Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

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Would you be interested in this feature?

Poll ended at Jan 1, 2012 8:50 pm

Yes, I would use and contribute to it.
20
37%
I would probably contribute to it.
1
2%
I would probably use it.
9
17%
Undecided.
4
7%
I do not like the ideal.
20
37%
 
Total votes : 54

Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby David Grimes » Dec 18, 2011 8:50 pm

One of our users has made a suggestion and I wanted to get the opinion of everyone here who wishes to participate.

The ideal is to add a section here on Cavechat where users can add cave maps (not locations just actual cave surveys) and possibly even descriptions of the caves. Other users would then be able to search for the maps and download them.

For this to work members would have to be willing to submit their maps and if possible cave descriptions for others to download and use for personal purposes.

I am willing to put in the time to implement this feature but I do not want to waste several hours of my time for something that will not be used.

So please feel free to cast your vote and in a couple weeks we will see what happens (unless we get a large amount of votes either way in the beginning).
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby trogman » Dec 19, 2011 9:32 am

I voted undecided, although I admit I am leaning against the idea, and here is why:
In our modern world, many people want to access and acquire as many resources as they can while expending very little energy or effort. I get that, and to some degree I am like that myself. But access to cave maps has always (in my experience) been a part of being a member in your state cave survey. I think this gives folks a little more reason to join and participate in these groups, in addition to getting access to location info. If this motivation is removed, and cavers could access large numbers of cave maps at any time online, I think that many would forego joining these groups. As it is, if someone needs one map for a trip they are planning, and I have a copy, I will usually share it with them via PM. But if they live in or near AL or GA I will also strongly encourage them to join one or both of these state survey groups. That is one of the benefits of joining these groups; if access to these resources was available online, I am afraid the membership in these organizations would decline as more and more cavers used the online maps.

Maybe I should have voted “I am against this idea.” :big grin:

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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby LukeM » Dec 19, 2011 10:19 am

Stephen, I get what you're saying, but this wouldn't include access or location info, nor does it sounds like a place that would feature an exhaustive list of caves like state cave surveys do. For this reason I don't see many people abandoning their state cave surveys because of its existence. Also note that not every state has an official cave survey, leaving many people in the dark ages of cave information. Just food for thought.

I haven't decided which way to vote on this yet, but I do think that the caving community in general would do well to make way better use of technology to facilitate access to (less sensitive) information. I don't think there are many good arguments against the distribution of maps (if approved by the author), and in fact there are a few good ones in favor of it other than it's basic usefulness to cavers. For instance, If someone has the location of a cave already and they are planning on visiting either way, it can be a matter of safety that they have accurate information about the place.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby GroundquestMSA » Dec 19, 2011 11:30 am

LukeM wrote:Also note that not every state has an official cave survey, leaving many people in the dark ages of cave information.


As in the case of my state. However, there just aren't many known caves in Ohio. Most of the caves I have mapped would not be submitted and here's why: Maps would have little value for purposes of exploration. The caves are small and simple and easy to navigate. Posting maps would make people aware of the existence of these little known caves, leading to requests for location information. I would than have to make the nasty choice; seem like a jerk and deny information, or freely give it and risk bad episodes with owners, or in a couple of cases damage to the cave.

For these reasons I think that the basic Idea is a very good one, but that it should be restricted to include caves that are fairly well known.

LukeM wrote:I do think that the caving community in general would do well to make way better use of technology to facilitate access to (less sensitive) information.


Amen.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby David Grimes » Dec 19, 2011 3:00 pm

For these reasons I think that the basic Idea is a very good one, but that it should be restricted to include caves that are fairly well known.


I guess I should have added this in the beginning but if you like the overall ideal but think a few changes or restrictions should be made please feel free to post that here. I agree that caves on private property where owners might not wish to be bothered probably should not be added and as always someone could simply PM info on a specific cave they do not wish to make publicly available.

I have also thought of another possible issue. Many of the surveyors named on the map may not wish to be contacted about the cave and making their name available on the map to the public might lead to people trying to contact them directly for directions and so forth. I guess it really has its pros and cons but thats what the poll is for.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 19, 2011 6:25 pm

Great Idea. Maps are above all a SAFETY tool. By letting people know what to expect and *maybe* figure out where they are, you reduce overall risks. However, there are of course issues to public maps.

