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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Optimized survey design for electrical resistivity tomography: Combined optimization of measurement configuration and electrode placement

  • Author(s): Uhlemann, S
  • Wilkinson, PB
  • Maurer, H
  • Wagner, FM
  • Johnson, TC
  • Chambers, JE
  • et al.

© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society. Within geoelectrical imaging, the choice of measurement configurations and electrode locations is known to control the image resolution. Previous work has shown that optimized survey designs can provide a model resolution that is superior to standard survey designs. This paper demonstrates a methodology to optimize resolution within a target area, while limiting the number of required electrodes, thereby selecting optimal electrode locations. This is achieved by extending previous work on the 'Compare-R' algorithm, which by calculating updates to the resolution matrix optimizes the model resolution in a target area. Here, an additional weighting factor is introduced that allows to preferentially adding measurement configurations that can be acquired on a given set of electrodes. The performance of the optimization is tested on two synthetic examples and verified with a laboratory study. The effect of the weighting factor is investigated using an acquisition layout comprising a single line of electrodes. The results show that an increasing weight decreases the area of improved resolution, but leads to a smaller number of electrode positions. Imaging results superior to a standard survey design were achieved using 56 per cent fewer electrodes. The performance was also tested on a 3-D acquisition grid, where superior resolution within a target at the base of an embankment was achieved using 22 per cent fewer electrodes than a comparable standard survey. The effect of the underlying resistivity distribution on the performance of the optimization was investigated and it was shown that even strong resistivity contrasts only have minor impact. The synthetic results were verified in a laboratory tank experiment, where notable image improvements were achieved. This work shows that optimized surveys can be designed that have a resolution superior to standard survey designs, while requiring significantly fewer electrodes. This methodology thereby provides a means for improving the efficiency of geoelectrical imaging.

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