The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 36 Number 2: 7-17 - April 1974

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Use of a Computer Program for Cave Survey Data Reduction
John M. Rutherford and Robert M. Amundson


A computer program for processing large quantities of cave survey data over an extended period was developed as an adjunct to the cartography program of the West Virgina Association for Cave Studies (WVACS). This program includes not only the ability to close loops and to prepare point plots in the standard WVACS cartogrphic grid system, it also includes in the printout cross-sectional data, descriptive comments, and the positions of permanent stations. Flexibility is represented by a highly versatile data card format, by the ability to run only a selected portion of a cave at one time, but optional cave rotation, and, especially, by the "two-way" data card-i.e., one which can be completely interpreted with reference to any other card in the data deck, and which therefore can be read either in the direction of the original survey or in the opposite direction. The procedure for assembling large decks of data cards, was made as fool-proof as possible by using flags to monitor the reading of the data deck, by color-coding punch cards to facilitate organization of the deck, and by building in a routine to avoid problems caused by most instances of card reading errors. Long-term use of the program indicates ath its values lies neither in increased speed nor in greater accuracy in generating a map from survey data, but in the advantages of neat data summaries and improved record-keeping abilities, of the facile generation of fitted data for loop closures, and of the ease with which the cave maps can be redrawn at different scales or attitudes.

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