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

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

Postby David Grimes » Dec 26, 2011 4:35 pm

Teresa I have to disagree with you, while any online resource can be hacked most cave surveys keep their records in some form of an online database anyhow. Concerning people using someone else's info to access maps, if you do not tell someone your log in info they cannot use it. I agree the NSS log in form is rather weak but no one ever said that method would be used. As for county location being too specific I definitely disagree. Anyone will tell you the county a cave is in if you know the name so I don't see what difference it makes.

There really is no way of knowing if the person uploading the map has the right to do so, there is also no way of knowing if articles or pictures posted here are done so with permission. We can only trust that our members will abide by our TOS and if we have a complaint from an author we will remove the content.

A cave map still has plenty value without a location since you are not likely to seek out a map unless you have a specific cave in mind that you want to visit, in which case most people would already have a location.

While the MSS may be fairly easy to get information from other cave surveys are not so easy and are likely to turn away newer cavers. There is no threat here that cave surveys will lose members if we add this feature. Cave surveys offer plenty of other services other than cave maps.

It looks like this may be a close poll its not too often we see this much participation.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby BrianC » Dec 26, 2011 7:27 pm

David Grimes wrote:
It looks like this may be a close poll its not too often we see this much participation.

I think you said somewhere that if this poll were close, then probably it should not happen? Well, it probably should be a closed poll, and end the debacle with a standing NO! To sensitive a subject to deal with in this chat room room anyhow. :down:
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby David Grimes » Dec 26, 2011 8:05 pm

I actually said if the poll went drastically one way or the other. The opposite is the case here but currently counting the undecided votes as no's it is 58% yes and 42% no so if the poll ended now it would be a yes. It seems more of the no votes are coming later in the poll so keeping it going for the remainder might help your side.

The poll was only set to run for two weeks and then voting will be closed so theres not much longer anyway.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby Teresa » Dec 27, 2011 12:53 am

David: Missouri doesn't use an online database. They do use a database, and entries can be submitted online, but to a human being, not to a computer.

I do disagree with you on two points: one, the idea that one would not seek out a cave map unless they already had the cave in mind to visit. That's not been my experience; people look at maps to see what caves they think they might like to visit, and to weed out little groady holes unless they are into that sort of thing. Secondly, there is the issue of what the *landowner* wants, not just the author, since the sticking point on visiting a cave isn't usually the map, or the location, but the permission status, unless people are caving without landowner permission.

You said you wanted opinions. I quite amicably, and respectfully gave you mine. I knew you disagreed before posting, since you proposed the idea in the first place. Not sure why you thought you needed to take issue with my points, since I can't think of any argument which will change my mind. I think that the Net, even passworded, is insecure for the data, since I rather doubt that there would be Pentagon or bank or credit card account level encryption infrastructure, and even those sorts of accounts can be hacked . But hey, I'm only one vote.

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

Postby LukeM » Dec 27, 2011 9:28 am

I think you really need to be realistic at some point and expert hacker-spelunkers who graffiti caves and break formations sound like a figment of the imagination more than a reality.

Of what use is a cave map without a location? It's a pretty drawing, no more.


This sounds like an argument in favor of the resource. Why can't NSS members have access to pretty drawings? The funny thing is, we already have access to a large number of pretty drawings - even as non-members - through guidebooks and other publications. My spelunker cousin Bob can order an convention guidebook right now and have a map of a cave that's on private land that contains fragile formations. If my cousin Bob is an NSS member he can buy convention guidebooks with locations. If this stuff is so sensitive why do I never hear people complain about that? This resource is to be quite a bit more difficult to access than a standard guidebook, and will contain no info about locations and yet some people are staunchly opposed. I'm left a bit confused.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby BrianC » Dec 27, 2011 1:14 pm

I would guarantee that if you were to submit this poll the NSS, their reply would be unquestionably be NO.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby David Grimes » Dec 27, 2011 2:30 pm

Teresa, I did not mean to come across as attacking your points but I just wanted to show my my own opinion versus your post. Like you said I am personally in favor but I am not even voting in this poll, I just wanted to show my opinions in relation to what you posted. Everyone is entitled to their opinion here that is the point of allowing discussion on the topic.

