The Big Bat LiDAR Project is just about pushing new ideas in cave mapping. It is also a great way to protect the cave. The cave is Big Bat Cave in Breckinridge County Kentucky. It is almost fourteen miles of glorious underground wilderness. I have yet to see it all. Every year we go in and scan the cave into a 3D point cloud of data. Who exactly is “we”? Well that is a very cool list of ordinary cavers that are willing to push through the mud and get in there and collect some very cool data to add to the knowledge of humanity and contribute to the body of knowledge that humanity keeps collecting. We are observing and understanding the world around us just a little better.
WHAT IS LIDAR
What we are doing with LiDAR is underground. We are modeling a void, the absence of rock is what makes it a cave. We do collect the surface of the cave walls. It is a pretty cool process. We take the LiDAR data collector and head down into the cave. We need a minimum of four cavers to get the data safely. An operator will set up the LiDAR station while other crew members place the targets. Targets are eight inch Styrofoam spheres on a wooden dowel rod. A minimum of three targets are placed in front of the passage or the direction of the travel for the scanning and three targets are placed behind the station. After scanning the area the operator leap frogs the forward targets and they become the rear ones. New targets are set in the direction of scanning and the scanning repeats it’s self. If caves were a tube it would just go that easy but it is often tough down there and everyone just figures it out.