Rationalizing varying seismic data formats

Henry C. Bland

ABSTRACT Inconsistent seismic data formats are a significant source of frustration to geophysical processors. Since field data are acquired in one format, stored onto field tapes in another format, and then processed in one or more formats, the probability of making mistakes is great. The SEG has attempted to standardize the data formats by publishing data format recommendations, but these recommendations are not always followed. The cause of data format problems is often due to poor understanding of data format issues and a lack of consistent nomenclature. Many developers of seismic processing software choose to ignore the SEG standards because adherence increases development time, and can affect the software's speed.

This paper proposes some nomenclature to aid in the discussion of seismic data formats. Some of the common problems in dealing are illustrated using the SEG-Y standard as an example. A conversion function library is proposed to solve the problem of binary format translation.