Warning Signs at Chassahowitzka Springs
25 April 2011
Recently, there was another tragic loss of life at Chassahowitzka Springs. Sunday, April 16th, 22-year-old Amy Ryan was attempting to swim between two openings and failed to surface. This death as well as several others at this location made us realize that it was time we installed warning signs at both of the swim-through locations.
Myself and Eric Deister constructed and installed the signs with the support (and boats) of Mike Ward, Steve Buhler and his son Lance. Without their support it would have been much more difficult and not nearly as quick. We are greatly appreciative for the National Speleological Society - Cave Diving Section (NSS-CDS) and the National Association for Cave Diving (NACD) generously donating the warning signs. The signs were positioned such that it is hoped that they will block easy access to small dead-end sections of the each swim-through. These dead-end sections could possibly hamper the ability to surface successfully and is believed to be where Amy's body was recovered.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Amy's family and hope that the installation of these signs will help prevent the death of other swimmers.
Below is an interview I did with Bay News 9 reporter Melanie Snow. We discussed why we wanted to install the signs and why we feel it is important.
Cave Atlas Enhancements & Features
21 April 2011
I have added a few enhancements to the Cave Atlas recently that I feel are good tools. The first is the ability for you to rate the cave system. This is simply an overall rating. My belief that the mean of the ratings will eventually show the true feeling the community has about a system. The second enhancement I have made is to how regions are handled. Since the Cave Atlas was originally created for Florida caves the database was designed for County, State. Later I added Country to handle international and just tweeked the County and State to make it work. The problem was handling caves in other States in the US. Well, that has been fixed. You will now see some caves in Missouri. In the cave listing, you can simply click on the State name and the list will be filtered to that State.
A feature that I feel is underutilized is Mapping. One the Location tab, you are presented with an overview map. Simply click that map and you will have many, many more options. A popup window will show a hybrid map from Google Maps. Look closely and you will see the map style is called "Cave Map". In some instances, I have created custom tiles that show the actual cave map overlaid on the Google Map. I recommend checking out Peacock Springs to see this the best.
I am always looking for ways to enhance the Cave Atlas and make it a better resource for everyone. Please let me know what ideas you have.