--> Is the Work Station Killing Geology?, by Cindy A. Yeilding, Lonnie Blake, and Peter Carragher; #90052 (2006)

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Is the Work Station Killing Geology?

Cindy A. Yeilding, Lonnie Blake, and Peter Carragher
BP, Houston, TX

What a question! Of course, the resounding answer is “NO”. Access to digital data, visualization tools and interpretation software provides the geoscientist with the ability to visualize, display, and capture interpretations faster and more robustly than ever before. We can optimize and enhance display parameters, store and scroll through multiple datasets, transfer large volumes of data in seconds and “share” interpretations across sites.

But there is still a nagging question: with the plethora of tools and views available for geoscientists, might we sometimes lose track of some of the basics? A few questions for us to explore include: how good are our structural maps and reconstructions, are all geologic views best displayed on a 20” monitor, can we create robust stratigraphic interpretations in most workstation environments? The typical geoscience workflow and work environment of today is different from that of a decade ago: we have gained many benefits, but have we lost sight of some of the basics?

So, what can we do to assure that we are honoring our data appropriately and accurately reflecting data and uncertainty? A few simple practices can make a huge difference in underpinning the highest quality integration and interpretations. Knowing your data quality, utilizing paper and pencils, asking for help and ideas, carrying multiple models and always testing interpretations against the first principles of geoscience are keys to success.

Digital data and software/hardware available today are more powerful and provocative than ever before. When combined with the best quality data (or understanding of the data quality and its limitations) and the best knowledge, we can generate better geoscience than ever before.