University of Calgary

University of Calgary

August 30, 2011 11:46 ET

University of Calgary: We have an App for That

Industry day showcases the latest in surfnet touch-screen applications

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Aug. 30, 2011) -

Media availability today between 10am-12pm at University of Calgary, ICT room 516.

Cutting-edge technologies will be showcased Sept. 1 at the University of Calgary when Sky Hunter Corporation brings its innovative approach to energy exploration to the NSERC SurfNet Second Annual Industry Open House.

Sky Hunter has developed a technology in which a retrofitted aircraft collects air samples that can indicate oil and gas reservoirs under the flight path. The company has figured out how to collect and measure those airborne microseeps - hydrocarbons that seep into the air above conventional reservoirs. The company collaborated with SurfNet researchers to develop an iPad app as well as digital tabletop application that enhances and simplifies the analysis of the information that Sky Hunter collects.

"SurfNet focuses on software technologies for digital surfaces. Applications shown during our open house illustrate the use of digital surfaces in the oil and gas field, the medical field, agriculture, and networks," says Frank Maurer, professor in the Department of Computer Science in the Faculty of Science and SurfNet's principal investigator.

SurfNet is short for Digital Surface Software Application Network and it's a Canadian research alliance made up of academic researchers and partners from industry and the Sky Hunter application is just one of many technologies that will be demonstrated at the Industry Day Open House that takes place on Sept. 1.

"The digital tabletop is a natural for our data," says Russ Duncan, president of Sky Hunter Corporation. "You can interact with the data, change the size and focus of the view; you can add other geological information into the tabletop, layer it and turn in into a sort of treasure map."

Searching for treasure is an apt analogy for what Sky Hunter does. For years, the company has been working to develop, test and operationalize its unique method of exploring for hydrocarbons. The aircraft's sensors detect a unique signature of charged molecules only found in gases emitted from hydrocarbon microseeps. The airborne data that the company collects is then used with other geological data to improve drilling success. In testing, Sky Hunter says its technology is much more cost effective than shooting seismic and had a prediction rate of roughly 66 per cent.

SurfNet then was able to bring its cutting edge digital surfaces technology to the table. "We investigated the use of gesture-based applications for supporting Sky Hunter's team of geologists, petroleum and geomatics engineers," says Maurer. "Integrating multiple surfaces, specifically a digital table with iPads, improves current work processes and helps the team make sense of immense amounts of data."

Duncan adds: "I hope that people will come and work with the tabletop. We'll have real data, real results. I'd like them to see that this is a good idea that they could use down the road."

A few other examples of technology demonstrated include: Decisive Farming, an agricultural company, uses table-based technology to help farmers control fertilization; eGrid, a software system that helps monitor electricity grids; Vusik, a music visualization and composition tool; the use of digital tables for army simulation; and an application prototype developed with Ivrnet that uses digital tabletop applications for visualizing data for its VOIP customers.

For a full list of demos and program:

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