New School or Old School

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New School or Old School

Postby caverx » Feb 14, 2013 8:49 am

Ive been caving for a long a long time too long to be finally getting into surveying haha. I have always been the guy taking the pictures but
recently our group has a reason to start doing some surveying and I am taking the lead on it.
I had some experience with tape and clinometer about 30 yrs ago and have been reading on the forum's here.

I am very PC experienced(Systems Admin) so my question is
should I be looking at the New School digital systems and map generation software or
the Old School tape,compass, and clinometer method?

If so I know Brunton is what we had used 30 yrs ago. but is that still the choice of today and whats a reliable compass and tape to stand up
to the torture of surveying and wheres the best place to get them as we are a very very small group (9 of us) with an even smaller budget.

If digital is the way to go what are the recomendations for that kind of setup.
Also wheres a good place to start getting the 101's on a good way to learn...I want to do this right, ONCE the first time! haha...
Thanks for any help!
Caverx!
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Re: New School or Old School

Postby gindling » Feb 15, 2013 1:25 pm

Here is a rundown of my survey tools and what works for me. I think the best way is to shadow a sketcher on a trip, or there is a book called OnStation available on the NSS Bookstore.

Suunto Compass and Clinometer
Bosch laser rangefinder
100ft fiberglass tape (in case my rangefinder craps out, no reel)
survey flagging
lead flagging
Sharpies
mechanical pencils
3-ring small hardcover survey book
Protractor (I prefer the CaveCompass)
LED finger lights for survey stations and for instrument illumination (different color for fore and back sights)

As far as what has changed, it seems that most people still survey manually but the laser rangefinder has mostly replaced the fiberglass tape (as long as you have batteries!) and the Suuntos have replaced the Brunton, other than that not much has changed.

Im not familiar with using the DistoX, SAP, or other digital devices but perhaps someone on this forum will speak up. But I know that a review article of the DistoX by Bob Bastasz was published in the Alpine Karst 2012 publication.
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Re: New School or Old School

Postby GroundquestMSA » Feb 15, 2013 1:58 pm

I use basically the same setup as gindling, with some minor differences:

I don't carry any flagging since I rarely make permanent stations.
I use the 5x7 rite in the rain for a survey book, in a cordura cover.
I use glow sticks as station markers and to light instruments.

A lot depends on what kind of cave you plan to survey. I survey little caves. My methods would be a bit inadequate in many instances. If you can't tag along on other trips to learn how to survey, I would very much reccomend buying On Station. It will provide enough information to allow you to survey a cave and create a finished map.
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Re: New School or Old School

Postby caverx » Feb 17, 2013 3:27 pm

Thanks doing some more research it looks like the DistoX is a little pricey still with alot of klugy configuring to make everything work. Really would like to go digital but
price does matter and I want reliablility. Maybe ina few more yrs...
I have an laser measuring tape already would that work?
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Re: New School or Old School

Postby Martin Sluka » Feb 17, 2013 5:16 pm

caverx wrote:Thanks doing some more research it looks like the DistoX is a little pricey still with alot of klugy configuring to make everything work. Really would like to go digital but
price does matter and I want reliablility. Maybe ina few more yrs...
I have an laser measuring tape already would that work?


What I may say? I started surveying with mine hanging compass and tape. Used everything from theodolite down to simple compass, clino, topofil, topofil aka Vulcain, laser tape, digital clino, compass with laser pointer. Sketching to log book, but very early (1975) started to sketch in scale on millimetric paper just to be able to add sheets side by side to see all the cave we mapped together. No computers and no time to wait for draw final map in that time when on expe.

Digital way? With DistoX and PocketTopo PDA software I'm able to survey!, not to sketch only, the caves like a professional surveyor (joke) now. To survey from station to station (and back) but survey very easy and fast as many splay shots I need to draw (not sketch) all the space, roof and ceiling details. So my drawings/sketches from cave are very precious. And very fast too! Two times faster than before. If time is money and if we all have only one time to live, I recommend you digital way!

And what about final drawing? There are computers very useful too. You may use traditional way of hand drawing but using computer (Illustrator, ...) or there are software tools optimised to archive cave data in many different input formats, draw the map from small independent pieces as base for different kinds of generated maps, overall or only small parts and able to produce cave documentation in many different formats (2D and 3D, Google, ...) just to be compatible with word of GIS, CAD, ... With automatic round-tripping, morfing, etc.

