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A new wireless system offers the same benefits as cabled systems without the logistical headaches.
If a solution to a problem causes its own problems, it is not really a solution. That is the philosophy powering a company called Wireless Seismic. Roy Kligfield, CEO, thinks of his company not as a "me too" entrant into the "nodal" land seismic industry but as an alternative to the companies that use cabled systems, still about 95% of the market.
The argument against cabled systems is easy enough – laying out cables is time-consuming, creates permitting headaches, and requires constant attention since animals tend to chew on the cables. With the industry's appetite for large channel count surveys, cabled systems can also be a logistical nightmare, requiring larger crews, more trucks, and a huge environmental footprint.
Unfortunately, some of the cableless systems on the market introduce their own sets of problems. Kligfield said current cableless systems move the problem from cable management to post-recording data handling and management or transcription. Methods vary from short-range radio collection by individuals, literally walking the line, to weeks later having to transcribe the data.
Also, clients like the fact that cabled systems provide real-time data and real-time quality control. "People want to see the data, not just for data loss issues but for monitoring things like noise as the wind picks up," he said. "Our thought is, why compromise if you can provide all of the benefits of cabled systems but get rid of the cables?"
The answer is the RT 1000 Wireless System. In this system, independent units are connected to geophones and laid out in a pattern. The units communicate to each other through radio frequencies in a "bucket brigade" fashion – one unit sends its data to the next, which adds its own data and sends the whole package along using a proprietary network. Ultimately the data are collected to a backhaul, a structured radio link. The backhaul telemeters commands, seismic data, and unit status between the central recording truck and the wireless remote units.
Part of the beauty of the system is in the software that has been designed specifically for it. An operator can view all of the wireless units on a screen, either in map view or in a table, and investigate each unit to be sure it has not been tipped over or is running out of battery power. Any units that require attention can be handled quickly by a crew member. Once the units are all up and running, the system can be armed and ready to shoot from the central recording truck.
Normal run-time between recharges is 15 days.
Overall, the system has been designed not only to compete with cabled systems but to make the contractor's job a little easier. "We're making the system not just usable but user-friendly," he said. "That's critical for a product being introduced to market."