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In Compass, a survey is a portion of the cave data that contains all the information from a single surveying session. Compass archives important information with every survey, such as the survey name, survey date, the survey team, etc. As a result, you should create a new survey every time one of these things changes. In other words, you should not combine surveys that were done on different days, in different parts of the cave or with different surveying teams or with different instruments. If you do combine them, you won’t be able to take advantage of the features that use this information. For example, combining surveys that took place on different dates will prevent Compass from coloring surveys by date and you won’t be able to graphically display the exploration history.


Survey Name vs. Survey Comments. Normally, surveys are given names that correspond with the letter prefix of the survey station. For example, the "AB" survey would have stations like AB1, AB2, AB3 etc. You shouldn't use descriptive names like "BIGROOM" for the survey name. Compass also has a survey comment that can be used for a more elaborate description of the survey. For example, you might describe the "AB" survey as: "The new room past the aragonite bush."


Since it is very useful to maintain records of the "who-what-when" of a survey, a new survey is created for each survey session; even it is in the same passage. Generally speaking, people tend to add a "plus sign" (+) to the survey designation when you are extending an existing survey. For example, you might survey the first part of the "C" on one day, and then name the second part "C+" when you survey the rest of the passage at a later date. Even so, the station names in the "C+" survey would not contain the plus (+). For example: C23, C24, C25 etc. The reason for doing this is that it allows Compass to track the dates, teams, declinations and other information more accurately.


Survey data is entered using the Compass Survey Editor. Survey data is stored in Survey Data Files (.DAT) and each Survey Data File can contain one or more surveys.