UIS Informatics Commission

UIS-WikiCaves Working Group

(Global cave & karst data)

Leader: Didier BORG, France.


We cannot ignore the role that the Internet even now is playing, and how much it might change the way we see and do caving in today's worldwide context. More and more cavers and researchers travel, work and explore not only around their own country but around the world. Clearly, every caving community should be able to access and improve their knowledge of the caves as well as be aware of the restrictions and conservation measures applying to a number of caves and cave systems. That is why the UIS-Wikicaves Working Group was established by UIS and WikiCaves. The goal of the working group is to gather this information and make it easily available, including clear protocols on cave information for each country in accordance with local situations and regulations.


Our Vision is UIS and WikiCaves working together to develop GrottoCenter into a comprehensive and authoritative global source of basic cave and karst information, with open access, adherance to standards, manual and machine accessibility via the web, together with the protocols needed for each country, for the benefit of the caving, research and cave management communities.

Goals and Activities

  1. Coordinating information collection from countries and individuals.
  2. Ongoing loading and updating of basic cave and karst data.
  3. Organising suitable open-access licences for the data, based on Creative Commons, to suit the various countries. Our current default licence is "CC BY-SA 3.0" (Attribution-ShareAlike).
  4. Safe storage and archiving of data.
  5. Investigate making the data available as Linked Data on the Semantic Web to better allow machine-based access.
  6. Collaboration with the UIS Informatics Commission (UISIC) regarding the use of recommended cave and karst data fields and field values, together with other international data standards.
  7. Collaboration with the Karst Information Portal (KIP).
  8. Informing speleological groups about work in their countries and worldwide.
  9. Facilitating contacts and agreements for the benefit of the caving community.

Of course, many projects and databases have already been developed around the world aiming at similar goals. Yet their geographical coverage is often quite limited, access may be difficult, and the long term availability of the servers hosting the data can be quite variable. This project is not intended to compete with these databases, which are often specialised and adapted to local needs, rather, we are aiming for only general basic data, but global coverage, open access, standards-based, and reliable, long-term availability.

Facts and figures

So far...

Action Plan

Preliminary broad plans of the Working Group:

  1. Prepare a web page and UIS Bulletin article. (Done)
  2. Contact organisations in each country to establish their protocols concerning location precision, and hopefully to start discussions with them about how we can collaborate. (In progress)
  3. Adapt GrottoCenter to accomodate country-based location precisions.
  4. Add country cave data to the GrottoCenter database whenever it is received.
  5. Investigate collaboration with the Karst Information Portal (KIP).
  6. Investigate adapting the next version of GrottoCenter to accomodate UIS cave data recommendations.
  7. Investigate setting up the data as Linked Data on the Semantic Web.

Of course in the meantime the GrottoCenter database will continue to be populated with new and updated caves by interested cavers and organisations.


Who can be involved? Every interested organisation and individual is welcome to contact us and join the group in order to add their experience, their input and their perspective. Just fill in this form.

WikiCaves | GrottoCenter | Karst Information Portal | Creative Commons | W3C Semantic Web


Leader: Didier BORG, France.