Generalized prestack velocity analysis methods that use an automated approach to resolve laterally variable interval velocity fields are beset by a series of problems. The problem of resolving lateral velocity variations has inherent complications that prevent automated methods from being robust enough to be applied routinely to data from a variety of geologic provinces. The use of automated prestack velocity analysis methods will not eliminate the step of carefully producing an initial velocity model derived from regional geologic information and an interpretation of a conventionally processed section. For the methods to regularly produce useful additional information, the unique characteristics of each application must be input into the prestack velocity analysis with the use of inversion constraints. These constraints serve either to adapt the generalized prestack velocity analysis to a focused objective in a particular area or to provide iterative, interpretational tools that help the user produce a velocity model.