Cave surveying and cave publishing workflow

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Cave surveying and cave publishing workflow

Postby smanuel » Sep 22, 2010 9:14 am

Hello!

My name is Manuel and this is my firt post. Yupii!!!!

I'm a Portuguese caver that lost his mind and decided to go cave surveying some years ago... :woohoo:

I seek advice from a more experienced and informed group in cave surveying and cave publishing.

What would be the best software workflow to produce printed information (book) about a series of caves? By “best” I mean a fast, good looking result and preferable cheap :) Of course, the programs should be the more compatible as possible.

I know, there isn’t a simple answer. I’m specially fighting about the best way to draw and publish a series of small surveys, with text and photos.

Software work-flow examples:

1. Acquiring data with a handheld computer: Auriga, PocketTopo…
2. Visualization on a desktop PC: Compass, Visual Topo… (I tried Therion and others, but…)
3. Drawing: Inkscape, CorelDraw, Illustrator, AutoCAD…
4. Publishing a flyer, magazine, book: Scribus, InDesign…

I have a little experience with the expensive and complex AutoCAD 2007, but I don’t know how to make a multiple survey publication using this drawing program. Someone else uses AutoCAD for drawing? How can you make a good export to publishing software?

I have experienced the Compass SVG Exporter and Inkscape. Very Good! Unfortunately, it seems that I can’t export more than one view of the cave to one drawing file (projected profile and plan, for example). That would be excellent.

By the way, I tried SVG files in the free publishing software “Scribus” and it worked satisfactory. Someone else uses this program?

Surely many of you have had this difficulties, and endless dilemmas. What do you advice?

Best regards

Manuel
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Re: Cave surveying and cave publishing workflow

Postby Crockett » Sep 23, 2010 9:07 am

You left ArcGIS and QGIS off the list along with the versatile but generally limited Open Office suite. I juggle with all you listed including a painful installation of Therion on my MacBook that goes unused. I also have Auriga installed on a Windows Mobile device running in a Palm emulator and AutoCAD 2010 3D on a big honking multiprocessor multi-monitor desktop but I am not adept at either.

I think "Best Practices" is the best we can hope for regarding anything related to caving in the United States. It is nice to have a big box of tools and it helps if you are fortunate to work within a group where members develop skills with them. I particularly like Open Source and otherwise free software.

With all the different tools available for cave survey I sometimes find myself or others virtually using a hammer to kill flies or a fly swatter to drive nails.

I think Illustrator or Inkscape will open DXF (Autocad) and save as SVG so you can use the graphic in Scribus but I am not in a spot to confirm this except to confirm that Scribus will open SVG. There are certainly DXF or DWG to SVG converters out there. I have a free one but it spams you with a website on each use.

I hope you get some feedback on this topic.
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Re: Cave surveying and cave publishing workflow

Postby Martin Sluka » Sep 23, 2010 10:03 am

Crockett wrote: I juggle with all you listed including a painful installation of Therion on my MacBook that goes unused.


Dear friend, there is a very important difference between therion and rest of list. Therion is, first of all, system for archiving of data from caves. And you may generated from this data many different outputs. You never need to redraw a piece of cave one time drawn. PDF or SVG outputs you may use in Inskcape, ...

I use therion on Mac many years, just from beginning. So, if you have any problem don't be ashamed and ask me or the group on the mailing conference.
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Re: Cave surveying and cave publishing workflow

Postby Crockett » Sep 23, 2010 10:16 am

sluka wrote:
Crockett wrote: I juggle with all you listed including a painful installation of Therion on my MacBook that goes unused.


Dear friend, there is a very important difference between therion and rest of list. Therion is, first of all, system for archiving of data from caves. And you may generated from this data many different outputs. You never need to redraw a piece of cave one time drawn. PDF or SVG outputs you may use in Inskcape, ...

I use therion on Mac many years, just from beginning. So, if you have any problem don't be ashamed and ask me or the group on the mailing conference.


I understand. The painful installation came from my inexperience with compiling code. The disuse comes from my personal shortcomings, not any problem with the software. So this is a confession of my limitations not a condemnation of the software. I wish I suddenly had the skill and knowledge to get what you get out of Therion but I have not had the time, the inclination, or the ability.
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Re: Cave surveying and cave publishing workflow

Postby smanuel » Sep 24, 2010 7:03 am

Crockett and sluka, thanks for answering.

Crockett wrote:It is nice to have a big box of tools and it helps if you are fortunate to work within a group where members develop skills with them.

On the other hand, often times this “big box” of tools can be to “heavy” and dizzying, specially if we are not so fortunate…

DXF in Inkscape
Crockett wrote:I think Illustrator or Inkscape will open DXF (Autocad)

I confirm that Inkscape opens DXF but, as I just found out, only from “AutoCAD Release 13 and newer”. This is important! And can explain why I had such difficulties open DXF from cave surveying software in CorelDraw, a similar program. In a good DXF import, in both programs, layers are preserved. I never used Adobe Illustrator.

DXF in Scribus
Crockett wrote:There are certainly DXF or DWG to SVG converters out there.

I tried a shareware converter: it converted only the model, not the final result (the layout, that includes viewports in AutoCAD). I printed the layout to PDF and then tried to import the PDF in Scribus. For some reason, it didn’t work. Maybe I need to try in other ways. Maybe I’m also “using a hammer to kill flies”.

SVG in Scribus
Crockett wrote: Scribus will open SVG.

Yes. But it will convert the SVG firs, losing the layers (?). I guess this is necessary: it needs to simplify a drawing. However, it can still be edited in Scribus.

Therion
Crockett wrote: I wish I suddenly had the skill and knowledge to get what you get out of Therion but I have not had the time, the inclination, or the ability.

I have installed Therion on my PC, but having battled with Auriga, CorelDraw, etc, this software maybe to must for a simple user like myself.

Regards

Manuel
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Re: Cave surveying and cave publishing workflow

Postby Martin Sluka » Sep 24, 2010 11:46 am

therion: we are looking to find somebody to make an installation image for MacOSX. It should be very simple to install therion on MacOSX machines after.

the skill: it not straight forward, I know. But it really save time later, when you should create different outputs from the data of cave/area.

Martin
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