Trimble Seismic Navigation Systems Support Stakeless Operations for Geophysical Exploration

by | Mar 25, 2016

SUNNYVALE, Calif.”Trimble (NASDAQ:TRMB) announced today the availability of its Trimble® Seismic Navigation Systems (SNS). The Trimble SNS portfolio of advanced hardware and software solutions include two vehicle guidance applications for geophysical exploration contractors to streamline the operation of line clearing equipment as well as provide guidance and precise positioning of drilling and vibroseis vehicles used in land seismic operations.

“Our vision in creating the Seismic Navigation Systems stem from our extensive experience and legacy in precise positioning and guidance technology,” said Cliff Harris, market manager for Trimble. “We understand the challenges that seismic professionals face in their day-to-day operations and have specifically designed the solutions to greatly improve productivity and transform the way land seismic and exploration operations are performed.”

Trimble SNS Line Clear System

Clearing land in preparation for geophysical receiver instrumentation or making trails for energy source vehicles requires costly line clearing equipment, particularly where access is needed in areas with heavy brush and trees. Inefficient navigation can increase project duration and cost.

The Trimble SNS Line Clearâ„¢ system streamlines the operation of line clearing equipment. The on-board system delivers high-accuracy positioning and intuitive navigation to enable bulldozer and seismic mulcher operators to quickly find and clear oil and gas exploration project areas more accurately. The Trimble SNS can improve productivity with easy, efficient, task-specific navigation. The system imports and displays line navigation routes, shape files, raster images, and exclusion zones for restricted areas from Trimble GPSeismic® office software enabling operators to quickly navigate in harsh and remote areas for clearance. Visual and audio alarms alert operators of exclusion zones to eliminate encroachment in restricted areas while navigation logs are recorded for compliance and a complete field-to-office workflow.

Trimble SNS Vibe System

After the line clearing operation, vibroseis trucks follow the path created by the line clearing equipment to create the acoustic sources for seismic recording. The truck’s vibrator pads shake the earth and send seismic waves thousands of feet downward. Geophones (specialized microphones) or sensors, which are placed across a wide geographic area, record the signals reflected from rock layers deep in the earth. The traditional surveying method has been to mark points with stakes and/or flags prior to seismic recording operations.

The Trimble SNS Vibeâ„¢ system was designed to quickly and efficiently navigate seismic vibe truck operators to source targets for oil and gas prospecting by performing stakeless, seismic surveying on the vehicle. Stakeless surveying can dramatically improve operations by eliminating stakes and flags and provide high-accuracy positioning information for each seismic point. The system can significantly decrease project times and costs, increase driver safety and minimize environmental damage.

With guidance from the SNS Vibe system, the operator navigates to a source point and positions the vibe truck as close to the desired location as conditions allow. While the vibrator point is being recorded, the GPS receiver gathers data. The location of the vibe truck, along with its navigation trail, is also logged. When the system detects a vibrator has entered an exclusion zone, visual and audio alarms are activated.

The SNS Systems’ Hardware

The SNS Line Clearing and Vibe systems include:  an advanced 220-channel GNSS receiver supporting multiple constellations and surveying modes, the Trimble TMX-2050â„¢ 12.1 inch touchscreen tablet display, a UHF radio for RTK operations, an inertial measuring unit to compute precise heading, pitch and roll, two corrosion and shock resistant color cameras for live video, along with cabling configurations for NMEA, PPS and trigger support. Coupled with the powerful and easy-to-use Androidâ„¢-based tablet running the Trimble SNS software, the systems provide complete solutions for seismic navigation.

The SNS Software

The Trimble SNS software, running on the TMX-2050 display, supports aerial imagery in a wide variety of formats, Esri shape files, and digital elevation models to provide a clear picture of the operator’s surroundings. Any number and combination of area shape files can be configured for use as either exclusion or inclusion zones. Proximity and zone breach alarms are issued both visually and audibly. Using data from the inertial measuring unit, warnings can be set for vehicle pitch and roll allowances. Integrated windows displaying live feeds from dual video cameras on the display provide the operator with clear images of vehicle blind spots.

Seamless Software Integration for the Field and Office

Trimble SNS software directly integrates with the GPSeismic office software, including the import of GPSeismic project databases and queries, CSV files, and point SHP files for use as target points. This support extends to the use of template files for vehicle offsets, grid definition files for reference azimuth and bin calculations, and crooked line files for 2-D work. Trimble SNS and GPSeismic software share the same geodetic library and GGF geoid model support enabling a consistent coordinate framework from office to field and the ability to compute final coordinates in the vehicle.


The Trimble SNS Line Clear and Vibe systems are available now. For more information, email: [email protected]. To learn more about Trimble’s portfolio of seismic solutions, visit:

About Trimble

Trimble applies technology to make field and mobile workers in businesses and government significantly more productive. Solutions are focused on applications requiring position or location”including surveying, construction, agriculture, fleet and asset management, and mapping. In addition to utilizing positioning technologies, such as GPS, lasers and optics, Trimble solutions may include software content specific to the needs of the user. Wireless technologies are utilized to deliver the solution to the user and to ensure a tight coupling of the field and the back office. Founded in 1978, Trimble is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif.


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