and Cartography Section
of the National Speleological Society
Call for Web Maps
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.
The digital revolution didn’t rock both components of our Survey
and Cartography Section equally. Cave survey has been digitized to a
great extent, as we see presented every year at our sessions. We
measure with Distos, sketch on tablets, file data on servers, and build
3D digital models. Cave cartography, on the other hand, is quite
overdue for the same sort of revolution. It is quite exciting to think
of what might be created. I expect some day to use my phone or tablet
to find cave maps online. I expect to interact with maps that link cave
locations to pictures and metadata. I expect to rotate, pan, and zoom
through a 3D cave model. I expect to download a digital map, take it to
my armchair for some mental navigation, then take it underground and
have it help me navigate the routes for real.
Cave models can be inspected in special computer programs, but I
have not yet seen a cave map app. There are plenty of movies of cave
models, which show you a fly-through of digital shapes, but you can’t
navigate it yourself. I can go online and find pictures of digital
maps, but I have yet to find even a simple digital cave map online that
I can use.
What makes it a map? First and foremost, it must allow a user to
navigate. A movie is not a map. Beyond that, I suggest the salon should
not be picky, especially for those first entrees. Labels would be good.
Some indication of compass and vertical directions. Other than that, I
wouldn’t worry about rules too much. Let those cartographic pathfinders
make the rules.
To my mind, a useful cave map is both portable and easily
disseminated. To that end, the salon presents one real hurtle for the
digital cartographer. We want a web address - a URL. We’ll post that
URL in the salon and visitors will browse (scan a barcode, perhaps) and
view the map on their device of choice.
Finally, I hope you are wiggling in your seat with impatience,
almost apoplectic with incredulity, simply amazed I never heard of this
map at that web place, that famous map there which only an idiot could
have missed. I have no doubt I deserve the scorn, but do please let me
know the page, send me a URL. We really want your map!
Cartographic Salon Chair
Please note: Entries for the “traditional” Cartographic Salon are
still very welcome. The details are on the
Web at https://caves.org/committee/salons/Cartographic.shtml.
last updated or validated on April 21, 2020