Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cave Survey Guidelines, and Other Things

A few years ago, Bev and I wrote a set of notes for new cavers on how to be a (both effective and efficient) part of a survey team. Basically, how to read instruments, set stations, communicate with the sketcher, etc. Which, really, is a good (the best?) way to get involved with and invited to caving projects, until you progress from there to learning how to sketch and draft maps, amongst other things.

David surveying in Punkin Cave, a couple of years ago... ;-)
While surveying in Quintana Roo over the holidays, I had time to reflect on this and also to collect some extremely useful comments from the fellow cavers who were around. I've finally managed to consolidate all this and publish an update on our Grotto web page:

Cave Survey - Using Tape / Disto and Instruments (PDF version)

In other news that will be less interesting to the general public, I'm currently spending a few weeks in Texas before heading to China for an expedition over Spring Festival. Besides participating in a cave digging project in Austin, (which is surprisingly fun, I have to admit as somebody who doesn't dig much in caves,) we made some progress in my project cave O-9 Well last weekend.

Line plot of survey data from Walls (a cave survey database application). 100 meter-grid. The orange stuff was added to the survey last Saturday.
Nine Texas cavers headed out west to continue the re-survey of the cave in three teams. All in all, we surveyed over 500 meters of fairly small, muddy, and wet passage. It took us longer than I had expected, too. But, all the main passage has now been re-surveyed, and what's left to do is to follow a side lead to where it's likely to end under a plugged sinkhole (the leg taking off to the north on the line plot above). And, of course, for me to draft the final map of the cave based on the survey data and sketches -- the primary reason for starting the project.

Apart from that, I'm dragging behind with accomplishing the various things on my to-do list. Something that hasn't changed since I left my job. Ah well.

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