About the AAPG Search and Discovery Website

Title: About the AAPG Search and Discovery Website

Author: Don Stone

Publication: The Outcrop, April 2012, p. 6-8

I wonder how many RMAG members have checked out AAPG’s Search and Discovery website. The site is accessed using searchanddiscovery.com or from the AAPG.org home page by clicking on the “AAPG site short cuts” ribbon, scrolling down and clicking on search and discovery. Anybody can view this site, you don’t have to be a member of AAPG, and there is no charge to view the presentations archived there. Many excellent papers are available for viewing, each with abstracts and full-color slides. This is a good place to peruse some of the latest geologic ideas and regional reviews. But up until now, there has been no narration included with the slide presentations.

I was introduced to the site because sometime after I gave a paper at the June, 2010 AAPG Sectional meeting in Durango, Colorado, entitled Kinematic analysis using profile and time-slice animations of 3-D seismic volumes with three examples from the Rocky
Mountain foreland province, I received an invitation from AAPG’s Search and Discovery
to place my presentation on their website. I responded that I was willing to do this but I would have to get permission from Anadarko Petroleum to release the animations made from their 3D seismic surveys of the Salt Creek and Sussex oil fields before posting my presentation on the site, (I had already received permission from True Oil Company to
use the Red Wing Creek animations.) I indicated that I would pursue this quest for release from Anadarko, and perhaps AAPG could make inquiries also. It took over a
year to locate the right person at Anadarko because the geophysicist who produced the original animations and the manager who had approved their release for the Durango convention had apparently now moved to other venues. Finally, I found the right person at Anadarko who generously granted the required permission and the standard AAPG release form was signed and returned to Mary Kay Grosvald, Administrative Editor of Search and Discovery at AAPG.

Then the fun began. I was determined to find a way to attach narration to the program because without this, it seemed to me that the value of the presentation would be seriously diminished. PowerPoint 2010 includes an audio option that works with an attached microphone. In my case I used my Logitech video microphone which is  attached to the top of my monitor screen providing access to Skype (used mostly to stay in touch with my four daughters distributed around the country). It is a simple procedure to add an audio track to the static slides in PowerPoint 2010, but to add
audio to the animations and videos requires special software. I used VideoPad (by NCH), a comprehensive video editing software program available on-line at a very reasonable cost. The learning curve, of course, requires time and patience. Eventually I learned how to attach an audio discussion to each of the animations and videos. For the profile animation of the Salt Creek structure (slide # 9) I needed to copy and paste it into PowerPoint to stretch it laterally and create a true -scale aspect ratio as the original animation was distorted by a large vertical exaggeration (a “non-geologic” image). In this
case, I had to use the separate PowerPoint audio option because the audio option in VideoPad software would only work with the original, vertically exaggerated seismic profile animation. I should mention here that the AAPG webmaster converts all original PowerPoint presentations to the pdf format.

In PowerPoint 2010, when you place an audio track on a slide, an icon appears on the slide. In creating your own presentation, you can click on this icon and drag it to an appropriate place on the slide. The audio is started simply by left-clicking this icon. In the case of the animations or videos, the audio is started automatically with each animation or video by clicking the slide (as instructed on the slides in my Search and Discovery presentation). It takes a minute or more before the animations or videos start because of the time required to load them. Patience is required. As noted in the instructions on the introductory page, a yellow ribbon will appear across the top of the screen when the first video (slide 7) is clicked. Click “options” near the right end of the ribbon and then “trust this host one time only” and all the animations and videos will be enabled.

There have been difficulties experienced by some viewers (myself included) where some of the movies don’t work and an error message appears. Explanations for this result are hard to run down and beyond my expertise but might be related to the pdf conversion, slow internet speed, out-of date software, or some other interference. Perhaps after time, some computer whiz will suggest a solution to these glitches.

If you haven’t yet visited the AAPG Search and Discovery website, I urge you to give it a try. Many good presentations are archived there. I am told that my contribution is the first multi-media presentation posted on the site so maybe it will stimulate more submissions of this kind. Although preparation of a multi-media presentation takes more time and effort to prepare than the standard static slide show, certainly adding an oral discussion to the slides and movies enhances the value of the contribution. I am grateful for the complimentary email recently received from my long-time friend and current AAPG President-elect, Ted Beaumont: “It is the best geological article I have seen on the internet. It will serve as a model of what the internet offers our science for publications and of course the content by itself will be useful to a lot of people.”