Author Topic: Practical Use of a DistoX  (Read 4583 times)

Online SamT

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Practical Use of a DistoX
« on: July 01, 2009, 03:34:17 pm »

OK OK, so everyone's gone DistoX mad.

We are all pratting about at home with soldering irons, laptops, pda's and blinding the kids with lasers.

But what about actually getting underground with one (as I hope to do very soon).

My plan is to bag off using a PDA and pocket topo.

Its all well and good wandering round the warm and pleasant caves of Matienzo or Mulu with one, but there is no way I'm pratting about in Bagshawe  with a pda. It's gonna be a full time job just to keep the distoX from getting wet/clarted up/dropped/drowned/scratched etc.

Let alone a PDA too.

I'm just going to use it in conjunction with a good old waterproof notebook/pencil for sketching and jotting down from to tape/compass/clino data.

Then at home, use the blue tooth just just down load the results and cut and paste the ones I need from pocket topo (with reference to the notebook) into Excel or text for use with Survex or Therion

Thats my plan anyhow. Have I overlooked something. Is there a major paw in my flan.

Online SamT

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Re: Practical Use of a DistoX
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2009, 03:37:21 pm »

Oh - and another thing - has anyone seen any kind of protective housing for an A3. Like one of those latex things (no, not on of those latex things)
you get for mobiles.

something to stop the screen getting scratched to fcuk and the numberpad wearing out.

(I'm assuming you cant cover the lens on the end, and I also assume that if that gets clarted up/scratched, your A3 is fcuked.)


Offline footleg

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Re: Practical Use of a DistoX
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2009, 04:01:28 pm »
Hi Sam,

My use of a PDA underground in Matienzo has carefully avoided the dry walking size passages that caving abroad is famous for, and generally involved active streamways and wet muddy crawls  ;) . I use the PDA in an Aquapak PDA case, which makes it completely waterproof. In fact I clean it underground when the window gets too muddy by putting it in a stream and washing off the mud. It really is useful to use the PDA to collect the data underground as you go. See the cave map build as you survey, and fix any duff shots on location by remeasuring them. Sketching on the PDA is really great too (I was sceptical until I tried it). Leaving the cave with a scale sketch already completed is excellent.

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/Aquapac-PDA-Waterproof-Case-Classic/dp/B000E3K4JK

We did not protect the DistoX while in use. Just handled it carefully like we had to with the old Suunto compass/clino instruments. I have heard a Disto will work inside certain types of waterproof case. I think the ones designed for small cameras which let you take photos through the plastic of the case. As long as the laser beam does not get too diffused by the case I think it would work. But we have not had a case to try this with.

I bought my PDA case directly from Aquapak, who were doing a half price deal at the time (but not now it seems):
http://www.aquapac.net/ukstore/waterproof-pda-cases-598-0.html

Offline underground

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Re: Practical Use of a DistoX
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2009, 12:08:37 am »

I'm just going to use it in conjunction with a good old waterproof notebook/pencil for sketching and jotting down from to tape/compass/clino data.


Have I misunderstood this Sam - is it still necessary to take tape/compass/clino measurements?  :shrug:

Offline footleg

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Re: Practical Use of a DistoX
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2009, 10:42:39 am »

I'm just going to use it in conjunction with a good old waterproof notebook/pencil for sketching and jotting down from to tape/compass/clino data.


Have I misunderstood this Sam - is it still necessary to take tape/compass/clino measurements?  :shrug:

I think Sam means Disto length, DistoX compass and DistoX clino data. In other words, you still measure data representing tape, compass, clino, but all using the DistoX instead of traditional instruments.

Offline underground

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Re: Practical Use of a DistoX
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2009, 11:34:00 am »
 :-[

Phew.

Offline sluka

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Re: Practical Use of a DistoX
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2009, 03:20:24 pm »
I'm just going to use it in conjunction with a good old waterproof notebook/pencil for sketching and jotting down from to tape/compass/clino data.

It is absolutely your business, but with notebook/pencil you'll lost 50 % of you time and 95 % of the joke. There is a bit difference to have at the end of surveying trip finished, in scale drawn and with many temporary points measured map with exact measured sections and extended elevation or "only" sketches in notebook.

m.

Offline Bob Smith

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Re: Practical Use of a DistoX
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2009, 03:41:32 pm »
I've been using an otterbox with soft membrane front, keeps the pda nice and dry.

