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Butler Survey Project
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Project Background

Fortunately we are standing on the shoulders of giants.  Mike Nicholson drew early maps of the cave, Fred Wefer had meticulously organized the historical survey data, Nevin drew a comprehensive map in the 1970's, and Les Good drew a fine set of maps in the late 1980's.  But by now there are 20 years of survey data to be added to the map, and the lack of an updated map has begun to hinder exploration.  Nevin has kept the data organized during the past 20 years, and with his help I have gotten the data on my PC so that I can generate working section maps with all the known survey data.

Nevin also improved the line plot by making updates and corrections to the calculation of the varying magnetic declination during the survey of the cave, so the line plot has morphed relative to the Les Good map from the 1980s, thus another reason to redraw the map.

As there are still exploration opportunities in Butler Cave, it is very worthwhile to have an updated map to support future exploration. The goal of the project is to create this new map.

As the cave has been already been extensively surveyed, with almost 17 miles of passage, we are not completely resurveying the cave. Rather, we are gathering the data needed to update and improve the existing map. Many of the main passages have been surveyed multiple times and many of the blunders have been fixed. . The survey data we have is in good shape. There is no reason to throw out what we have, we just need to add to what we have. And then redraw the map.

Les Good drew his maps at a scale of 1"-50' on eleven sheets of 24" x 36" mylar; that's a lot of map! We are starting by updating section number 1, which contains the Nicholson and SOFA entrances. There is over a thousand feet of passages on this map for which we do not have survey data, the data was either lost or the passages never surveyed.

We are starting this project by surveying all the passages that might close additional survey loop to stabilize the line plot near the two entrances. Once the lineplot is stabilized near the entrances, a working map of the area near the entrances (roughly corresponding to Les Good's section #1) can be drawn.

View the list of upcoming surveys planned.