The caves have since fascinated men since the beginning ot the time, they were used as places of life, shelters and worship. Today the same fascination motivates explorers in their quest and research of their hidden richesse.
The state of Quintana Roo in Mexico is the region in the world where the most flooded cave system is concentrated, from wich 1553 Km is explored and suryed (Topography) to date (QRRS datas). Explorations continue each year and new caves (Cenotes) are discovered.
Only a small part (200 km) of underwater caves have been fully mapped to date.
Yucatan peninsula. Red markers are caves entrance.
THE SITE :
The cenote Taj Mahal is located at kilometer 307 between Cancun and Tulum, Cenote Taj Mahal is part of a system of 8 Cenotes which bears the name of System Taj Mahal. This system was connected a short time ago with the Cenote Box Ek (Dark Star) and increased the systemm size from 8.2 Km to 9.95 KM of flooded gallery.
Taj Mahal System place.
Cenotes part of Taj Mahal System.
Cenote Taj Mahal.
THE CARTOGRAPHY PROJECT :
There is no comprehensive mapping of the Taj Mahal system to date. My ambition is to make a mapping as detailed as possible of the whole system.
This mapping work will make it possible to better appreciate the real size of the system and geomorphology, to know the different connections between the galleries, and surely to discover unexplored passages.
STEP # 1
The stage before cave mapping is topography. This is to create a skeleton of the cave and then draw the contours and details. This consists of recording the data (Azimuth, depth, distance) of the existing lines in the cave.
To have the minimum direction error (azimuth) and distance, we make loops as soon as possible during the exploration phase. This makes it possible to correct or detect topographic errors.
STEP # 2
This part of preparation for the drawing phase is the longest and most complex.
There are several techniques to prepare a mapping (mapping technique), one of which is to lay additional lines in the cave in order to create precise markings on the topography and then draw the details (walls, blocks, zone of speleothem, ...).
In blue the permanent lines of the cave and in red the lines laid to be able to draw.
Print the topography on a plastic sheet to draw detail underwater.
Draw the details of the cave using typography as a landmark. Once this work is finished it is necessary to remove the lines laid for the mapping.
STEP # 3
Ultimate stage of the mapping work, you have to scan the sheets of drawings and adjust them on the topography in order to digitize them.
STEP # 4
The final step of the project is the publication in printed form of the mapping of the Taj Mahal system.