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New Features For 2000-2011

Registered Images
Registered Images. Compass now allows you to lock an image to the cave plot. For example, you can lock an aerial photograph or topographic map such as the one above to the cave. Once the cave has been locked to an image, the image will rotate, pan and zoom in synchronization with the cave, effectively tying the cave and the image together. Images can be BMP, TIFF, JPG, GIF and PNG. Compass also allows you to resize and clip the images using filtering and over sampling algorithms that minimize artifacts. You can also adjust contrast, brightness and gamma to improve the readability of poorly scanned images.
True 3D Rose Diagrams
The latest version of CaveX is capable of producing true 3D Rose Diagrams. These diagrams show both passage orientation and depth. This allows you to see passage trends that only exist at certain depths.

Passage Orientation. Here is a rose diagram from Fulford Cave. Fulford has two major passage trends, southwest and east-southeast. You can clearly see in this diagram that the eastern trend is confined to the upper parts of the cave. In the deeper parts of the cave the trend is missing.

Zoomed View of 3D Rose. These images can be zoomed, panned and rotated in real time, which allows you analyze specific passage trends in detail The picture above shows the same rose diagram zooming into the southeastern-trend area. Here you can see that the east-southeast trend quickly disappears but there is a pure southeast trend that appears in the deepest parts of the cave. This kind of detailed analysis is impossible with ordinary 2D Rose diagrams.

Instantly Identify Stations or Edit Surveys.
New Right Click Menus. New right click menus allow you to quickly identify stations and edit surveys based on the cave passage under the cursor. (You will also notice the scroll bars on the side of the window. This is a minor improvement that makes it easier to view a specific part of the cave when the window minimized.)
Identifying Stations and Surveys. This image  illustrates the option of identifying the station under the cursor. Here we have identified the RB15 station and the rest of the survey is highlighted in yellow. You also have a list of the stations in the survey and list of surveys and sections in the cave.
Color By Distance
Color By Distance. This option colors the passages according to the distance from the closest part of the cave. This creates a 3D effect that makes easier to differentiate far and near passages. As an example, the image above colors near passages red and far passages blue. Because of blue has a shorter wave length than red, your eye has to focus farther away for the blue passages. This give the illusion of 3D without the need for special glasses. You also have the option of draw near passages thick, which enhances the 3D illusion.

Color Schemes. There are also several standard color schemes available. The color scheme above colors distant passage light gray and near passages black. This creates the same 3D illusion when the cave displayed on a white background or printed on white paper.
Black Background. This image illustrates the color scheme used for black backgrounds. Here the nearby passages are colored white and the far passages are colored dark gray. You can also create your own custom color schemes and gradients.
Custom Exporter.
Custom Exporter. The Custom Exporter is a general purpose export tool that is designed to export various kinds of cave data to databases and spreadsheets. You have control over which items are exported including From Station, To Station, the Cartesian coordinates for each station and the Azimuth, Length and Inclination for each shot. Fields can be comma delimited or tab delimited. Click here for more information on Compass export options.
Estierra Terrain Model of the Grand Teton Mounts
1.  Estierra - New Terrain Modeling Program

Free To Registered Compass Users

Compass has new adjunct program called Estierra. Estierra is a program for modeling the terrain of the earth. It reads standard USGS Digital Elevation Model files (DEM’s) and converts them into three-dimensional models of the earth’s surface. These models can be colored, shaded, highlighted and overlaid with topographic maps or aerial photographs. This creates extremely realistic 3D images of the terrain. In addition, Estierra uses Microsoft’s DirectX technology that  gives it the ability to do high-speed animations of the terrains. This means the terrains can be zoomed, panned and rotated in real-time.  If you are a registered user of Compass, you are automatically registered for Estierra. Also comes on the Compass CD-Rom Package
You can even fly over and through the terrain using a joystick or mouse. Go to the Estierra Web Page for complete information.

Here is a model of the terrain around Lechuguilla Cave with a topographic map overlaying the surface. The canyon to the northwest is the Serpentine Bends. The cave appears along the lower right edge of the image. Terrains can be overlaid with geologic maps and aerial photographs with equally stunning effect.

2.  Integrated 3D Export Tool VRML Images
Cavers frequently need to export cave images in a variety of the 2D and 3D Formats. These formats a very similar, so Compass now has integrated export tool that handles DXF, Shapefiles and VRML. The Exporter uses the Compass 3D Passage Modeling Engine to generate the passage models, so all the exported data has high quality 3D passages. Both the Compass Viewer and CaveX use the 3D tool. 

