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Rich in NEPA

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Everything posted by Rich in NEPA

  1. The NGS standards are far from "impossibly high." They are very plain and simple. The answer is that (for the casual benchmark hunter) the station should be logged as Not Found. Those who are more serious and wish to expend more time and effort will attempt to provide the necessary proof and can (and deserve!) to log it as Found, in Destroyed condition. No need to "relax" any standards. It's my opinion and experience that the only changes needed on the GC.com benchmarking site to better suit this activity (other than getting the most up-to-date NGS data, which appears to have its own problems and issues at the moment) is to remove the Destroyed logging option entirely, and install a picklist of "conditions" in the Found logging option. This means that when logging a benchmark there are only three choices: Found, Not Found, and Note. In the Found submission form there would be three additional choices to pick from: Good, Poor (including Disturbed/Mutilated), and Destroyed. The criteria for Destroyed would be very similar to (if not the same as!) the guidelines that NGS requires: positive identification of the station. One additional point is that Found in the case of benchmarking does not necessarily mean actually finding a disk or a landmark (as opposed to the "rules" for signing a logbook in Geocaching), it means positively identifying the station, since it is the station that is of primary concern, and the mark is merely a means of representing it physically. (NGS data refers to all points in the National Spatial Reference System as "stations" and not "marks" per se.) So, for Found/Good and Found/Poor the marks themselves will most likely always exist. For Found/Destroyed it will be necessary to find adequate proof (using the NGS guideline), otherwise a Not Found should be logged. None of these changes would affect in any way whatsoever those people who pursue benchmark hunting as a very casual pastime, or at any other level of interest. Cheers ...
  2. Try Outdoor Research and look under Liquid Carriers & Insulators. The standard water bottle tote and the 1-liter water bottle parka will both hold a 32-oz. Gatorade just fine, as well as a 1-liter Nalgene bottle. I've been using both styles for years. In the warmer months I place a bottle of Gatorade in the freezer a few hours before a hike, and when placed in the insulated carrier it will stay ice cold for an entire day on the trail. Sweet! Cheers ...
  3. Don't forget the all-time classic: Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  4. quote:Originally posted by Kerry:Today the GOES-12 satellite recorded the most intense flare ever measured and simply went past the max measuring capability. Gotta run to the store for bread ... to make some toast! ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  5. quote:Originally posted by Snipe33:I think everyone is in denial....LOL Some of us just don't want to incriminate ourselves. (Truth be told, I'll hunt them wherever and whenever I can. I've found quite a few old chiseled crosses and squares along an active RR near me.) Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  6. I found Zhanna's "Welcome To My World" to be extremely pleasant, challenging and memorable! It is very well-crafted and it's a great foul-weather cache. Make sure to put it at the top of your list if you're planning to be in the Scranton area. Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  7. quote:Originally posted by gbod:I didn't know there was a difference between the two. (I've never uploaded a photo to a geocache). Would you be so kind to explain the difference? Gbod, I have a feeling it would be better to have Jeremy explain this part of the process since I have no idea what software he's using on his servers to handle uploaded images and for storing them, or what settings he's using or how the software is configured. I can only observe the effects of this process on the images that I've uploaded so far. Evidently he has a way of telling his servers to check the image filesize and the image pixel dimensions, and subsequently how to resize and recompress them into JPEG files based on these settings. For example, I have a photo that I've resized to 650x490 (my standard dimensions for Web and e-mail) and saved in JPEG "progressive" encoding (meaning the image file will download completely before it is displayed in your browser, as opposed to "standard" encoding which allows the image to display gradually from top to bottom as the file is downloaded—standard encoding results in a slightly larger filesize, but it's more convenient for people to view), and with a filesize of 116,573 bytes. If I upload this photo to the geocaching website, since it is less than the 125KB limit it is not resized dimensionally, but it gets reformatted to standard encoding and its filesize in now 126,154 bytes. When I very carefully compare this image to the one I originally uploaded, they look nearly indistinguishable and with equal image quality. Now, if I upload this photo to the benchmarking site, it is resized and saved to 605x452, again with standard encoding, and is only 41,927 bytes in size. However, there is a dramatic reduction in image quality. Ugh! Believe me, I've tried numerous combinations of formats, compression levels and image dimensions to try to determine the best compromises to this kind of manipulation. As I said earlier, I can live with the newest restrictions on the geocaching site. It also seems that the software doing the manipulation is not the same on the two sites: the geocaching site can only handle GIF, JPG, and TIFF image formats; the benchmarking site can handle a significantly wider range of image formats. Both sites save the resulting images as JPG files with standard encoding. The geocaching site does a much better job, as long as you keep your images below the 125KB size limit so that it is not resized! These are my observations and speculations. Your results may vary so it's best to experiment. Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  8. quote:Originally posted by gbod:What if your image is less than 600 pixels wide and greater than 125kb? Or less than 125kb but greater than 600 pixels? In either of these cases the dimensions of your image will remain intact. See this thread. However, you should note that even the unresized images are still somehow being resampled and compressed to JPEG standard encoding as they are saved on the server when uploading them. On the positive side, they do not seem to suffer anywhere near the same degree of degradation that occurs when the images need to be resized on the server as well. I can live with this, and I hope that the same relaxed restrictions (600 pixels wide or less, or 125KB or less) will soon be provided on the benchmarking site. Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  9. Ooops! Sorry, DJ. It's all too easy to go off on tangents. Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  10. quote:Originally posted by GeckoGeek:While there may be some abuse of the "Destroyed" option, the fact that the disk is there positively identifies the point. Now, didn't I just say that very thing?! Having the disk in hand along with the other on-site evidence is enough to prove the destruction of the station. My point about the "Destroyed" logging option has nothing to do with abuse, either. My contention is that the only two options needed for logging on the benchmarking site is "Found" and "Not Found" (and, of course, the "Note"). I've been stating this for months: that it was wrong from the start to model the benchmarking logging process after geocaching. The idea of finding the mark is not appropriate or sufficient. The mark is only representative of the station. quote:If the NGS would log it as destroyed, then it's destroyed. Why should we have a higher standard? Where do you get this idea of a higher standard? As a matter of fact, I'm espousing a lower standard. By logging the station as "Found" and by providing a "Condition" field (Good, Poor, Destroyed) and letting NGS (if and when a formal recovery report is submitted to them) make the final determination according to their own very strict standards. This means that I would merely be listing the station's condition as destroyed in my logs. quote:I think what you are describing here is where the "mark" is intact, but just the label has come off. That's not the impression I'm getting here. No! I'm describing the opposite—the situation where the mark is not intact, which is exactly the condition that Team Sagefox has indicated. In his case, the setting is also unusable. It is indeed appropriate for him to submit a formal recovery report indicating that the station is destroyed (as it certainly will be, according to NGS standards). Again, this leaves the benchmarking site out of the equation. If the setting was intact, with only the mark missing, and there was sufficient evidence to verify the station's identity (such as a set of reference marks, for example), then the station's condition ought to be described as poor (in the log) simply because it is still usable in certain survey applications. NGS will still declare it destroyed for their own purposes. NGS has stated that their standards are intended to be the highest, as noted by the fact that even though there are numerous USGS marks in existence, and they are used by surveyors all the time, these particular marks seldom meet NGS guidelines for accuracy to be included in their database. That doesn't mean that these marks are no good! quote:Depending on what degree of accuracy you want I suppose you can. But again, I'm playing by NGS definitions here. This is supposed to be a hobbyist site, not a place for scrounging marks. I have absolutely no idea what this means. Nothing I've said earlier changes the nature of the "game" for most players. Certainly, if it is a game, then the scoring mechanism should befit the play. When a station is identified with certainty, it is a legitimate "find" whether the mark exists or not. I don't understand why this simple concept is so difficult to comprehend? Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  11. Howdy, gbod! Very interesting questions, and thanks for the compliment. There aren't any special secrets to my methods. It's something anyone can do. Nearly all of my geocaching and benchmarking photos are taken with a fairly old 2.1 megapixel camera (Olympus C2020z). I always use the highest quality settings including the lowest ISO, the largest image dimensions (resolution), and the lowest file compression (image quality) that my camera allows. Starting with the best possible image makes the rest go easier. My image editing software of choice is Paint Shop Pro v8, and I have a pretty well-established routine after downloading the photos from my camera. First thing I perform is a thorough visual edit, deleting anything that's improperly exposed, blurred, or poorly composed. If the information isn't in the image to begin with there's no sense trying to salvage bad shots. Once I've culled out all the undesirable frames, I then go through and select the ones I want to use for my logs. I open each image in Paint Shop Pro and decide what sort of tweaking it might need. Sometimes the color balance is a little off, or the exposures a little too flat or too contrasty, so these elements are what I correct or adjust first. Always make small adjustments, and compare them to the original image using the editing tool's preview button if it has one, then add a little more if necessary. Then I crop or rotate the image to improve the composition if needed. After I'm satisfied with the adjustments and corrections, I sometimes save the edited image as a TIFF file for possible future enhancement, but usually for run-of-the-mill caching photos I just save it as a JEPG with a slightly different name and with the minimum amount of compression. So what I have now is the original untouched file, and a high-res copy of the edited one. Next I resize the image to 640x480 (480x640 for portrait orientation) using PSP's "Smart Size" resampling option. Almost all digital images need a little sharpening, especially after resizing, so I typically apply only enough Unsharp Mask so that I see a slight increase in sharpness and/or contrast. This is another adjustment that you do not want to overdo. Finally, I save the smaller image in JPEG format using Progressive encoding (it creates a smaller file than Standard encoding) and select a compression level that just allows me to squeak by the GC.com upload limit of 125KB. (For benchmark photos I go as high as 140KB since the upload method is different and not as good on the BM site. Eventually I'm hoping they'll make image handling like it is on the geocaching site.) That's basically it. If there's anything else I can help with, feel free to get in touch. Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  12. Howdy, K&S and RK! I follow your reasoning and I do respect it. I certainly would not attempt anything that would destroy or harm the integrity of the marks. Since I've never seen any direct evidence that stampings had been revived after the station was monumented, I have seen a few marks where the stampings had become, or were becoming illegible through normal wear and tear and even through deliberate mutilation. It does appear that it would be better to try to keep a designation readable and relatively useful than to lose the mark entirely, so you can see why I had to ask. Thanks for the insight. Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  13. What is the accepted policy on reviving worn or partially obliterated stampings on survey markers? Is it OK to restamp or renew the impressions where certain letters or numbers of the designations have become illegible, worn or eroded? If so, is there a specific metal stamp typestyle and size that should be used? TIA. Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  14. quote:Originally posted by GeckoGeek:You should log it as destroyed - not "found". I beg to differ. This station was identified. You should log it as "Found." The "Destroyed" logging option should never be used. Here's why. Whether or not you observed the actual setting in this case, the disk proves that the station was essentially destroyed (NGS will certainly list it as such). If the station was a horizontal control with reference marks intact, or if it was a vertical control with the setting intact, you should describe the condition of the station as "Poor" in your log. It's been pointed out numerous times here that these particular circumstances will still allow for using the station in a survey application. If you have positively identified the station (that is, the precise geographic location) and have conclusive evidence that it is no longer viable (for example, a landmark station which has been torn down), then you could describe the condition as "Destroyed." Obviously, it can not be used by anyone. In either case, you (or someone whom you may feel is more qualified) should file an official recovery report to NGS. For the dislodged mark, a digital photo showing the stamping, a photo of the setting (preferably with your GPSr clearly showing the coordinates) and a description of what you actually found can be sent to Deb Brown at NGS for final determination and updating of the datasheet. You have made a legitimate "recovery." Unfortunately it's not the kind we like to see. Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  15. It's best to start off with a graphic in vector format which can then be resized and exported to any pixel dimensions and/or image format without degrading it. I don't know what size image you prefer, but you can save which ever of these JPEG images suits your needs. The first is 480 pixels high, the second is 600 pixels high. http://img.Groundspeak.com/cache/64361_1200.jpg http://img.Groundspeak.com/cache/64361_1300.jpg Hope this helps. Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  16. quote:Originally posted by GeckoGeek:I'm too lazy to reach for my calculator - 6 seconds to us mortals is how far? It depends on your position. For example, I figure that: @ Lat=30° 6 seconds Lat is roughly 607 feet 6 seconds Lon is roughly 526 feet @ Lat=40° 6 seconds Lat is roughly 607 feet 6 seconds Lon is roughly 465 feet @ Lat=50° 6 seconds Lat is roughly 607 feet 6 seconds Lon is roughly 390 feet (Please correct me if I'm wrong! ) Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  17. Howdy, RB! Well, you can scratch LY2802 off your list. Or update its status, that is. Buffalo-New York City Airway Beacon 17 no longer exists. This was verified during the recovery of tri-station LY2803 on 02-OCT-03. The tower was dismantled and removed apparently sometime prior to 1968. Three of the leg anchor points remain embedded in the ground at the site. Zhanna, who visited the site with me, will be submitting the formal report to NGS shortly. I think the table is a great idea. Nice job! It's always fun to look through this kind of listing. I'd like to be able to learn more about these old landmarks, and I hope to be looking for others, as well. Thanks much. Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  18. quote:Originally posted by Jeremy:Yes, the original image will not be resized or modified if the uploaded image is under 125k. That's great! A little more leeway in the upload filesize is just what I'd been hoping for right from the beginning. Thanks again. Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  19. Jeremy, I appreciate the thought and effort. Having an extra 25KB added to the image size will be a BIG help. Thanks for this. But I still don't understand the 600 pixel width limitation. A portrait-oriented image (assuming standard 3:4 proportions) will display as much as 800 pixels high, but a landscape-oriented (4:3) image will still be only 450 pixels high. Your limitations grossly favor portrait mode over landscape mode, and most people shoot in landscape orientation by a large margin. And, could you clarify: does this mean if an image is less than 125KB that it will not be resized even if it is over 600 pixels wide? [suggestion:] Would it be possible to just add an option to the "Upload an Image..." page that users can check if they want their images automatically resized (for those people who aren't into doing that sort of thing themselves)? Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. --- [This message was edited by Rich in NEPA on October 11, 2003 at 05:10 AM.]
