the puzzle, we also need the depth that corresponds to the calculated velocity. I can probably derive that by analysis of GF data. I did some work on that a few years ago.

Just need some data and some time and some motivation.

I also wrote some experimental software to convert INOVA VibPro VM files to the VAPS format so they can be loaded into VAPSDB3.

The VM files have some shortcomings, not the least being documentation, but the code seems to work. I guess I will refine it if I ever end up on a VibPro crew again.

The plan now is to get back to SMSim3 and maybe start on a new version of SLX.


October 5th, 2019

After a brief trip to Oman a couple of months ago for a startup, I have had time to work on VAPSDB3.

It now outputs KML Overlays – these are images that get overlayed in the appropriate place on Google Earth.

Although I don’t think Google Earth is the most appropriate thing for QC support (even if your crew has a decent internet connection, you really need a proper GIS package and up to date imagery), it can be useful to send overlay files to demonstrate a point or an issue.

I have also added a “Fleet QC” section.

This is something I have been thinking on for a long, long time.

The original concept of VAPSDB was analysis if Vib attributes at the sweep level.

But despite the current drive towards single vib source, many crews still operate with fleets of 2, 3, 4 or more vibs.

Hence Fleet QC.

Of course, adding this means I will have to add VP QC for the obvious case of more than one sweep per VP.

But one thing at a time.


Fleet QC at first glance looks much like the Areal display of single vib attributes.

But it does quite a bit more.

You can set up “Reshoot Criteria” where a Sweep will be flagged for reshoot if the criteria are met – for example, the average Force level for the VP is out of spec, or any vib in the fleet has a GPS fault flagged.

Probably the most useful feature is the numeric listing of “Reshoot Required” which will also display if and when a bad point has been reshot.

Double clicking on an entry will let you see exactly what was going on with the fleet at that point

Fleet QC can also output KML Polygons (blocks) to provide a sort of 3D view of things.

But be aware that if outputting too many points, Google Earth may choke.

It is more of a display to distract junior managers than for anything serious.

The plan now, other than looking for work is to get back to SMSim3.


May 23rd, 2019

SMSim3 is almost finished.
Just need to do some cosmetic tidy ups and resolve a few minor details.
Then I just need some work so I can try it out.

It outputs the usual basic sim display, plus Mass/BP plots, Pilot/Ref QC plots, Amplitude Envelopes, Taper QC, Distortion analysis.
There is a ‘Camera’ page that allows you to display traces of your choice.
Colours and Fonts can be changed to suit your display wants and needs.
Data can be in one or many files, depending on how you record sims.
It handles Sercel and VibPro controllers and can read a variety of data formats.

Some displays below.


April 14th, 2019

With SMCSX you can see what your custom sweeps really look like.

It handles Sercel Custom files and INOVA’s SCI format.

Very easy to use, and the displays are quite customisable.

Details here:


FWIW, this and the ability to convert between INOVA and Sercel formats is built into the soon to be released SMSIM3.


SMPanels Update

August 21st, 2018

Added printing and Multi Image export

The user manual is available here:

Example Print Output:


August 12th, 2018

Anyone who has been involved with parameter tests will be familiar with the concept of Display Panels.
Considering the importance of these in parameter selection, it can be a frustrating exercise, especially if the tests involve different systems, receivers or sample rates

SMPanels allows you to generate panels in the field.
It handles SEGD data from:

  • Sercel – 388, 408, 428, 508, Seal, Unite, WTU and DSD464 GF files
  • Geospace – GSR, GCL, GSB
  • Innoseis
  • SmartSolo
  • Along with SEGY, SEG2 and Verif-i Sandwich Box

Setup is fairly easy – put all your files into a folder of your choice, direct the program there,
select which files you want to analyse, along with the analysis window and go.

A post scalar can be applied to each selection if desired to adjust the perceived gain for a particular test.
This is very useful in the case of different recording systems, or different receiver arrays.

Filters can be applied, gain and colours adjusted.
Results can be output to a file, or to clipboard for pasting into reports.

More information here: SMPanels



June 27th, 2018

One that I have been asked for many times over the years is a program to check the GetDSD files that are available from Sercel’s VE432 and 464.

So, here it is.

More Details here:

And User Manual here:

Quick and easy identification of Errors or out of tolerance conditions

Graphs of measured parameters


Persistent Noise 2 (PN2)

May 18th, 2018

Generate noise maps on a 3D block.
Although noise sources are generally quite obvious to anyone in the field, It is quite useful to produce a map for anyone who is
looking at data at a later date, IE in processing or interpretation.

