Communications and Electronics Section

Better Caving Through Electrical Stuff

2017 Annual Convention Session Minutes

Communications & Electronics Session Minutes
2017 NSS Convention
Monday, June 19, 2017
Rio Rancho, NM

Brian Pease, Sec/Treas

The well-attended C&E Session got underway promptly at 2PM With my talk Paperless surveying technology update.  Simplified DistoX2 calibration, Android software, tablet and stylus choices, lessons learnedI showed that using a rigid frame for DistoX calibration was fast and easy but that the laser must align with the sides of the case for accurate results.  I showed ways to sketch using a fine-tipped stylus with both my NVIDIA Shield with DirectStylus technology and ordinary tablets.  I showed some of the features of TopoDroid Android mapping software.

Forrest Wilson showed a working prototype of an underwater “Disto” for divers to use in place of compass, depth gauge, and counting knots.  It is moved along the line to measure distance and keeps track of heading and depth.  Data is stored in memory.

John Lyles gave his talk Applications of long wave infrared imaging for cave science. He explained what affordable gear is available and showed what resolution is needed for reasonable results.  He showed how difficult it can be to locate an entrance in less than optimum conditions.

Bob Buecher gave his talk on Scanse Sweep, a new inexpensive LIDAR from a startup company.  It uses a Garmin LIDAR-Lite V3 module and costs ~$700 with a kit to rotate it horizontally for 3D coverage.  Assembly is relatively easy.  Bob has gotten 25 meters range in a cave.  Resolution is enough to give a good passage surface for applying photos of the walls for a 3D representation.

Steve Gutting showed the Caveatron LIDAR surveying device he is developing with another caver.  It uses a triangulation laser sensor to record full cross sections as you walk through the cave.  It uses a compass and inclinometer to keep track of heading.  In use, the device is first used like a conventional DistoX to create a line survey with marked stations.  It is then initialized at a station with a laser pointer aimed at a large reflector placed at the next station.  One then walks towards the reflector while keeping the laser dot on the target most of the time.  The result is a point cloud of cross sections along the survey lines.  Current range is ~15 meters but they may put a Scanse head on it for longer range.

Paul Jorgenson described his ongoing development of a very sensitive visible light logger that can be hidden from vandals.  He is using the TSL2591 light sensor with a short plastic fiber optic cable to allow burying the sensor.  He is working on power reduction.  He plans to develop a logger for Temp/press/humidity.

Henry Schneiker explained the differences in reflecting materials and said that glass sphere material is best for cave markers because it has a much wider viewing angle than standard retro-reflective material, which uses the corner reflecting technique.  He expects to be able to sell markers for roughly $0.36 each in 1000 quantity.  The session ended right at 5PM.