  20. quote:Originally posted by BeachBum22:Either BOF or EOF is True, or the current record has been deleted. Requested operation requires a current record. Apologies. The record was deleted in order to add/change some of the information in the description and photo captions, and I didn't want that crappy edit notice on it. ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  21. I may be entirely wrong about this, and surveyors and the NGS may have totally different ideas than I do, but this is an issue I've been wrestling with for some time. The way I've been dealing with it is to try to define the terms more clearly in my mind. I see a distinction between what is meant by "station" and "mark." In my view the station is the mathematical equivalent of a "point." A point is an abstract entity that defines a unique one-dimensional location in three-dimensional space. A point is infinitely small and is impossible to see and even difficult to imagine, but it can be approximated by using a physical entity—say, for example, a point in the exact center of a sheet of paper can be very closely approximated by placing a dot made by the tip of a pencil at the center as measured with a ruler. That dot (which I think of as the "mark") for all practical purposes represents the point (the "station"). Therefore, I am equating the point to the "station," and the dot to the "mark" (or "landmark"). Furthermore, if you erase the dot the original point still exists in theory, even though there is nothing on the paper to represent it any longer. Hence, if a station mark (bronze disk or landmark) is missing, disturbed, or destroyed, the station itself will continue to exist. In other words, we can know it's coordinates but if you go there you won't see anything to represent it physically. The condition of the mark can therefore be described as either existing, in poor condition (something is there that a surveyor can still use), or completely gone. In essence you have "found" (positively identified) the station, and observed the "condition" of the mark which should be there to represent the station. Perhaps a surveyor or a mathematician can help explain this much better. Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  22. quote:Originally posted by 15Tango:I would assume in your case, the actual marker was destroyed or removed, and what you actually found buried was the remaining reference marker. In this particular case there was no backup sub-surface station mark. The original mark was described as being 16 inches below grade. The root structure in the dirt above the mark was quite advanced leading me to believe that it wasn't uncovered very recently. It also seemed strange to me that two other landmark stations in the immediate vicinty had been destroyed and no recoveries were ever reported to NGS to update their status. Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you. ---
  23. Is there an established protocol, etiquette or "professional courtesy" involving the recovery of underground marks? Specifically, what is the accepted procedure for leaving the mark? Should it be completely buried again, or simply covered over in the same manner as it was found? Last Thursday I was involved in recovering tri-station LY2803. Upon arriving at the site the witness post was found intact and near it was a depression in the ground about 6-8 inches deep indicating a very old excavation where the mark would be. We dug down another 10-12 inches in order to uncover the top of the concrete monument and the mark itself. Either someone had left the hole only partially backfilled when the station was monumented, or it was dug up at a later date and only partly filled in again. There were no reported recoveries since the year the station was monumented so it's hard to tell when this might have occurred. Is it customary to leave the mark and the ground over or around it in the same condition as it was found (in this case only partly filled over), or should the hole be completely backfilled to level of the surrounding surface? Thanks in advance. Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- You might own the cache, but geocaching.com owns you! ---
  24. quote:Originally posted by dgarner:My underlying point about human nature is that this is a hobby, a sport, a game, not a job and placing limits on what people can log is not the game I came to play. Have no fear, my friend. There will always be a place for mediocrity in this world. Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~
  25. quote:Originally posted by GeckoGeek:But I can see where one person finds and another says it's destroyed (for a landmark station it could easily happen) there's going to be some question who gets to claim the points. For many people benchmarking is like geocaching so points are always going to be an issue. And as long as benchmark logging follows the same model as geocaching, there's going to be the tendency to think in terms of actually finding something at the prescribed location. It might be easier to think of a benchmarking "find" as simply a "recovery," in the same sense that NGS defines it. A successful recovery of a destroyed station is still a "find" in the same sense as finding the disk itself. I think this is the part that's hard to grasp. In geocaching the proof of a find is signing the logbook, but in benchmarking the proof of a find is positive identification of the station, whether the mark exists or not. If the mark doesn't exist any longer, the burden of proof becomes much greater. (It's the logical equivalent of proving a negative.) However, in many cases there can be enough verifiable evidence to make the claim valid. (Who decides if there's enough evidence? NGS, of course, when you submit a recovery report.) We just need a system of benchmark logging that follows this model and not geocaching. Cheers ... ~Rich in NEPA~ --- A man with a GPS receiver knows where he is; a man with two GPS receivers is never sure. ---
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