What is Big Data?

Let’s talk for a minute about the concepts of Big Data.

Remember a few years ago, if you wanted to survive in the oil and gas business, saving the whales was all the rage? We searched for some way to incorporate protecting the whales into our exploration geophysics, and that would affect operations. Well, we have another big thing today – Big Data. We’re always looking for ways to tie in what we’re doing to Big Data. The bosses up at board level – they’re all talking about Big Data. What is it?

Big Data is access to large volumes of disparate kinds of oil and gas data, which we then feed to machine learning algorithms to discover unknown relationships. It’s the unknown data we’ve never spotted before. A key to that definition is “disparate kinds”. So, if you say “I’m doing big data with my seismic data” – that’s not really an appropriate choice of terms. If you say “I’m going to throw in all my seismic data, along with associated wells, and my production data.” – NOW you are starting to talk about real Big Data operations.

A couple more key terms to keep in mind:

Data Mining is evaluating Big Data with deep learning.

And finally, the Internet of Things (IoT).

This may actually have a bigger impact on our industry than even machine learning. The IoT refers to all the pieces of equipment and hardware in our lives being hooked up to the internet. The IoT is walking up to your web-enabled refrigerator that recognizes your face and what you add and remove to the contents. In our business, we’re looking at the GPS of the boat, the geophones – everything is a web-aware device to both send and receive. In fact, when the geophones get planted, their GPS is still communicating. We know when they are in the ground, and when they get pulled up, thrown in the back of a truck, and driven somewhere.

With the trifecta of those things – Big Data, IoT, and Data Mining we are approaching a new age in the oil and gas industry to know things and understand them in ways we never have before.

At Geophysical Insights, we believe You should be able to query your seismic data with learning machines just as effortlessly and with as much reliability as you query the web for the nearest gas station.

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