Can I or should I publish this boring cave info.?

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Can I or should I publish this boring cave info.?

Postby GroundquestMSA » May 30, 2012 10:51 am

For the past five years I have been actively searching for and documenting the caves in the county I live. For the past year I have also been surveying and mapping them with the help of my wife and brother. The number of known caves when we started was about 35, and we have added another 25 to that total. I have conducted the original survey of 29 of these 60 caves, and resurveyed 4 others. Almost all of the previous work was done by WUSS from 1980 - 200?.

While I'm sure that there are more caves out there to be found, and we will certainly keep up the work, new discovery has slowed somewhat over the past months. I'm beginning to think about what I'll do with the maps, photos, and descriptions that I have compiled for each cave when the job is effectively finished.

Here are the problems: 1. Our caves are small and uninteresting from a recreational standpoint. The 60 mapped caves of Adams County are a mere 7000something feet. When you remove the largest of these caves (2323') from the total, the rest average about 85 feet in length. 2. I am not a speleologist. I have no more than a basic knowledge of cave geology, biology, or genesis. I am therefore not able to produce scientifically interesting descriptions and analyses. 3. I am not a skilled cartographer (for proof of this, see my map on p.16 of the Feb. 2012 News). My maps are very basic, with little floor detail, due to both my inexperience and the generally featureless nature of the floors I'm dealing with. So, my maps aren't interesting from a cartographic standpoint.

Writing all of that was a bit depressing, nonetheless here are what I view as my options: 1. Publish my findings in a grotto newsletter. While I'm not a member of a particular grotto, I have good relations with several members of WUSS. I fear that my work is both too extensive and too low quality to be fully treated in Pholeos. 2. Self publish a book/booklet. Some print on demand options may be affordable enough. I'm unsure that there would be even the slightest interest in or awareness of this product. 3. Forget it.

I present all of this to see if y'all have any more ideas on ways to produce or improve my product. Even more importantly, I need to know if anyone would find such a publication in any way interesting.

Thanks -J
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Re: Can I or should I publish this boring cave info.?

Postby batrotter » May 30, 2012 11:12 am

Hell yes! The question is why shouldn't you publish this information? Why make others repeat all the effort that your crew went through. I've been in a lot of small caves in Indiana and they all get turned into the Indiana Cave Survey. I assume that you are in Ohio. Does Ohio have a cave survey? In Indiana, some very rare cave critters have been found in the smallest of caves. The US Forest Service defines a cave as anything that a person can get into as a cave. By reporting the smallest of caves, a county director is able to check the database and can tell whether some little pi$$ hole has been looked at before. There are plenty of stories in Indiana where someone's personal files got lost or damaged and no one ever seen them again. That is info that will never be duplicated again.
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Re: Can I or should I publish this boring cave info.?

Postby Chads93GT » May 30, 2012 11:37 am

Agreed, send your info to the Ohio Speleological Survey, if they have one. Or grotto newsletters at the least, so its documented and not forgotten about if some unseen tragedy happens. and it does happen.
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Re: Can I or should I publish this boring cave info.?

Postby GroundquestMSA » May 30, 2012 12:53 pm

Ohio doesn't have a Spleleological Survey. Horton Hobbs III of WUSS is the closest thing to an official survey. I've already been through his files to find out what was documented outside of my work. I have 29 original surveys, 4 resurveys, and photos and descriptions of all 60 caves
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Re: Can I or should I publish this boring cave info.?

Postby GroundquestMSA » May 30, 2012 1:05 pm

batrotter wrote:Hell yes! The question is why shouldn't you publish this information? Why make others repeat all the effort that your crew went through.


It's very unlikely that anyone would ever duplicate any of our work. There aren't any other cavers very nearby. The caves in question are for the most part very secluded and were only found because we live here and have the time to roam about the woods on a regular basis. Several of them are surveyed only because we happened to be small enough to fit. The real question: Does anyone care about these caves? If not, leaving all of my info stuck in the closet and on my computer forever won't be much of a loss.
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Re: Can I or should I publish this boring cave info.?