3.  VRML
Compass now supports the export of 3D cave models as VRML files. VRML stands for “Virtual Reality Modeling Language”. It is a language designed construct and display 3D objects. It is especially useful for viewing 3D objects over the Internet. VRML images can use sophisticated modeling techniques including Gouraud Shading, spline surfaces, directional lighting, texturing and high-speed animation to display very realistic images. For caves, this allows the creation super-realistic looking cave passages. Here is a sample VRML Image. Click here to install a VRML plug-in and view live, animated VRML cave images.
VRML Information
4.  3D Modeling Engine.
Over the years Compass has used a variety of techniques for generating realistic cave passage models. Unfortunately, each new improvement did not always get integrated back into other parts of Compass. To deal with this problem, Compass now has an integrated 3D Modeling Engine that produces cave passage models for all Compass programs. This means that all aspects of Compass, even the export options, now produce very realistic passage models. Here is demonstration of the passage generation process:
Passage Outlines.
 The first step in the process is to convert the left, right, up and down measurements into passage outlines. As you can see below, choosing the right outline shape determines the accuracy of the model.
Square. Diamond. Octagon.
This shape is the easiest to generate but is not very accurate. You can't even tell that the passage shape is asymmetrical.

This shape is more accurate. At least you can see that the passage is asymmetrical

 This shape preserves the asymmetry, but is a more rounded, cave-like shape.

Step1. This image shows a simple curved passage with square passage outlines drawn around the survey shots. Step 2. Here we have changed the passage outline to octagonal.

Step 3. In this step the ends of each passage segment has been joined to its immediate neighbors. Step 4. In this step, additional passage segments are added, smoothing transitions between different size passages

Step 5. At this point CaveX takes over and adds solid faces, lighting and shadowing. Step 6. Finally, CaveX smoothes the surfaces using special techniques such as Gouraud shading.
5.  Transparency Option.

CaveX's new transparency option allows you to see the interiors of passages to view the stations and survey shots. Here the shot lines are displayed as blue lines and the stations as yellow squares. The transparency option is very handy for viewing intertwined passages and complex three-dimensional caves.

Magnetic Declination. Compass now calculates magnetic declination based on the IGRF and DGRF models, covering a range of date from 1900 to 2005. This allows you to enter accurate declination for any location and any modern date. The Project Manager also has a feature that overrides the entered declinations and calculates them for each survey during the compile and closing process.
Palm Computer Support.  Auriga is a program that allows you to enter and plot cave data directly into a Palm computer. Since Palm computers are small, light and inexpensive, they can be carried underground and are the perfect surveying tools. Auriga now has features that allow you export the cave data to Compass. For more information, follow this link:

CaveX Passage Modeling. CaveX now has improved passage modeling. Passage corners are now smoother and transitions more accurate. Vertical passage are now handled so the LRUDs are converted to West, East, North and South, when the passage inclination exceeds a certain threshold. The image to the right show the difference. The first image shows a pit with LRUDs treated normally. The second image show the LRUDs treated as West, East, North and South. 

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. (To the right you will see transparent 3D passage models in ArcView 3D Analyst.)

Having Shapefile export in Compass allows you to use free ERSI software such ArcExplorer. For more information on using Compass with ESRI software, click here.

CaveBase. CaveBase has been convert to a 32-bit program. It has an improved windows layout, making it easier to view and edit the data. There is improved support for Access databases. The latest version of the Borland Database Engine is now distributed with Compass. All Programs. The use  of Windows resources by all Compass programs has been reduced by 80%. This is especially useful for people who are using Windows 95, 98 or ME because these operating systems don't allocate resources very efficiently. This makes Compass more stable under these operating systems. Also means that you can open up to four copies of the Viewer without depleting resources under Win98. (Note: this was never an issue under WinNT, 2000 or XP.)
THE GTFVIEWER. The GTFViewer is a new programs that allows you to view, manipulate and load "GeoTiff" images into COMPASS. GeoTiff files are produced by the USGS and other government agencies and they generally contain topo maps and aerial photographs. The program has many features: 

LARGE IMAGES. GeoTiff files can be very large and Windows 95/98/Me has trouble handling large bitmap images. This leads to memory errors even when the computer has plenty of memory. The GTFViewer uses special routines to minimize the effects of these problems. Under Win NT, 2000 and XP, the GTFViewer can deal with  images of any size with absolutely no problems.

