COMPASS FOR WINDOWS - Written Description
COMPASS for Windows is a complete surveying package that runs
under Windows 95/98/ME, Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows
XP. The Windows version of COMPASS has hundreds of useful and
powerful features that allow you to view and analyze
important aspects of your cave data. COMPASS for Windows
allows to view caves of unlimited size and provides built in
support for printers, plotters, sophisticated graphics and
(There is also a DOS version of COMPASS, however it lacks
many of the features available in the Windows version. The
primary advantage of the DOS version is that will run on
older and inexpensive 8086 and 286 PCs.)
COMPASS for Windows consists of several main parts. Here is a
complete description of each part of the system:
I. THE PROJECT MANAGER. The Project Manager is the master
control system for all COMPASS operations. It automates all
aspects of the surveying process. The Project Manager
performs two main functions. First, it allows you to organize
and structure cave surveys. Second, it automates the
processing of cave data.
A. Organizing Cave Data. COMPASS gives you great flexibility
in organizing your cave survey data. Data can be organized as
multiple heirarchical trees of data. For example, COMPASS has
special features that allow you to combine large caves or
cave systems into a single image. Also, COMPASS has "Local"
and "global" linking features that allow you to combine caves
even if there are duplicate station names in different files.
Finally, individual survey files can participate in more than
one project. This means that you can organize and view the
same data in many different ways. For example, you can have
one Project File that displays all the caves in a system and
another that only displays a subset; all without modifying
the original data.
Caves and individual survey stations can be locked down to
fixed coordinates at Project level. This means that without
changing the data, you can lock a cave down to different
coordinates systems. Fixed station location can be set in either
longitude/latitude or UTM. COMPASS supports 24 different
geodetic standards. Long/Lat can be entered in either decimal
degrees or degrees, minutes, seconds. The program allows you
convert easily between the two units. COMPASS also supports
the option of using the UTM "Convergence" angle for rotating
the cave to match the UTM grid.
The Project Manager gives you complete freedom to copy, move,
delete, rename and do block operations on surveys. You can
even copy, and move surveys between files. It is also much
easier to create new files, and add new surveys to files.
Everything is done using simple drag-and-drop mouse
movements. This makes it very easy to organize and structure
projects and survey files.
Because there are so many ways the data can be organized,
cave projects can get very complicated. As a result, one of
the jobs of the Project Manager is to simplify organizing the
data. The Project Manager organizes cave data by displaying a
"tree" diagram of all the surveys, files, and caves in your
project. Creating, organizing, selecting and processing is a
simple point-and-click, drag-and-drop process.
COMPASS organizes data at three different levels: Projects,
Files, Surveys. A File can hold one, dozens or hundreds of
surveys. Small to medium sized caves are usually put in a
single file. Larger caves are put in several files, to help
organize the cave and to simplify data handling. Projects are
highest level of organization. Project can combine several
Files into a single cave. The can also be used to combine
several caves into a single system of caves. To simplify the
process of creating a new project, the Project Manager has a
"Project Creation Wizard" that guides you through all the
steps of creating a new cave project.
Once you have organized your cave data into Surveys, Files
and Projects, you can selectively color, highlight, exclude
or display each survey, file or project.
B. Manipulating Projects. The Project Manager has many
features that allows you to copy, move, reorganize and delete
surveys. It allows you to make copies of the files in a
projects and put the copies in other directories, drives or
floppy disks. This make it easy make copies of the project
and share your data with other people.
C. Processing Cave Data. Once you have organized your data,
the Project Manager process all the data, automatically
closing, compiling and displaying the selected data. You have
complete control over what data is processed and displayed.
The Project Manager automatically checks the dates on every
file and processes only files that are new or have changed.
D. Foot Units. COMPASS allows the user to choose between the
International Foot and the US Survey Foot. This is useful
because many map use the US Survey Foot as their standard for
II. THE COMPASS WINDOWS EDITOR
The COMPASS for Windows is one of the most powerful and
sophisticated editor ever developed for entering and editing
cave survey data files. It was designed specifically for the
demanding task of entering and editing data for very large
1. SPREAD SHEET STYLE. The editor has a "spread sheet" style
edit grid which resembles a survey book. This makes entering
and editing of survey easy and intuitive.
2. CONFIGURABLE ENTRY ORDER. The editor allows complete
configuration of the entry order of shot items. In other
words, the order of "From", "To", "Compass", "Back Compass",
"Length", "Inclination", "Back Inclination", "Up", "Down",
"Left" and "Right" can be configured to match your survey
3. CONFIGURABLE MEASUREMENT UNITS. The editor supports eight
different measurement units including: Degrees, Quads, Grads,
Degrees/Minutes, Percent Grade, Decimal Feet, Feet/Inches,
and Meters. For cave divers, depth gauge measurement can also
be entered. Measurements can be displayed, edited and entered
in any of these units.
4. INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT. In addition to meters and grads,
the editor also supports other international standards for
dates and decimal separators. For example, the editor
supports commas for decimal points in countries where this is
5. ENTRY ERROR CHECKING. The editor checks each entry as it
is entered to make sure it is correct. Errors are reported
immediately after the user tries leave a field with faulty
value. Strict error checking can be turned off in cases where
unusual values must be entered.
6. ENTRY PROMPTS. As you move from cell to cell entering
data, the editor prompts you for the exact type and format of
data it expects. This makes it easy for novice computer users
to enter data.
7. KEYBOARD FOCUSED EDITING. Most editors under Windows force
you to go back and forth between the mouse and keyboard. With
the COMPASS editor, everything you need is available from
BOTH the keyboard and the mouse. Infact, most editing
operations can be carried out completely from the numeric
keypad. For example, Enter takes you to the next field and
Enter on the last field takes you to the next line.
8. TWELVE CHARACTER STATION NAMES. All Windows COMPASS
programs now support 12 character station names. The only
reason they are not larger than 12 characters is to try to
maintain a minimum amount of compatability with DOS version.
Because of the limitation of DOS memory, the DOS version will
not be able to move much beyond 8 characters.
9. AUTOMATIC STATION NAME GENERATION. New shots can be
created using the Down Arrow key, the Enter key on the last
field or a mouse click. The methods are user selectable. The
editor automatically generates new station names when a new
shot is created. For example, the next shot after AB1-AB2
would be AB2-AB3, or CC2a-CC2b would be CC2b-CC2c.
