Entries in software (22)


News of the week

This news feature has settled down into a fortnightly groove. News of the week sounds good, though, so we'll keep the name. Filtered geoscience tech news, every other Friday. Got tips?

Is it hot in here?

Google's philanthropic arm,, sponsored a major study at Southern Methodist University into the geothermal potential of the United States, and the results are in. This was interesting to us, because we've just spent a couple of weeks working our first geothermal project. Characterizing hot rocks is a fascinating and fairly new application of seismic technology, so it's been as much research exercise as interpretation project. From the looks of this beautiful map—which you must see in Google Earth—seismic may see wide application in the future. 

And the possibilties in Google Earth, along with Google SketchUp, for presenting geospatial data shouldn't go unnoticed!

CLAS arrives in OpendTect

A log analysis plug-in for dGB Earth Science's open-source integrated interpretation tool OpendTect was announced at EAGE conference earlier this year, and now it's available. The tool was developed by Geoinfo, a small Argentinian geoscience tech shop, in partnership with dGB. So now you can compute all your seismic petrophysics right in OpendTect.

On a sort-of-related note, Bert Bril, one of dGB's founders, just launched his blog, I can't believe it's not SCRUM, about agile software development. He even posts about geophysics. Yay!

Agile* apps

We're still regularly updating our completely free apps for Android. If you have an Android phone or tablet, go ahead and give them a spin. Volume* (right) is on version 3.1 already, and now does gas volumetrics, including Bg computation, and can grab any of the major crude oil benchmark prices for a quick-look value. And AVO* is just about to get a boost in functionality with an LMR plot; watch this space. Don't hold back if you've got requests. 

This regular news feature is for information only. We aren't connected with any of these people or organizations, and don't necessarily endorse their products or services. Unless we say we think they're great.


News of the week

Help us stay on top of the latest and greatest: if you hear about something that might make geophysics even awesomer for all of us, drop us a line! In the meantime, here's some news that caught our attention...

Free software goodness

Innovative Australian software shop DownUnder GeoSolutions, aka DUG, is now offering DUG Insight to students for free! As if one amazing free (as in beer) seismic visualization and interpretation tool wasn't enough—you do have OpendTect, right?—now there's another. Just email them a copy of your student ID, and they'll get you started. 

NEWSFLASH  Hard-up students might also like this: Nature Geoscience for $10 a year! 

S-ray vision

OK, it doesn't sound quite as cool as X-ray vision, but S-band microwaves really can see through walls. Sort of. Boffins at MIT demonstrate their claims in this video... it's not geophysics, but another hard inverse imaging problem.

Petrophysics for Dummies

Occasionally while wandering lost in the interweb you stumble on gold. This is gold. Graham Davies was a geoscientist at Enterprise Oil, the plucky British independent exploration company I did my first internship at. He's been recording petrophysics tutorials, and they're 100% brilliant. "Even if you've never heard of petrophysics before," claims Davis.

What the heck is the geoblogosphere?

Not really a geotechnical story, but some readers might be interested to know more about geoscience blogs. A recent research paper, Geißler et al 2011, is a good place to start. The authors, who include übergeoblogger Callan Bentley of the structural geology blog Mountain Beltway, do a terrific job of exploraing the reasons for blogging, the perceptions of employers and supervisors, and every other angle you can think of. 

NEWSFLASH The 315th Where on (Google) Earth geomorphological puzzle went unsolved for 11 days, but was finally solved this morning. Congratulations to Ron Schott, the next episode is yours to host.

This regular news feature is for information only. We aren't connected with any of these people or organizations, and don't necessarily endorse their products or services. 


News of the week

Some news and views from the world of geoscience this last fortnight.

Open source GIS on a thumb drive

If you ever wanted to get into open source geospatial software but didn't know where to start, check this out. Last month OSGeo, the open source geospatial foundation, released version 5 of their OSGeo-Live project. This is a bootable disk image containing 47 pieces of free software, including several full GIS, world maps, and quick-start guides. Amazing!

Probability and panic

The L'Aquila earthquake of April 2009 killed 308 people. Six seismologists are now on trial for manslaughter, not so much because they failed to predict the quake, but because they allegedly downplayed the risk of a severe event. Most geoscientists believe that we cannot predict earthquakes today; these seismologists are effectively accused of trying to predict a non-earthquake. We don't know, but suspect their intent was misinterpreted—always a danger when specialists communicate with non-specialists. There is no daily coverage of the trial that we are aware of, but there are occasional reports in the press. In this short video, Giustino Parisse explains why he is one of the plaintiffs.

