Bulletin of the National Speleological Society - ISSN 0146-9517
Volume 24 Part 1:40-47 - January 1962

A publication of the National Speleological Society

The Accuracy of Cave Survey
Heinz T. Schwinge


Cave maps are with few exceptions based on seemingly crude surveys with compass and tape, performed by volunteers during their spare time. Questions concerning the accuracy of such maps arise often, but are difficult to answer. By use of acknowledged methods of statistics for an estimate of the accuracy of simple cave surveys, it is evident that accuracy depends primarily on precise reading of angles, measurement of distance between stations can be made with some latitude without seriously impairing the accuracy of the survey. A compass and tape survey should have all points within a circle of error with a radius 0.55% of the length of the survey line. The radius of a circle or error for transit and tape is 0.14%.

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