10. SEARCHING AND REPLACING. A wide range of search, search
and replace and global modify options allow you to find and
modify surveys, shots, stations, flags and comments. For
example, you can search for stations and shots using
wildcards matching. Whole or partial stations names can be
globally modified or replaced. Flags can be globally modified
or replaced. Comments can be searched with wild card
11. REDUNDANT BACKSIGHTS. The editor allows you to optionally
enter a redundant backsight for each shot. Backsights can be
corrected or un-corrected. The editor can validate backsights
and flag any that exceed a predefined error limit. The
validation process can be carried out on a single survey or a
whole file, processing hundreds of surveys at a time. The
program will automatically handle missing data items when
backsights are enabled.
12. REPAIR FAULTY SURVEYS. The editor allows you repair large
blocks of defective data. For example you can repair shots
where the data was entered as feet but was really meters. You
can also correct data using a formula of your choosing. This
allows you to correct for compass bias, tape stretch,
geomagnetic anomolies and any other systematic error. Data
items that were entered in the wrongs cells can be swapped.
All survey items can be modified separately and individually.
13. REVERSING SHOTS. Stations, Compass, Inclination and
Passage Dimensions can be reversed with a single keystroke or
mouse click. Single shots, small groups or large blocks of
shot can be selectively reversed.
14. AUTO LINE WRAP. Hitting the Enter key on the last field
in a row cause the cursor to move to the next line. The
column on which the Auto Line Wrap occurs is user
configurable. This greatly speeds up the entry of surveys
that are missing things like Up, Down, Right, Left data.
15. CONFIGURABLE FONT AND SCREEN COLORS. The editor can be
configured to use any Windows font. Edit cells are resized to
match the font, so that smaller fonts allow you to see more
data. Screen and font color can set to make the data clear
and easy to read.
16. CONFIGURABLE DEFAULTS. All settings can be saved to a
standard Windows "INI" file. This means that you can set the
editor to your particular editing style and it will
automatically run with your settings. So, for example, if you
are used to European standards, you can set the editor to
default to meters and grads. Also, individual surveys carry
their own format information which overrides the default
values. This means you can have a a cave full of surveys that
were measured in a mixture of meter and feet, and the program
will display the correct format for each survey.
17. CUT AND PASTE. Standard Windows "cut and paste"
operations allow you to copy data back and forth between the
editor and the Windows Clipboard. You cut, copy and paste
single cells or whole rows of data. This makes it easy to
copy and move large blocks of data both inside surveys,
between surveys and between files.
18. SURVEY DATE CALENDAR. Survey dates can be entered or
modified using a visual "wall" type calendar. This makes it
easy to remember days and dates and clear up confusing
19. MAGNETIC DECLINATION. Compass can calculate the magnetic
declination for the survey you are working on based on the
location of the cave and the date. This is can be more
accurate than reading the Declination off a topographic map.
The calculation is based on the IGRF and DGRF models,
covering a range of dates from 1900 to 2010. Compass also has
a feature that can override the entered declinations and
recalculate them during processing based on the survey date
and cave location. This is handy for checking to make sure
invalid declination are not causing loop errors.
20. DESCRIPTIVE SURVEY LABELS. There is an 80 character
comment field associated with each survey. This allows you to
add descriptive labels to individual surveys. The Editor
displays the survey comment along with each survey name in
the survey list. This makes it is much easier to identify and
select surveys that correspond to particular parts of a cave.
21. BLOCK MODIFYING HEADERS. The Editor allows you to modify
survey heading information for large blocks of surveys. This
means that you can modify the cave name, survey name,
declination, instrument correction factors, units, flags and
survey team for hundreds of surveys at a time. The feature
allows you to selectively search-and-replace, replace,
prefix, and postfix. This simplifies tedious tasks in large
III. THE COMPASS LOOP CLOSER. COMPASS has a very powerful
loop closer built into the Project Manager. The program will
close survey files of almost unlimited size. File size is
only limited by the amount of free memory on your computer.
Generally speaking, the closer will process about 100 miles
of cave per megabyte of free memory. The Loop Closer can
close loops that cross multiple files. This enables you to
close large cave systems while still maintaining the data is
smaller more manageable units. The Loop Closer is also
extremely fast. For example, it will close all the loops in
Lechuguilla in 8 seconds on 450 Mhz Pentium III.
The COMPASS loop closer was specially designed to deal with
blunders and gross errors. Blunders are one of the biggest
problems in cave surveying. Even when a cave is very
carefully surveyed, 30 to 50 percent of the loops have
blunders in them. For example, 32% of the loops in
Lechuguilla Cave have errors greater than two standard
deviations. This means that at least one shot in 50 has a
gross error or blunder in it. As another example, a study of
a the recent resurvey of Cave of the Winds shows that even
when you are very careful, one in 20 shots has a blunder.
As result, loop closing software must be able to deal with
blunders. Most programs use a process called Least
Squares/Simultaneous Equations. This process distributes
survey errors evenly across all the loops in the cave.
Unfortunately, this means that gross errors and blunders from
the bad loops contaminate the good loops. COMPASS uses a
special technique that closes the best loops first and then
locks them down so that they cannot be contaminated by the
This technique is somewhat controversial, so I have written a
new article describing why I think it is superior. I have
posted the article on the COMPASS web page so anyone can read
IV. THE WINDOWS COMPILER. COMPASS has a survey compiler built
into the Project Manager. The Compiler processes cave data
file and converts it into a format that can be plotted,
printed or viewed on the computer screen. In addition, the
program allows you to link separate survey files together
into a single image. Finally, the Compiler has special
blunder locating routines that allow you to pinpoint the
exact location of survey errors.
The compiler will process survey files of almost unlimited
size. File size is only limited by the amount of free memory
on your computer. Generally speaking, the compiler will
process about 86 miles of cave per megabyte of free memory.
As a result, complicated file linking is not required. The
compiler is also extremely fast, processing over 12,000 shots
per minute on 90 Mhz Pentium computer.
STATISTICS. The Compiler also collects and displays variety
of statistical information on the cave. The information can
be viewed, browsed, printed or exported to a file.
The program compiles more than 37 different statistics on the
cave. These include: Number Of Files, Station Aliases, Number
Of Survey, Number Of Stations, Included Shots, Excluded
Shots, Ignored Shots, Number Of Loops, Absolute Stations,
Included Length, Excluded Length, Total Surveyed, Horizontal
Length, Horizontal Excluded, Cave Depth, Cave Volume, Average
Diameter, Average Inclination, Difficulty, Highest Station,
Lowest Station, North Most Station, South Most Station, East
Most Station, West Most Station, Average Shot Length, Longest
Shot, Shortest Shot, Survey Length, Shots In A Survey, the
Average Shot Length in a Survey, Surface Length, Surface
Width, Surface Area, Enclosed Volume, 2D errors, error per
shot, volume Density, surface area of passages in the cave
and passage floor area.
