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Testimonial Letters From Compass Users

The following page contains unsolicited testimonials, complements and general encouragement from COMPASS users around the world. Thanks to everyone who has written in. It makes those long nights chasing down some subtle bug feel worthwhile.

89. Hey Larry, I don't have any questions or need anything. I just wanted to write and say thanks for creating such a wonderful software. The joy, satisfaction, (and at times, frustration) your program has brought me is worth 100x what you charge for it. 

I am relatively new to caving (been doing it for about 5 years) and even newer to survey/cartography (started last year). At first I was a little overwhelmed by the process (and all the options in your program), but the more I surveyed, the easier things became and I began to see just how powerful your program really is. It really is quite beautiful.

Anyways, just wanted to drop a line and say thanks for this. 

88. I write software myself, and I can't give you enough praise for adding a significant feature like this within 12 hours of a request... on a weekday! Thank you! Again, thanks so much for such a speedy implementation!
87. I have not used COMPASS that much but from what I have seen (The ASF mapping at Bullita in the Northern Territory), it's just fantastic at managing cave survey data and drawing up the survey. I usually work with GIS software, so it's going to be fun converting the data between the two. Thanks again for your support to cavers everywhere.
86. Fantastic, what a responsiveness !
85. Great support for Compass and the tutorials are spot on.
84. (From the Compass Users Group.) I've definitely learned some things about Compass (and the reliability of Compaq support) that I never knew before. Kudos to you Larry for your excellent program and phenomenal support. Thanks also to this wonderful community of Compass users
83. The KML exports are pretty easy and the results are quite impressive, given how little effort is required.  The first time I used Larry's KML export and plotted on Goggle Earth, I kicked myself for not doing it earlier.  
82. First off, I wanted to say a huge "thanks" for your tutorials on the SVG Exporter and on Inkscape. I've started making cave maps using this tool combination and am really enjoying it. Your tutorials have been really helpful.
81. I've been giving your new SketchEditor a try, and I really like its ability to trim and add transparency to scans of survey book sketches. It is so much faster than using a general purpose graphics program to clean up the scan images so I can trace them. Very sweet! The morphing work well too. thanks!
80. I want to commend you how easy it is to import survey data compared to [other cave program]; I am not very technical savvy. But your program is very user friendly especially since I am just learning how to do book and cartography.  
79. Thanks for fixing it so quickly! I'm a software developer myself, so I can appreciate debugging, fixing, and pushing out a release on a weekend morning!
78. Thanks again for all the work you put into making Compass the most functional and useful software out there. It's the best money I've ever spent on a piece of software!
77. Thanks for your awesome program!!
76. as always, great and fast service ...and oh yes: the new "Display Station coordinates" option is great. Been waiting for it for years! thanks
75. I have used your wonderful Compass program so many years. I'm sure you have heard lots of folks say this but I'm so appreciative for the time you have spent (and probably continue to spend) to develop this mainstay cave reduction program.
74.Thank you very much for your help, if all software companies had support were like yours it would be paradise.
 73. Wow thanks, you have the best support of any software company. Thank you very much for your incredible customer support
72. Thank you ever-so-much for this great tool.
71. Larry, thank you. I am really enjoying COMPASS.
70. WOW... that's the fastest support I've ever seen. The decimal point issue is already fixed, it works now!!
69. THIS IS SO COOL!!!! Thanks!!!!!!! (In response to the new KML feature.)
68. You are great! This new release does exactly what I want. Thank you!
67. Thanks for the tip. The O version works fine, and I love the new interface. You rock!
66. Thanks much for your quick response.  I am forever impressed as hell with Compass I might add!
65. anyway, your devotion to this is really amazing, thanks for your help and i will be sure to send you the map of our little cave when i'm all done.
64. I purchased your suite of cave mapping programs earlier this year. It is a great collection of tools.
63. wow, this was instantaneously! Many thanks for the super fast incorporation of my suggestion. This "unfolded profile" function is very useful and especially the "nearest angle" option!
62. I downloaded the latest version today and installed it. The new precise distance display is a great idea. The shot details on the plot is also neat. The project has come a long way since I started using it on the Lech back in 1995 or so! The old DOS days were good days and I am glad to be where we are now!
61. Thank you for your help and thank you for putting out such a great product.
60. Thanks for making COMPASS such a fine survey data management tool.
59. Thanks for keeping the Compass flame burning for all of these years.
58. Thanks for a great mapping tool.
57. First of all - thank you for this nice software - I use it from its  beginning ;) (more than 10 years as I remember)
56. I would just like you to know how much the caving community appreciates the wonderful programs your company makes. COMPASS makes the arduous task of surveying caves and drawing maps much simpler and more efficient. I would like to thank you personally and commend your excellent program. Thanks again.
55. It is good to see the program as evolved so well over all these years.  NICE WORK!!
55. Thanks Larry your a real cavers gem. I love Compass and its ability to do almost whatever I ask of it.
54. Just wanted to thank you for all your work creating COMPASS. Without COMPASS, I doubt if I would have received a Merit Award for New Year Crystal Cave last summer.
We have always had Compass fans in other countries, but here some compliments in Spanish:

