Mathematical Geosciences

, Volume 43, Issue 8, pp 929–949

A Methodology for Establishing a Data Reliability Measure for Value of Spatial Information Problems


DOI: 10.1007/s11004-011-9367-0

Cite this article as:
Trainor-Guitton, W.J., Caers, J.K. & Mukerji, T. Math Geosci (2011) 43: 929. doi:10.1007/s11004-011-9367-0


We propose a value of information (VOI) methodology for spatial Earth problems. VOI is a tool to determine whether purchasing a new information source would improve a decision-makers’ chances of taking the optimal action. A prior uncertainty assessment of key geologic parameters and a reliability of the data to resolve them are necessary to make a VOI assessment. Both of these elements are challenging to obtain, as this assessment is made before the information is acquired. We present a flexible prior geologic uncertainty modeling scheme that allows for the inclusion of many types of spatial parameter. Next, we describe how to obtain a physics-based reliability measure by simulating the geophysical measurement on the generated prior models and interpreting the simulated data. Repeating this simulation and interpretation for all datasets, a frequency table can be obtained that describes how many times a correct or false interpretation was made by comparing them to their respective original model. This frequency table is the reliability measure and allows a more realistic VOI calculation. An example VOI calculation is demonstrated for a spatial decision related to aquifer recharge where two geophysical techniques are considered for their ability to resolve channel orientations. As necessitated by spatial problems, this methodology preserves the structure, influence and dependence of spatial variables through the prior geological modeling and the explicit geophysical simulation and interpretations.


Value of information Uncertainty Geophysics Reliability 

Copyright information

© International Association for Mathematical Geosciences 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. J. Trainor-Guitton
    • 1
  • J. K. Caers
    • 2
  • T. Mukerji
    • 2
  1. 1.Program of Earth, Energy, and Environmental ScienceStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Energy Resources EngineeringStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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