You also have access to lists of stations names and shots and
their status. This includes station locations, connections,
detailed loop and closure information, and lists excluded
shots. It will also display a chart of station sequences.
This makes it easy to find what station names have been used
and what names are currently free. (Thanks to Peter Bosted
for the idea and the basic algorithm for accomplishing it.)
The compiler has built-in blunder location capability that
allows you to zero in on the exact shot that is responsible
for blunders or large loop errors. Blunder location works by
finding the shot and measurement that best repairs a bad
loop. Blunder location is easy to use: "bad" loops are
color-coded red, "okay" loops yellow, and "good" loops green.
You just point and click, and the compiler displayed a detail
list of the most likely blundered shots in the loop. The
COMPASS web page has a series of screen images showing the
actual process of locating blunder in Lechuguilla Cave.
Also, when you are looking for blunders, the compiler will
often find several shots that are good candidates for
blunders. The compiler has a feature that helps you zero in
on the exact shot that has caused the blunder. It work like
this: if you have a blundered shot that is part two loops,
then it should show up as a good blunder candidate in both
loops. If the shot shows up as good blunder candidate in one,
but not in the other, it is very unlikely that the shot is a
blunder. When a blunder shows up as a good candidate in two
loops, this is called an "intersect." The more loops that a
shot shows up as a good bluneder in, the more likely it is to
be the blunder.
The Compiler also has a feature that makes it easy to locate
mis-tied station. The feature works by breaking a loop at
each station. The untied end is then checked against every
station in the cave, looking for a better connection. The
program keeps a list of the best tie-ins. Just testing the
new feature, I found a dozen obvious bad tie-ins in the
Lechuguilla data set.
Using the new feature, obvious blunders jump out at you. For
example, here are some obvious examples of mis-ties in the
Lechuguilla data set:
OLD TIE NEW TIE OLD ERROR NEW ERROR
K6 K6! 174.64 ft. 6.19 ft.
ECKJ11 ECKJ'11 152.78 ft. 1.75 ft.
BNM4 DNM4 127.52 ft. 3.44 ft.
EY52a EY52A 87.47 ft. 5.39 ft.
As you can see, all of these mis-ties are due to obvious
topographical or clerical errors. The program makes it easy
to find this type of error.
The COMPILER can be configured to accomodate different
methods of surveying. For example, you can control whether
the Compiler averages backsights, uses instrument correction
factors and set variances for blunder location. You can also
control whether COMPASS associations the passage dimension
readings (LRUD) with the "From" or "To" station.
V. THE WINDOWS COMPASS VIEWER
The heart of the software is the viewer. The program design
is similiar to DOS version of COMPASS, so if you are used to
DOS COMPASS, you will feel right at home in Windows. Like the
DOS version, COMPASS for Windows was designed for ease of
use. The simple and powerful user interface allows you to
zoom, pan and rotate through cave with just a few mouse
clicks or keystrokes. The Viewer is extremely fast. Current
versions are capabable of drawing very large caves like
Lechuguilla at 15 frames per second on a 450MHz Pentium III.
This is fast enough to animate even the largest caves. The
refresh rate is even faster as you zoom in.
The Windows viewer has many of the same features as the DOS
version. For example, it will zoom, pan, color by depth,
print stations and do 3-D rotations. It also has dozens of
features not available in the DOS version. For example, it
has complex plotting, stereo imaging, solid passage modeling,
selectable fonts and color etc.
THE SELECTION BOX AND REALTIME 3D VIEWING
To give you an idea how easy COMPASS is to use, lets look at
the way you pick part of the cave for viewing. The program
begins by presenting you with an overview of the entire cave.
A rectangular box called the "selection box" also appears
superimposed on top of the cave. The box can be moved,
expanded or contracted, and rotated using the mouse or the
keyboard. Using the selection box, you can choose parts of
the cave for detailed viewing.
When you have selected a part of the cave for detailed
examination, you "enter" the box and the program displays the
contents on the full screen. Once you have "entered" the box
you can continue to zoom, pan and rotate, except that zooms
and pans are carried out instantly. In effect, you pan, zoom
and rotate through the cave. The Viewer is highly optimize
for speed. It can draw all the passages in a 80 mile cave in
about one second on a 90Mhz Pentium. Because of a special
zoning technique, the more you zoom, the faster it draws the
cave. Even when you are zoomed in on the farthest reaches of
a big cave, the results appear instantly in the window. This
means that you can do truely realtime pans, zooms and
At any point, you can "exit" from the box and see an overview
of the cave with the selection box showing exactly what you
have been looking at and the affect of the latest zooms and
pans. The advantage of the selection box is that you see
exactly view you are going to see and you can still move
through the cave in real time.
Once you have selected a part of the cave for viewing, dozens
of features and options allow you to analyze and study the
cave in a variety of ways. Here is a list of some of the most
1. WYSIWYG. In general, COMPASS for Windows gives perfect
WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) performance. When you
print or plot, the hard copy shows the exact same scale,
panning, zooming and rotation that you see on the screen.
This applies to both portrait and landscape modes. You can
control the exact scale of the video or printout in feet,
meters or ratios.
2. Viewing Modes. The program has very accurate preview and
overview modes. This means that it is very easy to select the
exact view of the cave you want. The selection box is scaled
so that it matches the screen size. You don't have to guess
what part of the cave will be visible when you zoom in. In
other words, the selection box will exactly preview the
zoomed view or the hard copy plot that will be printed.
The program shows instant and accurate Overviews. For
example, after you have done several zooms, pans, and
rotations it is easy to get lost in a large cave. With
COMPASS, you can alway return to Over View Mode and see the
selection box superimposed on the exact section of cave you
4. Scaling. The program gives continous and accurate scaling.
This means that as you pan, zoom, or drag the selection box,
you get a continous readout of the scale of the plot in feet
or meters. The scale is accurate for both the video screen
and the printer/plotter you are using. There are four
different scaling modes. Scales may be set to feet per inch,
meters per inch, meters per centimeter and map ratio.
5. Pan, Zoom and Rotation. COMPASS for Windows allows full
cave rotation in both plan and profile views. Rotations can
be centered around any point in the cave not just survey
stations. The cave can be rotated around two axes so you can
view the cave from any point in space. The cave can be
rotated in real time so you can get the exact view you want.
