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Cave database development, spatial analysis and 3D visualization with GIS/Case study in Son La (Vietnam)

Quoc Dinh NGUYEN student laureate

°1970 Vietnam
Engineer in geology, University of Mining and Geology, Hanoi, Vietnam,1992

Cave database development, spatial analysis and 3D visualization with GIS/Case study in Son La (Vietnam)

This work is mainly devoted to a 3D-presentation of the topography of some caves in the mountains of Northwest Vietnam. This 3D-view makes it possible to obtain a clear representation of the past water circulations in the caverns. In fact, underground drainage in the caves generally causes drying up of the surface and thus a lack of irrigation and drinking water.
On other occasions, a sudden blocking of the underground conduits (by trees, leaves, various plants, etc.) can generate catastrophic floods, sometimes causing destruction of houses and deaths due to drowning. Caves can, on the other hand, be a source of profits (tourism) or be used as warehouses (because of the constant temperature). A good knowledge of the morphology of the caves is thus very useful in the framework of a development project, as this morphology reveals the functioning (past and present) of the underground conduits.
Cave maps have been established in the target area by teams of expert topographers of VIBEKAP (Vietnamese-Belgian Karst Project). They have drawn up the plans and the longitudinal and transversal profiles of the caves. However, due to the irregular pattern of the cave sections – the larger part is sometimes on the ground, sometimes at the ceiling, or in between – there is still a big gap between these maps and profiles and a three-dimensional knowledge of the cave. And it is exactly this three-dimensional knowledge that can lead to a better understanding of the hydrological characteristics of underground streams.
Nguyen Quoc Dinh’s 3D-presentation thus offers the necessary tool in the framework of a long-term research by RIGMR (Research Institute for Geology and Mineral Resources) of Hanoi and VIBEKAP. His work is an important link in the chain of research regarding the water circulation and the problems linked to it in the mountainous area of Northwest Vietnam.

report by Prof. Dr. Camille Ek, Professor emeritus, Laboratory of geomorphology and teledetection, Department of Geography, Université de Liège, Belgium