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Everything posted by evenfall

  1. For those who may like, you can bookmark this page: http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/ds_mark.prl?PidBox= Right after the equals sign, click in and type your PID. This is a nice way of getting the datasheet without javascripting and can be used on portable devices quickly as it is simply just text. Rob
  2. Hmmm... This? http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/ds_mark.prl?PidBox= Or, http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/datasheet.prl Hope that Helps, Rob
  3. Congrats Dale, Nice going! Klemmer, Just about everything in Surveying is done to some standard or other, it is one of the most annotated and micromanaged professions around, but for good reason. Unfortunately this procedure with respect to Reference Marks is likely nested in a 400 page book. I have seen it but I have not recalled where. If I cross paths I will Bring it here. Z15, Mike, Do you recall off hand where the procedures for properly orienting Reference Marks is located? You have so many good things in your stash, I just wonder if you do. :-) Rob
  4. Buck, Let's have a look here... 1) We can get rid of most of the "The coordinates are way off!" confusion on SCALED horizontal marks by adding a line under the "Coordinates may not be exact. Altitude is SCALED and location is ADJUSTED. (more info)" line that says, "If the coordinates are SCALED, they may be significantly different; rely on the location description to find the station." Good Idea. The Coordinates are way off, is a statement that leaves too much open to misinterpretation, and I can speak for many who have fielded many questions due to this, But we can dial it in. We can explain the two major mark types and the scaled aspect of vertical control. 2) Can Geocaching pull slightly different information from the NGS database, so that the Reference Points section can be a more clearly formatted version of the box score, listing the angle and distance? Possibly. It depends on how good they can code. To be certain, the NGS datasheet already does this. Why not just use the Box Score as it is? It is not that difficult to learn. A short How to primer is not out of the question, such as clickable links to pop up explanations... Of course some Marks have no box scores and are not otherwise referenced as you know. 3) Can we have a link to the real NGS datasheet instead of the old Geocaching archived one? That is exactly what I would do. Use the NGS Database period. If a Geocacher looks up a survey mark on geocaching, the geocaching web page would pull the data to build the webpage directly form the NGS database right then and there. All Archiving of dated NGS data would end. We would automatically see all updated info from NGS every time. 3) Can the documented history reflect the current updated history from the NGS database? I think you may have meant 4 here... Perhaps 5 on the one after... Yes Because the latest Datasheet for the station would be where Geocaching gets the data. The absolute latest info published by NGS is what you would see. Have you ever noticed that the NGS Datasheet always has a Date on it that represents when the page was generated? have you ever noticed that the NGS Datasheet from Geocaching does not have that date on it at all? I see three good things here. First, we get fresh data either way we go. Geocaching or NGS. Second, Geocaching will free up server space by not having to store the old copy of the database. Third once this is done it should run fine and not require a lot of upkeep from the server side of the app. 4) Could there be a chunk of information on logging at the NGS in the empty area between the links to the nearest benchmarks/geocaches and the logs? This is the big piece that needs work. Are you asking for a page which could serve as a tutorial on how to properly approach Survey Mark recovery at NGS? What if we could work with Casey on asking NGS to host such a Page? I think it would be a worthy and appropriate addition to their site, and geocaching could then link to that. It is NGS's Database, and I feel a tutorial regarding how to approach the How of it would be a good thing for them to have. I would even offer input into the writing of it if they like. As to geocaching, I think they could have a page that explains Hunting the Geocaching way. It could be as detailed as need be. I am sure Jeremy would ask that Benchmark Hunter's input be how it would come together. That is if we get there from here. I have not seen too much interest here yet so who knows... I hope some others will step up and share some ideas too. There is a lot of unrealized potential but it will take some doing to do it all. It will come down to whether Benchmark hunters really place a value on helping make it better. If they do not, and are not willing to contribute to it somehow, I doubt Jeremy will even bat an eye. In some ways I would not blame him. Rob
