Organizing Cave Data

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The Project Manager's job is to help you work with cave surveys. To begin with, the organization of your cave data is displayed graphically in the Project Tree. Thus the Project Tree allows you to see the interrelationship between the files and surveys that make your cave data.


In Compass, there are three levels of organization to your cave data: Cave Surveys, Survey Data Files and Project Files. Here is detailed description of each:


1. Cave Surveys. A Survey consists of a several shots that can be grouped together by three common factors. 1. They were done on the same day. 2. The same team of surveyors did them. 3. They were done in the same part of the cave.


It is important to create a new survey when you have a new survey team, a different date or you have moved to different part of the cave. Compass uses this information for many things. It can be used to selectively highlight or display the cave. It also makes it easier to find specific surveys, and zero-in on certain parts of the cave. Finally, it allows you to get statistics for specific parts of the cave and view the history of the exploration. If you combine surveys done on different dates, done in different parts of the cave, by different survey teams, you will lose the ability use this information.


2. Survey Data Files. Surveys are stored in data files on your hard drive. Unlike some other survey programs, Compass allows you to enter multiple surveys in a single data file. In many cases, dozens even hundreds of surveys will be stored in a single data file. In Compass, a survey file has the extension “DAT” and you would usually choose a filename that describes the cave or section of the cave you are working with. For example, the survey data for Fulford Cave could be in a file named “FULFORD.DAT”. The survey data for the southwest part of Lechuguilla Cave could be placed in “SOUTHWEST.DAT”.


3. Project Files. When your cave surveys become larger or more complex or you want to work with more than one cave at a time, you have the option of using a Project. A Project is a special file that allows you to group one or more Survey Data Files together. This allows you to do two things. First, you can split large or complex caves into separate subsections. Second, it allows you to group separate caves together into larger cave systems.


Multiple Projects For The Same Data. One of the most powerful features of Projects is that you can have several projects that work with same data. For example, you could have one project that works with a cave, one that works with the cave and all the surface surveys and one that combines all the nearby caves. Putting cave data into projects has no effect on the data. In this way, you can have complete freedom to organize and view your caves without worrying about mingling or contaminating the data.


When To Use Data Files And Projects. Generally, you would use with individual Survey Data Files when you are working with smaller, simpler caves. For example, most people use individual Survey Data Files when they are working with caves that are less than about 10 miles in length. Even if you expect that the cave survey you are working on will get larger, it is usually best to begin by working with a single data file. It is always easy to combine individual Data Files using a Project File later on.


Projects are normally used when you have larger caves or when you are combining several caves into a cave system. Click here for detailed information about creating Surveys and Projects.