By Steve Reames

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.

About Me

Steve Reames (NSS 25533) is a Colorado caver based in Colorado Springs and has been an NSS member for over 30 years. He was active in the early explorations of Lechuguilla Cave and wrote a book published in 1999. He designed the electronics in the Manley 20 headlamp and is currently surveying and exploring a number of water caves in the White River Plateau.


  1. Very cool ! Trog-speed on your future testing and manufacturing, many cavers eagerly await the results. Thanks for sharing your R&D.

  2. Interesting. What was the brand / part number of the compass unit you have decided to go with?

    1. The Memsic MMC5983MA is my favorite which is a bit better than the one in DistoX2 (which uses the PNI RM3100). The Ashai Kasei AK09940 is a second choice and is equal to the PNI part.

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