Why are you mapping caves?

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Re: Why are you mapping caves?

Postby wyandottecaver » Feb 3, 2013 5:49 pm

People who put their trust in cave maps blow my mind.

Chad, It's like errr... women :big grin: They are nice to have around, often useful, and sometimes quite pretty, but you never really know how far you can trust them till afterwards :tonguecheek:
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Re: Why are you mapping caves?

Postby NWSurveyor » Feb 3, 2013 6:25 pm

Crockett wrote:if you pass one of these potentially illegal maps through your PLS hands as an agent of the maker, and you are compensated in some way (like reimbursement of expenses or provision of equipment for rescue using said map) then does that make you a criminal element for trafficing in illegal cave maps for pay and does it threaten your PLS status?

Good question. Ethics is taken very seriously by the board of registration for PE's and PLS's so if it could be proven that a PLS took part in something that ends up being illegal, the board might open an investigation. It kind of comes down to how damaging the actions are to the public and whether or not the PLS knew they were doing something unethical. By stamping surveys with my seal, I'm basically swearing that I know the laws that govern and that the map correctly represent work done under my direction within the technical and accuracy standards set forth in law... all about protecting the public. That being said, I believe the courts would try to identify the responsible party and hold them accountable. The 'ring leader' if you will :-)

to·pog·ra·phy
noun \tə-ˈpä-grə-fē\
the art or practice of graphic delineation in detail usually on maps or charts of natural and man-made features of a place or region especially in a way to show their relative positions and elevations
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Re: Why are you mapping caves?

Postby John Lovaas » Feb 4, 2013 12:13 am

NW-

A few points I'd like to bring up as a survey slave with a couple years experience-

With a very few distinct exceptions, cave cartographers do not produce topographic maps. They produce maps- many of which consist of plan views with a a few cross sections and elevations.

Maps, that with current technology, have no better than a +/- 2 degree margin of error on any individual leg- and that's when they do backsights- some folks have better days, some worse. And some folks don't do backsights.

I mention this because it is the quality of your work that is going to protect your ass(as a PLS) in court. Your PLS will not protect you from lawsuits- just as incorporation will not protect you from going bankrupt from legal expenses before your court case gets past discovery.

Do you want to sue someone over the quality of a cave map? You'll be laughed out of the room during discovery. No cave cartographer represents their product as anything comparable to a map produced using a total station, with the data collected by PLSs.

If I was paranoid, I'd say some rescue group out West has too much Homeland Security money to burn, and is curious if they can scare maps out of uncooperative cave cartographers.

But I'm not paranoid. But, NW- you are not just 'an NSS member who wanted a copy of a cave map'.
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Re: Why are you mapping caves?

Postby Extremeophile » Feb 4, 2013 1:30 am

NWSurveyor wrote:The Grottos here don't have qualified rescue personnel that can legally take part in rescues managed by the State emergency management system. Only qualified people can participate, i.e. rescue teams that are accredited through the MRA. Grotto members would have to become members of the rescue team to participate in a rescue - in this State.

This seems like a far greater impediment to a successful cave rescue than not sharing maps. I can't imagine how anyone decided to make a policy that cave rescues can't include the only people who are expert in carrying them out. Is it wise to share cave maps with people that know nothing about caves? It might just make them think they're qualified to rescue cavers.

Also, it's nick-picking, but at my last NCRC class they really went out of their way to emphasize that none of us were being "certified" in cave rescue.
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Re: Why are you mapping caves?

Postby Extremeophile » Feb 4, 2013 1:34 am

NWSurveyor wrote:They did give us topo maps with coordinates for caves in our response area. All of the old USGS maps they had were also available for public viewing at my State Lands Office in the capitol city.

This might help explain some of the reluctance by cartographers in your region to openly share cave maps. Most caving groups do not want topo maps with cave locations and cave maps distributed to the public for conservation reasons.
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Re: Why are you mapping caves?

Postby NWSurveyor » Feb 8, 2013 8:25 pm

John Lovaas wrote:With a very few distinct exceptions, cave cartographers do not produce topographic maps. They produce maps- many of which consist of plan views with a few cross sections and elevations.

to•pog•ra•phy
noun \tə-ˈpä-grə-fē\
the art or practice of graphic delineation in detail usually on maps or charts of natural and man-made features of a place or region especially in a way to show their relative positions and elevations

What you describe is by definition topographic information.
John Lovaas wrote:Maps, that with current technology, have no better than a +/- 2 degree margin of error on any individual leg- and that's when they do backsights- some folks have better days, some worse. And some folks don't do backsights.
I mention this because it is the quality of your work that is going to protect your ass(as a PLS) in court. Your PLS will not protect you from lawsuits- just as incorporation will not protect you from going bankrupt from legal expenses before your court case gets past discovery.