Magical geobloggery

If you're new to blogs—maybe you got a tablet recently and are discovering how easy it is to read the web these days—you might not be aware that there's a lot of geology in the blogosphere. Finding writers you want to read isn't easy though. You could scroll down this page and look for our BLOGROLL for some leads, or head over to Highly Allochthonous and read the latest Accretionary Wedge, a regular meta-post. This month: practical advice for the lifelong learner. 

Communicating rocks

We recently learned of this terrific new book from University of Houston professor Peter Copeland (thanks to his colleague, Rob Stewart, for the tip!). We haven't actually got our hands on it yet, but the Amazon preview has whet our appetites for geo-communication tips galore. The publisher, Prentice Hall, has kept the price to a reasonable amount, close to $35. Get your copy now!

This regular news feature is for information only. We aren't connected with any of these organizations, and don't necessarily endorse their products or services. Public domain map image from the USGS. 


News of the week

A quick round up of geosciencey tech news at the end of a busy week at SEG.

Mmm, open source

Visualization company Kitware, makers of open source viz software Paraview, have released a new version of VTK, their toolkit for developers. Version 5.8 has new and improved Python wrappers and support for openGL inside documents. They are also offering free online courses for much of their technology. If you don't know their stuff, now's the time to check it out!

Real-time data toolbox

Twitter and geophysics? Maybe: they announced some open source goodness this week with their Storm library for real-time analysis of massive data streams. They developed it for analysing breaking news and global events, but we think it might have application in all kinds of real-time data processing problems like microseismic and production monitoring. Find the project on GitHub.

Not just another software company?

Dynamic Graphics, a small California company, caught our eye. Their low profile seems about to change, as their 'quantitative visualization' software looks ready to compete with anyone. Their focus on 4D and well-planning pits them against outfits like Transform Software, Down Under GeoSolutions, and of course all the usual suspects.

Learn Python!

Enthought are the leaders in scientific programming and especially support for Python, as well as on-demand development. They now offer a regular Python programming course just for geophysicists, and tour all over the world with it. The next edition is in Houston, 2–4 November. If you ever wanted to dabble with code, this is your chance: Python is easy to learn and very powerful.

This regular news feature is for information only. We aren't connected with any of these organizations, and don't necessarily endorse their products or services. Python is a trademark of the Python Software Foundation. ParaView and VTK are trademarks of Kitware. Storm is a trademark of Twitter, Inc.


News of the week

Dips from pics

Algeria foldsIn collaboration with the Geological Survey of Canada, Pangaea Software have built a very nifty tool, Orion, for computing dip from satellite images and digital elevation models. With these two pieces of data, and some assumptions about scale, it's possible to deduce the dip of strata without getting your boots muddy. Matt heard all about this tool from the GSC collaborator, Paul Budkewitsch, at the 3P Arctic conference in Halifax last week; here's their abstract

CGGV Trilobit nodeOcean bottom investment

CGGVeritas has made a commitment to manufacture 800 new Trilobit four-component deepwater nodes for seismic acquisition, to add to its existing pool. The device has three oriented accelerometers plus a hydrophone in addition to an onboard battery and recording system. This all-in-one design can be deployed on the seabed by most ROVs, making it easy to place near platforms and other infrastructure that towed streamer and cable systems cannot access. 

Arguably the industry leader in cableless systems is FairfieldNodal, who are already deploying more than a thousand nodes. It's great to see a big player like CGGVeritas coming to compete with this potentially transformative technology.

Update for Insight Earth

Colorado-based software company TerraSpark has just announced the release of Insight Earth 1.6, an integrated volume interpretation tool. Enhancements include a more interactive data import and export interface, improved velocity modeling, and upgrades to the automated fault extraction. In a January post, Evan highlighted an article by Stan Hammon of TerraSpark on the computational and psychological factors affecting intellegent design. It's inspired stuff.

Re-introducing SubSurfWiki

AgileWiki is now SubSurfWiki, at Please change your bookmarks! We felt that it was a little too Agile-centric and want to appear as open web-space for anything subsurface. We want it to grow, deepen and diversify, and above all be useful. So check it out and let us know if you have any feedback on utility, appearance and content.

More news... If you like this, check out previous news posts from Agile*

Orion is a trademark of Pangaea Software. Insight Earth is a trademark of TerraSpark. SubSurfWiki is a trademark of Agile Geoscience. The satellite image is copyright of Google. This regular news feature is for information only. We aren't connected with any of these organizations, and don't necessarily endorse their products or services.