  5. Paul, I always enjoy your input, but I fear that you may have misread what I suggested earlier, so let me see if I can help. Geocaching will retain all the data it currently has. Nothing would change. All that is retained will be saved. You have nothing to fear. All will be as it has been. All recoveries. I feel this is as important as you do. No worry there. What I am proposing to change is the Geocaching use of the Old NGS CD Database that is five years old. It cannot and will not be updated. I am saying that there are no more CD's and the CD is not the best way to do this. If you want Geocaching to use fresher data, (and we have all wished this were possible already) then Geocaching needs to be able to query the NGS Database to get that data. I propose that Geocaching do exactly that in order to provider the freshest data possible. In addition, all the newer marks would be included. All recoveries would be up to date. The 2 sites would be in sync. What I am not proposing is for geocaching to change any of the data recovered by geocachers. Even if NGS Destroys a Mark. If a Geocacher Logged so much as a Not on that PID, Geocaching would database that and retain everything back to day one. What I felt would be handy is that Geocaching offer a link on a page that could be the acknowledgment page of a recovery log to Geocaching. Once you recover the PID to Geocaching and this is confirmed, the confirmation page could have a link on it which simply says Do you want to recover this find to NGS? Click Here. Most people never will but it would help people find the page at NGS in case they do. This would be offered after the recovery to Geocaching first. I will reiterate what I said earlier today. NONE OF THE STATION RECOVERIES TO NGS IS AUTOMATED. THEY ARE ALL LOOKED AT WITH HUMAN EYES BY DEB BROWN OR OTHER NGS PERSONNEL AFTER THEY ARE SUBMITTED BY THE PUBLIC AND BEFORE THE INFORMATION IS ADDED TO A DATASHEET. NO INAPPROPRIATE VERBIAGE IS ALLOWED. Yes I did mean to caps lock that for emphasis. I was not yelling. Anyways, So no worries on the jeep stuck in the mud part. It won't make it. I can imagine that if you were to ask Deb if she has ever dumped any Narrative info, she would give you a knowing smile. NGS what they want in a station recovery. And you know what? If the Narrative is all crap but someone said they found it and loads a Pic. Trash the Narrative and reduce it to a simple log of Found Good. At least it would be a more recent recovery and that is a leg up! NGS Is looking for ways to make this easier too. They like to read our input. I think making it a bit easier is doable, and if we do and it grows then I see that as good. If problems arise we can work to fix those too. What if, is a favorite concept of mine. Geocac is the agency reporting code for Geocaching. What if there was a different agency code for a general public recovery page. What if we could present the idea to NGS to support 2 different recovery pages. Keep the one they have and add a new one. The new one would be very basic and use pre determined responses but no narrative could be entered. This way an untrained person can add that they found it or did not find it when they looked. Period. Maybe a few other things. Later if this becomes a hobby they enjoy they will find out how to do this in other ways, and develop their skills just like many others have. But for the most part, it would be safe to allow anyone to log on that site. The Database would compare dates and only allow one recovery per calendar year. There, we CAN automate it in a Basic way, and limit the amount of mistakes that can be made. Remember we could see about two different ways to do the recovery page. This one could be pointed at geocaching for use with zero training and super ease. This is good because it is quick and easy for the public, requires little learning curve and will get NGS some basic info they want to know which in the most basic form is simple. Does the station still exist or not? I feel it is a workable and useful idea which NGS could model. At least it would give a Surveyor a more recent idea as to the status of the mark and perhaps be cause for them, or a better experienced mark duster to have a look. Station Recovery can be very basic and still be useful, and if a Recovery page like that existed, the Geocaching website could link to that. If people grew into the hobby further, they could learn about the more detailed recovery page from folks like ourselves here in the forum. Could we interest NGS in such a Model? Just a few other Ideas there for consideration. Let's keep discussing. Remember, if we do nothing, nothing will happen. Rob
  6. Hi Culp. It is unlikely that it is a Station we use here at Geocaching, but would be handy to have Latitude and Longitude for the location though, We do have ways of looking some survey marks up. No Guarantees. Rob