Following the statutes is a good way to save your ass too. If I were mapping caves, and I am not – just to be clear, I’d state the accuracies on the face of the map to cover my ass. If you don’t then you allow the user to assume accuracy.
John Lovaas wrote:Do you want to sue someone over the quality of a cave map? You'll be laughed out of the room during discovery. No cave cartographer represents their product as anything comparable to a map produced using a total station, with the data collected by PLSs.

I can’t tell if you’re seriously asking me this… No, I'm not suing anyone. If you don't tell us how accurate or inaccurate your map is on the face, then you are in fact representing it as accurate as shown.
John Lovaas wrote:If I was paranoid, I'd say some rescue group out West has too much Homeland Security money to burn, and is curious if they can scare maps out of uncooperative cave cartographers.
But I'm not paranoid. But, NW- you are not just 'an NSS member who wanted a copy of a cave map'.

I really don’t know what you’re saying here. The rescue team is all volunteer and equipment purchased from grants and donations. I was the rescuer that asked the grotto for maps for no other purpose than to be able to respond efficiently and perform safer rescues.
Last edited by NWSurveyor on Feb 8, 2013 8:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why are you mapping caves?

Postby NWSurveyor » Feb 8, 2013 8:33 pm

Extremeophile wrote:
NWSurveyor wrote:The Grottos here don't have qualified rescue personnel that can legally take part in rescues managed by the State emergency management system. Only qualified people can participate, i.e. rescue teams that are accredited through the MRA. Grotto members would have to become members of the rescue team to participate in a rescue - in this State.

Extremeophile wrote:This seems like a far greater impediment to a successful cave rescue than not sharing maps. I can't imagine how anyone decided to make a policy that cave rescues can't include the only people who are expert in carrying them out. Is it wise to share cave maps with people that know nothing about caves? It might just make them think they're qualified to rescue cavers.

Maybe you missed where I said that the Grottos here don’t have qualified rescuers? You can’t just show up to a State managed rescue and participate because you say you’re qualified. I’m guessing TAG and other more major caving areas have qualified rescue teams with names on the State roster.
Extremeophile wrote:Also, it's nick-picking, but at my last NCRC class they really went out of their way to emphasize that none of us were being "certified" in cave rescue.

I completely agree with you. The course I took was for self rescue. The rescue team I was on was a highly trained vertical technical rope rescue and mountain rescue team. We trained for cave and confined space rescue as part of our routine and were very competent in it.
Extremeophile wrote:
NWSurveyor wrote:They did give us topo maps with coordinates for caves in our response area. All of the old USGS maps they had were also available for public viewing at my State Lands Office in the capitol city.

Extremeophile wrote:This might help explain some of the reluctance by cartographers in your region to openly share cave maps. Most caving groups do not want topo maps with cave locations and cave maps distributed to the public for conservation reasons.

Right, especially rescue teams, huh? The maps I referred to were done FOR the State Department of Conservation Division of Mines and Geology as a method of inventory, among other reasons. They are mostly dated in the ‘60s and are available through the public disclosure process. Many have since been resurveyed - but kept secret.
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Re: Why are you mapping caves?

Postby Extremeophile » Feb 8, 2013 11:34 pm

NWSurveyor wrote:Maybe you missed where I said that the Grottos here don’t have qualified rescuers? You can’t just show up to a State managed rescue and participate because you say you’re qualified. I’m guessing TAG and other more major caving areas have qualified rescue teams with names on the State roster.

You mean to say that not one grotto caver in Oregon has taken NCRC training? I don't equate "qualified" with having your name on a state roster (not sure what that is). My point is simply that I would rather have cavers with no formal rescue training helping to rescue me than a bunch of firefighters with all the certifications in the world who had never been in a cave before. Certified and qualified are not the same thing.

NWSurveyor wrote:They did give us topo maps with coordinates for caves in our response area. All of the old USGS maps they had were also available for public viewing at my State Lands Office in the capitol city.
Extremeophile wrote:This might help explain some of the reluctance by cartographers in your region to openly share cave maps. Most caving groups do not want topo maps with cave locations and cave maps distributed to the public for conservation reasons.

