Did you see a map of the localization of the longest caves in the world? Me neither, that’s where the new idea was born to collect and try to visualize these magnificent natural creations. Nevertheless, it wasn’t easy.


The hardest part was to obtain the exact localization of the first thirty longest caves. Not every name is easily found with coordinates and searching for it through scientific articles is not a fast process.

During the searching process, I have discovered that some of the caves are not even listed in OpenStreetMap. Thus, I decided to repair such oversight and created some, new OSM features.

Methods and Software

The first phase of the work was to prepare a background map in ArcGIS. This included: adjusting the projection to Equal Earth, adding shapefiles from Natural Earth, choosing colors, making proper grids. I’ve manually geocoded also cave points (POIs) in ArcMap and tried to visualize them but it was strangely cutting the edges of it after exporting to PNG format.

After all, I’ve decided to switch mapping to Photoshop where I manually draw points and the rest of the graphics besides flags that were taken from Flat Icons.

Longest Caves on Earth in Table

No.CaveCountryLength (metres)OSM Entrance Location Coordinates (lat, lon link)Action on OSM
1Mammoth Cave System  United States66787837,1875804, -86,1035650
2Sistema Sac ActunMexico37195820,3179170, 87,4096669
3Jewel Cave United States334840-34,2739715, 115,0980270
4Sistema Ox Bel HaMexico27102620,1604361, -87,4876073
5ShuanghedongChina25749728.2420171, 107.2760840Changed to proper name
6OptymistychnaUkraine25700048.7349443, 25.9737988
7Wind CaveUnited States24510343.5580509, -103.4795485
8Lechuguilla CaveUnited States24204532.1906420, -104.5033091
9The Clearwater SystemMalaysia2380464.0652984, 114.8317560
10Fisher Ridge Cave SystemUnited States20921637.2472, -86.643 (not exact)
11HöllochSwitzerland20194646.9769524, 8.7886955
12Sistema del Alto TejueloSpain16900043.2583151, -3.6872664
13Siebenhengste-Hohgant-HöhleSwitzerland15700046.78382, 7.90123 (not exact)
14Schoenberg-HöhlensystemAustria14912347.9918344, 15.9733812
15Sistema del MortillanoSpain14500043.243191, -3.76389 (not exact)
16OzernaUkraine14049048.7644458, 25.9659066
17Schwarzmooskogel-HöhlensystemAustria13607447.69094, 13.82147 (not exact)
18Bullita Cave SystemAustralia120400-16.0633781, 130.3833142 (not exact)Added potential cave entrance
19Sistema del GandaraSpain11674043.1905576, -3.5863275
20Toca da Boa VistaBrazil114000-10.1625251, -40.8597012 (not exact)Added potential cave entrance
21Hirlatzhöhle – SchmelzwasserhohleAustria11292947.5449754, 13.6309534
22Entrada Boca PailaMexico11115220.0087761, -87.4908678 (not exact)Added potential cave entrance
23Systeme de Ojo GuarenaSpain11000043.04722, -3.6204 (not exact)
24Reseau Felix Trombe / Henne MorteFrance10576742.9725465, 0.8664373
25Sistema K’oox Baal  – Sistema Tux KupaxaMexico10043120.356412, -87.400083 (not exact)
26Sistema PurificacionMexico9375523.857454, -99.676742 (not exact)
27ZolushkaUkraine / Moldova9208048.2801152, 26.6335117
28Sistema HuautlaMexico8900018.100976, -96.749775 (not exact)
29Three Counties SystemUnited Kingdom8661954.19749, -2.494618 (not exact)
30Gouffre de la Pierre Saint MartinFrance / Spain8364942.9679630, -0.7691232

Cave Comparison on Bar Diagram

Cartographic Visualisation On a Map


Dataset to download

Download dataset as ESRI Shapefile (.shp)

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.