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Biondi (2007, p. 1) writes, “The main goal of conventional acquisition design is to obtain an adequately and regularly sampled stacked cube that can be imaged accurately by poststack migration .… However, in common acquisition geometries, sampling of the offset axes may be inadequate when the data require prestack processing that is more sophisticated prestack processing than simple stacking.” It could not be stated more clearly that the first imaging phase is survey design. That phase does not require the highest mathematical skill, but its consequences can be dramatic. There is an interesting contradiction between these two sentences in Biondi (2007), which are within the same paragraph of his text. It does not seem difficult to obtain an adequately sampled stacked cube, but how can common acquisition geometries offer inadequate sampling of the offset axes? That contradiction is very much like the “original sin” of survey design.

In the 3D survey-design workshop held at the 61st EAGE Conference and Exhibition in 1999, Kees Hornman and Gijs Vermeer invited five specialists to present their solutions to the same survey-design problem. Five totally different solutions were proposed. All five designers had the same understanding of the technical side of the problem, but they did not share the same understanding of its economic side. One designer proposed the best technical solution, ignoring all economic aspects, and another came with a proposal that focused on winning the bid. As could be expected, the solutions were very different.

Three-dimensional survey design

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