Right, especially rescue teams, huh? The maps I referred to were done FOR the State Department of Conservation Division of Mines and Geology as a method of inventory, among other reasons. They are mostly dated in the ‘60s and are available through the public disclosure process. Many have since been resurveyed - but kept secret.

Surveying of caves by cavers for use by cavers, and not for distribution to the public, is pretty standard practice just about everywhere in the US. This is done to protect caves and inexperienced cavers. I'm probably misunderstanding what you've described, but you made it sound like a government agency gave you (i.e. the public) a topo map with cave locations marked and maps of caves. You then made it sound incredulous that grotto cavers would not turn their latest maps over to this same government agency. Based on the way I read your post, it sounded like an entirely rational response by your local grotto.
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Re: Why are you mapping caves?

Postby NZcaver » Feb 9, 2013 12:31 am

Extremeophile wrote:You mean to say that not one grotto caver in Oregon has taken NCRC training? I don't equate "qualified" with having your name on a state roster (not sure what that is). My point is simply that I would rather have cavers with no formal rescue training helping to rescue me than a bunch of firefighters with all the certifications in the world who had never been in a cave before. Certified and qualified are not the same thing.

I understand your concern, and can confirm a number of Oregon cavers have received NCRC training. One very talented Oregonian caver is a former NCRC national coordinator. Those cavers who are committed to being rescue volunteers also tend to join local SAR organizations to get the full regimen of standardized SAR training (as many states mandate for their volunteer teams).

A few years ago I was helping with an NCRC OCR for local sheriff's department SAR volunteers in Roseburg, and we had a real callout (missing hiker) in the evening. A few of the team were a little exhausted from a long day, so myself and another out-of-state instructor offered to help and were quickly 'sworn-in' and rushed through some paperwork. The mission was quick and successful. I imagine if there were extenuating circumstances where it would be prudent for a specialist to be brought in on a cave rescue, there would be ways to make that happen.
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Re: Why are you mapping caves?

Postby NWSurveyor » Feb 9, 2013 12:47 pm

Extremeophile wrote:
NWSurveyor wrote:Maybe you missed where I said that the Grottos here don’t have qualified rescuers? You can’t just show up to a State managed rescue and participate because you say you’re qualified. I’m guessing TAG and other more major caving areas have qualified rescue teams with names on the State roster.

You mean to say that not one grotto caver in Oregon has taken NCRC training? I don't equate "qualified" with having your name on a state roster (not sure what this). My point is simply that I would rather have cavers with no formal rescue training helping to rescue me than a bunch of firefighters with all the certifications in the world who had never been in a cave before. Certified and qualified are not the same thing.

No, I say what I mean. Certified, in this context, means that you ARE qualified. You just got done saying that the NCRC class taught you that you were not certified (qualified?) in cave rescue. In fact you did get a certificate, but you are only qualified in self rescue. Why do you think they made a point to tell you that you weren’t certified in cave rescue? You said above that you don't know what it means to be on the state roster, so I will respectfully try to respond to that. When 911 is initiated, or authorities are contacted otherwise, the County Sheriff becomes the Incident Commander (IC) of the operation in accordance with the State law (I only know this for certain in WA & OR – other states may operate different). So the IC contacts the State Department of Emergency Management (DEM) and gets a Mission Number. It’s certainly the IC’s prerogative to ask anyone they want for help. As an example, let’s say you’re on scene and you assert your qualifications to the IC and they agree to let you help. During the operation you get injured or killed. Guess who is liable? The County Sheriff’s Department is. Do you think they’re going to think twice about you assisting based on what you 'say' your experience is? Back to the Mission Number - If you are on a certified rescue team, then you are covered under the State’s Labor & Industries Insurance. OR and WA recognize teams trained under the guidelines and safety factors set forth in the Mountain Rescue Association (MRA) as qualified high angle technical rope rescue teams. These are paramedics and firefighters (as you so eloquently put it), but they are also volunteers on the team with local cavers, mountaineers, rock climbers, back country skiers, etc. Since you apparently don’t know much about actual rescue teams, I can tell you most teams have 2 to 3 training operations every month and ours had an annual high angle rope rescue course that is 40 hours total. We trained in confined spaces, caves, urban, and wilderness environments and most were at least Wilderness First Responders or EMT's. In order to have and maintain the MRA certificate, the team gets tested by the MRA on field operations ever few years. It’s no surprise that States recognize this certification. The local teams membership roster is kept updated at the DEM.
The MRA is currently discussing the addition of cave rescue as a specific cert. So you might start hearing about Cave Rescue Team in your area becoming ‘certified’ members.