TRIMMING IMAGES. The GTFViewer allows you to trim off parts of the image to get rid of borders and to zero in on specific parts of a map or aerial photograph. This also reduces the size of the file, which can make it more useful for publication or display on the web.

RESIZING. GeoTiff files are often very large, which makes them difficult to handle or view on normal computer screen. The GTFViewer can rescale an image to any size. The program uses special resizing algorithms, which minimize artifacts and loss of resolution.

MEASURING. Many GeoTiff files contain scale and location information. As a result, the GTFViewer can measure distances and surface area on maps and aerial photographs. Distances can be measured along curving features such as roads, streams, etc. Area can be measured for irregular shapes such as lakes, cities, etc.

Example. In the example to the above, we are measuring the perimeter and area of reservoir near Bogota, Columbia. As you can see, the perimeter is 10.7 miles and the area is 2.5 square miles.

PRINTING. The GTFViewer has special features help you deal with printing large images. The images can be shrunk to fit the size of the paper. It also capable of printing full resolution images tiled across multiple sheets of paper.  

The Viewer now has an animation option that makes it much easier to create smooth animations. To create an animation, you just select a few view-points that move through the parts of the cave you want to view. The program then produces a smooth animation through all the points. You can even include a complex series twists, turns and zooms, and the program will smoothly animate all movements simultaneously.

VIEWER. The Viewer can now export the Rose Diagrams and the Depth histograms as Windows Metafiles. This produces much higher quality images in word processor and publishing programs.

VIEWER. The Viewer now 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.

PROJECT MANAGER. The program now has the ability to display a chart of all the station name sequences that have been used in the survey. 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.

CAVEX AND XWEB. Microsoft has discovered a security problem with the XWeb control and Internet Explorer. The COMPASS web page now has information about resolving this problem.

GENERAL IMPROVEMENTS. There are also a number of minor improvements including improved support for different video resolutions, more information saved with the "Views" feature, a CMAP file import feature, an option for omitting directory information from exported SEF files, support for 10-meter DEM files, improved statistics display, example inventory database included and the CaveBase screen can be expand to full size.

BUG FIXES. I have fixed various bugs including problems with very long pathnames, problems with large bitmap images under Win95/98/Me, problems with icons, problems with Metafiles, inter-cave closure problems, and fixed-station closure problems.

  • CREDIT CARD REGISTRATION AND ORDERING. You can now register and order COMPASS packages through secure, online credit card transactions.    Click here for more information.
  • VIEWER. Viewer now has the ability to display multiple pages on the Print Preview window. You can also print all selected pages in one operation. This is useful when you are printing caves at a scale that will take up more than one page. The preview will display up to 100 pages simultaneously, with each page placed in a grid so you see how the cave  will be positioned on each page. These are perfectly scaled pages that show an exact model of the what will appear on the page, including variation in paper size, orientation, rotation, colors, labels and passage wall modeling. You can micro-adjust the position on the pages.

    This image shows the Print Preview screen with nine pages displayed. Here the printer is set to Landscape Mode with 8.5 x 14 paper so the pages are scaled so they match the paper size. The "Cols/Rows" display controls the number of pages that will be displayed. The checkboxes in the upper left-hand corner of each page controls which pages will be printed. Here, the two blank pages will not be printed.

    This image shows how the Preview Screen can even display complex color plots and bitmap bitmap background images. In other words, with the Preview Screen, what you see is truly what  will be printed.

    The Printing routines have been rewritten to improve their reliability and performance. For example, some large format printer and plotters have defective drivers that cause problems if you try to print on paper larger than 32 inches in any dimension. The Viewer now has an option that compensates for this problem by lowering print resolution. Also, the print routines have been rewritten so they more faithfully reproduce bitmap colors. Finally, the pan, zoom and rotate buttons in the Print Preview dialog will "auto-repeat" if hold you them down for a half second. This makes it much easier to position the cave on paper.

    This image shows one of the color passage modeling modes printed across several pages. Here, the printer is in Portrait Mode, with 8.5 x 11 inch paper.


  • PROJECT MANAGER. There are several improvements to the Project Manager display. The "Project Tree" displays a specialized icon for each type of data in the project. Also, data files that have Links or Fixed Stations associated with them show a "book" style icon instead of a folder. All operations associated with the "Survey Tree" have been drastically speeded up. This is very useful when you are working with caves large numbers of surveys. "Drag-and-drop" operations have been improved so the are more intuitive.

