1.1.NZSS Cave Data (Maps) Procedure

This is a proposal for an ‘agreed procedure’ between NZSS and members or cavers who survey caves and produce maps or cave representations in New Zealand.

It is about how to get the maps to NZSS, and how NZSS records the information and makes it available to members.

(How to manage exploration, survey, make models and draw maps are other topics entirely)


  • Caves that are discovered are surveyed.
  • Maps are produced regularly throughout the exploration, and these are available to SAR Operations and to NZSS members.
  • Cave information and maps are managed in compliance with the NZSS Code of Ethics

Tasks and Responsibilities

A synopsis is listed below or you can view more detail by following this link.

Who is Responsible Tasks and Responsibilities
1.    Survey and drawing team Survey cave, draw map.  Give map and information to NZSS Maps Officer
2.    NZSS Maps Officers



Store submitted map and information in Cave Atlas.  Display maps at AGM
3.    NZSS survey judge Rank maps and provide constructive feedback.  Recommend up to four maps for survey cup to be awarded  by the Council.  Only financial members are eligible for the cup.
4.    NZSS Maps Officers Store judge’s commentary in Cave Atlas.  Arrange for survey trophy engraving, its delivery to recipient and return the following year
5.    NZSS Librarian & Archivist,
Waitomo Caves Discovery Centre (WCDC)  collections@waitomodiscovery.org
Store hardcopy maps (if these are originals) and information supplied by Maps Officers.  Make accessible to NZSS Members
6.    Survey and drawing team Repeat as necessary

You can edit this procedure directly in NZSS RepositorySurvey ResourcesNZSS Cave Data (Maps) Procedure... .docx if you have access.  If not you can make comments using the 'suggest edit' link below.


Project: a cave survey, modelling and mapping project.  Scope can be one cave, related caves or a whole caving area.  Usually starts with discovery of cave, and includes exploration, but may be a resurvey of previously known and mapped caves.  In a general sense, projects usually have an end point, however in a caving context most significant caves are never finished, so projects should be managed such that they can continue indefinitely or be restarted if required.

(Map and) Information: Information associated with a cave and map, to be submitted with each version, includes;

  • Cave name and locality
  • Entrance coordinates (unless these are withheld for good reason)
  • Survey and drawing team representatives (submitters) name and contact details
  • Whether this is;
    • An unfinished work in progress, not yet ready for survey competition judging,
    • an original map of a previously unmapped cave,
    • a duplicate map of a previously mapped cave, or
    • an update (revision) of a previously submitted map. Minor revisions will not usually be subject to survey competition judging.
  • Identification of known previous projects/maps/authors for this cave
  • A brief description say 20-200 words describing the project and any special features or points of interest about the cave or mapping process used. The descriptions will be stored with the maps.
  • Source data

Some of this information should or can be on the map (such as the name and locality).  Some should not be on the map (such as entrance coordinates).  The specifics are up to the map author, but all this information needs to be presented at the same time, whether it be on or with the map. (Detailed guidelines on what a map should include are another topic).

Entrance coordinates may be withheld for good reason.  For example, by landowner request, or if the cave is particularly vulnerable due to accessibility, content or fragility.  In these cases contact details for a custodian should be supplied.

Source Data: Source data is what is used to produce or compile a map.  It can include;

  • paper survey notes and sketches (scans are preferred with data and associated sketch side by side, same way up!)
  • intermediary sketches produced in order to compile a final map
  • source code for centreline, drawings and compilation of maps (ie Therion data or similar)
  • Adobe Illustrator files (or similar)

The source data can be an identified revision of a versioned repository, and often the best way of providing this to supply a reference to an online address and access details.

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Last updated on April 30, 2020
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