COMPASS Memory Usage

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Most of this information is obsolete because modern computer now have hundreds of times more memory than you need to work with caves. I've included it for people who may still be using older PCs or older versions of Windows.


In the Windows, the amount of memory available to a program is only limited by the amount of RAM memory on your system. In addition, Windows uses the hard drive to create virtual memory that extends hardware memory considerably. As a result, there are no hard limitations on the size of survey files or the number of shots that can be in a single file.


As an example, you can easily compile up to 300 miles of cave survey on a machine with only eight megabytes of memory. Since most computers these days have much more memory, you are not likely to run into any memory problems. However, there are some unusual situations were memory might be an issue.


Each megabyte of RAM is the equivalent of about 86 miles of cave passage. Remember, Windows uses memory for all the programs you have running, so every program that is running takes away from the memory that is available to Compass. If you find that you cannot compile a cave because of memory limitations, try terminating all unnecessary programs. This will often free up enough memory to complete the compile. Another solution is to simply add more RAM memory to your system.


Generally, Windows 3.1 requires about one to two megabytes of memory to run. Window 95/98/ME and 2000 each require more. Also, a lot depends on what programs are running in the background. Programs running in the background generally appear in the System Tray on the Start bar. You can get a sense of how much memory is available by running the Resource Meter and the System Monitor. These tools can be found by selecting Programs > Accessories > Systems Tools option from the Start Menu.


The following table gives a conservative estimate of the cave size versus memory configuration under Windows 3.1:


        2 Meg  =   43 Miles          8 Meg  =  473 Miles

        4 Meg  =  129 Miles         16 Meg  = 1161 Miles

        6 Meg  =  301 Miles