Cave Survey Software - historical interest

By Wookey/AndyW, Last update 1998.03.05

There is now a great deal of software available to help you with survey data reduction and survey plotting. Also still in circulation are a number of programs which are no longer supported by their authors, which may be of some interest to aficionados of the history of development of survey software, or folk with old datasets.

NameSystem/OSAuthor, CountryCost
SU v2RISCOS / BBCAndy Waddington, UKFree
Surveyor88PC (DOS)Sean Kelly, UKFree

Software on this page may be unobtainable - it is best to approach the author if he is on the net, or Wookey otherwise.

Program internals are described as 1st-4th generation, following Bob Thrun's suggested classification:

If you have FTP access you can get software directly from the remaining English language cavers archive. All the free/shareware software is there, however it hasn't been updated since late 1995 and thus is increasingly out of date.:


Other survey software sites: Jon Jasper's survey software page which keeps up to date links to many places for survey software download.


1987. SU is really something of a relic. It was originally developed in Fortran on an ICL mainframe, later converted (just for fun) to APL on an IBM, and then became more generally useful when it was rewritten in BASIC on a BBC micro, one of the earliest home micros with survey software. Several new facilities were added at this stage. Everything was processed from disc (and the program was heavily overlaid to be able to process large caves in about 25k of memory). In the late eighties it was ported to the Archimedes, with everything done im memory, which made it orders of magnitude faster. However, all the data that the author used was moved to other software (Surveyor 88 and Survex) part way through a development cycle, so the program was abandoned broken. Should you be unfortunate enough to need to reduce data on a BBC Micro, then you could contact Andy for a copy of the BBC version. Otherwise, the only likely problem is converting to some other program. There is comprehensive documentation on the data format, and a conversion program to Survex format is available (in C source).
Email: Andy Waddington


1989. Surveyor88 is a menu-based 4th gen. program, which is now no longer supported by its author, Sean Kelly. It takes text file input. Its graphics are OK but extremely slow.
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