Technical Sessions with a Twist

E-poster — Hip or Hype?

You would expect a kind of avant-garde forum like an interactive e-poster session to have a suitably hip theme.

The session scheduled in Salt Lake City for Tuesday afternoon, May 13, at the AAPG Annual Meeting definitely meets this criterion. Indeed, it takes on a kind of wave-of-the-future aura: "3-D Interpretation Techniques Using 3-D Visualization Software."

Still, there are two sides to this techno happening:

  • It has all the makings of the kind of event designed to cause many a savvy geoscientist to salivate.
  • There's more than a handful of folks standing on the sidelines wondering just what the heck is going on.

Visualization has crept into the vernacular of most industry participants, whether they have latched on to the technology or not. Still, many of them might ask what, exactly, is an e-poster — and why does it matter?

As a relatively new forum at professional meetings, this kind of event falls somewhere between the standard lecture presentation and the now-familiar "usual" poster session.

Image Caption

Simulation model showing fluid migration within the reservoir. Displayed with the seismic data (in depth). Simulation was done to evaluate possible production from the horizontal well with the vertical well being used to inject water.

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You would expect a kind of avant-garde forum like an interactive e-poster session to have a suitably hip theme.

The session scheduled in Salt Lake City for Tuesday afternoon, May 13, at the AAPG Annual Meeting definitely meets this criterion. Indeed, it takes on a kind of wave-of-the-future aura: "3-D Interpretation Techniques Using 3-D Visualization Software."

Still, there are two sides to this techno happening:

  • It has all the makings of the kind of event designed to cause many a savvy geoscientist to salivate.
  • There's more than a handful of folks standing on the sidelines wondering just what the heck is going on.

Visualization has crept into the vernacular of most industry participants, whether they have latched on to the technology or not. Still, many of them might ask what, exactly, is an e-poster — and why does it matter?

As a relatively new forum at professional meetings, this kind of event falls somewhere between the standard lecture presentation and the now-familiar "usual" poster session.

It offers some distinct advantages, however:

  • Presenters usually are allotted more time than the standard 20-minute lecture.
  • Besides the opportunity for one-on-one discussion, as with a typical poster session, the e-poster material is available via computer following the presentation for those convention attendees who either missed the talk because of a schedule conflict or else just want to review the material further at their convenience.

"Ordinarily if you miss a talk, there's no way to review what was said or done," said Bill Keach, chair of this year's session. "This way, if you missed a couple of points, or even the whole talk, you can come in at your leisure and scroll through the data.

"We have nine authors participating this year," Keach said. "Each half-hour talk will be documented and posted as a PDF file, including images and verbiage, in addition to the verbal presentation."

Timely Topic

The setup will be altered somewhat from last year, he noted. Rather than using a theater with computers off to the side, the equipment and presentations will be housed in one large room, more like an oral session but with the computer document advantage.

This year's topic is viewed by those in-the-know as particularly timely.

"Visualization is the wave of the future," Keach said.

"We've been talking about it for six years or so, and over the last two or three years people have started taking it up," he noted. "Not a lot of people are willing or able to talk yet about how they're implementing it, but more and more talks are being given on the business value of 3-D visualization."

To really pick up on visualization interpretation is a big change for the interpreter, according to Keach.

"Three-D visualization software demands that you change the way you work" Keach said. "You must look at all the data or some subset in a volume approach as opposed to a line-by-line approach used in traditional interpretation methods. When you use the whole volume, you immediately focus your efforts."

Both excitement and curiosity are evident among the presenters at the 2003 event.

"This type of session is new for me," said presenter Bill Galloway, "and I'm curious to see how it works.

"With more time and a smaller, more intimate audience there will be a better chance to talk about the subject rather than just lecture," he said. "This should make it more interesting for the participants and the presenters."

Galloway's presentation, which is co-authored by D.A. Sylvia and R. Combellas, is billed as "Evolution of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Through the Cenozoic — a 3-D Visualization Tour."

The delivery will include a suite of 2-D and 3-D images that relate major depocenter evolution to the paleostructure and paleobathymetry of the northern GOM.

"The most dramatic 3-D aspect is a series of surfaces that basically reflect a quantitative paleobathymetry, which was contoured as a derivative of the standard paleontologic-base depth zonation," Galloway said.

Paleobathymetric surfaces were constructed for 13 time steps during the Cenozoic. The reconstructions show how 3-D visualization can be used to evaluate the impact of events such as continental climate change and tectonics on the sedimentation history of the Gulf basin.