Seismic data technologies

For this article we looked at the recent patent landscape for seismic data technologies (recent = roughly the last four years).  We simply searched for “seismic data” and narrowed down our results to patents (from worldwide patent offices).

First we looked at the companies and people (inventors) network in this space.  There do not seem to be many connections between companies, with the exception of Schlumberger and Westerngeco (which was acquired by Schlumberger, which in turn should explain the co-patenting seen in the graph below — cf. blue arrows).


We then turned to IPC classes, and displayed a network showing IPC classes and their relationships:


In this network, the G01V1… class is quite dominant.  So as a next step we filtered our results to patents containing G01V1* as IPC class, and displayed a technologies network:


This network shows that “tomography” seems to be quite dominant in patents in the G01V1…-class.  We therefore zoomed in on “seismic data” and “tomography” — and then moved our focus away from patents and toward funded research projects (mostly SBIR and EU in this case).  The screenshot below shows some collaborations on funded research projects, e.g. between Schlumberger and Spectraseis (, or between Vattenfall and the British Geological Survey (cf. blue arrows):


We think that this is interesting because this is about collaborations not just in general but on a specific topic (seismic tomography here).  Furthermore, this shows that being able to search across different categories of information (patents and research projects here) can reveal information that would otherwise probably be a lot harder to obtain.