53. Por otro lado, estoy encantado de volver a colaborar contigo en mejorar las prestaciones de un programa tan bueno como COMPASS. [..] Estoy encantado de poder ayudar a mejorar un programa tan magnifico como COMPASS.

(English translation: "On the other hand, I am delighted  to come to collaborate with you in improving the features of a program as good as  Compass. [..] I am delighted to be able to help to improve a program so magnificent as Compass.)

52. Your Compass program is impressive to say the least! [T]hanks for creating a program as nifty as Compass!
51. Thanks again and great work on the program.
50. Thanks very much for the reply. I really appreciate your excellent support of Compass and your constant improvements and additions! Best 20 bucks we ever spent on a piece of software.
49. CaveX is awesome! I can hardly wait to get some of the old cave data I have into Compass format.
48. Thanks so much for getting this fixed so quickly! Your phenomenal support is one reason I have never used anything other than Compass after you wrote it - good support is 95% of a program!
47. Thanks Larry. You've developed a wonderful program. Keep up the great work.
46. By the way, I think that COMPASS is a great program!
45. I love Compass and Compass loves me. Thanks for a splendid program. I look forward to the new and improved always.
44. I'm a registered user of Compass and just wanted to again pass along kudos for creating a great software program. I've used Compass in over 15 of my own survey projects, the longest to date being a 2.5 mile Tennessee cave. I still draw maps by hand but use Compass for managing all the data, identifying loop errors, generating drafts, etc etc. It's been a huge help!
43. You are the man! Thanks so much for another little useful addition to your program.
42. On a separate note, I worked on linking surface elevation modeling with cave data and was fabulously impressed with the results.

Congratulations on all of your superb work on Compass!!!!

41. your work on this has made the research community out here in southern wv very happy!
40. One of the reasons I like Compass is because of the EXCELLENT support you offer -- thanks. I downloaded off the website and the problem has gone away.
39. Thanks for your reply. I tried this and it worked great! Data entry goes much, much faster now thanks to this tip. I input about 60 stations in just a few minutes. Again, thanks for a great product and all your efforts in developing it.
38. I haven't downloaded the new version of Compass yet but I have to say that you have the best customer support of any program I've ever used. I just tried the "Views" option and it really does work. I don't think I would have found it had you not mentioned it. Thank You
37. I love your new 32 bit programs! The program is running slicker than  ever. I do think that may be the most significant release since you started releasing your windows platform.
36. I have a Mac G4 running Virtual PC with Windows 98 and am having a wonderful time working on a Pine Hill Cave map for the NNS Convention Guidebook. Thanks for the great program.
35. First of all thanks for your great programm Compass, i'm using it more than 7-8 years ;)... or more - i can't remember exactly ;)
34. Thanks a lot for programming the search function in the Compass Blunder Locator. I like the way you fixed it so that you can search using several different methods. Every time we enter data here at Carlsbad Caverns NP we double check our data entry and then look at the loop closures to make sure they are good. In the past it could take quite a bit of time to find the desired loop, by exporting the loop closure file to WORD and then searching for the stations in that program. Then I had to figure out where the loop was in Blunder Locator to attempt to debug the loop. This new search function will save our office a LOT of time. I hope that other folks will find it useful too. The addition of an average standard deviation figure is nice too. Thanks for all of the great work on Compass, Larry!
33. You know how to make your users really happy!! Thanks for the updates. It looks like you made most of the major changes we requested. We're very excited about these new options. You've made our life easier as managers of a large cave project. By next year, I'm sure I'll have another list. Until then, Thanks a million,
32. I should have first told you how much I really, really, really, like COMPASS. That it is the finest cave survey program I have ever seen. The evolutions and future evolutions are incredibly important to me. Your generosity over the years has been ground breaking.
31. For your software, thank you for not charging $600 for an awesome piece of work. Good job! Working with several software developers, I know it's no easy feat to create a decent application, hopefully bug-free, and one that hopefully doesn't crash the user's system. Your application is held in high esteem and I think is now the standard cave mapping program in America. I'm impressed that your handling of Compass doesn't indicate a desire for getting rich quick, but really giving us, the cavers with computers, a decent cave mapping program with a lot of fun extras. Thanks for the 3-D glasses. ...I just have to say "Thanks" for the effort and work and wonderful program. I can hear the Old Timers now... "Shit, in our days, we didn't need all this hi-faluten techno-crap, we just mapped the cave." Yeah, and most of their maps are unreadable. Man, if they'd ever seen a 3-D solid rendition of a cave, like what your program provides, I think they would understand the necessity of the program and good visualization.. Thanks again.
30. That CaveDX, very cool!