Selecting the exact view you want is easy and intuitive. This
is because the selection box shows the exact position and
angle of rotation before zoom into the box. Also, the 3D
Compass (described below) allows you understand and set
Rotations in one of three ways. The first shows the number of
degrees the cave has been rotated. The second shows the angle
you are looking toward as the cave is viewed and the third
shows the angle the cave is viewed from.
6. Zooming. The user can select corner or centered zooming.
In corner zooming the selection box or view collapses toward
the lower left corner of the image. In centered zooming, the
the image collapses toward the center of the view. Centered
zooming is useful when you are focusing on a single point in
the cave. Corner zooming is useful when are focusing on an
area or several points in the cave.
7. Dragging. The Viewer also has a special mode that allows
you to drag the cave into position with the mouse. This makes
panning and positioning easier to do in some instances.
8. Exact Scales. When you printing a map, you may want to
print it at specific scale. It can be difficult to get to an
exact scale just by clicking on buttons and dragging the
mouse. For this reason, COMPASS allows you to type in exact
values for scale, vertical magnification, pitch and yawl
rotations. Using these values, you can also recreate any view
of the cave.
1. Accelerator Keys. The viewer allows you to do all your
work either from the mouse or the keyboard. Almost every
operation can be accomplished using special "accelerator"
keys. This means that single keystrokes can take the place of
multiple mouse clicks and menu commands.
2. Interrupting Drawing. Drawing or updating the screen can
be interrupted anytime by clicking the mouse button. This
means that you don't have to wait for the program to complete
an operation before you can do anything. This is especially
useful for large caves where the drawing may take several
seconds to complete.
3. High speed Blit Refresh Mode. In Windows, when you do
something simple like resize the screen, the screen gets
redrawn. If you are working with a large cave, redrawing the
screen can take several seconds. It can be very aggravating
to have to wait everytime you do something simple like resize
the window. COMPASS gets around this problem by making a copy
of the screen in memory. This way, any time you move or
resize the window, the program just restores the screen from
memory. This usually takes less than a second.
4 Realtime Flythroughs. COMPASS allows you to do realtime
"flythroughs" using simple mouse movements. Moving the mouse
forward and back zooms you in and out of the cave. Moving the
mouse left and right pans the image left and right. This
gives you the feeling of flying in and out of the cave.
5. Hidden Refresh. In addition to the "Blit Refresh" mode,
the viewer support a mode is called "Hidden Refresh". When
hidden refresh is enabled, all images are drawn in a hidden
portion of memory. When the drawing is finished, the hidden
image is displayed all at once. This makes zooms, pans and
rotations smooth and seamless almost like a movie.
6. Undo. COMPASS saves in sequence the last twenty pan, zoom
or rotate commands. This allows you to "undo" and retrieve
any recent view of the cave. This is very useful when you
zoom, pan or rotate and get a view of the cave you didn't
want or expect.
7. 3D Compass. The Viewer has 3D "compass" that makes it very
easy to set and understand complex rotations. The "compass"
consists of six arms that point north, south, east, west, up
and down. The rotations of this "compass" match the rotations
of the cave, so it is very easy to understand what you are
seeing. It is also easy to set a particular rotation, because
each arm of the "compass" can be dragged and positioned with
the mouse. The depending on the mode the Viewer is in, the
Compass will track all the mouse movements instananeously.
8. Saving Views. The Viewer can save all the settings that go
with a particular view of a cave. These settings are called
"Views." Views can be saved and restored. Dozens of views can
be saved to a file. This means that even the most complicated
settings can be restored with a few mouse clicks. This makes
it easy to do presentations and work on special projects.
9. INI Files. The Windows viewer saves all configuration
information to intialization (INI) files. This means that you
can configure the program to exactly match your needs. More
than 30 item are saved including, colors, fonts, units,
modes, and printer settings. Settings can be saved, restored
or reset to factory defaults at any time.
TOOLS AND OPTIONS
1. Status Display. COMPASS has an optional status box which
displays pan, zoom and scaling information. The status box
can be turned on or off depending on your needs. It can also
be presented as horizonal bar along the bottom of the screen
or as floating box that can be moved anywhere on the screen.
2. Tool Box. COMPASS has an optional tool box that makes it
easy to perform a variety of operations with mouse. The tool
box has a number of icons that stand for certain viewing
operations like zooming, rotating and panning. Clicking the
mouse cursor on one the icons causes the operation to be
executed. This makes it easy to move around in the cave
without using the keyboard or picking throught the menus. The
tool box can be turned on or off depending on your needs. It
can also be presented as horizonal bar along the topof the
screen or as floating box that can be moved anywhere on the
3. Complete Font and Color Selection. You can select
different fonts for every aspect of the COMPASS display and
printout. This means that the whole spectrum of Windows font
size and style is available for the cave display. For
example, you can select a large blond font for the legend and
small thin font for the station labels. You can also select
individual colors for legends, borders, lines, background,
station labels, selections box, elevation, etc. If you have a
color printer or plotter, these colors will appear on the
hardcopy. Fonts and Colors are listed in a grid that has a
written description of each item and an example of the
current color or font. This makes it easy to select and
change the fonts or colors.
SPECIAL FEATURES AND DISPLAY CONTROL
1. Station Control. COMPASS gives you complete control of
station labeling and marking. You can mark stations with a
dot, triangle or station label. You have complete control of
label spacing. In other words, you can label every fourth,
tenth or Nth station. You can also label only the junctions
between surveys. Finally, you can print station elevation
next to station mark.
2. Simple Passage Coloring. The Viewer has both simple and
complex methods of passage coloring. In the simple modes are
used to quickly color highlight various aspects of the
passages. First, you can color each survey a different color.
Second, you can color each survey according to the year the
survey was completed. Finally, passages can be colored
according to the passage depth.
There are two color patterns: 12 and 24 colors. The 12 color
mode selects colors that are available in the basic VGA
palette. This means that these colors will work on any video
card. There is also a 24 color mode for those video cards
that support higher color resolutions. The colors are
arranged in rainbow order, with the highest passages being
red and lowest being purple. In 24 color mode, the colors are
arranged in a smoother spectrum. This makes it easier to
visualize subtle details.
3. Sections. COMPASS supports the concept of "sections."
Section are large blocks of surveys that have been grouped
together into a single unit. A section may consist of single
cave, a section of a cave or a surface survey. Once you have
organized the cave into sections, you can then individually
highligh, color or exclude the sections.
