Hidden Earth Survey Salon

The purpose of this salon and competition is to promote cave surveying and provide the opportunity for clubs or individuals to display their survey works. As well as displaying drawn surveys, other surveying-related material may be displayed as part of the salon and competition. This could include, for example, 3D models of caves.

Salon Co-ordinator

Andrew Atkinson

Contact details

Entry Deadline

Announced as soon as the next event date is set.


  • Displayed small survey – one winner (A Disto X310 from Leica Geosystems)
  • Displayed large survey – one winner (A Disto X310 from Leica Geosystems)
  • Other displayed material (prize: £50 from BCRA)
  • Arthur Butcher Award for Cave Surveying – one winner (prize: £100 from BCRA)
  • Plus Distinctions and Merits

Aditional winners awarded by a delagate vote:

  • One winner from all survey material on display (prize: £50 from BCRA)

How to Enter

Entries should be registered using the online system in advance of the conference (by the above deadline). Entries after this date are not guaranteed space on the display boards.

Survey salon entry is currently closed but keep checking back. It will be announced on social media when entry is open.

Competition Categories

There are three competition categories that you can enter, as follows.

  • Displayed small survey on single sheet
    For surveys drawn on a sheet with a total area not greater than 1250 sq.cm. and not exceeding 118 cm in any dimension. (An A3 sheet is 1250 sq.cm).
  • Displayed large surveys drawn on a single sheet
    For surveys drawn on a sheet greater than 1250 sq.cm and not exceeding 118 cm in any dimension, except by prior arrangement.
  • Other displayed material
    For surveying-related projects that do not fit the above categories (e.g. three-dimensional models). Please contact organisers for entries in this category.

Each category is awarded a single first prize, and additionally, Merits or Distinctions may also be awarded in recognition of other surveying excellence. In addition to the survey salon prizes, BCRA awards the Arthur Butcher prize annually for contributions to cave surveying. The judges consider projects brought to their attention during the year, as well as all surveying work that is on display at the conference. The winner is awarded a cash prize (currently £100).


  • Delivery of surveys
    Your work should be delivered to the exhibition area by midday on the first day of the conference. Postal entries are not accepted. If you are late in arriving you may find that there is limited display space left for you. You are expected to hang your work yourselves, under the supervision of the event staff. You should collect your work on the afternoon of the last day of the event. Work left behind cannot be returned.
  • Eligibility
    All maps, models or other physical representations of a surveyed cave produced in the 12 months prior to the event are eligible. Surveys that are (in the view of the judges), substantially similar to winning entries from previous Hidden Earth competitions or which (in the view of the judges) do not contain substantially new material will be disqualified.
  • Subject matter
    This can be any aspect of caving, cave science or mine exploration.
  • Entry limits
    Three entries per person, or per group/club.
  • Judging
    This will be by a panel of three judges whose decision is final. Note that the organisers reserve the right not to award a prize if, in the opinion of the judges, the entries are too few and of insufficient standard to constitute a competition.
  • Permissions
    All works entered for the competition must have permission from the copyright holder of the survey.
  • Display Requirements
    Printed surveys must be on paper or thin card. Frames are not permitted. Ensure your survey dimensions is appropriate to the category. Entrants to the ‘Other Displayed Material’ category are required to discuss their entry and any bespoke requirements (e.g. large amount of wall space) with the organisers in advance.

Other information and recommendations

  • Copyright
    The copyright of all entries will remain with the surveyor(s). Entries may be reproduced for display at the closing ceremony and for display during the weekend. All reproduced entries will be credited. No further use will be made of any copies without permission. No rights will be conceded to sponsors or other parties without permission of the entrants, and entrants will be free to set terms for any such use.
  • Judging
    Although the competition categories will each have only one winning entry, the judges will also award Distinctions and Merits to entries that are worthy of mention.
  • Feedback
    We expect to arrange a feedback session, attended by a representative of the judging team and/or the salon coordinator to supply feedback.
  • List of Winners
    A list of competition winners is made available to the media on request and is also published on the Hidden Earth website. Reproduction of winning entries is governed by the competition rules and is in accordance with the guidelines of the Artists Bill of Rights Campaign.
  • Loss, Damage & Insurance
    Every care will be taken of the entries, but the organisers cannot accept responsibility for any damage or loss. The organisers will not be insuring any work and, if required, entrants should make their own arrangements.