Geophysical Instruments for Land, Sea and Air ­Subsurface Investigations - 12/07/2013

Geometrics, Inc.

Ross Johnson, VP Magnetometer Division, Geometrics, USA

Geometrics Inc., based in San Jose, CA, USA, designs and manufactures rugged, portable and technologically-innovative geophysical instruments for land, sea and air subsurface investigations. The company’s main product lines include high speed cesium magnetometers, exploration seismographs, digital marine streamers and electrical conductivity imaging and resistivity systems. Applications include natural resource exploration, geotechnical and environmental assessments, ordnance detection, surveillance, marine tectonic research, archeological and treasure survey, as well as teaching and research.

Geometrics was founded in 1969 in Silicon Valley by Sheldon Breiner (PhD, geophysics, Stanford), and a handful of former employees of Varian Associates of Palo Alto. The company introduced commercial proton precession magneto­meters, which for a decade were the only source of high-resolution systems for oil exploration. Eventually the company expanded into other instrument manufacturing including gamma ray spectrometers, data acquisition and processing software, and airborne survey with company owned planes. Geometrics’ early success led to their purchase in 1976 by EG&G, a large government contractor which also managed the nuclear test facility in Nevada. The company grew quickly over the next few years and expanded into designing and manufacturing seismic and geoelectrical instrumentation. Geometrics was acquired in the early 1990s by management buy-out and in 1997 was sold to OYO ­Corporation of Japan.

Today, Geometrics’ geophysical instruments, sensors and data processing software are used globally for energy and resource exploration. Geometrics was founded with a mission to promote a programme of continuous improvement and to ensure delivery of high-quality and reliable products. Geometrics’ employees are committed to total customer satisfaction, striving to stand apart as market leaders with innovative products and service. With just over 100 employees, Geometrics views each employee as an integral team member with the responsibility to help improve products by submitting ideas for better product and process control. In addition, Geometrics supports and works with over 50 international sales representative agencies for local sales and support. For fiscal year 2012, the company posted sales of USD27.1 million.

Geometrics’ customers include every major natural resource and energy exploration group in the world. Airborne mineral exploration companies such as Fugro and Geotech as well as smaller airborne contractors comprise the gold, iron and base metal exploration groups operating Geometrics magnetometer sensors. Similarly for ground follow-up, land-based portable magnetometers and gradiometers are operated in every exploration venue including S. America, Africa, Australia and Canada. A major driving force over the last few years has been mapping marine Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) from WWII and later conflicts. As part of the Green Energy investment effort, offshore wind farms in the North Sea require direct cabling to shore and hence the cleanup of thousands of acres of dumped explosive and chemical munitions. Over 100 Geometrics marine ­magnetometer systems have been deployed in the North Sea area for detection and remediation of this dumped UXO.

Our Electromagnetic product line includes the Stratagem, a land-based Augmented Magneto-Telluric measurement system for deep mineral and ground water ­exploration on land. We also manufacture the ‘Metal-Mapper’ system which characterises shallow UXO by size and shape. The Metal-Mapper is scheduled for offshore marine tests later this year.

The seismograph product line of land and marine-based survey tools have been a major contributor to the success of Geometrics over the years. Starting with single channel exploration seismographs in the late 70s, the company has continued to innovate to 12, 24, 96 and hundreds of channel networked seismic systems. Approximately 5 years ago Geometrics produced the first high-resolution marine streamer system for shallow oil and gas exploration. Useful in gas hydrate exploration and weathering corrections to deeper seismic data, the GeoEel and ­multi-streamer P-Cable systems (website 2) have become industry standard for mapping of offshore fault systems and near seafloor structural geology.

Last updated: 28/03/2017