For me there is no way back. :grin:
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Re: New School or Old School

Postby caverx » Feb 18, 2013 7:42 am

Thanks Martin I work in computers so I tend to lean that way already but dont want a setup that is a hassle or a hack.
I see the new Leica Disto E7400x is out but is that the correct setup and what would I connect that two via bluetooth (Pocket Topo Still) which runs on what type of device?
I am on board with the digital techniques if I can rationalize the price and QUALITY to my group. :roll:
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Re: New School or Old School

Postby Martin Sluka » Feb 18, 2013 9:18 am

The Leica Disto E7400X is the model which should be the base for conversion kit DistoX 3. But it could be available in Summer I hope on UIS Congress as I understand Beat Heeb. PocketTopo in this version will not work with it. Nor Marco Corvi's TopoDroid for Android. All are waiting for Beat. Check for the progress: http://paperless.bheeb.ch .
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Re: New School or Old School

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Feb 18, 2013 1:11 pm

Frankly, I find most of the "new school" devices are just gadgets. With all due respect to the designers of the Disto-X, Auriga, Therion, etc etc etc: I use a pencil on paper, a fiberglass tape and a Suunto Tandem. I draft digitally, I've even roundtripped quite a few maps between Walls and Illustrator, and I'm young enough to not be particularly set in my ways -- but I fail to see how these all-digital survey techniques positively influence the final map or the accuracy of the survey as a whole. In many cases, I think they just add complexity.

The compass + clino + tape + paper approach is simple, reliable and accurate. All are good qualities for in-cave use.
The notable exception is laser rangefinders. Those things are great.

Good luck, and make sure you take backsights no matter how lazy your teammates get.
"Although it pains me to say it, in this case Jeff is right. Plan accordingly." --Andy Armstrong
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Re: New School or Old School

Postby lleblanc » Feb 18, 2013 1:15 pm

Martin Sluka wrote:The Leica Disto E7400X is the model which should be the base for conversion kit DistoX 3. But it could be available in Summer I hope on UIS Congress as I understand Beat Heeb. PocketTopo in this version will not work with it. Nor Marco Corvi's TopoDroid for Android. All are waiting for Beat. Check for the progress: http://paperless.bheeb.ch .


Quite frankly, I don't see why the data protocol should change if the chipset changes. The internals may change, but in the end, the output remains the same: length, heading and slope. Different GPSes use different chipsets, yet they all support the NMEA protocol.
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Re: New School or Old School

Postby lleblanc » Feb 18, 2013 2:58 pm

Jeff Bartlett wrote:Frankly, I find most of the "new school" devices are just gadgets. With all due respect to the designers of the Disto-X, Auriga, Therion, etc etc etc: I use a pencil on paper, a fiberglass tape and a Suunto Tandem. I draft digitally, I've even roundtripped quite a few maps between Walls and Illustrator, and I'm young enough to not be particularly set in my ways -- but I fail to see how these all-digital survey techniques positively influence the final map or the accuracy of the survey as a whole. In many cases, I think they just add complexity.

The compass + clino + tape + paper approach is simple, reliable and accurate. All are good qualities for in-cave use.


Jeff,

Hopefully, both methods lead to the same maps, perhaps with better accuracy if you use a DistoX because headings are good at any inclination and you're not tempted (nor able ;) to curve the laser beam around rocks like some do with tape - we saw lots of such impossible shots when fixing loops in Lechuguilla,

But I think using a PDA underground leads to faster maps, even more so as the cave grows in complexity: errors are found earlier in the survey process (for one, you see whether the numerical data matches reality), thus fixed earlier, loops are detected and qualified while in cave, the survey team has all the earlier data available for reference, orientation (i.e. where am I relative to another passage or entrance) or just finding existing stations, and junctions may be anticipated. Back to surface you may immediately walk the cave from above by connecting a GPS to the PDA - the map is unaffected by this, but it may help you find new entrances faster. Back at camp/home data gets transcribed faster and without errors, and more conveniently if you took advantage of the PDA to associate lengthy notes to shots.
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Re: New School or Old School

Postby Martin Sluka » Feb 18, 2013 3:02 pm

Sorry Luc, I forgot Auriga. I understood that it should be communication between software and unmodified Disto. There is missing the compass.

Jeff, old war started again? ;) Splay shots are splay shots. I vote for digital. :kewl:

And Luc thanx for you English explanation!

If I'll find the pictures I'll publish here the method cavers used to measure splay shots (1978-1980).
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Re: New School or Old School

Postby caverx » Feb 19, 2013 7:40 am

Thanks for all the info guys and I was informed I may have opened an old can of worms sorry for that but
I do want the quickest, easiest, and most accurate way to survey. But it does seem anything digital is on hold for the time being
and kind of forces me to use the old ways. :shrug:
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Re: New School or Old School

Postby caverx » Feb 19, 2013 8:05 am

Heres the future......very cool and extremely compact...
Zebedee http://www.surveyequipment.com/news/article/australian-scientists-develop-3d-cave-surveying-system-188305.html
Here is their distributor site looks like their not quite ready for distribution yet.
http://www.3dlasermapping.com/index.php
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Re: New School or Old School

Postby Martin Sluka » Feb 19, 2013 9:38 am

caverx wrote:Heres the future......very cool and extremely compact...
Zebedee http://www.surveyequipment.com/news/article/australian-scientists-develop-3d-cave-surveying-system-188305.html
Here is their distributor site looks like their not quite ready for distribution yet.
http://www.3dlasermapping.com/index.php


Ya, knowing many caves where such instrument is not usable simple because of shadows I have one question: How it will recognise lake from sump? Human perception has no competition till now. :wink:
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Re: New School or Old School

Postby caverx » Feb 19, 2013 12:04 pm

So true so true but it is very cool? :kewl:
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