Postby BrianFrank » May 30, 2012 1:28 pm

Start a Survey for your state. You are already halfway there. Over time it will be an resource that will benefit hundreds if not thousands.

I assume someone from a survey group in another state would be happy to help get your database started up. As far as funding, it will not be too expensive if you keep everything online and seek membership. Time is the key factor.
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Re: Can I or should I publish this boring cave info.?

Postby NZcaver » May 30, 2012 3:18 pm

Publish away. What do you have to lose? At the very least, your hard work may help future cavers avoid duplication of effort and decide where not to look for the next Mammoth Cave.
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Re: Can I or should I publish this boring cave info.?

Postby UnderGroundEarth » May 30, 2012 3:27 pm

You could put together a very simple PDF document with all your descriptions, reports, maps and pictures.
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Re: Can I or should I publish this boring cave info.?

Postby Scott McCrea » May 30, 2012 3:31 pm

If you're not surveying and publishing, you're just a tourist.
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Re: Can I or should I publish this boring cave info.?

Postby NZcaver » May 30, 2012 3:38 pm

Scott McCrea wrote:If you're not surveying and publishing, you're just a tourist.

Or a scooper.

If you survey but don't publish, that makes you an Arizona caver. :tonguecheek:
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Re: Can I or should I publish this boring cave info.?

Postby GroundquestMSA » May 30, 2012 3:56 pm

NZcaver wrote:Publish away. What do you have to lose?


Time and effort. I haven't an abvious way to publish. That's part of the problem.

NZcaver wrote:At the very least, your hard work may help future cavers avoid duplication of effort and decide where not to look for the next Mammoth Cave.


Again, no one up to this point has viewed the area as worth much effort. I don't think that will change. There's no potential for anything major.

UnderGroundEarth wrote:You could put together a very simple PDF document with all your descriptions, reports, maps and pictures.


I'm working on such a thing right now. But then what?

Scott McCrea wrote:If you're not surveying and publishing, you're just a tourist.


I don't have any ambitions. Being "just a tourist" wouldn't bother me a bit. Being the author of an obscure and unread collection of material about small caves that no one has seen, or will see, wouldn't really elevate my status that much would it? I survey because I enjoy the process and hopefully to gain enough skill to be of use on larger projects in the future. Publishing for the sake of publishing doesn't interest me, though.

None of you have tried to discourage me so far. Does that in any way indicate a theoretical willingness to browse through such a work if it were made available?
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Re: Can I or should I publish this boring cave info.?

Postby NZcaver » May 30, 2012 4:05 pm

GroundquestMSA wrote:None of you have tried to discourage me so far. Does that in any way indicate a theoretical willingness to browse through such a work if it were made available?

Theoretically, yes. I have yet to set foot in any Ohio cave, so perhaps this will help narrow my choices when the time comes.
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Re: Can I or should I publish this boring cave info.?

Postby David Grimes » May 30, 2012 4:10 pm

Eventually we will have a cave map section here on Cavechat as well, you could always share your information there. It may be a little while before it becomes a reality though since I have a lot of projects with short deadlines at the moment.

I still say go for it, and like noted earlier you could always work on starting a cave survey for Ohio.
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Re: Can I or should I publish this boring cave info.?

Postby Scott McCrea » May 30, 2012 4:14 pm

"Publishing" can mean many things. I define it as doing something with stuff you know. Simply putting your survey notes in the grotto library where others can access it is publishing, imo. You could go even further and write it up and submit it to the NSS News. People are always complaining that there is not enough US themed material. If presented in an interesting format, your work is worthy.

Having no ambitions is fine. I just hate, I mean really hate it when someone spends days, even years gaining knowledge and experience and they don't share it.
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Re: Can I or should I publish this boring cave info.?

Postby nathanroser » May 30, 2012 7:30 pm

There's a pamphlet about that one cave in Delaware that was published, and what you're found is definitely more exciting than the cave of Delaware. And of course it's another thing to use against those folks who like to make fun of Ohio.
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