The future of CSEG Educational Services – where to now?

In my last executive message (March 2012), I outlined the educational services provided by the CSEG – the monthly technical luncheons, Lunchbox Geophysics, the MicroSeismic User Group, Doodletrain (which will expand to offer convention courses in May 2013), the CSEG Symposium (including the CSEG annual awards luncheon) and the SEG Distinguished Instructor Short Course. I commented that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and confirmed my intent to carry forward this strong offering during my tenure. In addition, I made a suggestion that the CSEG consider hosting a Workshop (more on this below).

As I come to the end of my tenure (this will be my final executive message), my thoughts turn to the future of educational services within the CSEG. Some important questions need to be asked: Does the CSEG currently offer sufficient education services to its members? Are there some needed changes or improvements? If so, where? And, in an organization primarily run by volunteers, do we have the resources to offer more?

We have set up an online questionnaire for comments and suggestions. Please see the homepage of the CSEG website for a direct link. Or, if you prefer, you can email me directly at or contact Shawn Maxwell (Assistant Director of Educational Services) at

I provide the following to stimulate further discussion. Comments welcome!

Suggestions for additional educational services

There have been some suggestions for additional or alternate services:

  1. a CSEG Workshop – perhaps offered annually, similar to the SEG Summer Research Workshop,
  2. basic courses in exploration geophysics – primarily for our student members and offered before or after the Annual Meeting in May when students are available and training can be coordinated/supported by sponsoring companies in association with summer jobs, and
  3. a more varied selection of luncheon speakers and topics.

In the following, I will elaborate only on the first suggestion – Workshops – and leave discussion of the remainder to the online questionnaire.


Over the past few months, I have been investigating the possibility of hosting a CSEG workshop, using the successful 2009 Microseismic Workshop as an example. Strong interest in the topic of exploration microseismic prompted the CSEG to provide a forum for discussion and sharing of ideas and technology through the Microseismic User Group – established as a technical education group similar to the CSPG technical divisions.

However, finding a suitable topic and a core group of volunteers to organize the next CSEG Workshop has been a challenge. I have been exploring 5D interpolation as a possible topic, with the scope including acquisition design, processing and interpretation. Calgary geophysicists (and our esteemed colleagues in Edmonton and Vancouver) have been leaders in the development of interpolation methods and technology. This seems a suitable topic for a workshop that could include a short course, invited speakers and panel discussion, and a topic that could be continued as a user group following a successful workshop.

Recent history of CSEG Workshops

Prior to the 2009 CSEG Microseismic Workshop, we need to go back to the 2004 and 2005 CSEG Conventions to find a series of talks presented in a workshop format with a follow-up informal or panel discussion (although there was a 2006 Geophysical Inversion Workshop and Summer School hosted by PIMS and UofC and sponsored by the CSEG). Since 2006, all conventions have been joint with the CSPG and/or CWLS (and along with others for GeoCanada 2010), with no dedicated workshop sessions offered on geophysical topics.

Are we missing out on something by not offering the workshop format? The proceedings of the 2004 Convention Workshops on Seismic Attributes, Heavy Oil/Oil Sands, Integration of Disciplines/Reservoir Characterization and AVO/Rock Physics/Lithology Prediction are worth reading for the animated discussions that are still relevant today.

What other workshops are offered for continued education on topics in exploration geophysics?

The SEG/EAGE jointly run an annual 5- day Summer Research Workshop, the EAGE co-hosts about 10 workshops per year, and the SEG co-hosts another 5, with a core focus on 18 post-convention workshops as part of the SEG Annual Meeting. So yes, there are numerous opportunities on a wide range of specialized topics. Perhaps an annual CSEG Workshop is too ambitious.

The CSEG Symposium – isn’t this just a workshop by another name?

The CSEG Symposium – to be held each March after the CSEG Annual General Meeting – is an important new addition to the education calendar. This initiative was proposed by Satinder Chopra, who chaired the inaugural (and very successful) 2012 Symposium honouring Dan Hampson and Brian Russell. A highlight was the 2012 CSEG Awards Luncheon in a new dedicated format. Previously the awards were presented as part of monthly technical luncheon (although in the more distant past there have been dedicated CSEG Awards luncheons or dinners). The 2013 Symposium committee, chaired by Oliver Kuhn, has written a comprehensive document outlining how the Symposium is to be run each year, with key responsibilities, timelines and succession planning identified to ensure that a successful symposium can be hosted year after year.

The format of the CSEG Symposium is “a one day event, single session, with lunch included. In order to attract case studies, there will be no published papers or abstracts related to the work shown. Featured speakers will present by invitation only”. Does this format preclude a workshop with an associated short course and panel discussions, which might be better offered as a two-day event? Would a separate workshop with an open policy for paper submissions, published papers and/or proceedings (e.g. panel discussions) be of value to CSEG members? The CSEG executive and the Symposium Committee will be discussing these questions further in the near future. Your comments are welcome!



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