PN2 will take Sensor test files and average the results to produce a map.
Very easy to use. You can output results as Text, CSV or as a Shape File for use in a GIS application.

More details here:

User Manual Here:


April 28th, 2018

Last week I was sent a Shape File which defined the outline of a block.

I was asked if I could provide the coordinates of the corner points.

Whilst there are some obscure ways to do this, it is difficult without a full blown GIS application.

As the question seems to be a fairly common one, I wrote ShapeReader to extract coordinates and various other information from Shape Files.


More information here:



More VAPSDB3 Updates

April 21st, 2018

A bunch of updates to VAPSDB3.
The biggest being the addition of an Export facility, where you can select desired attributes based on various criteria.

The other big change is the ability to output Shape Files.
This is especially useful for anyone using GIS packages for further displays.

VAPSDB3 here:

and the user manual here:

VAPSDB3 updates

March 16th, 2018

Finally got around to completing some overdue updates to VAPSDB3

Listing of results is now available for all (except Areal, where it wouldn’t be much use)

Scatter Graph and History Limit line thickness can now be set
Fixed issue in Patterns where resizing the dialog does not keep the draw area square. Now circles remain as circles
Fixed possible crash in Vib Stats is data not loaded
Reworked the way numeric results are displayed in Vib Stats

And a few other minor fixes.

The updated user manual is here:

And program details here:

SMRefract does Nodal

March 11th, 2018

Recently updated SMRefract to handle some of the newer nodal systems:

  • Sercel WTU
  • DTCC’s SmartSolo
  • Innoseis Quantum Tremornet
  • Geospace GCL and GSB

More information, and the user manual here:

And here are links to information about each system:

VAPSDB3 Released

January 30th, 2018

The first version of VAPSDB3 is now finished. Currently it will show:

  • Comparative Statistics
  • Time vs Status
  • SS/DS3/DS4 Time vs Offset
  • Source Patterns
  • Areal Displays of attributes
  • Scatter Graphs of Attributes
  • Source Availability and VP rate
  • Historic displays of Attributes.

It handles very large data sets and is much faster than VAPSDB2

More here:

And the User manual here:


A New Year and VAPSDB3

January 1st, 2018

Hopefully 2018 will be a better year than the last two. I am not all that hopeful though. Far too many have bought into the renewables scam. It will probably be 10 or 15 years before people wake up and realise that renewables can supplement energy production, but not replace conventionals.  It will be a very expensive awakening.

VAPSDB3 is still moving along. A bit slower than I hoped, but the new features are worth the effort.

Now have the Areal displays done:

And Vib Patterns/COG offsets:

Next a tidy up of the user interface and it should be ready for testing. Just need a crew to test it on.

VAPSDB3 Progress

December 8th, 2017

The program is coming along slowly but steadily.

Now have the Stats section done:

The results are now in a scrollable panel, which overcomes one of the big problems I had with VAPSDB2 and a large number of vibrators. You can also specify the number of panels across and create custom selections to display only/all the information you want


A new one is DS3 and DS4 Time Distance checks:

Here a DS3 check. Numeric results can be output as CSV, Text or XML.

Rules can be easily defined in much the same way as in the recorder.


Next on the agenda is Areal displays and Vib Deviation displays.

Hopefully by this time next month, the whole thing will be ready for full on testing.

I just need some work so I can test it.

SITA508 Updates and VAPSDB3

November 13th, 2017

Some updates to SITA508 –

  • You can now output listings to CSV as well as Text and XML
  • Graphics can now be saved to PDF and Printed
  • Scales and limits can be specified for Field Noise Tests
  • Line graphs can now be segment style or continuous lines
  • And some other fixes and minor enhancements

See here for more info:

And the updated user manual here:

I am now working on VAPSDB3. It is much faster than VAPSDB2 and can handle huge date sets so will overcome one of the major problems of VAPSDB2.

So far, have Scatter Graphs, Time-Status, Availability and Production Rate and History



Still a lot to do, but it is coming along well.


SITA 508

September 25th, 2017

SITA508 will process Sercel508 Instrument test results from the recorded SEGD files. (Limited to FDU tests only)

This allows you to verify that the Sercel or other 3rd Party results are valid. It also gives you a way to see if numeric results have been edited, which is rare, but has been known to happen.
It is very easy to use. Simply point it at the folder where the test files reside and the program does the rest.
Currently the following tests can be processed by SITA508:

FDU Noise
FDU Gain Error
FDU Phase Error
FDU Distortion
FDU Pulse
Sensor Noise
Sensor Resistance
Sensor Pulse
Sensor Tilt

More information and the user manual here