This presentation details recent work in leveraging aerial systems for autonomous cave surveying. Traditional methods of cave surveying are labor-intensive and dangerous due to the risk of hypothermia when collecting data over extended periods of time in cold and damp environments, the risk of injury when operating in darkness in rocky or muddy environments, and the potential structural instability of the subterranean environment.
There is an international standard regarding survey datums, cave length, cave depth, and pit depth, which this talk will describe.
The DistoX2 survey instrument has been key to accurate and efficient cave surveys. It was discontinued at the end of 2019; an electronics project was started to design a replacement. This ongoing project has investigated 19 digital compass MEMS sensors (Micro-Electro Mechanical System) and selected three devices to compare against the sensor used in the DistoX2. A turntable was designed to look into any non-linear behavior. This led to selecting a sensor for future development.