    Here you see a multi-cave project showing several caves and surveys. The brown-colored "books" are associated with surveys that have links or fixedstations connecting them to other caves or geographic references.

  • VIEWER. The Viewer has a large number of general improvements. For example, the "Exclude Extents" option of the Complex Plotting feature now allows you to zoom in on the Windows. This makes it easy to visually set more precise clipping boundries. In addition, the pen thickness option in the Printer Options Window, now applies to station marks. This makes the marks easier to see on a high resolution printers. You also have the option of removing the dotted line crossbars that appear in the passage modeling when mark stations. Finally, The station marks are now scaled in Points instead of Pixels so their size is more consistant across printers and video displays.

    This window shows the new clipping window. You can now zoom in on the cave using the "Plus" and "Minus" buttons. You can also pan using the scroll bars. This way, you focus excluding and including specific parts of the cave.


  • EDITOR. I have fixed several problems that, under certain conditions could cause problems saving newly modified cave data. These included files set to be "Read Only" and problems with the Delete Key under Windows 2000.

  • DEM Reader. The DEM Reader will now copy data from the Edit Grid to the Windows Clipboard. This can be useful for putting terrain data into spreadsheets and other programs. The DEMReader will also save users default such meters/feet and all the plot options.
  • Project Manager. The compiler now converts negative shot lengths to positive for the purpose of totaling cave lengths. (Apparently, there is old data that contains negative shot lengths.)
  • General. The Section Name is based on the name of each data file. As a result, the size of the Section Name has been increased to 20 characters to make it more compatable with long filenames.
  • 32-BITS. All the main COMPASS programs have been converted to 32-bits. This makes the programs between 3 to 20 times faster. It also means that there is complete support for long filenames.
  • INTEGRATED WITH WINDOWS. COMPASS is now completely integrated into the Windows shell including the ability to create new survey files and project files from the Windows context menus.
  • NEW INSTALLATION PROGRAMS. All COMPASS program have new and more professional installation programs which automatically handle integration with the operating system, including the ability to double-click on files to process and view them.
  • NEW HELP FILES. Over the years, the COMPASS help files have grown haphardly as new feature were added. As a result, they were disorganized and there were many typos and spelling errors. All the main COMPASS help files have been completely rewritten and reorganized, with many more hyperlinks and more information. There are now more than 480 pages of help in the main COMPASS help documents.

  • SPEED. The Viewer is now 20 times faster than the previous 16-bit versions. This means that even the largest caves can be animated for movie-like zooms, pans and fly-throughs. Currently, on 450 Mhz PIII, the Viewer is capable of displaying all 106 miles of Lechuguilla Cave at 20 frames per second. The refresh rate is even faster as you zoom in.
  • METAFILES AND ENHANCED METAFILES. The Viewer now 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 that are much better suited for publication.
  • AVI MOVIE FILES. The Viewer will now 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.
  • AUTOMATIC MOVIE CAPTURE. The Viewer now has a special features that automatically captures movie frames each time the image changes. This allows you to capture movies on-the-fly as you pan and zoom through the cave. This makes it easy to create realistic movies.
Groaning Cave. Showing passage model
modes including spline curves, colored fill
and enclosed passages.

  • INTEGRATED COMPILER/LOOP CLOSER . The Loop Closer and Compiler have been integrated into the Project Manager. This makes COMPASS easier to use, easier to set options and gives better access to statistics and blunder location tools.
  • BLUNDERS AND STATISTICS. Statistics and Blunder Finding options have been vastly improved. Both Compile and Close statistics have been integrated into Project Manager. Paging has been eliminated and all statistics are displayed on a single screen. The statistic window can be expanded to full screen, for easier viewing. The Blunder detecting routines have many improvements. These include the ability to step through the blunders from worst to best, which allows you to focus on the worst blunders first. Also, the "Tie-In" option now displays the "from" station to more clearly deliniate which shot is adjusted. Finally, more detailed information can be copied to the clipboard, printed and saved along with the summary of blunder analysis information. There are also eight new statistical items.
  • BREAKING LOOPS. The Compiler now allows you to break loops at the closing shot. This allows you to visually see the effect of loop errors and find possible bad tie-ins.

