Newbie question on surveying equipment!

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Newbie question on surveying equipment!

Postby WVCaver2011 » Oct 20, 2009 1:21 pm

Howdy all,

I've been wanting to start surveying caves with rangefinders because measuring vertical distances are such a hassel using tape measurments. What kind of rangefinders do yall use. I would like to get one with and inclinometer, azimuth, and of course a distance measurement. I searched the web but all that I could find were those used on the surface of the earth instead of the deep dark reaches of a cave. :shrug: How much could I expect to pay for one like you guys use?

Thanks! :big grin:
There's nothing that makes me more excited than finding a place underground that no one has ever seen or been in!

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Re: Newbie question on surveying equipment!

Postby Dwight Livingston » Oct 20, 2009 3:12 pm

I've been using a Bosch DLR165K since summer. It is a replacemnet for my Disto A3, which stopped working. The button action is a little better than the A3, easier to hold steady when taking a shot. The range is only 130 feet, but the $99 price is attractive. See . . .

http://www.amazon.com/Bosch-DLR130K-Dig ... 277&sr=8-2

You can also buy them at Lowes if you are in a hurry.

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Re: Newbie question on surveying equipment!

Postby WVCaver2011 » Oct 20, 2009 3:42 pm

Thanks a lot Dwight, it looks like it would be a good investment and it within my price range! :big grin:
Thanks!
There's nothing that makes me more excited than finding a place underground that no one has ever seen or been in!

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Re: Newbie question on surveying equipment!

Postby ian mckenzie » Oct 20, 2009 5:58 pm

Dwight is talking about just a rangefinder. To get one that does azimuth and inclination, you need either to build one or buy one from a caver who builds them. One such example is called DistoX and employs the Disto A3 with additional electronics to do the compass/clino stuff. Should be able to Google 'DistoX cave survey' or something and find out more. There are others, such as DUSI and Shetland Attack Pony. Expect to pay $300 to $500.

Thre was an article on DistoX in the last Canadian Caver.
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Re: Newbie question on surveying equipment!

Postby WVCaver2011 » Oct 20, 2009 7:20 pm

Thanks guys,

Would it be possible to cheaply modify the Range finder that Dwight is speaking of by taking a protractor and a weighted string and possibly tape it to the rangefinder to get inclination? Would this be accurate? Just curious.

Thanks once again! :big grin:
There's nothing that makes me more excited than finding a place underground that no one has ever seen or been in!

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Re: Newbie question on surveying equipment!

Postby pub » Oct 20, 2009 7:32 pm

WVCaver2011 wrote:measuring vertical distances are such a hassel using tape measurments.

Electronics are out of our budget so we experimented using balloons for vertical measurements. We were able to cut our guesstimations from an average person's height to within 1 cm. :big grin:
Image Image
Last edited by pub on Oct 22, 2009 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Balincaguin comes from the Zambal phrase, "Bali lan caguing" meaning "house of bats."
This was the former name of the Municipality of Mabini, Pangasinan, when it was part of the Province of Zambales (of Mt. Pinatubo Volcano fame).
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Re: Newbie question on surveying equipment!

Postby Scott McCrea » Oct 20, 2009 8:21 pm

pub wrote:Electronics are out of our budget so we experimented using balloons for vertical measurements. We were able to cut our guesstimations from an average person's height to within 1 cm. :big grin:
Image
Image

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: That's great! Simple, cheap, affective.

The thought of carrying a balloon deep in a nasty, vertical, wet, tight cave makes me laugh out loud. :laughing: :rofl: I can't wait to show up at the next survey trip with this new equipment and explain to the newbies how important it is that the balloon make it to the survey. :laughing:

Please don't think I'm making fun. I think this is ingenious. But, it could also be pretty funny.
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Re: Newbie question on surveying equipment!

Postby wyandottecaver » Oct 20, 2009 8:43 pm

Actually....I may do that this weekend. We just broke into a nice section of cave with some areas 40+ high but to get there requires wading/swimming borehole river passage, tight cobble crawls and traversing THROUGH a waterfall. A string and a couple balloons might work great.
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
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Re: Newbie question on surveying equipment!

Postby Bob Thrun » Oct 20, 2009 8:57 pm

WVCaver2011 wrote:Thanks guys,

Would it be possible to cheaply modify the Range finder that Dwight is speaking of by taking a protractor and a weighted string and possibly tape it to the rangefinder to get inclination? Would this be accurate? Just curious.

There is no reason it would not work, provided you align the base of the protractor parallel to the laser beam. I have velcro patches on my Disto to mount a SmartTool with corresponding patches on it. I have heard of cavers mounting a SmartTool with rubber bands and duct tape. The SmartTool is a digital clinometer that costs about $90 to 100. The compass is the difficult item.
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Re: Newbie question on surveying equipment!

Postby pub » Oct 20, 2009 8:59 pm

No offense taken Scott, it's a light(helium)-hearted topic…

I’ve got some ribbing from some SoCal members (who having a birthday party?) but in the end they thought it was kool too. One guy even told about balloons being used in Lechuguilla but a websearch shows it done in Carlsbad Cavern:

1982 In October, Cave Specialist Ron Kerbo and Geologist Mike Queen use light cord, balsa wood, and helium balloons to float cord to area 200’ above Baby Hippo area, snagging a stalagmite. Later, both climb rope into area later named Balloon Ballroom. -NPS Source

Anyway, we did learn a few mods we need to try for the next time: use light sewing thread (the string that they use for balloons is too heavy), use mylar balloons (rubbers are too permeable).

Image
BTW, we tied marking tape every meter from the top of the balloon(s) and yes, we added another because after a while one could get it up! :yikes:

(Edited to reflect balloons were used in Carlsbad Cavern, not Lechuguilla - pub)
Last edited by pub on Nov 19, 2009 5:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Balincaguin comes from the Zambal phrase, "Bali lan caguing" meaning "house of bats."
This was the former name of the Municipality of Mabini, Pangasinan, when it was part of the Province of Zambales (of Mt. Pinatubo Volcano fame).
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Re: Newbie question on surveying equipment!

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Oct 20, 2009 9:45 pm

WVcaver, I think you'd be better off using a laser rangefinder as a supplement to a Suunto compass & clinometer. This is the way most of us use them... at least those of us not ready (or able) to shell out $$$$ for an expensive all-in-one unit like the DUSI, DistoX or SAP.

:big grin:
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Re: Newbie question on surveying equipment!

Postby WVCaver2011 » Oct 20, 2009 11:23 pm

Thanks to everyone, Looks like ill be sticking with the laser rangefinder and the cheap clinometer that ill be making. :tonguecheek:
There's nothing that makes me more excited than finding a place underground that no one has ever seen or been in!

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Re: Newbie question on surveying equipment!

Postby MUD » Oct 21, 2009 8:55 am

:waving: I used a baloon for surveying over 25 years ago....y'all are really behind on your technology! :laughing:
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Re: Newbie question on surveying equipment!

Postby Martin Sluka » Oct 21, 2009 10:07 am

As I remember it is about 32-33 years we used hydrogen filled balloons to measure chimneys and ceiling height. Good old Europe :waving:
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Re: Newbie question on surveying equipment!

Postby Martin Sluka » Oct 21, 2009 10:37 am

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