During the CAVES mission environments and passages are surveyed using novel technology based on laser range finders and the CaveSniper instrument. The combination of these devices allows us to measure distance, direction and inclinations between survey stations. At each station it is also possible to take measurements of the surrounding environments using “splay shots”.
The route from station to station coupled with splay measurements allow software (called Compass Cave) to construct a 3D model of the cave and draw a cave map (on the horizontal plane) and a profile (on the vertical plane). The result can be used by future cave explorers and scientists to locate sampling and monitoring sites. The 3D survey map can also be displayed on surface maps to chart cave development below Earth’s surface.