Here is a breakdown of the major features Survex offers. In order to keep
this brief, many points are not touched upon - see the documentation for a
These are the features which tend to set Survex apart from other cave
surveying software packages:
- It's free! Survex is distributed with full source code
under the GNU Public License. Other coders are encouraged to help add
- Multi-platform - using Survex doesn't force everyone working on your
survey project to use the same operating system. Currently Linux/Unix, Mac OS
X and Microsoft Windows are supported.
- Internationalisation support - translations supplied for English, French,
German, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Italian, Slovak, Romanian,
Indonesian, Russian, and US English.
- Hierarchical survey station naming.
- Fast processing of survey data in a wide range of formats,
aided by sophisticated network
simplification techniques (which also reduce memory requirements allowing
Survex to be used on low end machines).
Survex also has all data processing features you would expect from modern
cave surveying software:
- Cave complexity limited only by available memory. No arbitrary limits on
number of legs, number of surveys, length of station names, number of fixed
- Include files allow `projects' for survey data management.
A survey, or collection of surveys, can be included in many different
- No restrictions on the order survey data can be read in - there's no
need to artificially reorder your data to make sure each survey leg connect to
a previously read one.
- Support for a wide range of data styles, including "interleaved data",
backsights, underwater surveys performed with a depth gauge, and unsurveyed
- Network reduction with loop closure errors distributed by least squares.
Standard errors and closure errors are reported. There's also an experimental
gross error (blunder) detector.
- Data can be partially processed, loops closed, and then more
data processed which will not move the existing stations - useful for adding
a loop to an existing map without redrawing the whole thing.
- All instruments (e.g. tape, compass, clino, topofil, depth
gauge) have optional scale and zero corrections.
- Special handling for plumbed legs (where the clino correction doesn't
- Magnetic declination can be set automatically from the survey date (useful
for survey projects lasting many years).
- Support for most input units: metres, feet, degrees, mils, grads,
minutes, and also user specifiable units. Percent gradient is also supported.
- Each measurement can have its Standard Deviation specified
separately (for specifying the 'grade' of a section, giving special
treatment to an odd or suspicious measurement, or feeding in measurements
derived from techniques such as radiolocation).
Survex includes a fast cave viewer with a native
look-and-feel, which can be driven using mouse or keyboard.
- Fast redraw and bank-switching techniques give smooth, responsive
- 3D surface visualisation.
- Printing via the printing framework of the platform you're running on.
- Large printouts can be produced on multiple pages with cut-marks to
indicate where to cut and join the pages together.
webmaster: Olly Betts