Author Topic: Hand-drawn maps  (Read 8821 times)

Offline andys

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Re: Hand-drawn maps
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2015, 09:22:30 am »
Am I missing something, or is the absence of any discussion of the "3D" capabilities of digital surveys not a key differentiator? A hand-drawn survey is almost invariably just a "plan" and a "section", and whilst those two projections are the likely "paper output" of a digital survey, the ability to use the same data to view other projections when needed, or to rotate about virtually any axis when presented on a PC rather than paper, are surely huge advantages.
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Offline cavermark

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Re: Hand-drawn maps
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2015, 11:24:09 am »
Indeed Andys, I find looking around the 3D models fascinating as well as really useful. Even more so when you add surface topography..

Offline Simon Wilson

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Re: Hand-drawn maps
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2015, 11:41:44 am »
... The state of survey in the UK seems to be generally more advanced than that in the US. I'm interested in the reasons.

I am not questioning the value of computer drawn maps, especially when the computer-viewed results provide superior clarity as in the case of large, complex, multi-layered maps. I am questioning our eagerness (in the US) and the seeming completeness (in the UK) of the abandonment of drawing maps by hand. ...

I have guessed that there may be relatively little new exploration ongoing in the UK, and that original surveying projects are less common than here in the US where many secluded caves provide plentiful opportunities for original discovery. Could that be part of the reason you have "progressed" in your survey sophistication? In short, because there's nothing better to do? Correct me if I'm wrong, I'm trying to understand the differences in our caving culture. I've been writing for a while about the disconnection between our motivations and behaviors, and the way this disconnection is impacting the number of active cavers. ...

My underlining.

I agree and the same thing applies to some other aspects of caving such as digging techniques and resin anchors. But to stick to surveying, is it partly because use of the software is so difficult to learn that you need specialist training and that training is not available in the US?

Offline graham

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Re: Hand-drawn maps
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2015, 12:26:06 pm »
But to stick to surveying, is it partly because use of the software is so difficult to learn that you need specialist training and that training is not available in the US?

Simon

I have been surveying caves for forty years. I have used everything from compass/clino/tape desktop calculators & pen & ink to programs such as Compass, Survex & Therion. A number of surveys that I have drawn and collaborated on can be found on my club's website. The only training that I have ever had was half an hour underground in Co. Clare back in about 1973 when Dick Willis showed me the basics of using instruments & recording data. I agree that some people need more training in some things than others, I've never been trained in fitting resin bolts for example, but all skills need practice & these programs are not, in essence, that difficult to use*

*Except Tunnel, I've never mastered Tunnel. Tunnel is hard!  ;)
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Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Hand-drawn maps
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2015, 04:24:18 pm »
Thanks Simon, for actually reading and comprehending and responding to my actual questions.
I don't mean to give the impression that US cavers are stuck in the past, or hand-drawing everything. Most US cartographers, and probably all who are working on large caves (more than a few miles) are using Compass, Walls, Therion, Survex, AutoCAD etc. and are drawing with Illustrator, Inkscape or other multilayer SVG programs. There is also high interest in and some application of 3D methods and Lidar and similar technologies are in use in some caves.

However, in the multitude of small caves being regularly discovered, there are a few of us doing almost everything by hand. I am 27 years old and I have only surveyed, mostly alone or with my brother and wife, for only 5 years. I have no intention to switch to advanced methods of survey, not because I can't, but because all of my current needs are being met by my current methods.

Quote from: kdxn
Therion does not preclude artistry. You can create your own symbols, use colour as you please and you have a lot of freedom with a graphics tablet for input.
This is true, and yet the uniformity I see in currently produced US maps is depressing.

Offline Simon Wilson

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Re: Hand-drawn maps
« Reply #30 on: February 12, 2015, 04:31:41 pm »
The impression I have is that computer manipulation of data and production of surveys is practised by a small proportion of cavers who have a high level of expertise. Those people appear to have little concern, and possibly appreciation, that the complexity of the software and lack of self-help information excludes people.


