These are some of the template files I use for data entry, in the hope that they'll help someone, and that others will be able to suggest alternative or better ways of setting out data.


These pages do not describe 'the official word' on Therion. For that you should refer to The Therion Book, or pages on this wiki by those more knowledgeable. This is just my attempt to tame the beast, or a least understand it a little so that I can keep it under control.

The examples herein should work on versions 5.2.9ish to 5.3.9, June 2009 to April 2012 and counting…

 p   a   g   e     u   n   d   e   r      c   o   n   s   t   r   u   c   t   i  o   n

Files on this page are embedded with a .txt extension to facilitate viewing on the web. Therion will allow you to use any extension you like, and I have suggested reassigning extensions (such as to .thc) to facilitate use with text editors that are able to 'style', or colour code, the file contents based on the files extension.

The structure I have adopted strikes some sort of balance between having many modular codependent components that are linked together, ensuring consistent outputs and the alternative of having a few independent components which require duplication of edits to migrate changes through to all appropriate outputs.

The approach here uses a single thconfig file that is capable of producing most outputs possible for a particular cave, with only minor edits such as commenting or uncommenting particular lines to change the scope of data processed, symbology, or type of output. It works pretty well, and can be reasonably compact provided most of the layouts and indexes are in referenced files, but inevitably they require edits in a number of places that need to be consistent else you don’t get what you want.

It might be better to have multiple thconfig files, referencing the same sets of layout and index files as above, but avoiding the need to comment and uncomment so many lines.

Configuring and Compiling Cave Information

To use these examples;

  1. Decide which surveys, maps and projections you want to export,
  2. Select the surveys and or maps (source and select statements)
  3. Refer to the relevant layout files for the maps and projections ((input statements)
  4. Choose the relevant outputs (export statements)

You will want to edit the examples below to suit your own needs…

thconfig-templatesimple.txt (rename *.thc after download)
thconfig-templatecomprehensive.txt (rename *.thc after download)

Setup a Default Standard Layout

Includes standard settings I want to be consistent across all 2d outputs, and those that I use often;

  • LayoutStandard = default or common settings
  • Redefine therion's default legend and map-header text
  • LayoutColourSymbols = colour code groups of features such as water, centrelines, equipment
  • LayoutHideSmallItems = hides small text labels and small rocks so far…
  • LayoutScalebar1 = redefine scalebar (Thomas Holder's)
  • LayoutShowContinuationQmarkOnly = show standard continuation symbol
  • LayoutShowContinuationFullText = redefine continuation symbol
  • LayoutMapBorder = put a border around map
  • LayoutExperimentalHeader = allows inclusion of compilation version and date in map and atlas header (only the map works)

layoutstandards.txt (rename *.thc after download)

Other examples of definitions you could include in a file like this are located on the tex and metapost pages.

Output Scale

Allows easy changes between different standardised output scales, sets scale-bar and grid-size;

  • LayoutScale500 = everything is visible
  • LayoutScale1000 = everything is visible
  • LayoutScale2000 = hide minor details and smallest text
  • LayoutScale5000 = hide all symbols and all but largest text
  • LayoutScale10000 = hide all text, blacked out passage

layoutscales.txt (rename *.thc after download)

I have 'hidden' the text at large (small?) scales by making it very very small, which is not a very elegant solution because the resulting file size can be significantly larger than it needs to be.

This approach has now been made redundant, with a much better solution provided in 5.4.1 Apr2017.

There are now fonts-setup and min-symbol-scale layout options

Statistics Reporting

For map headers, allows simplified selection of the various statistics available in about five flavours;

  • LayoutStatisticsNone = just title, scale bar, north arrow, map-comment, length and depth remain
  • LayoutHideLengthDepth = removes length and depth from map header
  • LayoutStatisticsNormal = lists all participants
  • LayoutStatisticsTop10 = lists top 10 participants (explorers, surveyors, cartographers)
  • LayoutStatisticsVerbose = all participants AND how much passage length they each contributed
  • LayoutStatisticsDrawn
  • LayoutStatisticsCopyright

layoutstatisticsreporting.txt (rename *.thc after download)

With the release of 5.3.11 the behaviour of this template has changed. In 5.3.10 it sorted names by passage length associated. In 5.3.11 it sorts names alphabetically. A simple change is required to obtain the original behaviour. Refer to why_do_peoples_names_sort_alphabetically_when_they_used_to_sort_by_length_of_cave_explored_and_surveyed

With all of the templates in this section, I tend to rename them to replace the 'Cave' with a description of the survey and part of the cave, eg 'JB-BootsOff'. A side effect of this approach is to, from a Therion perspective, artificially tie the 'map object' structure to the 'survey' structure, just a little. This may incur unnecessary constraints further along your journey. As I'm still learning, I find it helpful to keep the scraps and low level 'map objects' constrained to the surveys.


Typically one survey per file, but again, this is completely flexible.

  • aa-UndergroundTemplateManual.th = for surveying with instruments, paper and pencil
  • aa-UndergroundTemplateDistoXpda.th = for paperless survey with PocketTopo

and for surface centreline surveys, use the above templates and add 'flags surface' to the #Survey Information section. For gps surveys, here is an example of how to easily manage many centrelines in one survey; use one master Area file, and many subsidiary centreline files;

  • SurfaceSpotsAreaTemplate-gps.th = master file
  • SurfaceSpots-centrelineTemplate-gps.th = subsidiary file

Sample files are coming…


Add a surface image and terrain model that improves on Google Earth. This is covered in Terrain Modelling

An example file is coming…


to be completed…

SurveyPlan.th2, SurveyElev290.th2

No templates for drawing files, as these are best started fresh each time, however I have put together a drawing checklist of options that I typically use together with particular drawing entities.

I tend to put all the scraps of any one projection for a particular survey in one file, but this is completely flexible.

If you are learning to draw you should first work through Therion for Cavers and Therion by Examples. The Therion Book that downloaded with your version of Therion is the definitive command reference.

Cave and View Specific Settings


to be completed…


to be completed…


to be completed…

Page / Paper Size

Allows straightforward selection of paper size and orientation for atlas outputs.

  • LayoutAtlasLandscapeA1
  • LayoutAtlasLandscapeA2
  • LayoutAtlasLandscapeA3
  • LayoutAtlasPortraitA3
  • LayoutAtlasLandscapeA4
  • LayoutAtlasPortraitA4

layoutatlaspapersizes.txt (rename *.thc after download)

see also atlas_layout_parameter_calculator

A warning about Atlas elevations: Forum posts on Atlas elevation origin issues

Cave and View Specific Settings


to be completed…


to be completed…


to be completed…

  • templates.txt
  • Last modified: 7 years ago
  • by brucemutton