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Caving Related Links

Cave Survey Software

Caving Organizations & Clubs

Cave Surveys & Conservancies

Caving Discussion Boards & Mail Lists

National and Regional Caving Events

Speleology Articles & References

Other Caving Resources

Caving Gear Vendors & Manufacturers

Caving Technology & Technique

Note: Where possible the brief description accompanying each link has been extracted from the introductory material of the web site. Information on caving technique offered at these sites is no substitute for hands on training and practice in a safe (above ground) environment.


Cave Survey Software

Photo of Suunto Compass and Clinometer

  • Carto - Carto is a tool for making cave maps. Carto has two main parts. One is a mechanism for warping digitized sketches to fit the survey data, and combining them to form a composite. The other is a CAD program designed specifically for drawing cave maps.
  • COMPASS - COMPASS is a software package designed to edit, process, analyze and view cave survey data. The programs in the system allow you to enter cave data, revise the data, generate statistics on the cave, close loops, view plots from various angles on the screen and print finished quality plots. COMPASS features include configurable survey editors, high speed realtime 3D rotation, passage wall modeling, GIS and data base compatibility, sophisticated loop closure and blunder detection.
  • RosettaStal - RosettaStal is a companion program that converts data from other cave data formats to the new CDI format. CDI is an attempt to make a universally acceptable cave data format.
  • Survex - Survex is very powerful cave survey software, and is actively developing into a complete cave visualisation package. Survex is an open source cave-surveying software package, licensed under the GPL.
  • TunnelX - TunnelX is a complete program for drawing good quality cave surveys on a computer and sending them to any sized printer. It can distort the drawings to fit new survey data, as well as render realistic looking randomized boulder fields. TunnelX runs on the latest version of Sun's Java language.
  • Walls - Walls is designed to help cave surveyors organize their data and prepare maps for publication. Features include data entry and verification via an integrated text editor, grouping of surveys into hierarchical project trees, displayed or printed maps with coloring and annotation based on named vector and station attributes, and import/export capabilities.
  • WinKarst - WinKarst is software for the study and mapping of caves. WinKarst can read data created with other cave mapping programs and has been tested with a wide variety of cave surveys. The program enables the user to visualize the cave in three dimensional space and provide information as to the quality of the survey. The user can display, print and export to other computer applications various representations of the cave.
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Caving Organizations & Clubs

  • National Speleological Society (NSS) - founded for the purpose of advancing the study, conservation, exploration, and knowledge of caves. An annual convention is held each summer in different parts of the United States.
  • NSS Grottos, Regions, Sections & Surveys - The NSS internal organizations page provides contact information and links to local and special interest groups. Grottos are local NSS-affiliated caving clubs and the Grottos page provides a list of local clubs throughout the United States.
  • Virginia Region (VAR) - a region of the National Speleological Society, hosts Fall and Spring meetings of member caving organizations and publishes the Region Record.
  • Potomac Speleological Club (PSC) - second largest independent organization of cavers in the United States, the PSC is dedicated to caving, conservation and the science of Speleology. The PSC meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month in Arlington, Virginia.
  • DC Grotto - the Washington, DC area chapter of the National Speleological Society (NSS), dedicated to the exploration, study and conservation of caves. Meets the third Tuesday of each month in Silver Spring, Maryland.
  • Baltimore Grotto - the Baltimore, Maryland area chapter of the National Speleological Society (NSS), dedicated to the exploration, study and conservation of caves. Meets the first Wednesday of each month at the University of Maryland Baltimore County in Catonsville, Maryland.
  • Eastern Region of the National Cave Rescue Commission - Provides cave rescue training and resource coordination to Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • British Caving Association - this site is under development but apparently will be the home of the new British national body for caving. At present, caving services are supplied by the National Caving Association, its Regional Councils and the 'national body' element of British Cave Research Association (BCRA).
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Cave Surveys & Conservancies

