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Auriga is a cave survey freeware for PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) running under Palm OS
(and now in emulation mode under Android and Windows Mobile).
Auriga is designed for in-cave use as a smart survey notebook:
as the survey goes, Auriga displays the line plot in graphical form, reports statistics, helps spot and fix survey errors
and allows sketching cave walls and features to scale with SVG and DXF export.
Bidirectional data exchange is currently provided with
and the CSV format.
The Auriga software is based on the
of Martin Melzer (designer of the Scurion)
of creating a sensor box (electronic compass and clinometer)
coupled with a Palm OS software to automatically
acquire cave survey data. Although work on the hardware prototype stopped
in 2000, the Palm OS software development resumed in 2002 under the initiative of
Luc Le Blanc
From 2003 to 2015, a conduit designed by
has allowed the bidirectional exchange of survey data between Auriga and the Compass, VisualTopo and GH Topo/Toporobot cave survey PC software.
Since 2012, Auriga directly imports/exports data in various formats through the PDA's memory card.
Auriga is extremely customizable (sessions, instruments sets, measurement units, calibrations, input
and display options, etc.) to cover the needs of the majority of cave surveyors.
Developed in Québec (Canada), Auriga is available in four languages.
Auriga users in the world
(send me your location or mark it in blue on a copy of this image)
Why switch to Auriga?
Compared to a traditional paper notebook, Auriga:
allows a paperless survey process (numeric and sketch data)
offers more legible data
reduces the risk of input error involved with transcribing notebook data into the main computer
offers a data backup feature as cave data can be beamed between Palm OS
devices via the infrared link
allows the surveyor to get an immediate cave view while surveying,
thus helping to detect gross errors
speeds up the exploration process, cave statistics, gallery directions,
positions, etc. being known in real time, without exiting the cave
Compared to a cave survey PC/Mac software, Auriga:
runs on a low-cost Palm OS device that requires little battery power
can be conveniently used underground
Does Auriga replace a cave survey PC/Mac software? No, instead it complements it!
Survey data can be acquired on the Palm, viewed and used at the camp on the Palm and, once
back home, transferred to the PC/Mac. This latter process can be done either with
a memory card, a cable (serial or USB, depending on both the Palm OS device and the PC/Mac capabilities)
or via a Bluetooth or infrared link.
Auriga can be used as:
an electronic notebook to store numeric survey data while in the cave
a scientific calculator to convert survey shots into Cartesian coordinates
an electronic survey data backup device until getting back to the home base PC/Mac
a display tool to view the cave (top view or profiles with pan, zoom and query features)
Aceeca, a New Zealand company that specialises in rugged PDAs, offers in Fall 2010 the PDA32.
199$ for this Palm TX equivalent (179$ + IR and Bluetooth options), but with a double capacity battery.
Read my trial report.
Conduit 0.31 adds GH Topo support, a Windows software
that uses Toporobot's data format. We now seek a programmer to adapt and compile the conduit for the Mac
and thus support Toporobot/Mac.
Auriga now offers Bluetooth support of the DistoX,
a 3-in-1 survey device (distance, azimuth and slope).
A Palm OS DistoX calibration program is also downloadable.
Auriga on TV
On October 13, 2008 at 20:00, Télé-Québec's Le Code Chastenay
scientific magazine featured a 5-minute report on Auriga and cave surveying we shot in June
in Saint-Casimir Cave.
On May 10, 2007, we tested Auriga's Pit Sounder at Sima de Cabra (Córdoba, Southern Spain)
by throwing 10-15-cm rocks into this 116-m open-air pit.
By measuring the fall time (about 5 s),
Auriga estimated a depth varying between 114 and 117 m!