The making of a map

The Project

The Gomantong Caves, Sabah in Malaysia, consist of more than 4 km of large passages that are of notable geomorphological, biological and cultural significance. Beginning in July 2012, an ambitious project was undertaken to map the caves using Faro LIDAR scanners with the goal of providing 3D point cloud data to address specific biological an geomorphological questions (Lundberg et al. 2012). The project continued in July 2014, requiring approximately 24 field days to complete the job in this very demanding environment.

A total of 271 scans was collected, resulting in a dataset of 12.6 billion scan points. The size of the dataset creates significant difficulties in data processing and analysis. Addison (2011), faced with 18 million data points from a scanning in Mammoth Cave, summarizes very well the difficulties:

"The ability to collect massive point data sets appears to be well beyound the ability to do anything meaningful with the data back at the office".

The Gomantong Caves project engendered 700 times more data than this, considerably exacerbating the difficulties that Addison encountered.

Guy Van Rentergem
Contact: guy.van.rentergem@skynet.be

Lundberg, J. and McFarlane, D.A. (2012). "Post-speleogenetic biogenic modification of Gomantong Caves, Sabah, Borneo". International Journal of Speleology.

Addisson A. (2011). "LiDAR at Mammoth Cave." Civil Engineering Surveyor. April 2011. 22-25.

The Team

The 2014 survey team

From left to right: Joyce Lundberg, Guy Van Rentergem, Warren Roberts, Benjamin Schroeter, Don McFarlane, Manfred Buchroithner and Keith Christenson.

Picture by Keith Christenson