COMPASS Viewer. Showing Surface Modeling and Complex Color-by-Section features. The surface terrain is in red and six separate caves in different colors.
  • CAVEX AVI FILES. CaveX now has 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.
  • DEM FILES. The USGS has turned all its data distributions over to a private company. The data is still available free and they have more complete coverage. However, the data is more difficult to find and download. Click here for links.
  • DEM READER. There are many changes to the DEM Reader. You can now paste grid points into the DEM reader from the clipboard. This allows you to import elevation data from spreadsheets and databases.You can also export the grid data as standard survey DAT file. This gives another, more flexible mechanism for creating a surface grid.
  • DEM READER. 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 files that would normally cause errors. 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. 4) Modulo 1024 byte blocks terminated early with LFs.
  • CaveX is vastly improved. It will now how handle caves of unlimited length. It takes better advantage of accelerated video cards so it can animate caves as much 10 times faster. It is more tolerant of different video cards and system configurations. Current performance is such that on a 450MHz Pentium III, it can do a fully realistic, animated, 3D passage models of all 106 miles of Lechuguilla Cave at 20 frames per second. Even with Gourad shading, perspective transform, hidden line/face removal, texturing, multiple light sources, specular highlighting and various other special effects, the program achieves speeds of over 2 million polygons per second.

View of Lechuguilla Cave. The Labarge Borehole area is in the foreground, the Tinseltown Maze is in the upper right, Voids are to left and the purple passages on the left is the Deep Maze.

CaveX has several new features that help orient the cave. It will now displays a "bounding box" that makes it easy to see the orientation of 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.

To help you control your joystick fly-throughs, CaveX has a new "Look At" button that causes the viewer to smoothly pan and rotate until it is looking directly at the center of the cave. It also rotates the image so the top of the cave is aligned with the top of the screen. This is useful when you have panned, zoomed or flown to a position where you can't find the cave. Since it does not change the scaling or move the camera closer to the cave, other information information is not lost. Also, there is a button on the Joystick which does the same thing.


Image of Lechuguilla Cave showing UTM grids lines.
Viewer. The Viewer now has several new Shadow Box features. 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.
  • Viewer. There is a new 32 bit version of the Viewer that is now available for beta test. It is 10 times faster than the regular 16 bit version. This gives it enough speed to fully animate even the largest cave. On my 450 MHz Pentium III, I'm getting drawing rates of 15 frames per second for large caves like Lechuguilla.
  • Editor. The Editor now has the option of setting flags for multiple blocks of surveys simultaneously. You have the option of Inserting, Replacing or Removing specific survey flags. The Repair option now allows you to work with fore and backsight values separately. This makes it possible to repair large blocks of data where only the foresight or the backsight is bad.
  • All Programs. COMPASS now gives you the choice of using the International Foot or the US Survey Foot when displaying or converting data. While the International Foot is used for most measurements, the US Survey Foot is still widely used for maps, surveys, benchmarks and government projects. Using the incorrect units can make big difference when converting large numbers. For example, it can make as much as a 35 feet in difference when converting UTM coordinates.
  • General Improvements. There are five new statistical measuresments including, Surface Length, Surface Width, Surface Area, Enclosed Volume, and Volume Density. The Viewer has a simplier, more user- friendly method of setting all the different color and font options. The DXF export option now allows you to pre-scale the exported image for those drawing programs that have limited scaling capabilites. The Geographic Calculator is easier to use and COMPASS now supports using the UTM "Convergence" angle for rotating the cave to match the UTM grid. In addition to scale, vertical magnification, you can now set exact values for pitch and yawl rotations. The survey header comments had been increased to 80 characters. The functions of the project manager has been improved. The Passage Model Dialog now has a "View" button that allows you to see any changes before exiting.
  • Digital Survey Map Tutorial. I have posted a tutorial by Paul Burger on generating salon quality survey maps using a drawing program. See the current issue of Compass and Tape (#48) for some examples of Paul's maps. Click here too see the tutorial.
  • The COMPASS CD. The CD now has many more items including more DEMs and the Microsoft DirectX-7 installation package. The CD now contains 376 files and 52 folders for a total of more than 170 megabytes  of programs, files and data.
  • Web Page. There are new links to DEM files, with more complete coverage of the United States. The cost for downloading 7.5 degree version DEM is only $5.00. Click here for links to all the DEM download sites.
  • There are dozens of other new features, bug fixes, and minor improvements. Click here for a complete list.
  • COMPASS USERS WEB PAGE. Click here to see the caves and images that other COMPASS users are displaying on the net.
  • COMPASS CD-ROM. The complete COMPASS software package and accessories are now available on CD-ROM. It contains all software and documentation plus other materials too large to post on the internet or put on floppy disk. Currently, there are 45 programs and 300 files totaling more than 60 megabytes of data. Even if all this information were on the internet, it would require more than 3 hours to download on a 56K modem. The COMPASS CD is ideal for cavers who are traveling because CDs are more durable than floppy disks and less suseptable to damage from magnetic fields, airport X-Ray machines etc. Click here for more information.
  • Quad Map Settings. The Viewer now saves all the Quad Map settings with the "Views" information. This means that you can set up any number of quad map patterns and save them for later recall.
  • SEF IMPORT AND EXPORT. In the past, you had to use a DOS program to import or export COMPASS files. The Project Manager now supports import and export to SEF file.
  • ACCURACY. Several changes have been made to improve the accuracy and resolution of all COMPASS programs. First, COMPASS now supports 24 geodetic formats for geographic coordinates like longitude, latitude, and UTM. In addition, data is now stored with more digits of accuracy, giving at least 1.5 mm or 0.06 inch resolution. Finally, I have cleared up a descrepancy between the the "International Foot" and the "US Survey Foot" which caused small errors with some UTM measurements.
  • NEW STATISTICS. COMPASS now reports a variety of new statical information about the cave. The Compiler now caculated the cave volume based on passage diameter and shot length. It also calculates thes Average Passage Diameter. This is a measure of the size of the passage in the cave. Another statistic that is now available is Average Inclination. This gives a general estimate of how vertical the cave is. The final statistic in this group is Difficulty. It combines the Average Passage Diameter and Inclination to give an estimate of difficult it is to move through the cave.
  • In addition to this set of statistics, the Compiler now list the overall average STD for all the loops in the cave. This gives you a single number that rates the overall quality of all the loops in the cave. Finally, the Compiler includes a set of Survey Specific statistics. This includes a list of each survey in the cave along with the length, number of shots and average shot length for each survey. To facilitate working with larger systems, the Compiler now allows you to search for any string in the Statistics and Blunder Detection section. This makes it easier to find loops, stations, shots, and surveys in the statistics.
  • CAVEBASE. The Viewer now supports displaying database values as numerical values as well as varying symbol sizes. Numbers can be in fixed or scientific notation format, with complete control over the number of digits. CaveBase now has an option that allows you to encode a date as a part of the query.
  • DXF EXPORT. There are now 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.
  • SPREADSHEET IMPORT AND EXPORT. The Editor now uses Tabs as the delimiter when it Copys, Cuts, or Pastes to and from the Windows Clipboard. This makes it more compatable with external Windows programs like Excel.
COMPASS Viewer showing several features.
Image From The Current Version of The COMPASS Viewer