Brian, you may be right on that no one really know for sure. I personally think that you and some others think that this resource will be a lot more in depth and larger than it likely would be. I seriously doubt anyone is going to put up maps of the best caves they know or their personal collections. What is likely is a collection of maps for well known caves that have probably been featured in numerous guidebooks throughout the years.

I may be wrong but that is really what I expect to see if we added this feature.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby Littlebit » Dec 27, 2011 3:09 pm

I have to agree with the "No" folks. Seriously. Thanks for bringing this to our grotto's attention, Teresa.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby NZcaver » Dec 27, 2011 4:15 pm

Trogman mentioned earlier about an online map database already existing for the Alabama Cave Survey.

I know of password-protected wiki databases created by individual cavers in other places in the US. These contain everything a caver would ever want to know, providing of course he or she is told of the existence of such material and how to access it. :shhh: It's been out there quietly for years, and as far as I know the sky has not yet fallen. Interpret that how you will. :shrug:

For what it's worth, my vote in this poll was 'undecided.' I think the idea has merits, but the larger the potential audience the more difficult it will be to effectively manage access, control the information, and keep some of the people happy most of the time (at best).
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby UnderGroundEarth » Dec 27, 2011 4:18 pm

My vote was NO. Call me old school but I think if you are serious enough then you should have to work for it. Get to know other cavers, get on surveys, go to grotto meetings, join state surveys... If you do this you can get any and all the information you want from the friends you will make in the process. If I need to know information about a cave there are at least a dozen people I could pick up the phone and call. If I need a map I am a member of all three of the state surveys here in TAG. If I go caving in another region, I look up local grottos for the area. I don't think it should be so easy for people to gain access to cave information. All the information you want is already out there. You just have to do the work to obtain it. Yes, sometimes finding out information about a cave can be just as difficult as exploring it! But hey, we are cavers aern't we...
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 27, 2011 5:44 pm

1) There simply is no GOOD reason not to make non location maps available. Every reason is either selfish, greedy, egotistic, or directly detrimental to both caving and cavers.

2) There is no GOOD reason not to make people aware of the layout, complexity, features, and hazards of any given cave.

Regardless of intent, a map is essentially useless (a pretty picture) without a location. Virtually every argument I have seen with the exception of copyright REQUIRES knowledge of the location. If your jealous of your cave map copyright I point you to my first statement above.

Maps get published in LOTS of other venues and handed out every day without asking the cartographer or landowner, without performing background checks and secret handshakes, and generally in spite of every argument presented against THIS proposed venue.

The only difference here would be the number of potential users, if you dont like that I point to my second statement above.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 27, 2011 5:56 pm

Brian C,

I think you might be overestimating the composition of secretive cavers in the NSS. I rather suspect cavechat is harsher on this topic than the NSS at large would be.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby Roppelcaver » Dec 27, 2011 6:32 pm

I have been watching the thread, having voted 'No' early. After watching, I feel even stronger. Teresa echoes the crux of my issues -- caves are owned by individuals, and their wishes/privacy trumps anything else. Does not matter what we think. I manage the Roppel Cave project and feel like I own the thing. But, if the owner of the entrance wants to manage things differently, he wins all ties He is the owner.

I am seeing issues of copyright, fear of the wrong people getting the map, permissions, etc., in this thread; but these are red herrings to what I see as the main issue -- privacy for the landowners. It is not our right or perogative to post/publish maps or information about a cave (with "broad" distribution) without the owners permission. Anything that can increase traffic to a cave (and a property) is not within our discretion without owner involvement. And, no, I was not born in the stone age -- I understand the realites about data sharing amoung our peers. We do it all the time, but for the most part we are cautious and discriminatory. Certainly, I know that most of us will not publish information in a guidebook without the owners permission (routine part of guidebook prep). Why should this be different? In this case, we are going far beyond sharing with our peers, which has risk of being to the detrement of our landowners (not to mention unlucky cavers that should not be in certain caves).
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 27, 2011 7:13 pm

Roppelcaver,

I agree with you to a point.