Offline graham

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Re: Hand-drawn maps
« Reply #31 on: February 12, 2015, 04:44:25 pm »
The impression I have is that computer manipulation of data and production of surveys is practised by a small proportion of cavers who have a high level of expertise. Those people appear to have little concern, and possibly appreciation, that the complexity of the software and lack of self-help information excludes people.

Simon. Self help information exists and is frequently good. This guide by Footleg is particularly to be recommended, for example.

Quote from: kdxn
Therion does not preclude artistry. You can create your own symbols, use colour as you please and you have a lot of freedom with a graphics tablet for input.
This is true, and yet the uniformity I see in currently produced US maps is depressing.

Kenilworth. There is a reason that symbols used on maps are uniform. It is an important part of understanding them. A survey is not (or not just) an artistic representation of a cave, it is a symbolic description of the cave and just as a guidebook needs to use a recognised language to impart its meaning, so does a survey. That is, of course, if it is designed to be used by an audience greater than just the author & his close friends; I am forgetting that the US does not have the same guidebook culture as the UK and much of Europe.
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Offline cavermark

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Re: Hand-drawn maps
« Reply #32 on: February 12, 2015, 05:59:05 pm »
The impression I have is that computer manipulation of data and production of surveys is practised by a small proportion of cavers who have a high level of expertise. Those people appear to have little concern, and possibly appreciation, that the complexity of the software and lack of self-help information excludes people.

I can understand you having that impression: I had it myself at one time. Having found out where and who to ask and having done a digital surveying weekend course run by the Cave Surveying Group I have changed my view. The intention of the "experts" is not to exclude people (they are just busy people). The responses on places like the Therion user group are friendly. They do respect the adage "there is no such thing as a stupid question" and don't just respond with "read the manual".

Offline robjones

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Re: Hand-drawn maps
« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2015, 06:16:48 pm »
I have no intention to switch to advanced methods of survey, not because I can't, but because all of my current needs are being met by my current methods.

I've been surveying underground since 1976 and am still using hand held compass and clino and a glass fibre tape, and continue to solely draw my surveys by hand on tracing film. I do so because I survey and draught plans for the pleasure of doing it / better comprehend the passages, and to record / communicate the information gathered. It's a hobby so I do it the way I enjoy it and feel no obligation to change how I do it. Hobbies are about enjoyment / satisfaction: this informs my choice of trips and similarly informs how I survey and draught plans.

Many hobbies involve doing things in out-moded ways using out-moded equipment. Surveying using out-moded equipment might be grouped with, say, amateur blacksmithing, wood-turning, or  letterpress printing: something done because the practitioner enjoys the process as well as the product.

My 2 cents worth  :)

Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Hand-drawn maps
« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2015, 06:20:06 pm »
Quote from: graham
There is a reason that symbols used on maps are uniform. It is an important part of understanding them. A survey is not (or not just) an artistic representation of a cave, it is a symbolic description of the cave and just as a guidebook needs to use a recognised language to impart its meaning, so does a survey.
Yessir. I'm talking about uniformity of style. I can't see any reason that a map can't be functional and understandable and convey the unique style of its maker.

I have no intention to switch to advanced methods of survey, not because I can't, but because all of my current needs are being met by my current methods.

I've been surveying underground since 1976 and am still using hand held compass and clino and a glass fibre tape, and continue to solely draw my surveys by hand on tracing film. I do so because I survey and draught plans for the pleasure of doing it / better comprehend the passages, and to record / communicate the information gathered. It's a hobby so I do it the way I enjoy it and feel no obligation to change how I do it. Hobbies are about enjoyment / satisfaction: this informs my choice of trips and similarly informs how I survey and draught plans.

Many hobbies involve doing things in out-moded ways using out-moded equipment. Surveying using out-moded equipment might be grouped with, say, amateur blacksmithing, wood-turning, or  letterpress printing: something done because the practitioner enjoys the process as well as the product.

My 2 cents worth  :)

I agree completely.

