Mapping Devil’s Sinkhole — The Devil’s Sinkhole near Rocksprings is a cavernous wonder. Visitors to the sinkhole can only peer into the abyss from a platform near the edge. Thanks to a crew of geologists and photographers, a 3D virtual map of the cave is in the works, one that will give visitors a unique view of this geologic oddity.
This TPWD produced video featuring the LIDAR
Project will air on Texas PBS stations the week of February 10-17, 2008 , and repeats August 10-17, 2008.
Check this list for links to Texas PBS to find the
schedule for your local station. It can also be ordered in DVD Format from
- program #1620.
Devils Sinkhole LIDAR Mapping Project
The Texas Cave Management Association (TCMA) is involved
into a cooperative
project with the
Texas Parks and
Wildlife and the
Bureau of Economic
Geology to create a full 3D reconstruction of the currently accessible
major passages of the
Sinkhole using non-invasive LIDAR (LIght Detection And
Ranging) mapping. This would be one of the first and
the most complete subsurface model for any park facility at the federal
or state level.
A LIDAR scan of Devil's Sinkhole will be used to:
prove the concept for the use of lidar in managing other important
caves in terms of sediment transport, slope stability, and bat populations
along with providing a tool to allow for research in speleogenesis
of the cave and pit complex.
The Devil's Sinkhole State Natural Area is the most important tourist
attractions in the region thanks to the efforts of TPWD and the staff
Sinkhole Society (DSS). The dedicated volunteers at the DSS have been
conducting public outreach programs over the last several years emphasizing
the importance of bats in Central Texas. Public education of the complexity
and connectivity of central Texas caves is critical to popular understanding
of how both natural and human actions can adversely affect these sensitive
The public can observe the sinkhole from a viewing platform built on
the edge of the 145-foot drop to the top of the central talus. Although
this view is spectacular, it pales in comparison to the massive conical
room that extends below the first restriction. There is currently no way
for observers from the viewing platform to fully grasp what lies below,
or visualize the magnitude and beauty of this natural Texas treasure without
the luxury of entering this impressive natural wonder.
The mapping of the Devil's Sinkhole using LIDAR will be performed by
the BEG with assistance from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and volunteers
from the TCMA. The BEG will be responsible for providing and operating
the mapping equipment and all data processing. The Texas Parks and Wildlife
Department will provide access to the cave and provide over site and assistance
while work is being performed on the property. The TCMA will provide volunteer
labor in helping to move and secure equipment and personnel into and out
of the cave. The TCMA will also provide photo documentation of the mapping
process for use by the TBEG and the TPWD in reports and displays.
Jerry Bellian using LIDAR to create 3D map in the upper level of Deep
The TBEG will provide a LIDAR map of the Devil's Sinkhole along with
a software viewer that will allow the data to be manipulated and used
for educational and scientific purposes.
TCMA is soliciting donations to pay for the cost of the mapping and
data processing. If you are interested in donating to the project, contact
one of the project managers below. Caving support on the project will
be provided by volunteers. If you would like to volunteer, contact one
of the project managers. If you wish to volunteer, please submit a summary
of your vertical caving experience. Volunteers will be selected based
on their vertical caving experience and their availability. We hope to
use many volunteers but we expect an overwhelming response from volunteers.
Thanks for your support,
Geary and Allan
TCMA Project Managers
Texas Cave Management Association
Texas Cave Management Association