Ask Cavers: How do you Keep Track of Caves?

October 3, 2012
Playground Map to Buried Treasure

Photo by edenpictures/flickr

With many states in the US having in excess of 1,000 caves, and some states having many more than that, keeping track of where they all are and their other associated information must become quite a task.

This week, we want to know the different ways cavers and their organizations keep track of all that data.

Do you have a gigantic warehouse of files, use complex database software, or is there some combination of the two. Either way, we’re also curious how the information is controlled and who is privy to access it?

Please take a moment to share your set up with us in the comments section below.

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Comments (8)

  1. Aaron
    October 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Mashups in Google Earth

  2. October 3, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    I have a folder “caves” that I put files in, and subfolders for various cave areas or groups, including cave related emails. I also have a script that uses the “rsync” program to copy files back and forth between my laptop, desktop, and server so that I can have the latest files even when I’m not online.

  3. October 4, 2012 at 8:25 am

    - Excel for caves details (coordinates, depth, lenght, …)
    – OziExplorer for tracks and positions on the map

    … and bunch of papers all over my desk :-)

  4. mudman
    October 4, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I use a combinaton of my iPhone and Google Earth. In the field I use Compass and Maps apps to get a GPS of the location. In areas where there is no cell tower I use a plug in device for the iPhone called the Bad Elf to read the GPS directly off the satellites over head. I store cave names in the iPhone for easy look up in Maps. Then at home I match the GPS to Google Earth and keep back ups on DVD. Before the computer age, cave locations were kept on topo sheets and county maps as well as written records.

  5. October 4, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I collect cave location waypoints on a GPS and keep them in GPX files, Google Earth MyPlaces, and a spreadsheet. Periodically, I print out the spreadsheet to have a paper copy. I post to my blog the story of the finding, survey, and map of the caves, but not locations. I keep paper files of in-cave survey notes and sketches, plus other info like ownership.

  6. October 4, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Access for keeping a register of Malaysian caves.

  7. Nathan Roser
    October 4, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    I have a pretty sizeable collection of maps of NY and WV caves on my laptop. As for the 81 that I’ve been to so far. I can probably still remember how to find all of them.

  8. Morgan
    October 5, 2012 at 2:00 am

    I personally keep a written field log cave name, location(city, state, GPS), and description. I save all maps to gmail. my grotto has a very organized And extensive collection of data from all of tag area at a guys house . only grotto members are allowed to view the files

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