Congratulations to the winners of this year's survey contest. Andrea
Croskrey and myself seized the opportunity to do something else with the
course this year and run it through the new playground instead of
through the water. The playground probably had a little more steel in it
than we anticipated, but most of the seven teams that participated
managed the challenge of their compass needles being deviated by that
quite well... And so:

1. Place: Team Fisher Ridge FOREVER!!! (Andy Edwards and Sean Lewis),
with a loop closure error of 0.31 meters (even though they surveyed in
feet ;-))

2. Place: Dale Barnard and Galen Falgout, with a loop closure error of
1.57 meters

3. Place: Batgirl Omura & Yeti Habiak, with a loop closure error of 1.61

Many thanks go to the sponsors of our prizes: First and foremost the
Texas Speleological Survey, which donated the set of Suuntos (first
place) and the Bosch disto (second place); G4 Spatial of Austin and San
Antonio, who gave us a significant break on the instruments; and
CaveSkinz for one of the survey pouches (third place)!!!

Thanks also to Dale, trusted partner in crunching the numbers while
everybody else is frolicking in the parade... :)

Some observations that might help you survey:

1) Surveying to the millimeter (instead of centimeter) is unlikely to
make a significant difference in the field. Just the stretch in the
survey tape will probably even out any tiny win you might gain through

2) On the contrary, under good conditions Suunto instruments can usually
be read to the quarter degree. Not sure how much of a practical
difference that makes compared to reading them to the half degree.

3) While the rules state that we won't enter both fore- and backsights
for you into the computer, it makes sense to at least read both
directions anyway. This lets you spot potential issues with your primary
shot (such as those caused by steel) on the spot.


David Ochel,
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