Why user-friendly geophysical instruments?
We are often asked about the reasons behind our design philosophy of making the world’s user-friendliest geophysical equipment. In other words, why user-friendly geophysical equipment, if these are sophisticated instruments meant to be used by expert geophysicists after all. What’s the point of user-friendly instruments?
The old photographer analogy
Well, here is an analogy that might help. Back in the days of black and white photography, if you wanted a nice family picture (or any paper picture for that matter), chances are you had to hire and rely on a professional photographer who would bring his heavy and bulky camera and manual flash to take the picture. After the take, you would have to wait several days for the photographer to develop the film, and -if lucky- you would get a slightly-better-than-blurry picture to hang on the wall. Well, as it relates to geophysical instruments, believe or not we are still living in the old-fashion times of the professional photographer. So here is our approach as compared to the old photographer approach.
The Subsuelo3D approach
Old photographer’s approach
- Heavy equipment
- Prospective user needs a long training course. Expect poor images if you are learning.
- Setup implies adjusting many buttons, switches, menus, screen after screen, etc
- Little to no field site information. Leave the QC to the field expert
- User must be a trained geophysicist
- Light, portable, less cables
- Short, simple training. Ensure good images by means of field QC.
- Two-click approach, fast and simple, with as few options as necessary
- Field Q/C and first results by means of AI and expert system
- User can be any professional interested in subsurface data
These two approaches both have pros and cons. Many expert field geophysicists would argue that they wouldn’t dare stamping their signature on a geophysical report whose field data they have not personally collected. Quite respectable position by the way. However, as the field of applied geophysics expands and reaches new frontiers, we are likely to see more and more non-geophysicists acquire field data. Field crew and end users of geophysical data are now coming from a broad spectrum of disciplines, and many of them are not likely to fully understand Nyquist, Fourier, bit resolution, SEGY format, skin depth, dominant frequency, etc, etc. To be honest, not all professional geophysicists fully grasp all of these concepts either.
Is it our job to make equipment complicated to non geophysicists? We believe our duty is to provide instruments that make acquiring good geophysical data easy and simple on everyone, regardless of technical background. Now that we all have smartphones we are becoming pretty good photographers after all.