4. Complex Plotting. This is one the most powerful and useful
features inthe Viewer. Complex plotting allows you to
selectively and independently display, color, highlight,
mark, label, exclude, colored By Depth, and 2D/3D Model any
Survey or Section in the cave based on complex sets of
criteria. All these different kinds of coloring,
highlighting, labeling, marking and excluding can be combined
to do complex and unique views of the data. Here are some of
First of all, you can individually color surveys, label
stations stations for an individual surveys, and mark cave
and GIS features. For example, you could color the "AB"
survey blue, the "BD" survey red, exclude the "CDB" survey
and label stations only in the "DXY" survey. Feature marking
allows you mark any feature in a cave including things like
leads, water, minerals, fossils, fauna etc. Each feature can
be marked with a different symbol and color. Features that
have numerical values associated with them can be represented
as symbols whose size varies according to the values. For
example, you could mark a cave stream with symbols that get
larger as the PH goes up.
Second, you have complete non-linear control over coloring
based on the survey date or the passage depth. This means
that each color can be assigned a different, non-equal range
of dates or depths. So, for example, you could color all the
surveys completed in the first 10 days of exporation in
Lechuguilla Cave red, all the surveys in the last year of
exploration green and the rest of the cave blue. As another
example, you could use 10 different rainbow colors on the
bottom 80 feet of Lechuguilla while coloring the rest of the
Third, you can exclude or clip off portions of the cave based
on the survey name, survey date or position of the passage in
the cave. Position clipping can be done using north, south,
east, west, top and bottom clip lines.
Forth, Viewer has the abilitity to tilt the cave, the
Color-By-Depth and Depth-Exclusion options. This makes it
possible to flatten the cave, flatten the colors or clip
specific levels in a cave that has been tilted. The tilt can
be set by specifying the azimuth and inclination of the tilt.
It can also be set visually by dragging the arms of a
three-dimensional "compass" into the proper position. The
program even has the capability of analyzing the cave or
specific subsections of the cave to find the average dip and
angle of the passages.
Finally, the program has a feature that displays all the
surveys that have included in the Complex Plot. This is
useful for picking out the surveys that pertain to certain
parts of the cave or have certain characteristics. .
All these options are very easy to setup. With the coloring,
the range of date or depth values is displayed as column of
colors called a "color bar." You just drag the borders of the
bands into the proper position. You can also copy colors
between bands by dragging and dropping with the mouse.
Finally, you can automatically create color gradients between
any two colors. With the clipping, you just drag the clip
lines into position over images of the cave. You can also set
them to exact number values down to a tenth of a meter or
5. The Viewer makes it easy for you to indentify, search for,
locate and highlight surveys, stations and subsections of a
cave. You can do this in several ways. First of all, you can
just click the mouse on or near any survey or station on the
screen, and the program will highlight the survey, display
the survey name and the nearest station. Second, the program
presents you with a list of all the surveys in the cave.
Clicking on any survey in the list causes it to be
highlighted in the plot. Finally, you can search the list for
a particular survey or station. You can even search for
partial matches. As you locate and highlight parts of the
cave, the list of stations, surveys and sections stays
synchronized. This makes it easy to tell which stations,
surveys and sections go together.
The Viewer also has a right-click context menu that allows
you to quickly identify stations and edit surveys. You just
right click on a a point in the cave and the program will
will highlight the nears station and survey and display the
name of the nearest station along with a list of other
stations in the survey. You can also right click on a survey
to instantly edit that survey.
The Viewer also shows the comments and date associated with
each survey. This makes it easy to locate a part of the cave
based on its description. Comments can also be searched for
any matching or partially matching string.
In addition to highlighting surveys and station, you can also
have the program center the display on a survey or on a
single station. This is useful for zeroing in on sections of
a complex cave. It is also useful for centering rotations
around specific point in the cave.
Finally, once you have located, selected and highlighted a
survey, you can go directly to the COMPASS Editor and edit
the raw data for the particular survey.
6. Three-D Stereo Imaging. The Viewer supports two kinds of
Three-D stereo imaging. In the first mode, you can use
two-colored glasses to view the cave in 3D. You have complete
control over the "interoccular angle" which allows you to
control preception of depth. You also have complete control
over the line color which allows you to exactly match the
colors in the glasses. Finally, the stereo mode uses a
special process called "zoom" compensation which corrects
distortion problems that occur when you try to view large
caves in stereo. All this means that even when you zoom in a
very large cave, the stereo effect is easy to see. In the
second mode, the program plots stereo images side-by-side for
viewing through a steroscope.
7. Distance Coloring. The Viewer also has the ability to color
the cave according to the distance from the user's view
point. By using a gradient of 23 colors, the program creates
illusion of 3D passages without the need for special glasses.
The option includes a white-black color scheme for black
screens, a black-white scheme for white screens or printing
and a red-blue scheme for enhanced 3D. This works because
blue has a shorter wave length than red and your eye is
forced to focus farther away, which tricks the brain into
seeing 3D. Near passages can also be drawn thicker to enhance
the effect. You can even create your own custom color
schemes. The display is also "Depth-Sorted" so the near
passages appear on top of far away passages, no matter what
the original survey order was.
8. Passage Wall Modeling. COMPASS can display realistic
models of the passage walls. There are 12 different modes of
passage wall modeling including: polygons, filled polygons,
shaded polygons and cubic splines. Shaded polygons and cubic
splines are sophisticated graphics techniques that produce
very realistic cave maps. In shaded polygon mode the passages
are shaded as though there is light source coming from the
north. This gives a realistic three dimensional appearance to
the plot. In cubic spline mode, passage walls are connected
together using smoothly curving lines. Plots done using cubic
splines give smooth continuous passage walls that resemble
real hand-drawn cave maps. The splines can be filled with a
solid color which gives smooth solid filled passages that is
perfect for printing cave maps for publication. You also have
the option of filling the splines or polygon passage
representation with colors that correspond with the passage
The View also supports "hidden line removal" for the filled
passage and 3D polygon modes. Normally, the program plots
passages in the order they were surveyed. This means that far
aways passages were sometimes plotted on top of near
passages. This is not a problems for normal line plots, but
it can be confusing if you are using solid passage modeling.
The Viewer gives you the option of plotting passages in order
of distance from the screen. This make for more realisitic
passages models because nearby passages are alway plotted on
top of passages that are farther away.
Passage modeling also has a mode that displays full 3D
polygons of the cave passages. It this creates more accurate
display when doing 3D rotations. You also have the choice of
displaying the passage outlines as diamond or rectangular
shapes. These 3D polygons can also be displayed with stereo
Finally, passage wall can be marked with small ticks. This
are useful tracing finished maps from COMPASS line plots.
