Karst Index Database

What is the Karst Index Database?

ASF’s National Karst Index Database is a searchable database of approximately 6,500 cave and karst features throughout Australia. The Karst Index Database is available for the use of ASF members, cave researchers, cave managers and members of the public.

The Karst Index Database contains an extensive amount of information. The data on caves covers many aspects such as their length, depth, extent and physical characteristics, geology & geomorphology, known hazards & difficulties, discovery & biology. There is also data on cave areas, references to cave articles & maps and the organisations and people who have contributed to this database. The extent of this data is best seen by looking at the Search pages and for caves specifically the Advanced Search page. The database does not contain exact cave location information.

The Karst Index Database contains some fields that are not publically available. Cave researchers, cave managers and ASF members who have specific needs for further information can contact the Karst Index Database Access Group.

ASF members and other allowed organisations are currently updating cave, map and area information, and this will be an ongoing project. The ASF Karst Index Database is already an essential resource for ASF members, cave researchers, government and land managers, and as more current and up-to-date information is entered this online database will be a valuable asset within the Australian speleological community.

For further information about the software used for this project see About this Software.

How to Access Data in the Karst Index Database

You can access the Australian Karst Index Database here:

To use the search function you will need a username and password. The publicly available username and password is:

Username: guest
Password: guest

To log on, click on 'Search' in the menu on the Karst Index Database home page at the site shown above.

For assistance with using the searches enter the Karst Index Database by clicking on the link above and read the help files.

How to Contribute to the Karst Index Database

  • Let your members know about the Karst Index Database. Who are keen to act as updaters for areas that your club is responsible for?
  • Contact your State Coordinator and let them know if you are interested in updating. This is important if your club has not done any updating for some years and you may not have much contact with your State Coordinator.
  • Collect existing cave, map and area summary forms or information from your club publications that have updated or new information so that they are ready for data entry.
  • Read and familiarise yourself with the Cave & Karst Numbering Code. This is particularly important if you are documenting new caves. Note that this is undergoing a revision by the State Coordinators and will change slightly.
  • Make sure your club has a 3-letter Org-code – see below.

How to Obtain a 3-letter Org-code

As you may know, in preparing the 1985 KI data ASF issued each club with a unique 3-letter code to identify it in various cave documentation situations. For example, it is used in the ASF cave map numbering scheme to identify which club numbered the map. And in the new KI system, it will be used for example to identify which club supplied data. It is independent of the club’s initials, though for some clubs it will be the same, if they have 3-letter initials.

You can see a list of the existing 1985 codes here. If your club is not yet included, and you want to secure a suitable code, please email Peter Matthews (matthews@melbpc.org.au ) with your club’s name, address and contact person details, and the 3-letter code you would prefer. Peter has agreed to manage the issuing of new unique codes until we have time to incorporate this issuing facility into ASF’s new KI system. Peter chairs the International Union of Speleology’s (UIS’s) Informatics Commission, and has incorporated the use of these codes into UIS’s recommendations for unique speleo organisation identifiers: by prefixing the 3-letter code with the standard ISO 2-letter country code, a simple identifier is produced which is unique worldwide, e.g. for ASF it would be AUASF, and for VSA it would be AUVSA.

Please contact me if you would like any further information.
Michael Lake,