Offline DaveR

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Re: Practical Use of a DistoX
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2009, 12:53:40 pm »
Strikes me there are a lot of DistoX virgins out there who could do with 'breaking in' by a more experienced user... Any DistoX masters willing to give a class? In the Dales in the next 3 weeks would be just peachy  ;D but I reckon people would travel...
My reason for getting one isn't just to use the DistoX as a compass/clino/tape replacement, but to do the drawing on the hoof, cos I'm crap at it!
Yours hopefully.
D Ryall
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Offline Goydenman

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Re: Practical Use of a DistoX
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2009, 01:38:56 pm »
I'm a 'Distox virgin' - there I've admitted it   ;)
Any workshop I can sneak onto I will jump at the chance even if I have to travel a fair distance - if one in the Dales all the better.
Happy to chip in and contribute to the cost of the 'Master's'  :bow: travelling expenses if that helps.  :thumbsup:

Offline nickwilliams

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Re: Practical Use of a DistoX
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2009, 02:29:12 pm »
I do NOT want to be involved in organising a workshop but I'm happy to offer my office in Gt Hucklow as a reasonably central venue within easy reach of some caves if someone else wants to organise it. Our conference room will seat 10-12 in reasonable comfort, and if necessary I can probably book a larger room elsewhere in the village given sufficient notice.

Nick.
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Offline footleg

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Re: Practical Use of a DistoX
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2009, 02:42:03 pm »
Unfortunately I will not be able to give a workshop over the Summer as I am already running off to Texas for the ICS which is as much caving time away from the family as I can get away with. However, I have volunteered the following workshop for Hidden Earth in September:

DistoX and Paperless Surveying Workshop:
A workshop on how to build and use the DistoX digital tape, compass and clino device for cave surveying, and sketching directly on a pocket computer with the Pocket Topo software written for the DistoX. I will cover the process of assembling the DistoX, calibration and use. How to get it talking to a pocket computer and how the digital sketching is done. Finally, how to get existing data onto the pocket computer to extend previously surveyed caves, and export the data to process with Survex and Tunnel to generate the final survey.

If anyone has suggestions for additional points they would like me to cover then please post suggestions here.

Offline graham

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Re: Practical Use of a DistoX
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2009, 02:49:37 pm »
... process with Survex and Tunnel ...

Tunnel!  :bow:

I'm currently getting to grips with Therion.
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Offline mulucaver

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Re: Practical Use of a DistoX
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2009, 03:57:41 pm »
There's one thing you overlooked. You don't need to cut and paste to get the data into Therion. There is an export function for Therion in PocketTopo and an import function in Therion for the file that produces.

When you get used to using your Disto you should be able to do the shitty cave sections without doing the drawings on you PDA and catch up when you get to a non-shitty bit. I've got a waterproof pouch for my PDA that allows me to draw on the PDA without taking it out but you have to try it out when you're buying as some of them won't allow the stylus to slide over the surface. The plastic is very sticky and they ruckle up.
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Offline footleg

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Re: Practical Use of a DistoX
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2009, 03:59:05 pm »
... process with Survex and Tunnel ...

Tunnel!  :bow:

I'm currently getting to grips with Therion.

Pocket Topo does have direct export options for Therion, but I have already been working on a large system survey using Survex and Tunnel for several years. I did take a look at Therion recently, but found it very complicated to get up and running and understand how to do the basics. Tunnel used to be difficult too, but I believe it is much easier to use since the redesign done about 12 months ago. I actually prefer the way that Tunnel now works directly with the Survex centreline data, and allows you to work on one large on screen map for the sketching. Therion on the other hand has some great output options which are not directly possible from Tunnel.

Not knowing Therion, I cannot give a workshop about how to use it! But Tunnel, developed by cavers in the UK, I can talk knowledgeably about. If you are looking for a Therion workshop then you will need to find someone who is able and willing to give one, but that person is not me!

Offline mulucaver

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Re: Practical Use of a DistoX
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2009, 04:02:31 pm »

I'm just going to use it in conjunction with a good old waterproof notebook/pencil for sketching and jotting down from to tape/compass/clino data.


Have I misunderstood this Sam - is it still necessary to take tape/compass/clino measurements?  :shrug:

I think you misunderstood Sam. What he means is he will write down the tape, compass, clino readings which the Disto X gives him, not that he will take those readings manually.
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Offline mulucaver

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Re: Practical Use of a DistoX
« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2009, 04:04:25 pm »
Just another thought Sam. I'm in Derbyshire until September so if you need any help or advice get in touch with me.
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Offline sluka

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Re: Practical Use of a DistoX
« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2009, 06:44:14 pm »
Pocket Topo does have direct export options for Therion,

It is enough to export data from PocketTopo xxx.txt. Then:

1. start Therion, press F1, New file and Import PocketTopo Therion Export

2. press F2, New file, Save as, Background picture - Insert PocketTopo Therion Export for map and second time Insert the section

You will see the difference.

BTW therion is not the software to draw the map of a cave. It is a tool to archive all data from a particular cave or a karst region. One may export different outputs from that archive or export data to different formats - GIS for example.

Online SamT

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Re: Practical Use of a DistoX
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2009, 09:13:52 am »

Durex Extra Safe did a good job of keeping most of the mud/water off the distoX last night.  :lol:  (seriously)

Reckon someone out there needs to develop a flip top box for it. a bit like a fag packet, where the end flips up to expose the lens, with a transparent latex bit for the display/keypad.