Offline Swallowneck

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Re: Hand-drawn maps
« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2015, 07:01:36 pm »
Quote
The impression I have is that computer manipulation of data and production of surveys is practised by a small proportion of cavers who have a high level of expertise. Those people appear to have little concern, and possibly appreciation, that the complexity of the software and lack of self-help information excludes people.

Simon, I think surveying as a whole is practiced by a small proportion of cavers, I personally only know of two other cavers who are actively involved on a regular basis.
I don't see how the complexity excludes people, sure enough the likes of Therion is not easy to start with but as in my case a few months after a weekend course at BPF with Andrew and Footleg and I can produce OK basic surveys, nothing like what can be achieved I might add but I'm getting there, things are starting to click. I consider myself a surveying numpty with average PC skills so if I can do it anybody can.
I will admit there has been many adjournments to the pub with a bout of Therion head and the PC has had a lucky escape a time or two but after the initial hardship of not being able to make anything work the breakthroughs came as with any new thing you try.
Therion in the short time I have been using it has become easier with improvements to the user interface and I suppose the software will continue to evolve over time. Changes will be slow but the guys doing this do so in their spare time and I for one thank them all for doing this because without them these tools would not exist.
As I said in an earlier post, people local to one another could ease the frustration by comparing notes and learning together and not struggle on in isolation.
The Paperless surveying training course was great but you can't expect AA and FL to give up their time and run these weekends on a regular basis. I doubt they barely  covered costs on the one I attended. Maybe we need a couple of courses that cover different levels which I for one would be prepared to pay for because at my current skill level it would save me loads of time. What do you think guys?

Quote
I have no intention to switch to advanced methods of survey, not because I can't, but because all of my current needs are being met by my current methods.

That's great, I still think a good hand drawn survey can look fantastic even though the method of measuring with three separate instruments must allow for a greater margin of error.
Use what ever method floats your boat.

Offline andrew

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Re: Hand-drawn maps
« Reply #36 on: February 13, 2015, 08:06:38 am »

The Paperless surveying training course was great but you can't expect AA and FL to give up their time and run these weekends on a regular basis. I doubt they barely  covered costs on the one I attended. Maybe we need a couple of courses that cover different levels which I for one would be prepared to pay for because at my current skill level it would save me loads of time. What do you think guys?

csg is happy to run courses, we have been paperless surveying courses for nearly 5 years, we try to limit ourselves to 2 a year so the trainers do not use up all their caving time on them, however even less formally there have been many extra training sessions for expeditions, project groups etc. CSG has visited, South Wales, Mendip, Devon, Yorkshire and Derbyshire. The deal is that the requester does the organisation and the csg delivers the content. Recently it has almost exclusively been starter courses, but there has  een discussion of an advanced course in South Wales, but working out the contents has proved difficult. Another idea is if a project group want to arrange addition help to take the output to the next stage, we might have the skills to help with that. Just  make contact, we will see what we can do (be warned organisation is not a csg strong point, but badgering us helps)

Back to the original question.

New technics, especially when complicated, take to e to adopt, even when the benefits are obvious, generally this spreads from one group that scrambles up the initial learning curve. In the UK that has happened, and as we are a small isle the spread can be quiet quick.

As for the software been difficult, yes it could be better, but in reality it is surveying that has lots of complex problems, doing things by hand these problems are generally 'bodged' however that it harder to do on a computer, so it forces people to get it right. Most surveys in UK are labeled 5c OR d but generally are not. Digital surveying arguably moves everyone to at least that standard for the same amount of work

Andrew

Offline Wayland Smith

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Re: Hand-drawn maps
« Reply #37 on: February 13, 2015, 02:36:25 pm »
This might be relevent to the discussion!
 Vint Cerf, a "father of the internet", says he is worried that all the images and documents we have been saving on computers will eventually be lost.