Since most stations are both a From and To station, this puts
two sets of markers at each station. The new feature gives
you the option of putting only one set of markers at each
station. This makes the markings less confusing and easier to
use for map drawing.
The Viewer also has a features that helps draw passage models
for vertical or near-vertical passages. When the feature is
turned on, the program substitutes west, east, north and
south for Left, Right, Up and Down respectively. This gives
more realistic models for steep passages. You also have the
choice of selecting a threshold angle at which the vertical
modeling takes place.
9. Passage Morphology. The Viewer has the ability to color
cave passages according to the size and shape of the passage.
The program analyzes the height, width, and cross sectional
area and can color passages that fit into categories. The
catagories include: Crawlway, Stoopway, Walking, Fissure,
Canyon, Tube, Borehole and Climbs/Pits. Coloring specific
passage types allows you to analyze the geology, and
speologenesis. For example, you can easily see areas where
there are vadose canyons or phreatic tubes. You can also pick
routes through a cave that avoid crawlways, climbs or pits.
10. Legends. COMPASS for Windows has an optional legend which
includes a compass, ruler and user selectable legend text.
The legend appears on both video screen and the hardcopy
plot. This way you can see the legend before you print it.
Each item in the legend can be turned on and off
individually. You can also select separate colors for each
part of the legend. You can also select a different font for
the legend title and ruler notation.
11. The program has the ability to generate "quad maps." You
have complete control over the number, size, position and
rotation of the quads. You can also label the quads using any
combination of numbers and letters, including, letter-number,
number-letter, letter-letter, number-number, row-column,
column-row, incrementing or decrementing. Quad map settings
are saved as part of the COMPASS "Views" feature which is
described elsewhere in this document.
12. Measuring Tools. COMPASS has special measuring cursors
that allow you to measure location of any point in the cave.
It also allows you to measure the distance, azimuth and
inclination between any two points in the cave. The option
works by placing two cursors on the screen. You can move the
cursors to any three dimensional point within the cave. The
program will report the direct distance, the 2D slope
distance, the 3D slope distance, the inclination and azimuth
between the two points. The feature works for any amount of
pan, zoom or rotation. Measurements can be relative to the
entrance of the cave or to geographic coordinates such UTM.
There is an option that moves the Measurement Cursors to the
nearest survey station. This makes it easy measure 3D
distances between stations.
The Measure Cursor also has two features that allow you to
measure the passage distance between any two station in the
cave. First, you have the option to make the Measurement
Cursors alternate with each mouse click. This makes it easy
to walk the cursor along a passage. Second, you can sum the
lengths of each measurement. This allows you walk the cursors
down a series of passages, summing all the measurement, thus
measuring the passsage distance between any two stations.
13. Importing Images. The Windows viewer has the ability to
import bitmap images and draw cave plots on top of the image.
This allows you to do all sorts of interesting things. For
example, you can scan a topographic map into the computer and
plot the cave right on top of the image. The combined image
can then be printed or saved as a normal windows bitmap file.
If you have a color printer, you can print full color
topographic maps with the your favorite caves on them. If you
import the bitmap files into a word processor, desktop
publisher or drawing program, you can use the image for
articles, presentations and other documents. There is no
limit to the kinds of images you can plot on. For example,
you can use aerial photographs, geologic maps, drawings, and
diagrams as the image. The USGS now has high resolution
digital images of their 7.5 minute topomaps. They are
available on CD-ROM for about $32 for 64 maps (one degree by
one degree). These images are easily imported into COMPASS
The bitmap image can be expanded, contracted, scaled and
moved to match the printer or screen. At the same time, the
plot can be scaled and positioned so that everything is
perfectly scaled. One of the keys to making all this work is
COMPASS's ability to do precision scaling and positioning.
For example, if you import an aerial photograph, the image
can be at any scale. With COMPASS's "Measuring Tools" you can
find the distance between two points on the photo and scale
the plot accordingly.
The ability to expand and contract the bitmap means that the
program works a lot like a color XEROX. You can blowup the
bitmaps to two or three times there original size and plot
the caves on top. This can give you very detailed topo maps
with cave passage plotted on top.
Another use for this feature is layering images. For example,
you can import the image of topo map, plot a cave on the topo
map and then export the image. By re-importing this image,
you can then plot another cave on the same topo map. In this
way, you can layer multiple caves on to a single topo map
without having connecting surveys or knowing the surface
coordinates of the caves.
Locking Images To The Cave. The Viewer also supports the
option of locking bitmap images to the cave. This is useful
for tying topographic maps, aerial photographs and other maps
or drawings to the cave. Once the image has been registered,
the image can expand, contract, shift and rotate
synchronisly with cave. There is also the option of editing,
triming, and resizing images using filtering and
oversampling to minimize artifacts. Finally, you can adjust
the contrast, brightness and gamma of the image to improve its
clarity and readability.
14. Exporting Images. The Viewer can save bitmap images of
the screen at high resolutions up to 600 dot per inch. This
is useful when you are publishing cave images. High
resolution images give smooth lines and images on a printed
15. Windows Metafiles.The Viewer supports exporting Windows
Metafiles. Metafiles have advantages over bitmaps because
they can be resized without losing pixels or creating jagged
lines. The Viewer can export both Regular and Enhanced
metafiles. This makes it compatable with many different
drawing and CAD programs that can import metafiles. Enhanced
Metafiles produce very high quality printouts which are much
better suited for publication.
16. Cave Movies. The Windows cave viewer now has the ability
to generate full motion video from your cave images. This is
very useful for viewing large cave systems or in situations
where you are using the solid passage modeling features of
COMPASS. The movies can be especially stunning when used with
a Digital Elevation Model surface terrain image. You can
create movies that look very much like you are flying over
the terrain in a flight simulator. The movie controls allow
you to selectively capture frames for the movie, control the
play back frame rate, and step through the movie frame by
You can also save movie files to disk. This allows you to
create movies and slide shows of various caves and save them
for later viewing or showing. There is also much more
extensive support for editing the movie frames. Finally, The
Viewer can save cave movies as Windows AVI files. This allows
them to be displayed on any movie viewer and they can also be
converted to other formats like MP3 for display on the web.
The Viewer also has an animation option that makes it very
easy to create movie sequences. The animation option allows
you to set a series of points that define the animations
sequence. The program then produces a series of intermediate
points that creates a smooth, realistic animations sequence.
17. Depth Bars. The Viewer can print or display depth bars
that show the depth of the cave, the depth coloring of the
cave or date coloring of the cave. There are six different
modes of depth bar including: scaled, cave height, screen
height, mono mode, color mode and date mode. You also have
control over the number of tick marks that appear on the
depth bar. It also supports modulo depth bar ticks. This
means that the depth bar ticks can be placed so that they
occur at even intervals like 10, 20, 30, or 25, 50, 100, etc.
