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Revision History: 99-17
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Creating Cave Maps Using Inkscape

Creating Finished Maps Using Compass and Inkscape. Compass normally generates an interactive cave map that can be used to view, explore and better understand a cave. These images can be zoomed, panned and rotated dynamically but they can only be viewed on a computer.

These images are very different from the kind of paper maps that people like to publish, enter into salons, and display on the wall. To solve this problem, Compass allows you export cave data in as SVG files. SVG files are especially useful for cave cartography because they can be exported to many different drawing programs. They are also "vector" based files, which means that they can be scaled and adjusted mathematically in a variety of useful ways.

Many people export SVG files to programs like Adobe Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator is an excellent program for creating cave maps, but it is quite expensive. It sells for around $500. Even if  you are a student or work in education, the current cost is over $200, which is more than many students and itinerate cavers can afford. As an alternative, I have focused the Compass SVG tools on Inkscape.

Inkscape. Inkscape is a open-source drawing program that is similar to Adobe Illustrator. It has several advantages over Illustrator. First, it is free of charge. Second, it is a cross-platform, which means that it will run many different computers, including some that Illustrator doesn't support. Third, there are tons of tutorials on the internet to help you learn to use it. Finally, as an open source project, it is possible for cavers to get involved in the project and influence the development of the software. Cavers with programming skills could even add special features that would make it easier to create cave maps. To help cavers use Inkscape, I have created the following tutorial to illustrate the process of creating cave maps with Compass and Inkscape.

Tutorial Outline

I. Background Information.
  A. Latest Version Of Compass.
  B. Getting Inkscape.
  C. Learning Inkscape.
  D. Learning Cave Mapping With Inkscape.
II. Creating A New Map.
  A. Exporting An SVG File.
  B. Run Inkscape.
  C. Open the Layers Panel.
III. Preliminaries.
  A. Turn Off Layers.
  B. Turn On Layers.
  C. Lock Layers.
IV. Importing Sketch-maps.
  A. Loading A Sketch-map.
  B. Preparing The Image.
  C. Scaling The Image.
  D. Repositioning.
  E. Fine Tuning.
V. Tracing The Sketch-map.
  A. Select the Drawing Layer.
  B. Zoom Into The Start of the Survey.
  C. Select The Bezier Tool.
  D. Trace A Passage Segment.
  E. Set Fill, Line Size and Line Color.
  F. Trace The Next Segment.
  G. Merge The Two Segments.
  H. Fill The Outline.
  I. Adjusting The Outline.
  J. Smoothing The Outline.
  K. Opacity.
IV. Alternative Tracing Using No Sketch-map
VI. Add A Mask Layer.
  A. Copy Passage Walls.
  B. Paste Passage Walls.
  C. Remove Lines.
  D. Remove Fill.
VII. Opening Passages.
VIII. Continuation Passages.
IX.  Adding Details.
  A. Adding Morph-able Details.
    1. Drawing A Drop-Off Symbol.
    2. Drawing A Stream Flow Symbol.
  B. Non-Morphable Details.
    1. Passage Height Circles
  C. Finishing Up Details.
X. Adding Annotations.
XI. Legend Information.
  A. Add A Title.
  B. Legend Box.
XII. Finishing the Map.
XIII. Common Problems/Trouble Shooting
 

 

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