Is your data digital or just pseudodigital?

A rite of passage for a geologist is the making of an original geological map, starting from scratch. In the UK, this is known as the ‘independent mapping project’ and is usually done at the end of the second year of an undergrad degree. I did mine on the eastern shore of the Embalse de Santa Ana, just north of Alfarras in Catalunya, Spain. (I wrote all about it back in 2012.)The map I drew…

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Training digital scientists

Gulp. My first post in… a while. Life, work, chaos, ideas — it all caught up with me recently. I’ve missed the blog greatly, and felt a regular pang of guilt at letting it gather dust. But I’m back! The 200+ draft posts in my backlog ain’t gonna write themselves. Thank you for returning and reading this one.Recently I wrote about our continuing adventures in training; since I wrote that post in April, we’ve taught…

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TRANSFORM happened!

How do you describe the indescribable?Last week, Agile hosted the TRANSFORM unconference in Normandy, France. We were there to talk about the open suburface stack — the collection of open-source Python tools for earth scientists. We also spent time on the state of the Software Underground, a global community of practice for digital subsurface scientists and engineers. In effect, this was the first annual Software Underground conference. This was SwungCon 1.The spaceI knew the Château…

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Feel superhuman: learning and teaching geocomputing

Diego teaching in Houston in 2018. It’s five years since we started teaching Python to geoscientists. To be honest, it might have been premature. At the time, Evan and I were maybe only two years into serious, daily use of Python. But the first class, at the Atlantic Geological Society’s annual meeting in February 2014, was free so the pressure was not too high. And it turns out that only being a step or two…

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The order of stratigraphic sequences

Much of stratigraphic interpretation depends on a simple idea: “Depositional environments that are adjacent in a geographic sense (like the shoreface and the beach, or a tidal channel and tidal mudflats) are adjacent in a stratigraphic sense, unless separated by an unconformity.” Usually, geologists are faced with only the stratigraphic picture, and are challenged with reconstructing the geographic picture.One interpretation strategy might be to look at which rocks tend to occur together in the stratigraphy.…

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Machine learning project review checklist

Imagine being a manager or technical chief whose team has been working on a machine learning project. What questions should you be thinking about when your team tells you about their work?Here are some suggestions. Some of the questions are getting at reproducibility (for testing, archiving, or sharing the workflow), others at quality assurance. A few of the questions might depend on the particular task in hand, although I’ve tried to keep it pretty generic.There…

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What makes a good benchmark dataset?

An Ordance Survey benchmark. Last week I mentioned that we need more open benchmark datasets in geoscience. I think benchmarks are important for researchers to work on, as a teaching aid, and as a way for us to objectively measure how well we’re doing on a particular problem. How else can we know how we’re doing, or compare Company X’s claim with Company Y’s? What makes a good benchmark?I haven’t unearthed any guides from other…

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Closing the gap: what next?

I wrote recently about closing the gap between data science and the subsurface domain, naming some strategies that I think will speed up this process of digitalization.But even after the gap has closed in your organization, you’re really just getting started. It’s not enough to have contact between the two worlds, you need most of your actvity to be there. This means moving it from wherever it is now. This means time, and effort, and…

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X lines of Python: Ternary diagrams

Difficulty rating: beginer-friendly(I just realized that calling the more approachable tutorials ‘easy’ is perhaps not the most sympathetic way to put it. But I think this one is fairly approachable.)If you’re new to Python, plotting is a great way to get used to data structures, and even syntax, because you get immediate visual feedback. Plots are just fun.Data loadingThe first thing is to load the data, which is contained in a Google Sheets spreadsheet. If…

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Closing the analytics–domain gap

I recently figured out where Agile lives. Or at least where we strive to live. We live on the isthmus — the thin sliver of land — between the world of data science and the domain of the subsurface.We’re not alone. A growing number of others live there with us. There’s an encampment; I wrote about it earlier this week. Backman’s Island, one of my favourite kayaking destinations, is a passable metaphor for the relationship…

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