18. Shadow Boxs. The Viewer has a special option that allows
you to display a "Shadow Box" around the cave. With the
Shadow Box options, the program draws a box around the cave
and mirrors the cave on the walls of the box. The option
makes it easier to see 3D aspects of the cave. The program
gives lots of options for controlling which walls are
mirrored and the placement of the walls.
Grids can be added to the walls of the shadow boxes. You have
complete control over which walls are gridded, the color and
style of lines, and the spacing or count of the grid lines.
The walls can be filled with color for better visual
contrast. Finally, you can remove the Shadow Box walls and
just display the grid. This is very useful for things like
putting UTM grid lines on the map.
19. Rose Diagrams and Depth Histograms. The Viewer has
extensive support for graphing Azimuth and Inclination "Rose"
Diagrams. It also has the ability to create Depth Histograms.
You have complete control over the graphs including, the
number of bands, band thickness, the colors and fonts. The
graphs can be resized to virtually any size or shape. You can
graph by frequency or total passage length. You can set a
minimum passage length, which allows you to filter out the
effects short passages and more clearly see dominate
patterns. You can also focus on specific depths, which allows
you to find different fracture patterns in different rock
straita. You can produce 90, 180, and 360 degree diagrams.
The 360 degree roses can use the passage slope to show water
flow direction. You can click on any of the graphs to
highlight all the passages in the cave that match mouse
position on the graph. You can move the mouse accross any of
the graphs to get exact angle, magnitude and depths. All
graphs can be copied to the clipboard, saved as to a file as
either a metafile or bitmap.
Compass can also display 3D Rose Diagrams which allow you to
see both direction and depth information at the same time.
This feature is described under the CaveX section of this
PRINTER AND PLOTTER SUPPORT
1. Complete Plotter and Printer Support. You can print or
plot cave on almost every printer or plotter the Windows
device drivers. Almost every printer, plotter or output
device has a Windows device driver. Many are available on the
Windows disks. More are available directly from Microsoft.
Finally, the many manufacturers offer custom device driver.
2. Color Printing. The program supports color printing and
plotting. The program automatically converts to black and
white if the printer or plotter does not support color.
3. Print Preview. Since the Windows screen generally has a
very different size and aspect ratio than the paper in your
printer, COMPASS now has a special print preview mode which
shows you exactly what the printout will look like. The print
appears on a simulated piece of paper and is accurate in all
details. Controls built into the Preview Window allow you to
center, pan, resize, set the menus, setup the printer and
control printing options without leaving the preview screen.
When the plot is bigger than a single sheet of paper, you can
do multipage printouts using the special controls that allow
you to visually select each page.
4. Page Locking. The program give you the options locking
stations to a certain location on the print out page. This
allows you to lock the cave plot to a particular position on
paper. Thus later plots can positioned so the cave is always
in the same place, even if grows or changes. This is useful
for producing quads, atlases and historical maps.
VI. SURFACE TERRAIN MODELING.
As a part of the GIS features of COMPASS, the system has the
ability to model surface terrain above a cave. This is very
useful because it allows you to see how the cave passages
relate to surface terrain features. For example, you can see
how passages might align with valleys, hills and cliffs.
Terrain data can be manually read from ordinary topo maps or
taken from Digital Elevation Models (DEM) that are available
from the USGS.
Surface terrain can be modeled in two ways: as a grid and as
topographic contours. When the terrain is modeled as a grid,
a square grid of lines is drawn on top of the cave. Each
intersection in the grid reflects the altitude of that point
on the surface of the earth. If you view the grid in profile,
the squares are tilted up or down, following the terrain. In
this way, you can see the terrain. The grid is three
dimensional, so as you rotate, pan and tilt the cave, the
grid shows the actual position of the earth above the cave.
With topographic contour modeling, the program converts
elevation points into contour lines similar to the lines on a
topo map. These lines follow points of equal altitude. For
example, every point on a 2000 foot contour line will be 2000
feet above sea level. By looking at the way contour lines
curve and move across a map, you can see variations in the
terrain. COMPASS gives you complete control over the contour
lines. For example, you can select any contour interval from
one to a thousand feet (or meters) to match the terrain. In
addition, contour lines generated by COMPASS are three
dimensional. This means that as you rotate, pan and tilt the
cave, the contour line float in their actual position above
DIGITAL ELEVATION MODEL READER.
This Windows program helps you create surface terrain models
of the ground above a cave. The United States Geological
Survey now has Digital Elevation Model (DEM) files that are
available on the Internet free of charge. These files provide
elevation maps of the United States and some other countries.
This program allows you to read the DEM files and extract the
information for your caves. This eliminates the need to hand
digitize and enter surface terrain data.
The program displays the DEM in several different modes
including contour maps, colored contour maps, and
photo-realistic shaded relief. You can also combine modes for
special effects. You have complete control over the coloring,
contrast, and sun angle of the images. The shaded relief maps
are especially stunning, because they look like black and
white aerial photographs of the terrain. Each mode brings out
different details that make it easier to locate your cave
After you have displayed the whole DEM, you can a select a
portion of the DEM to model and connect it to the cave. The
conneciton process is a simple point-and-click procedure. The
cursor shows you exact longitude, latitude and elevation. You
just find the entrance, click on it and then enter the name
of the connecting station. You have a choice of rendering the
surface as topographic contours or as a grid. Unlike some
surface models which are only two dimensional, these surface
models are completely three dimensional. They literally float
above the above the cave. With the COMPASS viewers, you can
literally fly over or under the surface of the ground.
The DEM Reader can handle both one degree and 7.5 minute
digital elevation model maps. There is also special support
for SDTS type files. The one degree maps have the advantage
of covering large areas and being available free of charge
over the internet. The 7.5 minute maps are much higher
resolutions, but you have to order and buy them.
The DEM Reader allows you build surface models that would
impossible create by hand. You can create surface models
covering up to 100 square miles (32,000 points). If you want
to see what these images look like, I have some very stunning
images on the COMPASS web page showing 50 square miles of the
White River Plateau in Colorado with the caves floating
The DEM reader can also merge adjacent DEM files. This is
useful when the area you are working with is near the edge of
a DEM files. The DEM Reader is now capable of merging two DEM
files. This allows you to center your terrain models on any
location. Files can be merged east-west or north-south. A pan
factor setting allows you to center your merged file location
in the two files. You can also center on corners by first
merging east-west files, then north-south.
