This paper gives an overview about the theoretical and technical aspects of a geographic information system (GIS), which can provide a framework for scientific (hydrological, morphological, geological, etc.) analysis of cave survey data. It is emphasized that a GIS containing archive cave data is important because the information often is irreplaceable (the cave environment has changed), or the resurveying may harm the cave. Thus, it is proposed that a GIS of cave data be multidisciplinary to avoid unnecessary resurveying of caves. To produce such a system, one has to bear in mind many aspects, which is not always evident for the practicing scientists. Cave surveys produce spatial data, either it was measured with measure tape and compass or with a LiDAR station. It is a major issue in cave data processing that the spatial data produced in various surveys do not fit together due to the different methods and coordinate systems, or because of the various data types, which make it hard to syllabize the similarities between different sets of data. The paper focus on how to work with archive and new survey data, and how to handle maps, scans, and sampling data in one information system. From the aspect of data transfer, three main functionalities of a GIS are distinguished: processing, storing, and representation of the information. Discussing the theoretical and practical backgrounds of these functionalities, the paper presents the best practices of building a GIS from archive and newly measured data, emphasizing the importance of procedures like data management, quality control, and automation. The paper shed lights to the various data types that are usually related to cave surveys, to help cave scientist to control the data management and understand (and apply) the automatisms. Also, the probable technical parameters of future cave surveillance systems are discussed.
Part of the book: Cave Investigation