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Project Files are used when you want to combine several caves into a single image. They can also be used on very large caves to help break surveys down into more manageable pieces.
Projects are created using a special project file. The project file contains directions that tell COMPASS how to combine the different survey files in the project. Project files generally have the extension ".MAK". For example, "WILLIAMS.MAK" might organize all the caves in Williams Canyon.
There are several reasons for using project files. First of all, you can combine several different caves in area without having to keep the data in one file. For example, if you had a connecting overland survey between Lechuguilla, Carlsbad, Spider and other caves in Carlsbad National Park, you could view them together and see how they relate to each other. You could keep the data for all these caves in the same file, but imagine how unwieldy all these caves would be together.
It is also useful to break large caves into separate sections for easier handling. For example, the major sections of a cave can be kept in separate sections. This way, if you want to view part or all of the cave, you can selectively combine the separate files.
COMPASS allows you complete flexibility in the way you combine caves. You can also combine caves in different way at different times depending on your needs. For example, if you have a regional system of ten caves, at times, you may want to view two caves, at other times, you may want to view all ten.