Our life, our memories, our most cherished family photographs increasingly exist as bits of information - on our hard drives or in "the cloud". But as technology moves on, they risk being lost in the wake of an accelerating digital revolution.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-31450389

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Hand-drawn maps
« Reply #38 on: February 13, 2015, 02:43:16 pm »
OMG, ... or perhaps TFFT would be more apt.  :)

Offline Roger W

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Re: Hand-drawn maps
« Reply #39 on: February 13, 2015, 05:09:33 pm »
For some of us, our cherished memories can't be bothered to wait for any acceleration digital revolution to get lost.....

Now what was I going to do before I started typing this..?     :'(
"That, of course, is the dangerous part about caves:  you don't know how far they go back, sometimes... or what is waiting for you inside."   JRR Tolkein: "The Hobbit"

Offline caver.adam

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Re: Hand-drawn maps
« Reply #40 on: March 23, 2015, 01:42:51 pm »
I've had this argument a number of times in the States. Generally what I find is that people who like hand-drawn maps like the fact that they look very nice and are easy to read by the user (when done well). The secondary argument I hear is that digital maps don't include all the historical data, but this argument is a complaint against digital cartographers and not against the medium.

Then there are a lot of advantages of digital. It is quick and easy to update with new information. It can produce 3D models. Etc, etc.

My personal feeling is that I prefer to have a digital map from a source like Therion when I'm working on a project trying to learn about the cave and continue mapping it. We are working a project for a cave that is 22km+ with over two dozen unsurveyed leads. And we are trying to connect this cave to another one that is over 8km+ long with leads that are difficult to get to due to prolonged cold and wet conditions. I don't want to have to wait for a hand-drawn sketch to be updated between each survey trip. I want to get the information out of the trip and use it to plan future trips. Later I'm hoping one of our resident cartographers can help make it pretty.

Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Hand-drawn maps
« Reply #41 on: March 23, 2015, 03:04:47 pm »
Aye. You make some valid points. How's Big Bat going?

I've just noticed Graham, that I missed your earlier question...

Quote
But can I query something that you said earlier, please? You now say, "The caves I survey are small, and I like to tell myself that I do a thorough job of exploring and surveying before I put any ink on paper." This seems to be somewhat at odds with your previous statement that, " I have guessed that there may be relatively little new exploration ongoing in the UK, and that original surveying projects are less common than here in the US where many secluded caves provide plentiful opportunities for original discovery." Could you elaborate?

...and admit that I don't know what the question is. I can, any time I choose, drive for a few hours and walk for a few more and be almost guaranteed to find a virgin cave. I've assumed that things like population density, relative lack of forests, longer history of exploration, etc. would make such a thing improbable in the UK. This doesn't mean that I'm finding huge caves.

Offline Bottlebank

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Re: Hand-drawn maps
« Reply #42 on: March 23, 2015, 03:31:33 pm »
Aye. You make some valid points. How's Big Bat going?

I've just noticed Graham, that I missed your earlier question...

Quote
But can I query something that you said earlier, please? You now say, "The caves I survey are small, and I like to tell myself that I do a thorough job of exploring and surveying before I put any ink on paper." This seems to be somewhat at odds with your previous statement that, " I have guessed that there may be relatively little new exploration ongoing in the UK, and that original surveying projects are less common than here in the US where many secluded caves provide plentiful opportunities for original discovery." Could you elaborate?

...and admit that I don't know what the question is. I can, any time I choose, drive for a few hours and walk for a few more and be almost guaranteed to find a virgin cave. I've assumed that things like population density, relative lack of forests, longer history of exploration, etc. would make such a thing improbable in the UK. This doesn't mean that I'm finding huge caves.

I think it's probably easier to think of the UK as being a state in Europe, if you want to get a comparison with the US.

Whilst you're quite right that it's very difficult to walk into even small virgin caves here in the UK we're far closer to say Spain, France or Austria than an West coast US caver is to the Virginia, for example. New discoveries, mainly small but some larger, are found very regularly in the UK but most are from either surface digs (often long term) or underground digs but UK cavers are finding many, many miles of new passage every year just in Spain for example as well as many more in other European countries and other places around the world.

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