  7. kc2ixe, Yes it is interesting. It would appear that the original monumenting station was Station Guard, which was lost, Dug for and even the underground mark was not found. Guard RM2 was a Reference Mark which was later leveled for Vertical Survey. I have seen a number of theses in the Seattle Area where the RM's have been turned into Bench Marks. Later, Decision was made to replace the original horizontal Survey Marker which had been lost and they decided to monument the new Triangulation Station in the old Bench Mark Drill Hole since the station mark was loose. Sound thinking actually. A loose bench mark disc is not going to give you an accurate elevation without being re-leveled and checked though out it's line. So the pulled the BM and replaced it with a new Tri Station disc and re Surveyed it in to second order quality. So If you were thinking along the lines of asking Deb to remove PID KU1377 from the database, I concur with that. It is a dead PID and has been since 1962. Question is, did you verify the current status of KU3502? You didn't say. It appears there is a Mark and 2 RM's to that. In addition to the work you have done, for fun, consider looking for this. KU3425 is the original First Order Triangulation Station Named GUARD. It was not found in 1962 and the reason why GUARD 2 was monumented. Since CGS Dug a deep hole and didn't find it they cannot have the PID destroyed but CGS did the Destroying on Guard RM2 to make Guard 2 So they recovered the disc. That PID should by rights no longer be an active PID. Two things left to find in my thinking. RM1 was found in 1962 but it has not been listed in the Box score for the original Station Guard It may still be there somewhere. The to find is listed on the KU3425 Datasheet RM2 is of course gone... RM3 is listed in the Box Score: KU3425| CB6109 GUARD RM 3 34.620 METERS 26208 Call it WSW. I'd make a waypoint of the original Station Guard and run a go to to get to it's old ballpark location then I would walk off the old RM's to it from there. I find a GPS makes a really lousy compass at walking speeds, so I like to use a real one. It lets you stand and pivot and think a bit while still telling you where you are facing. There is narrative to find info for it on the datasheet also. You may notice from another discussion we had recently that this reference mark has a PID that starts with a C designation that has no datasheet. This is normal for RM's no worries there. So I guess if you like there are a couple challenging 43 year old RM's hiding near there too if you like challenging hunts. Those would be fun for geocaching finds listed as notes anyway since the station is long gone. When you are done with that fun, It appears there is another station named Guard in Nassau County as well... Nice work! :-) Rob
  8. No Buck, I was clear in my communication to you. I make a point of meaning what I mean. Why else would I bother going into such long drawn out answers. If I wanted to be ambiguous I could easily manage that in one poorly constructed Paragraph. The NGS Databases Info. It is a PID. It is just not available to the public. It is not Fake nor is it a little white lie. It is simply a product of how databases work and what the owner of the database wants to signify as something they want to have direct access to. It is a function of most databases to have administrative access and selectable levels of user access. We see this database only through the window they want us to. I am sure they have all kinds of information stored it in and a number of different ways to retrieve it that has nothing to do with what the public sees. These RM's are referenced for their convenience. If they had real survey data which was up to the standards they publish, then they would publish them. As to your 5 digit question. That is a Bearing to the RM. RM's are too close to the survey mark to delineate any difference in the second range. If you see a 5 digit number listed next to an RM that say for instance, 32932 You are looking at 329 Degrees 32 minutes and to be honest, you could round that down to 329 even, and go find it with a Compass. Many Compasses only provide 2 degree accuracy so round up or down from 329. You will still find it if it is there. Rob
  9. Hey Guys, The NAVD88 Adjustment was completed in June 1991 and made available to the Public September of 1991. http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/PUBS_LIB/NAVD88/navd88report.htm NGS then superseded NGVD29 and no longer does any further updates to it as a Datum. NAVD88 is now their Standard. It is quite true that many municipalities have not adopted NAVD88 as their standard as yet, but the driving force is not because they like one better than the other. That would be silly as one is many times more accurate than the other. The Main reason lies in the Costs of conversion from one Datum to the other. It would mean going through a lot of data and converting it. That can be a huge amount of time and money to a small government who does not have it in the budget. They realize the drawbacks but what can they do? Budgets are Budgets. It is always good to look into what Datum a Municipality is using for their Survey Markers. It can be one or the other and even in some cases a mix of both. Rob
  10. Thanks Artman, for stepping up and taking FAQtion! Rob
  11. Buck, Those are as you Guessed RM's with PID's. The database is all things to NGS, but not all of it is generally important to everyone. They publish values to the Data they feel meets a particular criteria. If it does not meet a criteria they do not publish it. That does not mean that they will not want to keep track of information in house. Reference Marks are not placed into the Database unless a form of Survey data has been ascribed to them. Simply being a reference mark is not enough. None the less the NGS data still needs a way of getting to Data quickly, so, for their in-house work, they have a PID.
