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Can you tell us further how the open data page works and what users can expect when they visit the page, e.g., what to expect when they see a dataset they want to use?
Before talking about the Wiki I want to comment on open data. Open data is a broad movement. SEG got involved way back in 1994 by distributing data for an SEG Post Convention Workshop. In the last five years interest is broad. All kinds of data is becoming available online, freely available to the public. I'll concentrate on science. NFS funded projects have been required for years to share data. Now NSF applications must have a section to describe the plan to make the data available. Sharing data will provide a big boost to innovation. Reproducible research says researchers should provide source code for the algorithm described in technical papers, but that is not enough. You also need the data to reproduce the results. Open source and open data go well together.
Now let's talk about the open data page on the SEG wiki. You can get to that page starting at and searching for open data. If you are interested in the 2d marine line Mobil AVO Viking Graben Line 12 you can click on either the title or “click here” at the end. You will be taken to a page with a little more description of what can be downloaded, a download button, and a “terms of use” section. The “terms of use” section for this data set documents how this data became open. This is important because you might be asked “are you allowed to use this data in your paper”.
To proceed with downloading, click the “click here” hypertext and you will be transferred to the Amazon S3 server, a cloud service. The SEG wiki just provides an index or an introduction to the data. Datasets are stored in different locations for historical or license reasons. Sometimes you will have to wait for data to be mailed to you.
If you are interested in the SMAART synthetic datasets you will follow links to get email address to contact to get a license to sign and instructions to proceed. It is harder to obtain a copy of some datasets. Several datasets can be downloaded using scripts in the madagascar repository. Most of the scripts are in the directory $RSFSRC/book/data.
It is important to honor the license or terms of service. Most of the license protects the provider of the data (data is provided as is, use at your own risk). Usually the license requires you to acknowledge the data provider in papers and presentations. Its the right thing to include ‘data provided by xyz’ in your reports, presentation, and papers even if the license does not require attribution.
What resources, websites, blogs, social media, etc. can you recommend to stay connected with the geoscience community?
Websites for geoscience organizations including the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, Seismological Society of America, among others are a great way to learn about current and ongoing research. In particular, I’ve found subscribing to email notifications for publications in the journals for the topics I’m interested in a helpful way to stay aware of ongoing research in the field.
SEG scholarships
The Scholarships are merit based and awarded to student pursuing a curriculum directed to a career in applied geophysics. Majors are geophysics or closely related fields like geoscience, physics, geology, or earth and environmental sciences. The program is intended to encourage more students to pursue careers in exploration geophysics. Application is due early in the year, but it is involved so get an early start. Especially for the recommendation letters.
How do you see a platform like the wiki supporting students and future professionals in the field?
The open data page on the SEG wiki is a valuable resource for both students and professionals to learn about and process geophysical data. Many of the datasets on the open data wiki were used for very specific studies and are now available to be examined in closer detail, for different purposes, and/or experimentation on different geophysical processing techniques. It has taken time to gather the variety and large volumes of data on the open data wiki and it is valuable to have these databases publicly available in a central location. One hope for the open data wiki is for these data to be used as a starting point or supplement to students and future professionals seeking research projects in geophysics.
If you would like to contribute to open data page on the wiki
If you know of an open dataset, add it to the index. If you need help with wiki's check out the “wiki video help series” link on the main page of the SEG wiki. You only know a few things to add a simple section to a page. If you need help distributing data, contact me. I'll put it on the Amazon S3 server. Come to the “Open Seismic Processing Working Workshop” or attend a wikithon. Knowing how to edit a Wiki is a good skill to have, because lots of Wiki's are popping up.
What do you see as essential, foundational skills for a long career? Where do you see sites like the SEG Wiki fitting into this foundation?
This is a high technology industry. Some skills that come to mind are signal processing, wave equation migration, super computing, ability to look at data and evaluate your processing results. Sheriff's Dictionary and Yilmaz data processing book are great, free, searchable resources.
In your 25+ years in the field, what two things have been valuable for building a successful geophysical career?
A couple items that that will point you in a good direction are:
  1. People are important. Take some time to meet colleagues, Treat them with respect, Help them to perform as well as they can.
  2. Continue to learn. Use the “T” knowledge model. The vertical line in the “T” represents the depth you need in a specialization where you have talent. The Horizontal line represents the breadth you need. You should know a little about several other useful topics. Read Oz Yilmaz, Jon Claerbout, Covey, Juran, Napoleon Hill. Watch Dave Hale on Utube. Take an online class from SEG or
Important education markers
  1. Publishing my first paper from my undergraduate research on the chemical and physical characterization of ceramic sherds from Shipwreck 31CR314, thought to be the pirate Blackbeard’s flagship, using a Scanning Electron Microscope
  2. Attending a summer geology field camp with Miami University of Ohio which included 2 weeks of traveling to National Parks from Yellowstone to the Canadian Rockies and 3 intensive weeks of field mapping the geology of the Wind River Range in Wyoming.
  3. Learning geophysical processing techniques at the SEG’s Student Education Program (SEP) in 2008 and programming and linux command line processing for a GAMIT-GLOBK Global Positioning Systems (GPS) processing course I took in 2011
  4. Publishing my second paper from my M.S. thesis research on tectonic geomorphology in the central Nepalese Himalaya and producing the first high resolution digital elevation data set for Nepal from scanned and digitized topographic maps with collaborators
  5. The occurrence of the August 23, 2011 magnitude 5.8 earthquake near the town of Mineral, Virginia, which became the focus of my Ph.D. dissertation research and publishing my results in a special Geological Society of America Book of papers on the earthquake.
  6. My fellowship with the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies where I had the opportunity to work on quantitatively comparing wrinkle ridges, which are constructional tectonic features on the planet Mercury and Earth’s Moon, using new high resolution imagery and altimetry data being acquired by the MESSENGER and LROC spacecraft.
  7. Learning to calculate seismic hazard for my work at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
I would also like to highlight that publishing papers is very important. If you can publish papers before you graduate it will help you complete your dissertation or thesis and help you establish yourself as a credible scientist for job interviews.
Where do you see professional societies like SEG supporting your work and career in the field? How do societies best support young professionals?
Attending annual meetings for professional societies has been invaluable to my career. Those meetings provide an excellent venue for getting feedback on your research that you wouldn’t necessarily get from co-workers or your professors at your academic institution. Conferences are also a great way to learn about the ongoing cutting edge science in your field which can help identify important topics to work on in your research. The networking opportunities with colleagues is important and attending conferences is one of the best ways to stay in touch and make new connections with people. These interactions can generate new ideas and facilitate advancing your research and open the door for job opportunities. Workshops and other training opportunities supported by geoscience societies like SEG are also vital to career development.
Most of the geophysics I know I learned while I was working. I attended many SEG conventions and presented several papers. I read a lot of papers in Geophysics. SEG events have provided opportunities to meet geophysicist. Some were famous, some became famous, some work away out of the spotlight. There are also local societies. The Geophysical Society of Houston is huge and has numerous events every month. It is a great way to “do a little every month or so.”
With the open data movement – I hope that more professional organizations can also serve as a data resource for geoscientists to use in their research.