aven(1) sophisticated cave viewer for Unix and MS Windows


aven [ --survey=SURVEY ] [ --print ] .3d file


Aven displays processed cave surveys in a window and allows you to manipulate the view.

Note that there is no perspective in the view. This means that it is impossible to tell which way round a cave is rotating, or whether you are viewing something from behind, or in front. So if you think the direction of rotation in wrong, or changes as you watch, this is just your brain being confused, not a bug!


The best way to move the cave is with the mouse. We suggest you try each of these out after reading this section to get a feel for how they work.

If you hold down the right button then the cave is dragged when you move the mouse.

If you hold down the left button, then the cave is rotated if you move left or right, and zoomed if you move up and down. If you hold down Ctrl while dragging with the left mouse button, then the cave rotates and tilts at the same time instead.

If your mouse has a middle button then holding it down and moving the mouse up and down tilts the cave. Moving the mouse left and right has no effect.

And if you have a scrollwheel, this can be used to zoom in/out.

By default the mouse moves the cave, but if you press Ctrl-R, then the mouse will move the viewpoint instead (i.e. everything will go in the opposite direction). Apparently this feels more natural to some people.


P and L select Plan and eLevation respectively. Changing between plan to elevation is animated to help you see where you are and how things relate. This animation is automatically disabled on slow machines to avoid user frustration.

Comma ', and Slash / tilt up and down respectively. Tilt goes 180 degrees from plan view to a view from directly below (upside down plan).

Space toggles automatic rotation about a vertical axis on and off. The speed of rotation for this, and animated transitions between plan and elevation, is controlled by Z and X.

Crosses and/or labels can be displayed at survey stations. Ctrl-X toggles crosses and Ctrl-N station names. Ctrl-L toggles the display of survey legs.

Delete is useful if you get lost - it resets the scale, position, and rotation speed, so that the cave returns to the centre of the screen. There are also keyboard controls to use instead of the mouse - Shift helps here as it accelerates all movements:

Z, X : Faster/Slower Rotation
R: Reverse direction of rotation
Enter, Space: Start and stop auto-rotation
Ctrl-Cursor Left, Ctrl-Cursor Right: Rotate cave one step clockwise/anti-clockwise (also: C, V)
Ctrl-Cursor Up , Ctrl-Cursor Down: Higher/Lower Viewpoint (also: ' , /)
] , [: Zoom in/Out
U, D: Set view to Up/Down
N, S, E, W: Set view to North, South, East, West
Delete: Reset to default scale, rotation rate, etc
P, L: Plan, Elevation
Cursor Left, Cursor Right: Pan survey Left/Right (on screen)
Cursor Up, Cursor Down: Pan survey Up/Down (on screen)
Ctrl-N: Toggle display of station names
Ctrl-X: Toggle display of crosses at stations
Ctrl-L: Toggle display of survey legs
Ctrl-F: Toggle display of surface legs
Ctrl-G: Toggle display of grid
Ctrl-B: Toggle display of bounding box
O: Toggle display of non-overlapping/all names
Ctrl-R: reverse sense of controls
Shift: accelerates all movement keys

A little experimentation should give a better understanding of how this works.

There is an auto-resizing scale bar along the bottom of the screen which varies in length as you zoom in or out. In the lower right corner is a compass pointer showing which way is North, and a clino pointer showing the angle of tilt. And in the upper right is a colour key showing the correspondence between colour and depth (by default - you can also colour by date or by error).


-p, --print
Print the specified file and exit.
-s, --survey=SURVEY
Only load the sub-survey 'SURVEY'.