First, Compass is the best cave survey reduction and analysis application available. I mean that. It's why I paid the registration fee. Second I think you're committed to keeping Compass at the front of the cave survey application pack.

ON THE NEW DIRECTX VIEWER: The viewer is AWESOME !!!!! Absolutely fantabulous. I nearly jumped out of my chair playing around with stuff. Spent half the morning "virtual caving" all around the world. Whole new perspectives on all sorts of stuff. The only limitations seem to be the length of the cave (under five miles works best) and the completeness of the file (no walls, no plot).

What a great tool for cavers !! I've been hearing for awhile now comments like "Yeah, COMPASS is OK, but you ought to see what [omitted program name] can do." Can't wait till I hear this comment next. I'll just whip out my trusty laptop and show them a thing or two about what COMPASS can now do.

Thanks again for the continuing patience and support. Your efforts are truely revolutionizing the way we look at caves.

29. I have been using the Compass Survey Programme for just over a year now and have found it to be most excellent.... Not being a computer expert I have found it to be extremely easy to use and produce end results.
28. I just tried out your new Cave X software. It is really amazing, the most realistic representation of a cave I've ever seen, and that by using only the LRUD-dimensions... WOW!
27. First - thank you very much for such a great program. I tried different programs before, all had some advantages and some disadvantages, but over all Compass is the best.
26. I really like your program. I'm sending you your money right away... it is worth far more than you charge for it.
25. Compass is excellent, as always. Thanks for continuing to improve it!
24. Great job on the latest version of Compass. The cave morphology feature is very interesting and the CaveX application is very, very slick. Keep up the good work!
23. As a plug. Speaking as a not very computer literate caver. I have used and tried a lot of survey programs and COMPASS comes out top of my list by a long way for ease of use and particularly ease of entering data.
22. I love your program and the fact that you support it.
21. It's really cool, really useful, but DOS is dead, man.
20. I am the German caver who wrote you at the beginning of the year because of some trouble with using "compass". Now I have had enough time to improve my knowledge of this program and I could say: It's great!
19. And at the end of a day of surveying, we all huddle around this little 486 and plot out the cave on Compass software (great program - thanks Larry Fish). The 33MHz processor chugs along and makes a little noise, but Alexander Caverns has now gone over 2 miles and the computer plots it out perfectly, if slowly. Can't wait to get the new whiz-bang machine up and running.
18. i started mapping caves back in the dark ages (late 60's) when i plotted data on a piece of notebook paper with a protractor and ruler. it was endless work!! i graduated to x y z coordinates and still plotted by hand. gasp!! in the mid 70's, i wrote a quick and dirty program (in basic) to convert raw data into the x y z stuff. now, i see your program and can *truly* appreciate the vast effort you have made. i can enter data and have an instant plot of the cave and the vertical with or without stations, elevations, and walls!!! my hat is off to you!!
17. Here's a topic I haven't seen discussed in this forum before: What survey software are you all using, and why? I'll start.

We're using Compass for several reasons, listed below in no particular order:

1) The data is added and manipulated completely within the program. That is, you do not need a word processor or spreadsheet to list the data separately. Most of the other programs require this, and make them unduly cumbersome.

2) Compass works more intuitively. It didn't take but an hour or so of playing with it to get proficient enough to start a "for real" project. I'm still messing around with WinKarst to get it working properly.

3) The program will accept data input in almost any imaginable style. You can mix meters with feet, radians with degrees, etc., and the program will figure it out automatically. This is very useful on long involved surveys, and where one person reads the wrong side of the instrument.

4) Error finding and correction work better on Compass than on any of the others I've tried.

5) The Data summaries offered by Compass show what you need, without extraneous bull...., in an easy to understand format.

There are more reasons, but this should start a discussion. What are you other groups using?

