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The Viewer is normally run automatically by the COMPASS Project Manager when you want to view a cave. The Project Manager automatically selects the proper files and instructs the Viewer to display them. Thus, most of the time, files will already be open when you run the Viewer. You can, however, open files in other ways.
Plot Files. The Viewer displays COMPASS "Plot" files. Plot files contain all the information needed to display and analyze cave data. Plot files have the extension ".PLT" and they are automatically generated by the Project Manager whenever they are needed. Once they have been created, you can view them at anytime without the need to run the Project Manager or process the data again.
Opening Plot Files From Explorer. You can view COMPASS “Plot” files by double click-on them in Windows Explorer or any other Windows tool that displays files. If COMPASS has been properly installed, any file with the Viewer’s Icon next to it can be displayed this way (see the icon at the top of this page.) If you have enabled Explorer to display file extensions, you can double click-on any file with the “PLT” extension and view it. (See the “Folder Options” in Explorer.)
Manually Opening Files. You can also open and view plot files directly from the Viewer. To do this, select "File"|"Open PlotFile" option from the menu bar. You can only view files that are plot files.
Reading The Plot File. Once a file has been selected for viewing, the program begins to read the cave information into memory. While this is happening, the program displays a count of the number of surveys read into memory. As the information is read into memory, the program allocates memory from Windows. Depending on the size of the cave, and the number of other programs running in Windows, you may notice pauses in the loading process. These pauses are due to Windows rearranging memory in order to satisfy the Viewer's memory requests. After the data is loaded, the cave is automatically displayed to the screen.