Doug MacLeod, Chief Observer

Doug MacLeod & family

“I have been involved in the seismic industry since 1998. I started out as a Junior Observer at the bottom of the pecking order. At that time I had no idea I would travel the world and see some of the best and worst places in the world. Some of the safest and most dangerous.” That is how Doug MacLeod starts to tell his story. Now he works as a Chief Observer via Atlas Professionals.

“Other than missing time with my family I would not have it any other way. The tremendous experiences I have had and the great people I have met help to offset the time away from home. For those of us in the seismic industry with families, the time away is the one big drawback to our lifestyle.”

Rarely boring

“I am now a Chief Observer and the one constant through my career has been the challenge. Whether it is learning new software and equipment or trying to keep 10 streamers separated in rough seas, life on board is rarely boring. My first challenge was with training in all aspects of the job and that training continues today. I am qualified to drive several types of work boats and operate up to an 80 ton offshore crane. This goes along with the ability to use several types of recording systems and gun controllers. Nowadays, my job is more about passing on knowledge and skills to others rather than using it myself. Developing a strong team is essential to the success of our operation.” 


“Enormous changes have taken place during my time on the boats. With the clients demanding more and more and companies trying desperately to satisfy those demands, work has never been more complicated. Bigger spreads that require more equipment are the norm now rather than the exception. And all this must be accomplished with more stringent HSE on board the vessels as companies continue to place more importance on safe work practises.”

Excellent working relationship

“I have had the good fortune to work for several excellent companies during my career. I started with WesternGeco and finally landed a spot with Atlas. We have an excellent working relationship. Atlas allows a contractor the chance to make some decisions regarding his schedule. A contractor does not usually have the chance to do that. As well, Atlas has the opportunity to send you to many companies in the seismic industry. By going to various companies, contractors become more well rounded in their knowledge.

Excellent opportunity

“Atlas was able to provide me with an excellent opportunity based on a time table I was comfortable with. Add this to the fact it is a in a new and unique position for me and things could not have worked out better. I am always appreciative of the excellent and friendly service I receive when dealing with the people at Atlas. I look forward to what the future holds for me.”