Extremeophile wrote:Surveying of caves by cavers for use by cavers, and not for distribution to the public, is pretty standard practice just about everywhere in the US. This is done to protect caves and inexperienced cavers. I'm probably misunderstanding what you've described, but you made it sound like a government agency gave you (i.e. the public) a topo map with cave locations marked and maps of caves. You then made it sound incredulous that grotto cavers would not turn their latest maps over to this same government agency. Based on the way I read your post, it sounded like an entirely rational response by your local grotto.
Keeping maps secret to protect caves and inexperienced cavers is an unproven concept. The argument has already been made that it may in fact do the opposite.

Just to help clarify, I'll provide some details on how I acquired the cave maps and positions. When I was on the rescue team, I took the lead in cave rescue. Since most of the caves in our response area are on National Forest Land and the entrances had been survey located by NF Surveyors, I asked for the locations – for rescue purposes. They produced 1 USGS topo map with positions marked and named with the understanding that this was for rescue purposes on lands managed by them. I contacted the State and was told the old cave maps were available in the State Library at the Capitol so I acquired copies of those and began to work on some basic planning and cave rescue training courses for our team. After one of our team cave rescue training exercises, we were hiking our gear out through the forest and ran into a small group of cavers hiking in. I stopped to chat when they asked what we were doing and discovered they were members of the local Grotto. I didn't know more information even existed, but I expressed interest in working with them in cave rescue training and asked if they'd be willing to share information they might have that we didn't on particularly dangerous cave systems. I was told no and quickly given the cold shoulder. We walked on in dismay. They wanted no association with us. Subsequent correspondence went unanswered by them. I don’t know anything about their association with the National Forest, but since the NF didn’t have ANY cave maps, I assume they successfully kept their secrets. Fast forward: I'm retired from the rescue team and now a member of that same Grotto. When I mentioned this experience at a meeting, I was told they would only share information with members of the team that joined the Grotto and that they would have to acquire it the same as every other Grotto member. Still dismayed...
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Re: Why are you mapping caves?

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 9, 2013 2:05 pm

You know, if you had to be "certified" to help in a cave rescue, there would be a lot of rescues in TAG that would still be on going to this day. The sinking cove rescue last year burned up what...............100 cavers to extract the body?

Not letting someone help in a rescue because they aren't "certified" is red tape bulls**t. IF someone needs rescued and extracted, you are going to burn people out right and left due to how strenuous and exhausting rescues are. Not letting a caver help because he isn't "Certified" is a load of crap and down right stupid.

Next time there is a rescue in Missouri I will be sure to tell the injured party that sorry, we cant rescue you, as we arent certified. you are on your own.

I guess we could drown them like they did in Sanctum.............
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Re: Why are you mapping caves?

Postby NWSurveyor » Feb 9, 2013 4:01 pm

You obviously know much more than I do about cave rescue operations in those areas - so maybe you can consider that I probably know a little more about them in my area. In my area, I can confidently say that I would prefer to have the teams I know of, performing rescue operations over any self proclaimed cave rescuers.
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Re: Why are you mapping caves?

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 9, 2013 9:02 pm

NWSurveyor wrote:You obviously know much more than I do about cave rescue operations in those areas - so maybe you can consider that I probably know a little more about them in my area. In my area, I can confidently say that I would prefer to have the teams I know of, performing rescue operations over any self proclaimed cave rescuers.


so in your neck of the woods, what happens when your rescue teams run out of energy because they have been at it non stop for 20-30 hours? Refuse help?
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Re: Why are you mapping caves?

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 9, 2013 9:05 pm

Also,, you always have a team leader in rescue no? What is wrong with that team leader giving directions to people who are there to help. Not every person has to have training to carry a skid, sometimes you simply need bodies to negotiate things. Cavers learn at a very very fast curve during a rescue. Tell them what to do, they do it.
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Re: Why are you mapping caves?

Postby NZcaver » Feb 9, 2013 10:58 pm

Chads93GT wrote:so in your neck of the woods, what happens when your rescue teams run out of energy because they have been at it non stop for 20-30 hours? Refuse help?

20-30 hour rescue in an Oregon cave? Ever been caving in Oregon, Chad?? :laughing:
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