Survey & Cartography Section

of the National Speleological Survey


About the Survey & Cartography Section

Welcome to the Survey and Cartography Section's (SACS) website. SACS is an internal organization of the NSS whose purpose it is to improve the state of cave documentation and survey, cave data manipulation, and all forms of cave cartography.

SACS is made up of a diverse group of cavers who are interested in sharing ideas, technology and opinions on the science and art of producing digital and traditional cave maps, on methods of cave data collection and reduction, and for improving the digital manipulation and representation of cave survey data. Anyone interested in cave mapping and cartography is welcome to join.

The Section holds an Annual Meeting, a Survey and Cartography Session, and a Cartographic Salon at each NSS Convention. Section business is conducted at the annual meeting. Papers, presentations and discussions are featured at the Convention session and the Cartographic Salon is an exhibit of traditional and digital cave maps which feature the best work of national and international cartographers.

Most Recent Issue of Compass & Tape

Volume 18, Issue 4, Number 61 – July 2010

Click on cover image to see issue.


NEW! Survey & Cartography Session Call for Presentations at the 2017 NSS Convention – Deadline for submitting abstracts is April 1, 2017 (Yes, this is a very early deadline!)

This is a call for presentations for the Survey and Cartography session at the 2017 NSS Convention. The session provides a good way to tell other cave mappers what you are doing, and to discuss problems related to mapping and cave surveying. Most cave surveyors have either developed useful techniques that may benefit others, or are encountering problems that someone else may have solved. In either case a session presentation would be appropriate. For more complete information, see the SACS Call for Presentations Flyer .

NEW! Survey & Cartography Section Patch

SACS now has an official patch! The 4” diameter cloth patch was designed by Jason Richards. The patch is available to anyone for a paltry $4 and the price includes postage. If you order two or more patches at once, the price for the first one is $4 and the additional ones are $3 each. SACS Patch flyer/order form.

Join the NSS Survey & Cartography Section Group on facebook!

NEW! NSS Convention Session, Cartography Salon & Section Meeting, Rio Rancho, New Mexico, June 19–23, 2017

The SACS will be holding a Survey & Cartography Session, Cartography Salon, and Section Meeting & lunch at the NSS Convention. The next NSS Convention will be held in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, June 19-23, 2017.

Survey & Cartography Session, Section Meeting & lunch dates to be determined.

Updated! Survey & Cartography Session Abstracts from NSS Conventions

Bob Hoke and Bob Thrun have compiled and formatted a document containing all the abstracts from NSS Convention Survey & Cartography Sessions, 1963–2016 into a pdf file (52 pages! - updated September 2016): SACS abstracts.pdf

Call for Web-Based Maps from the Cartographic Salon Chair

The Cartographic Salon welcomes web maps, and this year I hope we get some actual entrees. With a real example to study, we might begin learning what a web map really is. Please let me know of any cave map that might qualify, your own or something you’ve seen on a web page somewhere.

See this flyer Call for Web-Based Maps for more details!

To find out more about the cartography salon, follow this link:

Please do join us at the Critique Session. Encourage your friends to come, too. And please enter your maps!


Dwight Livingston

Cartographic Salon Chair

Survey & Cartography Section Membership

Please email the SACS Treasurer, Bob Hoke,, your name & email address to become a member of SACS and be kept up-to-date on all upcoming activities. SACS is no longer collecting dues as we currently have sufficient funds for current activities for many years, and we have decided to publish Compass & Tape as an electronic only publication, saving much of the annual costs of membership.