in Quintana Roo are normally surveyed to meet the needs of the
exploration teams. Many of these cave surveys create a fairly accurate,
yet simple line plot. Line plots, or "stick maps" are valuable tools for
trained cave divers and speleologists. These plots however fail to clearly
communicate basic aquifer and cave
characteristics to inexperienced cave plot users. Plots of this type can
also be used to convey misleading
information about the aquifer to a casual user. Conduit shape, room dimensions,
aquifer details, anthropological sites, openings to the jungle surface,
connections to dry cave sumps, and important speleological details
are simply not documented through "stick maps". Sensitive information,
such as significant anthropological objects or cave entrances on private
properties, should not be shared with the general public. Yet regional
planners, government officials, and the public require reasonable,
unbiased information to make educated decisions in how best to plan for
future interactions with the aquifer and karst region of Quintana Roo.
Today's karst explorers in Quintana Roo must find a responsible middle
ground to describe known areas of a sensitive aquifer.
Line plots for
certain caves in this region were made available to State, Federal, and
local agencies since 1995. Plots were superimposed on topographic maps and
aerial photographs by 1999, labeling sensitive cave areas and landfill
sites to guide future local and regional planning. In retrospect, this
approach has been an unproductive effort for many reasons. Regional
planners in Quintana Roo are not cave explorers or speleologists. State
and Federal politicians cannot be expected to be knowledgeable
hydrologists. Without the advice and close support of an unbiased
speleologist, planners and politicians have difficulties in interpreting
token information by crude line plots.
Regional planners, politicians, and
the general public require useful information. and basic type of map. We
should refine token information to include casual, and most importantly
highly concerned local users maps cannot
be mislead by their
planners and politicians are confused is lost for the public, should
caves be encountered in regional planning.
Unfortunately, speleological experts can impart a casual interpretation of aquifer
and cave characteristics to meet
their own agenda. QRSS is presenting a view of cave zones, or cave "footprint"
view for the public. We compute these images from real-time cave survey
data. The cave data is buffered by
250 meters to include what cave divers cannot report in their line plots. Scientific literature appears to support a 300 meter buffer to
a central cave line plot.
responsible regional planning that conserves both regional aquifer purity
and terrestrial ecologies. These are easily compromised by irresponsible
or mismanaged actions. Requests for our collaboration with regional
planning and cave documentation doubled during 2010. We expect the same
requests to double for 2011.