EuroSpeleo 2016 Sessions

Workflows and Data Formats Supporting Wider Use of Cave Data

Session code: OT3

Oral / Technical, Main EuroSpeleo Conference

Mr Mike Futrell


Recent years have seen a shift toward numerous options for analyzing, visualizing, and sharing cave data. In days past most computer time was spent with the classic cave software options, a “compile and view” task. Increasingly the trend is to quickly pass the cave data through a compilation step, then on to various geospatial and specialty applications.

A workflow to facilitate data exchange across a bewildering array of data formats is crucial. Focusing on a few widely accepted standards allows support to nearly all map related professions. Opening cave data and models to the archaeologist, engineer, or planner is great, but perhaps the most benefit is to the cave scientist or surveyor.

Working from a GIS / geospatial focus cave data moves in many directions including, collection, 2D and 3D GIS, drafting, methods for internet sharing, archival thoughts, mobile app support, and various modeling options. Data formats make it all work.

The workflows should use inexpensive or open source software, require little or no programming, be understandable by the average technical person, and still be fun.


Mike works as a geospatial analyst for a mid-size engineering/environmental firm. He has participated in 28 international projects spanning 11 countries, and is a major contributor in the Virginia region of the USA. Mike received the prestigious Lew Bicking award from the NSS for dedication to cave survey.