It's only September 20th, but the International Exposition and Sixty-eighth Annual Meeting of Society of Exploration Geophysicists is already in the can. For those people who didn't get a chance to visit New Orleans, the Indian summer weather in Calgary was more hospitable than the heat and humidity of New Orleans.
Timing of any event is always an issue, but it was particularly important for this year's SEG convention. There was first the issue of hurricanes. New Orleans was in the path of the tropical storms that were brewing in the Atlantic this year. For a city and its convention center, situated below sea level; there was grave concern considering the fact that one tropical storm just passed the Friday before and Hurricane Georges appeared just after the convention. Hat's off to the organizing committee for their foresight (and luck).
Then there was a timing conflict between the CSEG's Doodlebug Golf Tournament and the New Orleans convention. As anyone connected with the 47th year of this prestigious golf tournament knows, Saturday is the final day. It was 'touch and go' to participants whether they could make it to the Calgary airport for the last connecting flight and take advantage of the discounted 'over Saturday night' rates the airlines offer. Long time golfers knew better and paid the extra $600 for a Sunday flight. It looks like the airlines with connecting flights to New Orleans were the main benefactors of this timing conflict.
Have you been to a SEG international convention lately? Every time I go to the SEG, I am overwhelmed by the shear size of it. This year's attendance was 10,400 people. A record number of booth spaces were sold. Total net space was 145,800 square feet (excluding aisles, etc.) Look out Bill Gates, it may not be the size of a COMDEX but it is big. Although the exhibit floor was only open for three days, a committed delegate would have found five days tight to see all the services and products being displayed. Then there was the large technical program of papers, workshops, and courses. Serious time management is the order of the day, especially if you are interested in participating in even a small part of the rich New Orleans entertainment scene.
In an exhibit floor atmosphere that included elaborate two story booths with virtual reality displays and blow-up Alien doll freebies, that reminded me of the mosh pit at a rock concert, how did the normally conservative Canadian companies fair? Let me assure all CSEG members that the local companies of Veritas, Enertec, Kelman, Geo-X, GMA, HampsonRussell and others can put on a good show when pushed. Ask anyone who was an attendee of showboat parties on the river, or went to Emeril Lagasse's famous restaurant.
Most Canadian Geophysicists are aware that the CSEG is affiliated with the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. day-to-day, this means little to the members of either society in Calgary. The CSEG runs independently, holding its own technical luncheons, publishes its own Journal, social events and more. But we are a part of an international society with representatives from around the world. This fact was no more apparent than at the Annual Council Meeting held in conjunction with SEG Convention.
The Council of the SEG was established in 1947 to afford a broad representative government in the tradition of technical and professional societies. At the Annual Council Meeting in New Orleans, the CSEG was represented by five active members in the SEG and CSEG. The total number of delegates to the council is 108. They represent geophysical societies around the world, eg. Australia, India, Great Britain, Vietnam, Malaysia and more.
The council meeting is comprised of accepting the new officers of tl1e SEG, and the outgoing officers' committee reports. In this way, the membership has a vehicle to review and ratify the actions of the executive committee.
In addition to the committee reports, the council meeting dealt with two issues. Updating the SEG logo has been an issue on the books for several years. The old logo (with its North and South America), was too western hemispheric. The executive committee was hoping to also update the look with something more modern. Unfortunately, the council membership was stubbornly traditional. The final vote on the new SEG logo? Well, it looks just like the old one, only now it has all the major continents of the world represented.
The second hot issue at the SEG council meetings was the issue of the SEG museum. It seems while there may be a lot of geophysicists in the world, there are not many interested people visiting Tulsa's SEG museum. A pitched battle between a determined group of retirees and a cost cutting executive committee resulted in a new and revitalized SEG museum. We now have a travelling SEG museum (premier pieces of old geophysical instruments dating back to 140 AD) and a SEG virtual museum. Check out the SEG website (www.seg.org), if you have an interest in the specs on vintage instruments.
Interested in knowing more about the SEG museum and the new logo? Check upcoming issues of The Leading Edge.
What more can I say about the SEG convention in New Orleans? In closing, Canadians were well represented at this international convention- in council, on the exhibit floor and in the technical sessions.
In addition... Calgary is hosting the SEG Convention in the year 2000
That's right, this big international convention will be held in Calgary in August 2000. In the past, the SEG has shied away from holding the convention in Calgary because of its limited facilities. But a determined minority of people at the SEG felt it was important to hold this international event here. Calgary is home to a large concentration of geophysical talent and companies, probably second only to Houston. It seemed wrong to many people that the SEG convention was going to places like Los Angeles and Washington. Cities such as these have a small involvement with exploration industry.
How many people will be coming to Calgary? Attendance depends on many items, like the price of oil, the Canadian versus American dollar, and the weather. The SEG planned the Calgary convention in the summer hoping to encourage visitors to vacation also in the mountains. The total numbers (for booths and attendance) at conventions in Houston, Dallas, and New Orleans are boosted by the smaller contracting companies based in that area. Will these companies come to Calgary? That depends on costs and the Canadian dollar versus An1erican. That's the downside. But on the upside, the SEG knows that smaller seismic firms from Calgary may exhibit for the first time on their home turf.
Will Calgary be prepared to host a convention the size of the SEG? Tulsa society representatives paid a visit to Calgary this past June specifically to take a look at the National Petroleum Show and GeoTriad. Their mission was to look over facilities and to begin planning. Bob Lewis, Manager, Meetings and Expositions of the Tulsa SEG office, is working with the Stampede board. They already have plans to erect temporary buildings on the Stampede grounds to accommodate the numbers of attendees and exhibits. The Stampede board is also talking about upgrading the existing facilities.
The general chairman for SEG Calgary is Neil Rutherford (PCC Energy Ltd. 232-8907). Neil is in the process of putting together a team of local volunteers who will work hand-in-hand with the Tulsa SEC office staff to put on a good show. Calgary has a reputation when it comes to hosting international events. It's time again to sink in our teeth and help the SEG host the best convention ever.