1) many cartographers consider them intellectual property.
Not much you can do here except make sure posted maps are posted with author/s consent for fair-use.
2) seeing a map can spur interest in a location.
This isnt all bad. By indicating that location information is best obtained through the local grotto or State Cave Survey we send people to the right places.
3) Maps can be WRONG
We need to stress they are use at your own risk documents

Also, Indiana has a digitized library of maps for use by members of the Survey, perhaps we should also include contact data for the various Surveys as well.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby rlboyce » Dec 19, 2011 7:05 pm

If the worst comes to pass after the section has been created and it is determined by the majority that it was not a good idea, you could just remove the section, right?

If I were going to make such a section at all I'd probably keep it completely open, but I wonder how many people would change their minds if the section was protected by requiring the user to be an NSS member (entering member ID)?
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby David Grimes » Dec 19, 2011 8:13 pm

rlboyce wrote:If the worst comes to pass after the section has been created and it is determined by the majority that it was not a good idea, you could just remove the section, right?

If I were going to make such a section at all I'd probably keep it completely open, but I wonder how many people would change their minds if the section was protected by requiring the user to be an NSS member (entering member ID)?


The section could very easily be removed if there were any issues. The section will be open but we will probably require that you be a Cavechat member and give no access to bots.

As for requiring users to be an NSS member, it would not be like this at least to begin with. I cannot guarantee what will happen in the future since I still have to take my orders from the OVP and President so if they want to restrict access that option is theirs (but I think enough people would complain if that were the case).

wyandottecaver wrote:Great Idea. Maps are above all a SAFETY tool. By letting people know what to expect and *maybe* figure out where they are, you reduce overall risks. However, there are of course issues to public maps.

1) many cartographers consider them intellectual property.
Not much you can do here except make sure posted maps are posted with author/s consent for fair-use.
2) seeing a map can spur interest in a location.
This isnt all bad. By indicating that location information is best obtained through the local grotto or State Cave Survey we send people to the right places.
3) Maps can be WRONG
We need to stress they are use at your own risk documents

Also, Indiana has a digitized library of maps for use by members of the Survey, perhaps we should also include contact data for the various Surveys as well.


I too believe it would be a great safety tool. As for intellectual property rights, our TOS already has a restriction that you will not post something that you do not have permission to post. I think a lot of the people who are creating the maps would be happy to share though.

I was also thinking about linking to local grottos and cave surveys. If I make the layout a menu style where you choose state and possibly county (may be too specific but most maps tell the county anyway) then we could also add a link right on the page to the local grotto and/or survey. In fact it would be easy enough to make a field for the person submitting the map to include the information while posting it.

Also thanks for bringing it up, we definitely need a disclaimer.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby Dwight Livingston » Dec 22, 2011 9:05 am

No locations, but to what degree? I expect that county & state would be shown.

Are you planning any format restrictions? File size limit?

Thanks

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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby David Grimes » Dec 22, 2011 10:44 am

I am not positive on the details yet. I doubt we will need any format restrictions and I would still need to check with the caves.org server admin to make sure we would have all the storage space we would need. We are supposed to have all the space we could ever need but we might need some adjustments to our server settings for Cavechat.

Locations would likely be just county and state since most maps have the county on them anyway. Anything further the user wanting the map would have to know.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby laurieadams » Dec 22, 2011 11:25 am

I think it is a terrible idea. If someone on this board wants a copy of a cave map, for whatever reason, they can make a request on this forum, explaining who they are and why they need the map. If they are legitimate and have a legitimate need for the map, the cavers in this group would no doubt be very willing to provide the map. To prevent the wrong persons from gleaning locality information, or information about sensitive areas within a cave, or areas in a cave not known to the general public, often for good reasons, it would be necessary to remove much of the info on many maps. Many maps have locality info, landowner names, coordinates, relationships to nearby roads or landmarks, topo overlays, etc, etc. I for one would not want my cave maps chopped up and edited in this fashion, as it would compromise my art. Most of my maps are submitted to the Tennessee Cave Survey where they become proprietary information. Are we to ignore these rules and the copyrights owned by many mappers. If someone needs one of my maps, I will gladly give them a copy, or they could join the TCS and get access that way. This would prevent the (admittedly rare) chance of it falling into the wrong hands, such as someone wanting to mine formations. And who would decide what maps would be avaialable? The original surveyor? In many cases these cavers are no longer with us. Sure, if you want to put a copy of the Carlsbad caverns map on there, fine, but a huge can of worms could be opened up by publishing maps of caves on private property.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby LukeM » Dec 22, 2011 12:46 pm