  • USABILITY FEATURES. The Editor allows you to search through a survey file for the surveys where a specific station is found. You can now double click on any of the surveys that are found and the program will automatically highlight the specific survey. This makes it easy to find and edit that survey. In addition, a new option has been added that puts the highlight on the From Station whenever a new shot is created. This makes it easy to override the Automatic Station Sequencing feature and enter a different Station Name.
  • MISCELLANEOUS. The Survey Name fields has been increased from 8 to 12 characters. The Viewer now allows you to mark the passage walls from the orientation of the TO station.
  • LIVE INTERNET 3D IMAGES. COMPASS can now produce 3D images of caves that can be viewed and manipulated live on the internet. These are 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. I'm getting refresh rates of 60 frames per second on a 400 Mhz Pentium. 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: Viewing Cave Images On The Internet

  • CAVEX. There are many changes to CaveX including improved rending and editing features. The scene diagram is easier to access. The program can now render the cave image in profile mode. This makes the cave images more compatable with standard 3D editing programs. It is now easy to save images and textures to DirectX files. Internal textures can be saved with the X files.

  • COMPASS USERS GROUP AND MAILING LIST. Roger Schuster is starting a COMPASS Users Group and Mailing List. Roger is also the sponsor the German COMPASS mirror web page. The purpose of the mailing list is to help people solve COMPASS problems and provide an avenue for users to give feedback. It is also to exchange experiences, tips and hints between users. For more information, goto:  ..\Users\compassusers.htm

  • New 24 Colors. There is now a new feature that allows the Viewer to use a rainbow spectrum of 24 colors for coloring by depth, date etc. The colors are arranged in a smoother spectrum than original 12 colors. This makes it easier to visualize subtle details. Here is a terrain model showing the 24 color mode:

  • 32 Bit DEM Reader. The DEM reader has been completely rewritten using 32 bit code. This allows you view and edit DEM files at twice the resolutions as before. It also means that DEM Reader is a 32 bit program and will not run under Win3.1. If anyone is still using Win3.1, send me email and I can post the old version.

