Communications and Electronics Section

Better Caving Through Electrical Stuff

Paperless Surveying Update


It is still early in the paperless cave survey game, but PocketTopo (for PC), Auriga (for Palm PDA) , and TopoDroid (for Android phones & tablets) can all create in-cave working maps.  A simple frame will allow rapid calibration of the DistoX2 in a tiny space with no freehand aiming or tripod.  This first requires aligning the case with the laser, which turns out to be very easy.  TopoDroid cave survey software by Marco Corvi will run on most Android phones and tablets.  Compact external backup batteries are available.  An NVIDIA Shield K1 8” Android tablet with DirectStylus2 technology has a capacitive touchscreen sensitive enough to sketch on with an ordinary #2 wood pencil, with near-perfect tip-line registration.  An IOGEAR active small-tip stylus is available that can give similar results with an ordinary tablet. The tablet can be carried in a  waterproof pouch and/or in a hard case.  The Shield is too long for the Pelican 1055 hard case designed for 7” tablets.  In most cases you must backup data to the removable SD card manually.  Tablets may have magnets that must be removed.  The remaining speaker magnets may still affect DistoX accuracy from >1 ft away.  TopoDroid's many export formats for data and sketches can be included in a single zip file along with files to transfer the survey to another device.  Some of the formats still need work.  Marco encourages feedback.

Presented at the Communications and Electronics Section meeting at the 2017 NSS Convention in Rio Rancho, NM, by Brian Pease

NSS2017 Paperless Sueverying Update.pdf