More and more DEM files are being distributed with file
format defects. This usually renders the files unusable.
However the COMPASS DEM reader will handle five different DEM
file defects. This will allow you to use many DEM free and
inexpensive files. The DEMReader will handle the following
flaws. 1) Missing map-corner information. 2) Descrepancies
between map corner locations and profile locations. 3) Modulo
1024 byte blocks terminated with CR/LFs. 5) Modulo 1024 byte
blocks terminated early with LFs.
VII. CAVE DATABASES.
COMPASS has its own database program called CaveBase.
CaveBase allows you to create your own databases of cave
features. For example, you can keep track of the minerals,
water, life forms, leads, chemistry, temperature, wind
drection, rock type, stratigraphy, passage size, formation
types, PH, etc.
Once you have created a database of cave features, CaveBase
has its own specialized query builder that allows you select
specific sets of data using sophisticated SQL query commands.
The results of your queries can be immediately viewed as
colored symbols in the Viewer. If the features in your
database have numerical values associated with them, you
print the number or even make the symbol's size reflect the
magnitude of the value. You can also ask complicated
questions about how different data items relate to each
other. For example, you could look for combinations of items
like life forms near water.
You can also display the query results by coloring shot
nearest the station. This is useful when the marking with a
symbol would create a crowded and cluttered display.
CaveBase can access any standard Windows database data
including DBase, Paradox, FoxPro, InterBase, MS Access, and
through ODBC many others. It can also create new databases
without any other database software. You can even incorporate
photographs and drawings into the database to create a visual
record of the features in a cave.
VIII. CAVEX. COMPASS has a special viewer called CaveX that
is for creating stunningly realistic passage models and
high-speed game-like manipulation of cave images. The program
uses the speed and power of Mircrosoft DirectX technology.
The capabilities of this program include full three-dimension
models with smooth rounded walls, shadowing with moveable
light sources, face coloring, background images and many
other features. The passages can be textured with photographs
limestone giving very realistic, rock-like passages. Because
of the speed and power of DirectX, the models can moved and
animated in realtime.
CaveX supports the use of standard PC joystick. This allows
you to do full motion, 3D flying around and through fully
textured cave passages. CaveX also has the ability to fly
around and through the cave image using simple mouse
movements. There is a "Look At" feature which will smoothly
roll, pitch and yawl the camera until it is right side up,
looking straight at the cave. This useful when you have flown
to a position where you cannot see the cave. The feature can
be activated by a button on the tool bar or a button the
I am currently getting solid modeling speeds of 20 frames per
second and 2 million polygons per second on caves up to 100
miles long caves, with Gouraud shading and limestone photo
texturing. This give you the ability to do game-like "flying"
in and around the cave.
CaveX also has a simple one step passage wall texturing
proceedure that simplifies the process of creating
smooth-textured passage walls. It also has a built-in
limestone texture that gives a rock-like appearance to the
passages. It also now supports the same color-by-depth
options as the regular Viewer including individually
colorable bands, individually adjustable band thickness and
gradient colors. All images can be copied to the Windows
clipboard for display in other programs.
The 'X' files CaveX generates can be viewed and manipulated
live on the internet. These are the full 3D passage models
that are lighted, smoothed, shaded and textured with
photographs of limestone. The images can be zoomed, panned
and rotated live on the internet. This enables you to share
caves models with anyone who has access to the internet.
Posting these images is simple and there are complete
instructions on the web page showing you how to post your own
images. The web address is: http://www.fountainware.com/compass
CaveX also supports the option of saving AVI movie files of
your the 3D cave models. When you turn on the AVI mode, all
movements and changes are saved to the movie. This means that
you can fly through and around the cave and everything you
see will be saved in the movie. You have complete control
over the frame rate and you can set movie capture to stop
after a certain number of frames or a certain time.
TRUE 3D ROSE DIAGRAMS. CaveX also has the ability to
generate 3D Rose-Depth diagrams where each petal is a 3D
object that represents both angle and depth at the same time.
These are full 3D solid models that can panned, rotated and
zoomed allowing them to be viewed from any angle. 3D Rose
Diagrams are much more useful than ordinary Rose Diagrams
because they allow you to see passage trends that only exist
at certain depths in the cave.
IX. COMPASS IMPORT AND EXPORT OPTIONS.
COMPASS data can be imported and exported to a wide variety
of other cave survey program and various CAD and drawing
1. Cave Survey Formats. COMPASS supports the import and
export of cave survey files through the SEF standard which is
used by the majority of cave survey programs. It also
supports the import and export of RSD an earlier format.
COMPASS can also import the CMAP data format.
2. Shapefile Export. Shapefile Export. Compass now can to do
direct exports of Shapefiles, which allow cave data to be
read into ArcView and other ESRI programs. The export
includes nine different parameters so that different aspect
of the cave passages can be viewed separately in the GIS
programs. The options include 2D and 3D passage modeling.
Having Shapefile export in Compass allows you to use free
ERSI software such ArcExplorer.
3. AutoCad DXF Export. The Viewer now has the ability export
DXF files compatabile with AutoCad versions 12, 13 and 14.
The files can include passage wall models, station labels and
surveys as separate layers. You even have control over each
the layer's colors. There is also a "scale bar" and "north
Arrow" export, profile mode export, and a "Tick Marks"
options for the LRUDS. Finally, there are DXF export features
that allows more parts of the drawing to be exported as
separate layers. You can now associate the Passage Wall
modeling and the Station Labels with each Survey layer. This
enables you to isolate specific parts of the cave for DXF
export. The DXF export option also allows you to pre-scale
the exported image for those drawing programs that have
limited scaling capabilites. Many of these features are
useful for drawing programs that don't support the full 3D
drawing modes of AutoCad.
4. General Purpose Export. There is also a general purpose
export feature that allows you to selectively export lists of
stations, coordinates and shot information. The feature
allows you to selectively export From/To station names, X, Y,
Z locations and shot measurements. The fields can be
comma-delimited or tab-delimited, making the export
compatible with most common spreadsheets and databases.
X. HELP, HINTS AND DOCUMENTATION.
There are more than 300 pages of help files built into
COMPASS. The Help is context sensitive, which means that
hitting F1 takes you to help documents that correspond to the
part of the editor you are working in. There are also "help"
buttons everywhere, which means that you can look at help
documents that correspond to the part of the program you are
working in. Also, "hints" appear when the mouse passes over
parts of the viewer screen. All this makes it easy to use
COMPASS without having to refer to a manual.