The Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) seeks to advance and promote the rigorous science, technology, and professional practice of applied near-surface geophysics.

About Near Surface Geophysics

While near-surface geophysics shares many of the technical and cultural attributes of oil & gas exploration, the majority of near-surface geophysicists practice under very different economic drivers and conditions. Further, the culture of near-surface geophysics maintains many unique characteristics not shared by the petroleum industry. The near-surface geophysics community includes scientists and professionals from academia, industry, and government. Areas of near-surface geophysics investigation include: engineering, environmental, groundwater, mining, geohazards, infrastructure, geothermal, archeological, and agricultural applications.


Near-surface geophysics is generally defined as the use of geophysical methods to investigate the upper few meters to hundreds of meters of the Earth’s crust. Although the same physical principles are relevant for any target depth, the high degree of near-surface heterogeneity and proximity to the free surface often dictates that dominant processes differ between the near surface and deeper investigations. SEG is recognized as the leading global society for applied near-surface geophysics. Near-surface applications are increasing in number and societal value. Sharing and communication of theoretical advances, technology developments, and best practices are essential for the advancement and effective application of geophysics.

SEG seeks to advance and promote the rigorous science, technology, and professional practice of applied near-surface geophysics. Every year, the Near-Surface Technical Section holds multiple business and technical meetings, as well as hosts a full suite of technical sessions at the IMAGE meeting.

In addition, many Near-Surface Geophysics Technical Section members take the lead in organizing special sessions at the IMAGE meeting, and special articles and issues for The Leading Edge (TLE) and GEOPHYSICS. The Near-Surface Geophysics Technical Section newsletter, Near-Surface Views, is also published quarterly to keep members informed of near-surface developments.

“One thing is certain: The need to better characterize the upper 100 m of the Earth’s surface is going to escalate to the point at which geophysical efforts (monetary and manpower) in the near surface will surpass those exerted in pursuit of petroleum.”

Rick Miller, in The Leading Edge “Introduction to this special section: Near-Surface Geophysics” (Vol. 30 No. 2), states.

Vision Statement

The SEG’s Near-Surface Geophysics Technical Section is the leading community for applied near-surface geophysicists, as measured through its offerings of professional development, its innovative research on the methods and theory behind near-surface geophysics, and in applying these to evolving societal needs.

Mission Statement

SEG’s Near-Surface Geophysics Technical Section is dedicated to advancing applied geophysics in the near surface that benefits society and the environment; to fostering interaction and collaboration among both professionals and academics worldwide; and to maintaining the highest degree of integrity, professionalism, and competence among its members.