16. Thanks for your quick response - that's one of the things that makes Compass a great program.
15. Thanks for putting out a good product and supporting it!
14. In my opinion, COMPASS is a great program--worth far more than $25. (However, like many cavers, I am not particularly wealthy.) I really appreciate your willingness to make fully working copies available for downloading and evaluation; and I would be willing to any reasonable fee. You've done a great job with this software, and you deserve something for your time and effort. (I also appreciate notices of significant updates on Cavers Digest, etc.)
13. Well, the new Windows version of COMPASS is both AWESOME and FRUSTRATING!

The features I like are too numerous to list (Complex Plotting options are SUPERB!!!!! Thanks for the extra speed-WOW!!) I like how it no longer waits while it plots stuff off-screen; really helpful when you are zoomed way in in Lechuguilla or on a slower machine.

I have gotten several letter from the participants in the 1997 Boreno expedition. Apparently, COMPASS was a big hit. Here are some of the letters:
12. Subject: Thrilled with COMPASS for Windows!

I am thrilled with the new stuff!!! After seeing all the small incremental improvements with the DOS version, and being mightily impressed with your responsiveness in dealing with bugs I've encountered, I WAS waiting on the edge of my computer seat for the Windows version to pass your beta testing.

Following is my list of favorite new features fron your file: Viewer Undo, printer preview showing actual borders, keyboard multiplier, setting an exact scale, Arial fonts (the old version printed horribly squashed letters unless I changed the font), 30X multiplier, saving Viewer settings in an .ini file (fantastic!), consolidated font/color menu, full motion video (What fun!), importing bitmaps, automatic installation, selectability of number of digits past the decimal point, automatic compiling and going directly to the viewer (a vast improvement over the DOS version for fixing bad tie-ins), adjusting shots between fixed stations, Project Manager's ability delete, rename and reorder surveys within a survey file... and to copy or move surveys between files.

And I like the ability to pan up/down; useful for viewing the axis of geological faults or for rotating to remove foreground surveys.

Borneo was a blast! 20 of us surveyed 25 kms of cave in Gunong Buda (Mt. Buda)... And, we did all the computer stuff on YOUR program...Thanks!!! The program was stable (no crashes), and there was a lot of activity around the computer, usually entering about 1 km of data every evening.

I continue to proselytize the COMPASS Bible to the cavers I meet..

Congratulations on the success of the Windows upgrade, and thanks for all the thousands of hours of persistent programming! We Borneo-ites were impressed!!

11. I just got back from the Gunung Buda Project in Borneo . It was a great trip and we mapped about 30 km. of new cave. Don Coons had his laptop there with Compass on it. It was great getting almost instant output of what we had surveyed. It greatly assisted in some connections. Don is really familar with your program and was able to create some amazing displays. I'm really impressed with waht Compass can do. I hadn't realized all the really neat things that your program can do. You can be very proud of the program you have created.
10. We had Compass running on as many as 3 laptops at once in the Borneo jungle on the recent Gunung Buda expedition. What a treat! Thanks Again, Keep up the great work. We'd all be in sad shape without your programs.
9. The blunder feature is great! I was able to locate errors that I have been trying to find for the last five years.
8. P.S. Larry I'am a land surveyor in ky. and I like you compass for windows better than any other cave mapping program I have found . (light years a head of smaps)
7. ... Wow! I like it! I am really happy to see the F9/F10 'oblique profile' tool and the speed of 'print cave'; much faster than the F5 PPlot on the DOS version. The real "Cheese Whiz" though is the Passage Wall Modeling...Wow! Semi-realistic wall modeling. I can see the limitations are due to the limits of what the computer can interpret from the limited data; to make a more accurate model you would need more survey stations.
6. Knowing about the problems I want to congratulate you for the excellent tool the COMPASS-System is. In my opinion it is a really valuable system for all the needs of a surveying caver.

We now have a cavers education week in Austria (first week of July) where I give a speech about computer use in speleology. Be sure that I will do a lot of advertising for your System.

5. I have used Compass and enjoy it's ease of use. I will be upgrading to one of the Windows versions soon. Keep up the good work!
4. Thanks for all your work on the COMPASS program series. It has made my efforts at cave mapping so much easier.
3. I hope that there will always be a DOS based version that can run on a simple computer. Speed and whiz bang are great, but the ability to input and process data on almost FREE (XT type) computers and simple laptops is a great help. It allows more people to be involved, not just those on the cutting edge. Thanks again for your time and effort.
2. Don't be in a hurry to convert to win-95. compass ain't broke.
1. Compass is an excellent Program. It is great to be able to export it to a CAD Program for additional manipulation.
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