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PostPosted: Thu 25 Feb 2010 15:10 
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UK Cave Technology Symposium 2010

This event is now confirmed as taking place. Initial info is given below. A more detailed programme will be posted here later.

9am to 5pm, Saturday 17 April, Horton-in-Ribblesdale Village Hall, North Yorkshire, UK. Admission discount for BCRA members.

As usual, this one-day symposium - organised by BCRA’s special interest groups CREG and CSG - coincides with the Cave Surveying Group's spring field meeting, which will take place on the Sunday. If you need overnight accommodation, CSG has reserved some beds at the YSS at Helwith Bridge. Please contact Allan Richardson. (See BCRA events diary for contact details).

Symposium Programme
The Saturday symposium will start at around 9am. Tea and coffee will be available during the day, and you will be able to get lunch in the pub. It is expected that the outdoor equipment manufacturer Beast Products will be selling gear on site.

A programme will be posted to the BCRA News forum in advance of the event. Talks are expected to include the new Nicola 3 radio, Loran, resistivity measurements, caver counters in Ogof Draenen, and a discussion of 'old' caving technology. On surveying there will cave mapping online with tiles, a Therion update and more. On Saturday evening there will be the opportunity to look in more detail at the techniques for tiling surveys on top of online mapping / aerial photos, following on from the talk at the symposium.

CSG Field Meeting
On the Sunday, the Cave Surveying Group will be looking at the new craze of fully-electronic surveying with DistoX and PDAs. You will be able to try out the kit, learn the techniques and find out the pros and cons, before forking out for your own kit (most people who try it do...). We will also look at the process of turning the results into real surveys and we will be doing some experiments on the technique of generating surveys from video camera footage, in order to determine whether this technique is practical for low-budget cavers. The more lights, cameras, expertise and computing facilities that people can bring for this, the better. Training in any aspect of surveying is available if you ask in advance (so we can bring the relevant kit and get someone who knows how to use it). All survey-related tasks are of interest so if you have something you want to show or discuss, do please bring it along.

As noted above - if you want to reserve accommodation at the YSS you must contact Allan Richardson. CSG has block-booked but there are only a limited number of places. Don't forget to bring food - or go to the pub. Tell Wookey if you want training, or have ideas for things to do, or will bring stuff to play with. (See BCRA events diary for contact details).

Last edited by David Gibson on Sun 27 Jun 2010 12:41, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar 2010 15:14 

Joined: Sat 27 Mar 2010 19:48
Posts: 1
Location: Keighley, West Yorkshire
BCRA Cave Technology Symposium 2010

9am to 5pm, Saturday 17 April, Horton-in-Ribblesdale Village Hall, North Yorkshire, UK.

We are now able to make the following provisional programme of talks available. You'll see that we have a full day of presentations on a wide and interesting range of topics. This shows every sign of being the most successful Cave Technology Symposium yet.

Graham Naylor
Nicola Mk3 Digital Cave Radio – a User’s Perspective

The Nicola MK 2 cave radio developed in France, is a single side band super heterodyne transceiver compatible with the Heyphone and used widely throughout Europe. The Nicola Mk 3 is a fully digital evolution of a cave radio developed by Graham Naylor (now resident in the UK and the designer of the Nicola Mk 2). It offers many advantages including the possibility of operating on many frequencies and being able to link to Bluetooth devices such as mobile phones, PDAs and BT headsets. This talk will be a description of how it will be used.

Graham Naylor
Nicola Mk3 – the Hardware

Building on the foundations provided in his first talk “Nicola Mk3 Digital Cave Radio – a User’s Perspective” – Graham will describe the function of the Nicola Mk3’s hardware and firmware and possibilities for re-programming of exotic functions.

Stuart France
Counting Cavers

The usual approaches to monitoring caver numbers and cave destinations are a logbook placed in the cave or an external ticket system. While fine in principle, both of these methods suffer from two problems: they are completed before the event and thus are aspirational rather than evidential, and some people may not be willing to participate in such monitoring. Their reluctance may be due to privacy issues – the linking of names with locations and dates, or to cloak their projects. Other people might over-state their objectives because they are too confident about their caving ability or they want to impress other logbook or ticket readers.

Another approach to monitoring is to use electronic counters. These, of course, well suit the kind of open caves most used by professionally-led groups or the general public where a logbook or ticket system is impractical. I have used them in that context for precisely those reasons. But of course, one can also use counters to record actual events to compare later with logbook or ticket records. It is helpful that counters do not record identities, and can be benignly placed just on major junctions, as this aspect might make them more acceptable to those who have privacy issues.

