Downhole cameras are used to inspect problems encountered in well drilling. These cameras are heavy-duty oceanographic-type cameras used for high pressure deployment. The camera is suspended on an aluminium heavy-duty cable reel so that data can be carried to the technician without sacrificing the strength of the cable. Naeva Geophysics’ Well-Vu WV-C1000 comes with a tri-legged stand and offers real-time video output to the field computer.
Analytical or scientific software like Landmark Graphics GeoGraphix software, Parallel Geoscience SPW software and Seismic Micro-Technology KINGDOM are also available.
Computer-aided design (CAD) software like Autodesk AutoCAD and Midland Valley 2DMove are also used by geological test technicians.
Another emerging trend in geotechnical investigation is a greater emphasis on in-situ tests. In-situ literally means ‘in position.’ In-situ tests are tests conducted on the site. These tests can be effectively used to predict foundation behaviour with a high reliability.
Products developed for regulated industries such as automotive, aerospace and medical must comply with rigorous development standards and certifications.Revisions to these standards place increased scrutiny on the quality and accuracy of test tools—creating an increased burden of proof to demonstrate that testers have been qualified for use. Though businesses outside these industries will not feel an immediate impact from these trends, they can benefit from detecting defects earlier in the life cycle and drive down product development cost.
Use of test automation software has increased rapidly over the last decade due to the need for highly customisable, flexible and capable measuremen systems. Software-centric test solutions are the only viable approach for delivering complex technologies under aggressive timelines, limited resources and constant product churn.
[stextbox id=”info”]Geotechnical investigation is gaining prominence for a number of reasons. Main among them is the increased activity in construction—not just in terms of volume but also complexity. Gone are the days when soil was a decisive factor determining the kind of construction to be done at a place. Nowadays, the soil is made suitable for the project[/stextbox]
Mohanram says, “Test and measurement, in today’s scenario, is moving more towards a software-defined approach. Geological T&M is no exception to it as it enables scientists to make the best use of the time and effort that they put in taking these measurements. This approach enables engineers to get more flexibility and greater performance at lower cost. The innovative platform-based Graphical System Design approach enables this new paradigm of test and measurement.”
Increasing product complexity and capability has a direct impact on the reliability, performance and accuracy of test systems. Consequently, “there is increased focus on ensuring quality and reliability of test software through life-cycle management and development practices formerly reserved for embedded systems. Some organisations are voluntarily applying these development practices to improve test software and build more feature-rich and defect-free test solutions, but a growing number of industries will be required to use similar practices to comply with regulatory standards,” explains a senior engineer from this field.
These standards set a high bar for process and quality, but best practices in software engineering ensure that test systems meet increasingly demanding feature and performance requirements.
Challenges in the field
As mentioned earlier, the amount of data recorded by geological test and measurement instruments is pretty high in cases like seismic activities. Drawing accurate and meaningful conclusion along with knowledgeable patterns from such large amounts of data (referred to as Big Data) is a growing problem. Big Data processing brings new challenges to data analysis, search, data integration, reporting and system maintenance.