  • Cross-File Loop Closing. The Loop Closer can now close loops that cross multiple files. This enables you to close large cave systems while still maintaining the data is smaller more manageable files.

  • 28. NEW WEB PAGE. ESRI, the makers of ArcView and ArcInfo have a new cave related web page. The address is:

  • Viewer. There have several improvements and bug fixes in the the Rose and Depth graphs. In the past, vertical shots were included in Azimuth Rose diagrams. This created an inordinate number of 90 degree shots. You now have more precise control over the band thickness.

  • Project Manager. The Project Manager now a has feature that 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.

  • All Programs. The various search features of the Editor, Project Manager, and Viewer have been improved so they are less picky about how the targets are matched. This means that it is easier to find partial matches.

  • Viewer. The "Find Stations/Surveys" tool now operates so that all parts are synchronized. This means that when you locate a station, the corresponding survey and sections are shown. This makes it easy to find which stations, surveys and file belong together.

  • Viewer. The Viewer now has the ability to select a survey or section of the cave and go directly to the Editor to view or edit the selected survey. Thus, you can highlight a survey and go directly to the raw data for that survey.

  • Loop Closer. The Loop Closer has improved capabilities in dealing with fixed stations. Several problems were fixed where certain combinations of fixed stations caused incorrect closure.

  • The Editor can now validate backsights for all the surveys in a file as well as a single survey. This makes it easier to find backsight problems in large survey files.

  • There are lots of other minor improvements and bug fixes for the Editor, Viewer, Project Manager and file conversion utilies.

  • ROSE DIAGRAMS AND DEPTH HISTOGRAMS. COMPASS now has extensive support for graphing "Rose" Diagrams and Depth Histograms. Click here for actual images of the kinds of graphs  COMPASS can produce.

  • MODULO DEPTHBAR TICK. The Viewer now 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.
  • JOYSTICK CONTROL. CaveX now support the use of standard PC joystick. This allows you to do full motion, 3D flying around and through fully textured cave passages.
  • IMPROVED DXF EXPORT SUPPORT. The Viewer has improvements to the DXF exporting feature including a "scale bar" and "north Arrow", profile mode export, more control over "layers", and a "Tick Marks" options for the LRUDS. Many of these features are useful for drawing programs that don't support the full 3D drawing modes of AutoCad.
  • MISC. In addition there are more twenty other minor improvements and bug fixes including simplier "Views" editing and saving, more "block-modify" features for the editor, improved statistics and several improvements to CaveBase, the database system.
  • AUTOCAD DXF EXPORT. The Viewer now has the ability export DXF files compatabile with AutoCad versions 12, 13 and 14. Click here for more information and a snapshot of the Export Control.
  • HIGHSPEED FLYTHROUGHS. CaveX the DirectX cave viewer has many improvements. There are new pan, zoom and rotate buttons and the ability to finely control their increments. CaveX also has the ability to fly around and through the cave image using simple mouse movements. I am currently getting solid modeling speeds of 20 frames per second and 2 million polygons per second on 20 mile long caves, with Gouraud shading and limestone photo texturing. This give you the ability to do game-like "flying" in and around the cave.

  • AUTOMATIC LIMESTONE TEXTURING. CaveX also has a one step 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.

  • SAVING MOVIES AND SLIDESHOWS. The Viewer now has the ability to 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.

  • MORE REALTIME FEATURES. The Viewer also has several new features that allow better control of the "realtime" "flythroughs" of the cave. This is all done with simple mouse movements The program also now supports "live" tracking of the 3D Compass to give even smoother and more realistic rotations.

  • COMPILER IMPROVEMENTS. The Compiler can now save a set of default settings. This means that you can set the Compiler to run with a specific set of value each time it runs, without manually setting the options. Also, the Compiler now allows you to print the list of errors that appears in the error log.

  • NEW ARTICLE ON LOOP CLOSURE. There have been lots of questions about the way COMPASS closes loops. This led to a series of articles that appeared in the NSS publication Compass and Tape. I have published an updated version of the last artilce on the web page for people who don't  receive Compass and Tape.Click here to view the article. The articles also led to an exciting new project by John Halleck where he is working an a detailed tutorial on the proper way to do least squares loop closure. His web page is at:

  • VERTICAL MAGNIFICATION. The Viewer now has the ability to vertically magnify the plot. With vertical magnification, the vertical aspect of the plot is magnified while the other dimensions remain the same. Click here for a visual demonstration of this feature.

