Revolutionizing how the subsurface environment is interrogated and understood

Induced Spectral Interrogation Technology for the Environment (INSITE) is Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s (PNNL’s) revolutionary subsurface monitoring and assessment approach. INSITE is reshaping the ability to interrogate, document, understand, predict, and control natural and engineered processes in complex subsurface environments with dramatically more detail and accuracy. 


INSITE is a revolutionary subsurface monitoring and assessment platform centered on highly sophisticated autonomous and continuous electrical sensing.

Jeff London | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

The Technology

Through PNNL Laboratory-Directed Research and Development funding, INSITE is being developed to advance cutting-edge technology to enable remote, autonomous, and continuous interrogation of subsurface systems—benefiting multiple research missions, from renewable energy to national security.

At INSITE’s core is unparalleled field electrical sensing capabilities with step-change advancements in data integration/assimilation and fundamental science signatures. These competencies fall into three foundational thrust areas to provide next-generation subsurface tomography:

Fundamental Science and Sensing Signatures

PNNL is advancing scientific theory to establish foundational links between remote subsurface sensing (i.e., geophysical) observations and the physical and biogeochemical parameters that control and/or describe subsurface behavior.

(Image by Jeff London | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Advanced Field Scale Sensing

PNNL is transforming the design and engineering of large-scale electrical sensing to provide cutting-edge technology that delivers autonomous field-scale, time-lapse measurement and imaging. This next-generation technology has unparalleled signal and timing accuracy, and noise and interference immunity, to deliver disruptive advancement in remote characterization and monitoring of subsurface systems.

Geophysical Monitoring Data/Model Integration for Predictive Simulation

PNNL is leading the integration of multi-science simulation with inversion, data-driven analytics, and physics-based prediction to transform how subsurface remote sensing data is utilized to inform subsurface simulators. These advancements address data paucity issues that currently prohibit predictive capabilities sought by sponsors like the Department of Energy (DOE).

Although the three thrusts of INSITE are critical to its overall mission, its breakthrough applications are found in the intersections between its thrust areas via inter/trans-disciplinary science and engineering.

The Intersections

Through integration of these scientific and technical thrusts, PNNL is providing a world-leading capability to enable above-ground, real-time, four-dimensional imaging of subsurface systems for clients in applied energy, environment, and national security spaces.

Intersection 1:

Fundamental Science - Advanced Field-Scale Sensing

Intersection 2:

Advanced Field-Scale Sensing - Geophysical Monitoring Data/Model Integration for
Predictive Simulation

Intersection 3:

Geophysical Monitoring
Data/Model Integration for Predictive Simulation - Fundamental Science
(Image by Jeff London | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)


Related Resources


Geophysical Technologies 
Subsurface Characterization



E4D - PNNL's scalable, 3D geophysical modeling and inversion code
Socrates - PNNL's suite of comprehensive rapid analysis tools for environmental sites
PFLOTRAN - Open-source, state-of-the-art parallel subsurface flow and reactive transport code
STOMP -  Suite of numerical simulators for solving problems involving coupled flow and transport processes in the subsurface

Ready to Partner with PNNL?

As a DOE Office of Science laboratory, PNNL’s complex subsurface environmental systems research and development portfolio stewards a capable and diverse set of staff and capabilities. Our unique and integrated capabilities provide the scientific and engineering knowledge—from basic science and feasibility research to large-scale demonstrations and technology deployment—that enables maturation and deployment of advanced technologies used to address complex subsurface challenges. A multidisciplinary team of scientists, engineers, and professional staff from across the laboratory develop innovative solutions that provide the technical foundation for solving our sponsor’s challenges or needs.  

PNNL offers a variety of options for working together. Learn more about PNNL's partnering mechanisms for technology development and deploymentTo explore opportunities to partner with PNNL’s complex subsurface environmental systems research team, contact the Earth Systems Science team members.