It is to be hoped that even the more secretive cavers will still tell someone else where they are going in the event of needing a rescue as this will speed up a search. Rescue team members have commented to me that counters spread across large cave systems might help to narrow the search in the event of a group that has simply vanished.
Recent research in the 80km Ogof Draenen cave system has shown that there is signficant deviation between logbook entries (if people actually create them) and where cavers go. These comparisons have been practical because the cave is not very popular despite its great length, so it is usually easy to see which party listed in the logbook triggered which counters and when. The historic logbook data has also been analysed using the same software package as for recent electronic visitor data, and interesting views on caver activity and trends have emerged.

My presentation will look at electronic and software technology for counting cavers and how to interpret data coming from either a counter or paper approach. The ability of counters to expose missing or misleading logbook entries will also be shown by means of actual examples.

Mike Bedford
LORAN-C – Friend or Foe?

LORAN-C is, perhaps, best known in the cave rescue community for the interference it causes to cave radios. After years of speculation concerning its demise, it now appears that this low-frequency hyperbolic navigation system has a medium to long term future in Europe after all. However, it might not all be bad news. The fact that LORAN-C is able to interfere with cave radio communication – and not just on the surface – is evidence of the fact that the signals can penetrate the ground to some depth. Might it be possible therefore, that LORAN-C could offer underground location and navigation capabilities that are not achievable with GPS?

In this talk some basic background will be provided on hyperbolic navigation in general and LORAN-C particularly. This will be followed up with information on the likely future of the LORAN-C system, as a backup to GPS. The presentation will conclude with some discussion of the challenges of using LORAN-C as an underground navigational tool.

Jim Davis
Before Batteries- Items from the Ark which Still Have a Use

Battery technology will continue to revolutionise cave exploration in the 21st century. A snapshot of exploration equipment developed since the 1960's will be described and displayed. If you have any such items, please bring them with you. The session will not be 'high tech' in the modern sense!

Louise Hunter
Autonomous Cave Rescue Robots

A proposal to design and construct a number of caving rescue robots which will work together to survey an environment considered too dangerous for rescue workers. The robots will search the area autonomously relaying the information such as their relative position, non-ambient sounds and images to an external unit outside the cave. The external unit will provide an interface with the rescue workers allowing the workers to see a video feedback of the robots within the caves and their relative position as well as being used to optionally control the robots manually.

The robots may also be able to perform manoeuvres which require more than one robot to complete a task such as moving an obstruction or crossing a gap. However this would be an additional part of the project only to be considered when the initial specifics are completed as it would require more software development.

Bill Buxton
Using Resistivity Surveys to Search for Caves

Many undiscovered caves must have passages that run close to the surface. Resistivity Surveying can be used to search for these unknown caves. The presentation covers some of the theory, methods, and equipment used to conduct Resistivity surveys in the search for new caves, and includes a number of examples.

Paul Mann
Design of a Laser Scanner for 3D Data Capture

Using a mid range consumer camera, a planar laser (i.e. one which projects light as a planar sheet rather than a beam), and computer software making simple geometrical calculations it is possible to build scanners and profilers to capture 3D spatial information (point clouds) for a surface or a cavity.

For my MSc Geomatics dissertation project I am proposing to design and build such a laser triangulation profiler, capable of capturing details such as cave passage shapes. I then hope to field test the equipment at one or more sites of speleological interest.
I will outline the basic principles behind the methodology, and explain some its limitations. I will then summarise my current thoughts towards the design. Finally I will identify the likely outputs.

As this will be early within the project, any feedback and discussion will be welcome as it may help direct development.

Andy Powell
New Technology and Old Surveys, or How to Avoid Surveying

Techniques, technologies and ideas are presented from the project for rescuing the survey work of previous generations. Included here are digital image processing, alpha blending, Google Earth, DeepZoom, SeaDragon and Silverlight, plus, how to make sure that your surveys last forever.

Super-bright LED Lighting for Photography and Video

A look at some of the brightest LEDs currently available and how they can be built into lights for use in cave photography and video. Covering commercially available lights, and how to build home made versions, with some examples of photographs and video taken using LED lighting.

Poster: Robert Mehew
A Load Cell for Rope Testing

An instrumented dynamic rope test facility is being developed which is capable of measuring the energy behaviour of a rope knot system. Results from the development work indicate complex behaviour for a rope knot system and that the overall drop length rather than the fall factor is significant in rope / knot systems of under 2m length.

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