  • Virginia Speleological Survey (VSS) - a small, nonprofit group run by cavers active in Virginia, and an official survey of the NSS. The primary mission is to gather and maintain an informational and survey database on caves in the state of Virginia.
  • West Virginia Association for Cave Studies - Dedicated to the exploration, preservation, and study of caves and karst in the Greenbrier Valley
  • West Virginia Cave Conservancy (WVCC) - a non-profit corporation dedicated to preserving the cave and karsts resources of West Virginia for future generations.
  • The Gangsta Mappers - an informal group of folks from throughout the mid-Atlantic states who like to map caves.
  • Mid-Atlantic Karst Conservancy - established by Western Pennsylvania cavers in 1997 for: preserving, ensuring access to, acquiring, and managing caves and karst areas for conservation, scientific study, and recreational caving; and education of landowners, cavers, and the general public in the importance of karst resources and ways to preserve them.
  • Cave Conservancy of the Virginias - a nonprofit organization, established in 1980 for the purpose of protecting and managing caves and karst resources in Virginia and West Virginia and are based in Richmond, Virginia, USA.
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Caving Discussion Boards & Mail Lists

  • The NSS Forums - a moderated discussion list operated as part of the National Speleological Society web site. A good place to ask questions, catch up on the latest news, or follow discussions on caving techniques.
  • Speleomania - Strong international site! It's not as busy as the NSS forums yet but it has great potential. "The intention of Speleomania is simply to provide forums for the discussion of all things cave related - techniques, equipment, sporting, scientific, explorations - Whatever interests cavers, anywhere in the world."
  • Caves.com Discussion Groups - Mark Passerby has set up a number of specialized caving discussion groups (Cave Diggers, Vertical, Cave Rescue, Cave Biology, etc.) )utilizing Yahoo Groups and links are available on his web site. He also has links to several other groupos (Speleonionics, Candlepower forum).
  • Alt.caving Newsgroup via Google - you can access the alt.caving newsgroup through Google if you don't have access to newsgroups through your local ISP. Heavily abused by trolls and spammers these days, a good deal of patience is required at times and real caving traffic tends to come in spurts.
  • Uk.rec.caving Newsgroup via Google - you can access the uk.rec.caving newsgroup through Google if you don't have access to newsgroups through your local ISP. A very active group though, as you might expect, the main focus is on caving in the United Kingdom.
  • ukCaving forum- a discussion forum on underground exploration in the uk. While caving in the UK is their primary focus, they do seem to have an active board with international participation. Also includes a nice photo gallery section.
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National and Regional Caving Events

  • NSS Convention - the annual meeting of the National Speleological Society, the convention is held in different parts of the U.S. each year. Technical paper presentations, cave related art, photography and map exhibitions and other caving related activities activites highlight this annual week long event. The 2005 NSS Convention was held between July 4 and July 8 in Huntsville Alabama.
  • Old Timers Reunion (OTR) - an annual caving event run under the auspices of The Roberton Association (TRA). The Old Timers Reunion or more commonly know as OTR is the largest gathering of cavers in the US. It meets annually in West Virginia at the TRA campground over Labor Day weekend. It's a chance for cavers to get together and visit friends, do some caving and participate in typical caver activities.All attendees must be a TRA member or guest of a TRA member.
  • Virginia Region (VAR) - meetings are held in the Spring and Fall of each year. In addition to the Sunday business meeting, there typically are guided cave trips, a conservation trip and evening dinner on Saturday.
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Speleology Articles & References

  • Bill Storage - Speleology - a series of papers written by Bill and others on a variety of techical topics.
  • Virtual Cave - Dave Bunnell's collection of images from caves all over the world. This site tells the story of caves in words and pictures: what's in them and how it got there.
  • Search Google for Speleology links.
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Other Caving Resources