  • DIRECTX VIEWER FOR STUNNINGLY REALISTIC PASSAGE MODELS. There is now a special new COMPASS program for creating extremely realistic passage models. The program creates very smooth, fully three-dimensional passages that can be animated in realtime. For more information click here.
  • PASSAGE MORPHOLOGY HIGHLIGHTING. The Viewer now 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 different categories. For more information click here.

  • The Cave Editor has been improved so that it takes advantage of the higher resolution displays and larger monitors. The program allows the window to expand to full size and the various editing screens expand with it. In other words more rows and columns from the survey are visible on the screen. This means, for example, on a 1024 by 768 resolution display, 20 lines of survey and all columns are visible without scrolling.
  • MERGING DEM FILES. The DEM reader can now merge adjacent DEM files. This is useful when the area you are working with is near the edge of a DEM files. It 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 between the two files. You can also center on corners by first merging east-west files, then north-south.
  • REMEMBERING THE LAST FIVE FILES. All COMPASS programs now save the last five files you used in the file menu. This makes it easy to open recently used files.
  • Improved the color rendering of the background bitmap images. This results in more accurate color rendering of topographic maps as backgrounds to the line plots.
  • DEM Reader. The DEM Reader has been completely rewritten. The elevation editor has been improved to make it easy to enter, save and link elevation data manually. In addition, the program can now perform the complete operation of linking caves and surface features under Windows. In the past, you had to use the DOS program FCOMPILE. You also have the option of displaying contours, grids and a combination of contours and grids.
  • The USGS has been converting all its DEM data to a new data format called SDTS. As a result of this process, there are now a large number of 7.5 minute DEM quadrangles available FREE on the net! The COMPASS DEM Reader now has support for converting and reading SDTS format files.

  • Click Here For Terrain Modeling Images

  • Click Here For Information On Using 7.5 Minute SDTS DEMs with COMPASS.

  • Locking Plots To The Page. There is now an option that allows you to force a station to be placed at a certain location on the print out page. This allows you to lock the cave plot to a particular position on paper. This is useful for producing quads, atlases and historical maps.

  • Passage Length Measurements. The Measure Cursor now have two features that allow you to measure the passage distance between any two station in the cave. First, you know 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 measurements.

  • Centering On A Station/Survey. 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.

  • New Technique For Exporting COMPASS Files To CAD Programs. Steve Reames has developed a new technique for exporting COMPASS plots into CAD and Drawing Programs such as Corel Draw. The techique is capable of exporting complete COMPASS maps including legends, labels, passage walls, quad-grids etc.For A Complete Description of the Technique, Click Here.

  • Viewer. The Viewer now 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. Click Here To View Shadow Box Images

  • Viewer. The Viewer can now 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 page.
  • Viewer. 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.
  • Viewer. Up until now, all the passage modeling modes displayed 2D images of the passages. This was necessary for the spline curve modeling and it also allowed the images to display faster. Passage modeling now has a mode that displays full 3D polygons of the cave passages. It also creates more accurate display when doing 3D rotations. You also have the choice of displaying the passage outlines as diamond or rectangular shapes. Click Here To View The New 3D Modeling Modes
  • Viewer. You can now display stereo views of the passage wall modeling. This allows you to see the dimensions of rooms and passages in 3D.
  • Viewer. In the past, the Viewer would place passage wall marks at both the From and To stations. 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.
  • Project Manager. You can now enter fixed station location in either longitude/latitude or UTM. Long/Lat can be entered in either decimal degrees or degrees, minutes, seconds. The program allows you convert easily between the two units.
  • ALL. 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.
  • Viewer. There is now an option that moves the Measurement Cursors to the nearest survey station. This makes it easy measure 3D distances between stations.
  • The Viewer nows shows the comments and date associated with each survey. This information is displayed in the Find Survey dialog box. Comments can also be searched for any partially matching string. View New Find Survey Dialog Box
  • Viewer. The Viewer can now display the angle of cave rotation in 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.
  • View/CaveBase. The Viewer and CaveBase can now 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 New Database Line Marking Features
  • Project Manager. The Project Manager has a new "Project Creation Wizard" that guides you through all the steps of creating a new cave project.
  • Complete Set Of COMPASS Screen Images


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