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Logo. 地物 : 洞窟
One example for 地物 : 洞窟



Speleology is a cross-disciplinary field that combines the knowledge of chemistry, biology, geology, physics, meteorology and cartography to develop portraits of caves as complex, evolving systems. For many nations there are cave cadastres (land registers). Most of them are measured in 3D and have a special "cave plan" or a 3d model of it.



Protection of bats (in Europe)

In winter (around Mid of October till April) entering caves is prohibited. Bats are having winter sleep in that time. They reduce their energy expenditure down to 1%! Waking them would cause a high energy consumption, that could lead to their death.

Tagging in OSM

Cave entrances are mapped as natural=cave_entrance (see below). There is also a proposal to map the cave itself including paths etc, see bellow.

Mouth/entrance of a cave

See natural=cave_entrance

Mapping the cave

See Proposed features/natural=cave.

Previously paths in caves have been variously mapped as highway=footway (or highway=steps + tunnel=yes or tunnel=cave and/or cave=yes.

Some paths in caves are mapped in this example. discuss.

For lava tubes geological=volcanic_lava_tube has been proposed.

Cave relation

has been proposed as part of Proposed features/natural=cave, some mappers think it is sufficient to indicate a relation with cave:ref or variants.


cave:ref=* can be used to hold an official identifier. Because such identifiers are typically valid statewide or issued by private organisations variations such as cave:ref:es:CEA=... can be used for a Spanish cave with an id issued by the CEA club. It could also happen that one cave has several cave:ref type identifiers.

cave:ref and variants can be also used to relate together unconnected features belonging to a single cave, however a relation has also been proposed for this and other purposes, see Proposed features/natural=cave

Some ideas

  • cave:equipment=* (none|light|helmet|climbing_gear)
  • cave:features=* (stalactites|cave-paintings|corpses|…)
  • cave:depth=### (maximum depth)
  • cave:length=#### (measured total entire length)
  • cave:difficulty=* (tourist|easy|climbing_gear|dangerous)
    • tourist for developed caves with regular guided tours
    • easy for undeveloped caves which are safely accessible without equipment other than light
    • equipment when specialized equipment is necessary, or there are moderately dangerous places like narrow points dangerous when special hazards (e.g. flooding, very branched) are present
  • cave:size=* (small|medium|large)
    • small when there's a single hall or passage
    • medium when there are several halls or branching passages
    • large when it's bigger than medium. :-)

Note: depth and length are useful, but often not known. So the rougher size Tag could be used to specify what to expect.

Ideas that probably should not be used as they are solved by generic tags:



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Surveying caves (SOTM 2007)