Super-size bugs?

Drone Tech Taking Off

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Hydrocarbon exploration inarguably is benefiting from ongoing advances in technology – even if certain technical apparatuses being used appear to belong in a sci-fi movie rather than the oil patch.

Think drones.

Sometimes looking a bit like super-size bugs hovering in the sky, these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being used to meet various needs in the industry, proving to be useful both onshore and offshore.

They can be used, for example, to inspect oilfield equipment and pipelines and to monitor gas flares.

But their significance for the geologist is the ability to acquire up-close, highly detailed images of outcrops, particularly in high elevations where camera-equipped helicopters entail the usual element of risk along with considerable monetary output.

Piloted via remote control, the drones are essentially flying robots. They can safely fly at exceptionally low altitudes, enabling their digital cameras to capture extremely high-resolution images of the surface.

Granted, drones per se are not a new phenomenon, actually being commonplace in the military and in certain law enforcement agencies where they are used for aerial surveillance and myriad other tasks.

They can be small enough to hold in your hand, or they can resemble actual small-size aircraft. Reportedly, there is one the size of a hummingbird, appropriately called a “nano hummingbird.”

These oddities are beginning to make serious inroads into the private sector.

This is due in large part to the availability and incorporation of mini-size electronics and special software programs to handle the various data they can gather.

Helpful, Or a Nuisance?

But despite their value, drones likely won’t be crowding the skies – at least not right away.

There’s controversy aplenty surrounding the use of UAVs, given their ability to swoop down almost anywhere with no warning to snap some detailed, high-resolution photos of sometimes-off-limit subjects.

Is it a bird? Is it a bug? Modern drones might look a bit odd, but they’re proving to be valuable tools in gaining data to help better understand geology. Photo courtesy of the VOG group, CIPR
Is it a bird? Is it a bug? Modern drones might look a bit odd, but they’re proving to be valuable tools in gaining data to help better understand geology. Photo courtesy of the VOG group, CIPR

Certain countries, including the United States, have strict regulations for UAVs being used for commercial purposes, and some countries have no restrictions. The U.S. rules reportedly will be relaxed significantly in the near future. A number of entities already are exempt in large part, such as universities, federal and local law enforcement agencies.

There are folks who take matters into their own hands.

Certain private citizens are known to build their own drones, accompanied by special “goggles” to enable the users to view the photo target as if they are looking directly through the camera at work aboard the UAV.

Such homemade packages can even be purchased for a surprisingly low price.

Just don’t look for them at your local Big Box emporia.

Comments (0)

 

What Can I Do?

Add Item

Enter Notes:
 
* You must be logged in to name and customize your collection.
Recommend Recommend
Printable Version Printable Version Email to a friend Email to a friend

Emphasis: Exploration Innovations

Explorer Emphasis Article Big thinking about micro-possibilities ‘Nano’ Potential Growing, and Growing, and ... ‘Nano’ Potential Growing, and Growing, and ... Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/nano-potential-growing-hero.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 126
Explorer Emphasis Article Aramco Seeks Innovation At U.S. Research Centers Aramco Seeks Innovation At U.S. Research Centers Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/aramco-seeks-innovation-at-us-research-centers-2013-11nov-hero.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 130
Explorer Emphasis Article Favorable regulations Norway Proves to Be Nice for UAV Technology Norway Proves to Be Nice for UAV Technology Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/buckley-simon.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 128
Explorer Emphasis Article Coming soon: A whole new world Technology Holds the Keys to Industry’s Future Technology Holds the Keys to Industry’s Future Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/technology-holds-the-keys-to-industrys-future-2013-11nov-hero.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 116
Explorer Emphasis Article A ‘friendly technology’ UAV Research: Making A Geologic Tool Even Better UAV Research: Making A Geologic Tool Even Better Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/uav-research-making-a-geologic-tool-even-better-2013-11nov-hero.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 127

See Also: Online e Symposium

Online e-Symposium Overpressure in Shale Gas – When Geochemistry and Engineering Data Meet and Agree Overpressure in Shale Gas – When Geochemistry and Engineering Data Meet and Agree Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-overpressure-in-shale-gas.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 1497
Online e-Symposium The Niobrara Petroleum System, a Major Tight Resource Play in the Rocky Mountain Region The Niobrara Petroleum System, a Major Tight Resource Play in the Rocky Mountain Region Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-niobrara-petroleum-system-a-major-tight-resource-play.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 1471

See Also: ACE Program Paper

ACE Program Paper Exhibition Hall Reconstructing the Three-Dimensional Fluvial Architecture of the Salt Wash Member of the Morrison Formation, Utah, Using Structure-From-Motion Photogrammetry and Terrestrial Laser Scanning Reconstructing the Three-Dimensional Fluvial Architecture of the Salt Wash Member of the Morrison Formation, Utah, Using Structure-From-Motion Photogrammetry and Terrestrial Laser Scanning Desktop /Portals/0/images/ace/2015/luncheon heros/ace2015-tp4-siliciclastics.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 15334
ACE Program Paper Four Seasons Ballroom 1 Relationships Between Depositional Processes, Geochemical Signature and Seismic Geometries in the Vaca Muerta Formation, Neuquén Basin, Argentina Relationships Between Depositional Processes, Geochemical Signature and Seismic Geometries in the Vaca Muerta Formation, Neuquén Basin, Argentina Desktop /Portals/0/images/ace/2015/luncheon heros/ace2015-tp7-basin-modeling.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 15586

See Also: Bulletin Article

Bulletin Article Reconstruction of three-dimensional eolian dune architecture from one-dimensional core data through adoption of analog data from outcrop Reconstruction of three-dimensional eolian dune architecture from one-dimensional core data through adoption of analog data from outcrop Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/reconstruction-of-three-dimensional-eolian-dune-architecture.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 3249