Documentation at Coldwater Cave|
Survey, Resurvey and Inventories
Project mapping efforts at Coldwater Cave have always been conducted with the "survey-as-you-go" approach.
Current survey standards strive for quality control on data collection and recording as much survey and
resource inventory data as possible. It is important to know more about the cave besides where it "goes".
A good detailed sketch serves as an illustrative resource inventory of the cave and its features. Vertical
control, detailed cross sections and profiles where appropriate provide information for geologic and hydrologic
research and for exploration. Assuring completeness and accuracy in passage dimensions and other dimensional
features is important as computer technology allows us to do much more with the survey data in terms of
cartographic displays and various graphic representations that enhance understanding of the cave.
A survey team re-mapping a section
of downstream passage, photo: M. Bounk
Quite a bit of resurvey has been done which is typical for long-term mapping projects. The
reason for resurvey is because since the late seventies, survey standards have changed dramatically. Today's
standards include doing backsites for quality control on the survey line, including clinometer readings at
every station (for vertical control), and sketching-to-scale. The resurvey effort
has paid off not only with the collection of more accurate and detailed data, but also with the bonus of new
passage previously overlooked in all areas of the cave.
Mike Lace and Larry Welch oversee the task of making sure that all surveys meet current standards.
Lace concentrates on cartography while Welch focuses on data management. John Lovaas has added a
GIS component to the cartographic representation of the cave which higlights surface and subsurface
As any long-term project member knows,
an up-to-date survey serves as a proven guide for exploration, and effective management of the survey data
has accelerated recent exploration and science in Coldwater Cave. Among upcoming cartographic objectives are
updated maps of the cave for display, research and conservation.
Plan view of Coldwater Cave
DEM of Coldwater Cave area showing profile from
to Pine Creek drainages
Profile view of Coldwater Cave
Photographic Documentation and Photomonitoring
Photography is an important part of any exploration for it is only through visual images that a sense of the
cave can be truly conveyed. For the past 17 years, Scott Dankof (IA) has been carefully documenting all areas
of the cave. Dankof, whose cave images have garnered many awards
at the NSS Photo Salon, not only shoots photos of the pretties, he also photodocuments restored
areas, and other significant features of the cave. At the other end of the photography spectrum
is Mark Jones who with his endless supply of disposable cameras has managed to take some decent
photos of exploration efforts in extremely remote areas of the cave where no one has yet dared
to take "real " photo equipment. Others who have participated in photodocumentation in the cave
include John Lovaas, Ed Klausner and Mike Lace. See the
Photo Gallery for examples
of photodocumentation in Coldwater Cave.
Coldwater Cave Project ||
Exploration History ||
Conservation & Restoration ||
Cave Documentation ||
A detailed historical log was compiled of all the Project work, including the discovery of
the cave, by drawing on firsthand accounts from principal contributors since the cave's
discovery in 1967. The log is continually updated and functions as an important resource tool in
documentation, and monitoring traffic and its impact on the cave. From the current log (which has
records for 872 individual trips into the cave as of March 2003), its been
documented that 60% of all trips have been for exploration/survey, 20% for casual touring, 10% for
photodocumentation and 10% for research and restoration.
copyright 2003 (C)
Coldwater Cave Project