I would like to announce a new release of the Compass cave surveying software. This is a major new release, with more than 20 changes and improvements. Here are the highlights of the changes:

1. DexTerra. Compass has new adjunct program called DexTerra,
which reads standard USGS Digital Elevation Model files
(DEM’s) and converts them into smooth three-dimensional
models of the earth’s surface. These models can be overlaid
with topographic maps, geological maps or aerial photographs
in a “rubber sheet-like” process that molds the image to
conform with the variations in the terrain. When you add in
lighting, shadowing and shading, it creates extremely
realistic 3D images of the terrain. In addition, DexTerra
uses Microsoft’s DirectX technology that gives it the ability
to do high-speed animations so that terrains can be zoomed,
panned and rotated in real-time. You can even fly over and
through the terrain using a joystick or mouse. Go to the
Dexterra Web Page for complete information. If you are a
registered user of Compass, you are automatically registered
for DexTerra. For more information follow this link:


2. VRML. Compass now supports the export of 3D cave models as
VRML 97/2.0 files. VRML is a language designed to construct and
display 3D objects over the internet. This means that it is
now very easy to construct and display 3D cave models on a web
page. VRML images can use sophisticated modeling techniques
including Gouraud Shading, spline surfaces, directional
lighting, texturing and high-speed animation to display very
realistic images. For caves, this allows the creation
super-realistic looking cave passages.

3. Integrated 3D Modeling Engine. Over the years Compass has
used a variety of techniques for generating realistic cave
passage models. Unfortunately, each new improvement did not
always get integrated back into other parts of Compass. To
deal with this problem, Compass now has an integrated 3D
Modeling Engine that produces cave passage models for all
Compass programs. This means that all aspects of Compass,
even the export options, now produces very realistic passage
models. Here is demonstration of the passage generation

4. Integrated Export Tool. Cavers frequently need to export
cave images in a variety of the 2D and 3D Formats. These
formats a very similar, so Compass now has integrated export
tool that handles DXF, Shapefiles and VRML. The Exporter uses
the Compass 3D Passage Modeling Engine to generate the
passage models, so all the exported data has high quality 3D
passages. Both the Compass Viewer and CaveX use the 3D tool.

5. CaveX. CaveX now has a “transparency” option, which allows
you to see through the passage walls so you can see the
survey shot line, survey stations and other nearby passages.
This makes it much easier to understand complex, intertwined

6. Viewer. The Viewer can read TIFF, JPEG, and Metafiles for
background images. The Viewer also has a dialog box that allows
you to preview the images before loading.

HOW TO GET COMPASS. COMPASS is a shareware product, which
means that you can try it out for free. If you like it, you
pay a nominal registration fee of $25. There is also a
CD-ROM package that includes registration for all programs
and more than 400-megabytes of supplemental programs, tools
and data. The CD is $50 for individual user, which is a
saving of $36.

Detailed information about Compass, the latest release and
downloads of all Compass programs are available on the Compass
web site:


If you have specific questions, I can be contacted at:



Larry Fish

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