  • Cavediggers.com / Caves.com - the web companion to Mark Passerby's Caves.com magazine. Offers a collection of caving related resources, including discussion groups on a variety of topics.
  • CAVE LINKS A-Z - Dan Peden's page of "no frills, no bells, no whistles – just links".
  • NSS Long & Deep Cave Lists - NSS GEO2 committee on long and deep caves, listing compiled by Bob Gulden.
  • The Cave Page - Sherry Mayo's cave page from Australia with articles on international caving and vertical techniques.
  • Virginia Region Limited Access Caves - a list of caves in the Virginia Region of the NSS (including West Virginia, Maryland, and some parts of North Carolina and Tennessee) that are known to be closed or have access restrictions.
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Caving Gear Vendors & Manufacturers

  • Inner Mountain Outfitters (IMO) - "... a home-based business dedicated to serving the needs of cavers and high-angle rescue folks. ... We have the most complete line of caving gear in the country, and we are always looking for more items to serve you better."
  • Karst Sports - "...an Internet Based Enterprise merchandiser of caving, rescue, climbing and other outdoor equipment. Karst Sports has been in this business since 1993 and has been selling by way of the Internet since early 1994."
  • Welcome to On Rope 1 - "...dedicated to providing custom equipment that is top of the comfort and quality line. On Rope 1 provides the finest, SRT systems you'll be able to find anywhere."
  • Gonzo Guano Gear (GGG) - "Besides manufacturing our own line of high quality packs, harnesses and ready-made ascending systems, GGG also offers equipment from Petzl, Bassett Metal Studios, Cancord, PMI, SMC, Kong-Bonaiti and other folks who manufacture equally high quality equipment for caving, rock climbing, cave rescue and camping (above and below ground)."
  • PMI Rope Sports - "PMI has grown in the past 25 years to become a leading life safety rope manufacturer, supplying life safety rope to cavers, climbers, mountaineers, rescuers, rappellers, and military."
  • SealSkinz - manufacturer of waterproof, breathable socks & gloves.
  • Welcome to MEANDER Ltd. Slovakia - located in Slovakia, Meander manufactures a wide assortment of "...products and accessories mainly for cavers, climbers, rescue services and workers in heights - oversuits, bags, underwear, harnesses and other products and accessories."
  • Bob & Bob Caving Supplies - "The Largest U.S. Supplier of Caving Equipment", located in Lewisburg, West Virginia.
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Caving Technology & Technique

  • The Carbide Caver - For the true Carbide aficionado! The Carbide Caver will help you find a lamp, help determine a reasonable price, tell you where to find repair parts, and how to keep the lamp operational.
  • Knots on the Web - And for the Knot fanatic ... a collection of knotting resources with major sections on Knot Tying, Knot Theory, and Knot Art ... and more
  • Basic Rock Knot Booklet - A Selection of Knot Diagrams for Introductory Climbing Courses.
  • Knot Knowledge - Twenty-three practical knots are presented with photographs of the steps involved in tying each knot. Every step is also described in text.
  • Basic Scout Knots - These are the eight basic knots that all scouts should be able to tie without even thinking twice.
  • Belaying dynamically - Some tips on proper belaying practice from the Petzl web site.
  • Expedition Rescue Guide - A brief guide to carrying out a rescue on expedition.
  • Cave Symbols - The official UIS list from the UIS working group on Cave Survey and Mapping - a comprehensive, international foundation, on which each country can, if necessary, introduce their own additional symbols.
  • Notes on Alpine-style SRT - These are some very short notes to summarize the basic manoeuvres of alpine-style SRT. Alpine-style SRT makes use of rebelays and deviations so that the rope hangs freely down the pitch avoiding rub points and other hazards such as waterfalls.
  • Cave Protection - what every caver should know... The way we visit and move around in caves, things we do to really protect caves (taping off routes or formations, gating), actions we take to make the non-caving community (the public) aware of cave protection problems, the way we handle "commercial cave tours", ... are just a few examples of how we, cavers, can contribute.
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  Copyright 2002-2004, Bob Robins
  Last Updated: August 9, 2005