Miscellaneous LWD Image Data Processing

Operator and logging contractor: LDEO-BRG
Expedition:  NGHP-1
Holes: all LWD holes

Perhaps the best known of the Logging While Drilling (LWD) image logs are the geoVISION resistivity images, which are generated as the tool rotates while drilling, providing 360° data coverage of the borehole wall. In addition to the resistivity images, the geoVISION tool provides gamma ray images as well. Also, the EcoScope tool provides borehole images: these include density, photoelectric effect, borehole radius, and tool standoff. In contrast to the geoVISION resistivity images, all other images are scaled manually and not dynamically normalized. Otherwise, processing is similar to that applied to the geoVISION resistivity data. Images in Gif format are provided in 100 m intervals for all data, and additionally in 20 m intervals for data sampled at 3.048 cm. 

The following table provides a summary of the EcoScope and geoVISION (non resistivity) images available:


Property Database Image Code Channel Sampling Interval (cm)

Number of Radial Bins

Density RHOB ROSI 3.048 16 Ecoscope
Photoelectric Effect PEF PESI 3.048 16 Ecoscope
Volumetric Photoelectric Effect VPE USI 3.048 16 Ecoscope
Borehole Radius Radius DCRA 15.24 16 Ecoscope
Tool Standoff STOF UOIM 15.24 16 Ecoscope
Gamma Ray GR GR_RAB_IMG 15.24 56 geoVISION

The following table provides a summary of the intervals logged at each hole as well as technical information about the logging-while-drilling.


Depth Interval


Approx. Rate of

Penetration (m/hr)

Approx. Rotation Rate (rpm) Tool
2A 0-55 20-25  60-70 geoVISION/Ecoscope
2B 2-252 20-25  60-70 geoVISION/Ecoscope
3A 17-303 20-30  50-70 geoVISION/Ecoscope
4A 5-306  ~20  60-70 geoVISION/Ecoscope
5A 0-207  ~20  ~60 geoVISION/Ecoscope
5B 0-198 20-30  50-70 geoVISION/Ecoscope
6A 0-350 25-35  ~60 geoVISION/Ecoscope
7A 0-258 20-30  ~60 geoVISION/Ecoscope
8A 0-348 20-30  ~60 geoVISION/Ecoscope
9A 0-340 20-30  60-70 geoVISION/Ecoscope
10A 0-200 20-30  60-70 geoVISION/Ecoscope
11A 0-199  30-50  60-70 geoVISION/Ecoscope

Image Processing

Processing is required to convert the initial measurements into a gray or color-scale image. This is achieved through two main processing phases, the first shortly after the data is downloaded from the tool by the Schlumberger engineer  and the second onshore at LDEO-BRG.

1) Azimuthal orientation and conversion to depth

The main processing steps are performed using Schlumberger's 'Ideal' software, just after the raw data is downloaded from the tool. The azimuth of the sensors relative to north is set at the rig floor, and subsequent pipe rotation is tracked during drilling so that the image is oriented correctly. For the measurements made by the density sensor in the EcoScope tool, a full revolution (360°) of data is sampled every 10 seconds, so the vertical resolution depends upon the rate of penetration (ROP) into the formation – the slower the penetration, the more densely sampled the formation will be. ROP is typically in the 25-50 m/hr range, and the rotation is typically around 60 rpm.

The depth assigned to LWD data is derived from the known length of pipe and the vertical position of the top drive at the rig floor. After the LWD data is downloaded from the tool, the depth data are merged with it based on accurately synchronized time data. The effects of ship heave are sometimes apparent as horizontal discontinuities in the image. They exist because it can be difficult, with a long drill string, to exactly determine the depth of the bit based on measurements on the rig floor.

The LWD tools do not move with a constant velocity down the hole: new sections of drill pipe have to be added every 10 m and ship heave is never completely compensated. This means that there will often be repeat measurements for one particular depth in the borehole. The measurement that is used is the first one taken at a particular point, before the borehole has had time to deteriorate.

The LWD data is output from the Ideal software as a depth-indexed DLIS file.

2) Depth Shift and Image Generation

The DLIS file is loaded into the Schlumberger GeoFrame software at LDEO-BRG, where the image for each measurement is shifted so that the depth is relative to sea floor, and output gif and DLIS files are produced. The color scale ranges for the gif images are chosen manually.

The image is displayed as an unwrapped borehole cylinder. A dipping plane in the borehole appears as a sinusoid on the image; the amplitude of this sinusoid is proportional to the dip of the plane. The images are oriented with respect to North, hence the strike of dipping features can also be determined.

For further information or questions about the processing, please contact:

Cristina Broglia
Phone: 845-365-8343
Fax: 845-365-3182
E-mail: Cristina Broglia