The wishes of the landowner are a factor...though I will digress from your absolute view. However, that is a concern that applies to any map anywhere in any venue. It's also functionally irrelevant. A landowner can control access to various degrees, and we should ALWAYS respect their wishes on access.

Maps? What about cave maps 50 yrs old for caves that the current owner has owned for 2-3yrs. Their input into how that map is distributed is essentially zero. Even for "1 owner caves" they generally have little true control once the map is made and almost nobody says that's bad.

A map CANNOT increase traffic to a cave or harass a landowner without location data. If no one will tell me where the cave is or who owns it I can't physically do anything with a map. A map might make you look for that data...which will be found in the Grottoes and State Surveys and Caver clubs which we seem to trust so much. So why is getting more people interested in more caves who must then contact more grottoes and local cavers a bad idea?

Landowners are the patsies for a lot of arguments, but often the people most willing to use them as a reason to say no are the ones sneaking under the wire in the moonlight.
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Re: Cave map resource poll! (Read First Post Before Voting)

Postby Roppelcaver » Dec 27, 2011 10:08 pm

Mr. Wyandottecaver...

This is an interesting debate. I think what we are discussing are maps that are broadly available, such as what is being proposed here (I am using the term "pushed" in contrast to distributing maps discriminately as might be done among cave survey project pariticipants). Similar "push" distributions includes those available in guidebooks (which, as you point out, permission may have been given once, but does not mean it is eternally granted), commercial cave concessions (the Kaemper Map at Mammoth Cave could be used to wander around the cave, but access is obviously controlled), and books ("Caverns of West Virginia," "Caves of Tennessee"). In the former cases, the access situation was overtly considered and deliberate decisions made in consideration of the impacts (landowner, cave sensitivities, etc.). In the latter (books), this was done before it was a dominant consideration.

After your post, I thought of other less considered mechanisms -- grotto newsletters, State Cave Surveys, etc. For the latter, these are theorietically controlled, although the population is vast. Has this caused problems? I suspect so, but not enough for policy change. Grotto newsletters probably had more cave maps in the past than they currently do. Probaby one of the better examples of the impacts of broadly publishing (pushing out) maps is "Caverns of West Virginia" (Davies). I recall a lots of closed caves in the 70s that were among the featured ones in the book (Cass, Hellhole, Schoolhouse, to name three). In these examples, the vast number of people finally wore out our welcome (coupled with a conspicuous rescue or two).

In essence I agree with you -- my position is a bit absolute on this, maybe too much. But, in the threads, the considerations to the owners seemed to be dwarfed by issues of copyright, permissions from the authors (cartographers), etc. I think these are secondary. But I do disagree with one point you make --

What about cave maps 50 yrs old for caves that the current owner has owned for 2-3yrs. Their input into how that map is distributed is essentially zero. Even for "1 owner caves" they generally have little true control once the map is made and almost nobody says that's bad.


Does not matter how old the map is, the current owner's wishes trumps all. Now, you might be saying that the map is long out the door. Indeed. However, this does not create a justification for releasing an old map not yet distributed (just because the owner is a newbie).

A map without location data, I agree, is not useful to the sneaky crowd. That is a good point, but I do think we need to take a default stance of caution (at the least is ensuring that we are acting responsibly and not creating a nuisance, or worse, for the landowner). And for those that already know where the cave is, it probably does not do too much harm, unless the result is over-visitation ("over" is in the eye of the beholder, the owner).

Yes, landowners are often misused to justify bad behaviour (gates, limited participation, secret maps, etc.). I admit that we brought up the idea of the original Roppel entrance gate to the landowner before installing. After all, we wanted to protect his kids and cattle, right? That being said, it is our responsibility to respect the landowner and not cause him/her hardship by overly generating interest in their cave (which in most cases they did not choose to have). And this should and must be the most important consideration whenever thinking about making maps (and/or descriptions) available.

If this is new idea is a place to showcase maps for their own sake, I guess that seems okay. Good maps need to be shown, and the survey teams' and cartographer's efforts acknowledge. But, beyond that, we have to be super careful.
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