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ABSTRACT: Remote surveying using a rotary-wing theodolite

Radford, Thomas W.1, Tony D. Hunley2, Brent Wanless2, Owen G. Stephenson3, Lorne K. Munt4, Bradley Torry5, Geoff Wilcox5, Mike Little5, David Siegfried6, A.C. (Sandy) Laing1, and Margaret A. Stratton1
(1) BP-Amoco Canada, Calgary, AB 
(2) Aerial Recon, Whitecourt, AB 
(3) Benchmark Surveys Inc, Calgary, AB 
(4) Munt International Inc, Carstairs, AB 
(5) Arcis Corporation, Calgary, AB 
(6) Baker Hughes Western Geophysical, Calgary, AB

The time and financial costs of acquiring land 3D seismic data in remote or rugged areas can often be prohibitive. The four main areas of costs are line cutting, surveying, drilling, and recording. Larger recording systems and smaller drills have made the acquisition of 3D more economic, however line cutting and surveying are still a major cost. Conventional surveying techniques using theodolites need line of sight. In heavily wooded areas, this method requires the cutting and wasting of expensive salvageable timber. In rugged terrain, the length of time to survey difficult lines drives the cost up and generates logistical difficulties. The line of sight problem is eliminated by using real time differentially corrected Global Positioning Satellites, GPS. The limitation of this technique is that the receiver needs to see multiple satellites. Even in moderately wooded areas real time GPS can have problems in acquiring the needed signal.

In 1999, Aerial Recon approached BP-Amoco Canada with their Rotary-wing Theodolite Surveying technique, RTS. A series of experimental tests were performed in order to determine the feasibility of remotely acquiring a large 3D survey. Following the successful outcome of these tests, this method was used to lay, chain, and survey a 350 km2 land 3D seismic programme. This presentation documents the acquisition results and the cost benefits for this 3D programme in the rugged terrain of West Central Alberta, Canada.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90913©2000 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, Bali, Indonesia