Without the surface owner;s permission, the seismic company can get on the surface owners property to complete their operations.
They are able to conduct their operations with due regard to the surface owner's use of the property.
The seismic company is required to pay for damages that goes beyond what is reasonably necessary or negligently injures the surface
There is a BIG but however that not too many folks know about. The seismic company cannot use the surface owner's improvements to the ground. Such as roads. Let's say you have a 20 foot deep ditch with a bridge over it. The layout crew cannot even walk across the bridge without a surface owner permit.
On a seismic shoot, the contractors want to keep the surface owner happy. They do not know if he owns minor interests in minerals throughout the shoot and if they do not treat him right, he will never lease to them. Also, when you must "force your way on" a surface owner's piece of property and mistreat him, everybody will know and you are really creating problems down the road.
This is such a good questions, I will write a blog post about it.