January 2021 Minutes


Sean calls the meeting to order at 7:04 pm.


Sean Vanderhoff, Howard Kalnitz, Ben Tobin, Zach Englebert, Barry Adams, Sarah Arpin, Bob Gulden, Christian DeCelle, Alan Hatcher, Josh Brewer, Kevin Zachary, Philip Francis, Rich Kline, Sheila Minor, Susan Wilkinson, Jeff Hamilton, Jim Currens, and Bob Roth were all in attendance.


Minutes taken by Christopher Morris.



  • No announcements


Reading of the Previous Meetings (Christopher Morris)

  • Christopher read the minutes.
  • Ben motitioned to pass them, Kevin seconded.
  • Minutes passed


Treasurer’s Report (John Cassidy)

  • Not present, no report
  • Howard and Sarah updated on the Esri payment.  It is $200 for 2021.


Data Committee (Sarah Arpin)

  • 2 new data requests.
    • 0 commercial
  • She noted that it has been slow due to the holidays, but we have had 2 private requests, one from a well-known caver, the other from a private citizen.
  • Sarah also talked about Gerland Moni and his interest in helping the KSS.
  • Sean elaborated on the other data request and noted that it has been filled.  Sean said that he was mainly looking for cave descriptions about stuff that he did in his younger years.
  • Sean also talked about someone else that reached out to just him, but it was about Indiana Cave locations.  So he forwarded them in the right direction.


Emergency Response (Mike Keltner)

  • Not present, no report.
  • Sean asked if there were any cave rescue training this year or if they are still on hold.


Membership Committee (Sheila Minor)

  • 5 renewals this month
  • Total of 87 active members.


Election Committee (Ben Tobin)

  • Ben thanks all those that volunteered to be on the board, especially the new to the board people.
  • Ben went through the list of the new board (see last month’s minutes).
  • Sean noted that the new board starts March 1st.


Grant Committee (Amber Yuellig)

  • Not present, no report.


Annual Report Report (Christopher Morris)

  • Christopher gave an update on the annual stating that nothing had started yet due to work commitments.
  • Sean asked if people could still submit, Christopher confirmed that they could if they wanted to.
  • Christopher also noted that he was still waiting on a couple of committee reports.


New Business

  • Howard gave an update on the relational database aspects that Sarah and he have been talking about.  He gave a background on what and why we had previously been using FileMaker Pro.
    • He then went into the problems with FileMaker.
    • It is $400 a year per license, but we would need several licenses.
    • He noted that it is stand-alone or cloud/server-based now.  They take care of all the issues on the backend and we pay a fee per user.  We would need 5-7 licenses for regional coordinators and others.
      • Howard had a call with them to discuss.
      • $19 per seat per month.
    • Howard plans to see how easy it would be to port the old FileMaker file over to the cloud.  He is going to sign up for a demo.  If that works, he will request funds from the board.
    • This appears to be the way we are going, most likely in 2 months.
  • Alan spoke up and mentioned the JSON database or the like.  He thinks there are better answers out there for an organization like ours.
    • Sarah responded by talking about how she has been in discussions with people in the state and how relational databases are cutting edge to use in the cloud.
    • Alan interrupted about how cave databases have a lot of text, but not a lot of needed information.
    • Howard chimed in by saying we should explore other options, but we do not want to get to a support dead end.  We have to use what we know.  FileMaker might be older but it serves us well and we were able to do searches very quickly.  Missouri and Illinois are using it as well right now.
  • Howard said we have a gap and we have checked things out of the past year and we need to get our database moving us forward again.
    • He really wants a relational and a georeferenced database altogether, but it is just not there yet.
    • Howard shared our old database and explained why we used what we were using.  It pulls all our Excel files all together for logistical searches.
  • Ben jumped in and said that our biggest problem is usability.  If users can't use the software and there is a large learning curve, no one is able to use it.
    • Howard explained how Walls, Compass & CaveWhere relate.  The Walls programer died and because of that, the program useability will eventually be obsolete
    • Philip explained and backed up Alan and explained JSON and its longevity.  He also explained his willingness to help out.
  • Alan worries that FileMaker support could end and how JSON is usable in anything.  He said though, that it doesn't help to give suggestions if no one is willing to help.
    • Howard noted that someone has to build it to prove its usability and wow us.
    • Kevin noted students at the university might be willing to help build it.
    • Howard noted that we have to be able to maintain it going forward.
  • Howard put out a call to action on the database.
  • Howard noted that the national monuments that had been made smaller are being re-enlarged.
  • Sarah noted about getting out the draft of the ethics to the board so it can be voted on at the next meeting.
    • Sean said to send it out strictly to the members and not to the general public.
  • Sean thanked everyone for coming to the lame-duck meeting.


Sean motioned to adjourn at 7:58 and Ben seconded.