New Mexico Geological Society Annual Spring Meeting & Ft. Stanton Cave Conference — Abstracts

3-D Modeling of Fort Stanton Cave using Maps, Lidar, Photogrammetry, and Gaming Engines

Ronald J. Lipinski

Fort Stanton Cave Study Project, 12904 Manitoba Dr NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87111,

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A half mile of Fort Stanton Cave’s Snowy River has been modeled in 3-D using Lidar point clouds to define the walls and photos of the floor, wall and ceiling along that entire length to map onto the wall mesh. The Unity gaming engine was used to allow easy exploration and inspection of this 3-D model on a PC, Mac, or Linux computer, either as a first-person viewer, or as an avatar. This tool (Caver Quest) is available for free on the Fort Stanton Cave Study Project web site (

The half mile of Snowy River in Caver Quest also has been deployed to the Meta Quest 2 virtual reality headset (“Caver Trek: Snowy River”). This highly-immersive tool allows for more detailed inspection of this section of the cave. A Quest 2 headset will be available at the conference for experiencing this simulation.

An additional four miles of passage in the historic section of the cave has been modeled with lidar-determined walls in Caver Quest. To reduce the file size, generic wall textures from photos in the local area are used instead of actual photos along the entire seven-mile stretch. Caver Quest can be used to familiarize researchers with the structure of the cave and estimate travel times to distant locations for sampling.


3-D Model, Virtual Reality, Snowy River

pp. 50

2022 New Mexico Geological Society Annual Spring Meeting & Ft. Stanton Cave Conference
April 7-9, 2022, Macey Center, Socorro, NM
Online ISSN: 2834-5800

Presentation Files

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