laurieadams wrote:I think it is a terrible idea. If someone on this board wants a copy of a cave map, for whatever reason, they can make a request on this forum, explaining who they are and why they need the map. If they are legitimate and have a legitimate need for the map, the cavers in this group would no doubt be very willing to provide the map. To prevent the wrong persons from gleaning locality information, or information about sensitive areas within a cave, or areas in a cave not known to the general public, often for good reasons, it would be necessary to remove much of the info on many maps. Many maps have locality info, landowner names, coordinates, relationships to nearby roads or landmarks, topo overlays, etc, etc. I for one would not want my cave maps chopped up and edited in this fashion, as it would compromise my art. Most of my maps are submitted to the Tennessee Cave Survey where they become proprietary information. Are we to ignore these rules and the copyrights owned by many mappers. If someone needs one of my maps, I will gladly give them a copy, or they could join the TCS and get access that way. This would prevent the (admittedly rare) chance of it falling into the wrong hands, such as someone wanting to mine formations. And who would decide what maps would be avaialable? The original surveyor? In many cases these cavers are no longer with us. Sure, if you want to put a copy of the Carlsbad caverns map on there, fine, but a huge can of worms could be opened up by publishing maps of caves on private property.


Laurie, I think the solution is simple in this case: don't upload your maps to this resource, or, if you please, only upload the ones without sensitive information, or edit them to your liking. As David has said, existing intellectual property rights and the forums TOS would not be violated so why are talking about your maps being chopped up and edited?

There could easily be a system in place for requesting a map be removed if you can plead a good case. David is a responsible guy and I'm sure he'd remove a map if there was good reason. Given that you'd need permission from, or need to be the author of said maps, people are not going to submit maps of sensitive caves or that have areas people are worried about protecting. How about a little trust in our own community?
Last edited by LukeM on Dec 22, 2011 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby JR-Orion » Dec 22, 2011 3:26 pm

I like the idea. I love looking over cave maps, even if it's a map of a cave I'll never see.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby Yahtaa » Dec 22, 2011 3:57 pm

Undecided. The group I belong to is still in it's gear childhood (some, but not enough gear to share between us all), so being able to see a map and judge whether or not we have the equipment needed for a cave is very valuable in planning our trips, but at the same time I can see how this resource might draw away from Survey memberships, and with the way images get distributed and cached on the web even if a map gets pulled from the forum it wouldn't mean one set of wrong hands couldn't disseminate it after the post was pulled (assuming they will be downloadable PDF or image file.) . Mixed bag of issues here.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby trogman » Dec 22, 2011 7:34 pm

One good thing about state surveys, or at least the ones I am familiar with, is they require applicants for membership to also be NSS members. In the case of the Alabama Cave Survey, they require you to be in the NSS for two years before joining the ACS. This is a good safeguard, as it tends to weed out those who aren't really serious. I know, anyone with the money to pay for two years NSS dues can do it, and there is no guarantee that they won't misuse or vandalize caves. But if someone is willing to pay that kind of money for that long, there is a good chance that they won't do that sort of stuff. I would be more inclined to support the proposed idea if it required NSS membership, or had some other sort of safeguard. As one of the other posts pointed out, cave maps do point out and show how to get to the nicely decorated areas of the cave.

laurieadams wrote:I think it is a terrible idea. If someone on this board wants a copy of a cave map, for whatever reason, they can make a request on this forum, explaining who they are and why they need the map. If they are legitimate and have a legitimate need for the map, the cavers in this group would no doubt be very willing to provide the map.


:exactly:

Which brings up the question: why exactly do we need this resource, when maps are usually available just by asking for them? I realize that part of the reason is to make it a little more convenient, but I wonder if this wouldn't make it a little too convenient.
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