Survex – open source cave-surveying software package

Survex is a software suite to process, view, and print cave survey data. Survex is cross-platform running under Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows). It can deal with extremely large and complex datasets and can read survey data from many sources.

Survex is capable of processing extremely complex caves very quickly and has a very effective, real-time cave viewer which allows you to rotate, zoom, and pan the cave using mouse or keyboard.

Survex includes English, French, German, Portuguese, Catalan, Spanish, Slovak, and Romanian internationalisations.

Survex is used by many survey projects around the world, such as the Ogof Draenen survey, the Easegill resurvey project, Austria – Dachstein, the OFD survey, the OUCC Picos expeditions, and the Hong Meigui China expeditions.

Features include:

  • Fast cave viewer with fast redraw and bank-switching techniques.
  • Hierarchical survey station naming.
  • Fast processing of survey data in a wide range of formats, aided by sophisticated network simplification techniques.
  • Data Processing:
    • Cave complexity limited only by available memory.
    • Include files allow projects for survey data management.
    • No restrictions on the order survey data.
    • Support for a wide range of data styles, including “interleaved data”, backsights, underwater surveys performed with a depth gauge, and unsurveyed visual connections.
    • 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. This is 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 apply).
    • Magnetic deviation separately specifiable to compass calibration (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).
  • Internationalisation support – translations supplied for English, French, German, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Italian, Slovak, Romanian, and US English.
  • Support for printing using native drivers for PostScript, ESC/P (Epson, IBM Proprinter, Canon BJs and compatibles), PCL (HP Laserjets, Deskjets and compatibles), and HPGL (HP pen plotters and compatibles).
  • Colour printing supported when using the included Postscript driver

Support: Documentation
Developer: Olly Betts, Mark Shinwell, Wookey, and many contributors
License: GNU GPL v2


Survex is written in C++ and C. Learn C++ with our recommended free books and free tutorials. Learn C with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

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