  12. Buck, I think I see the issue as one of reservation. You want to be protective and I understand that. I was thinking that some of that protection could be built in. You know, make it easier but not a license to do whatever. We can surely omit the link to NGS, Sure, and we can play a game on their Database and not offer to return any favor by linking to their recovery page. Sounds Fair and Equitable! :-) I think linking would be a nice gesture for the added bandwidth they may see. If they do get some recoveries, all the better. It would seem a symbiotic relationship. Yes? Not to kick Geocaching's current layout in the shins, but it could be doing a lot more without that much hands on. It was a good design at the time and it is still working, but the game as such has continued to evolve a bit and things could use freshening up. Links to FAQ's Forums NGS and such could be interspersed on the benchmarking pages Better layout, Bulleted formats, executive Summary style with more data found linked to summary points. This way you can say it in 30 seconds or less and leave the option of learning more if the soundbite does not cut it. Some people like soundbites some like the details. NGS wants to get what info they can. Getting recoveries from areas of the country that they currently are not would be a gift too! The Onus is theirs to police what goes into their Database. Everybody here has heard of Debbie Brown. She Looks at every recovery we send in BEFORE she allows it to be added to the database. So rest assured, the inputs are policed. They also know it is an imperfect system but what can we do? Here is something interesting... Don't Think of Marylin Monroe! I bet you are still thinking of her aren't you? See what the effect of telling you not to do something is? You are thinking in a direction that I had hoped you wouldn't. The best way to go is to not go where you don't want to go. Don't plant Ideas of what is not desirable, instead just lay out how to participate in a fun way. This way you get what you want. There have been some ideas being tossed around about making the recovery page more user friendly. I think it would be fine to send folks there and let the NGS site screen it from there. I am not thinking it would be helpful to tell some person that they are not qualified enough to submit a recovery. The NGS Site doesn't and if we did we would see some recoveries alright. They might even be hostile ones. All we need to to is just basically outline the best way to do it and be as positive and up beat about it as we can. From the standpoint of a person who is a user of NGS Data, If a geocacher left a recovery which was as simple as Found good, and the date is recent, Ten it is worth looking. If they left a photo of what they found then the value of the recovery would certainly be added. If we want more people to help, we cannot make them do it. They have to choose to. If they choose to it will be because it is easy and friendly, and that equals fun. It currently is not that easy. The screening will have to be done in two parts. First we show the best way as a part of the site design. Second, NGS does and will continue to eyeball the submissions. You want a Balance? This is the balance I think you want right here... It can even be an inconspicuous link on a nested webpage which is at the bottom of a list with the criteria for good mark recovery, outlining what the NGS would like from a good recovery. If they want to go through all that to find the link they will learned about how on the way to the link and after that, believe me, If a recovery submission does not meet muster, Deb will kick it out. For instance: "Me and Stacy found this one while we were playing Frisbee with the kids" will never get on the Mark recovery. Neither will AC-DC Rocks! Deb will kick it out. I think the protections can be inherent in the design as well. Like I said, Most people wont. Asking people if they are sure is too emotionally based though. Just a simple criteria to follow perhaps taught in FAQ format like Casey has already accomplished with perhaps a few good clickable examples of how to write it correctly will be fine. We will want to keep it fun! The thing we need to keep in mind is that the NGS would like to have more recoveries if they can get them. Geocaching does not have this as one of it's goals but someone may be able prepare a page that Jeremy could code to the site which may be helpful. Bottom line? Good design is not inherent in Bad designs and we need to keep it simple enough and doable for geocaching. It is important to note that this will not likely happen on it's own. If no one wants this, nothing will happen. Expecting Geocaching to do this is super unlikely to have it get done. but if we can come up with a plan and offer some of the coding already done Who knows. It seems a shame that the Geocaching database could become even more out of date. But if it has taken years to get Pocket Queries for benchmarks and it still has not happened... What does that tell us? It tells me that we have to try to come up with the bulk of it, flesh it out and see if Jeremy likes the idea. Rob
  13. Geo, About Jerry, Jerry is a Career Surveyor and has worked at BLM in many Capacities all over the country. He has even authored a Paper or two on the subject of the PLSS and how it related to Geodesy. To be honest, He is probably one of the best guys in the country who could give your idea a go and look at what he said? I weighed in on it too, with pretty much the same answer. Now that you know where Jerry is coming from, and that Jerry told you what he told you, What do you think? I am not going to be coming to survey that point Geo. No one is. :-) Fun thought though, Just not a workable one. Good Luck, Rob
  14. BOS, From the best I can research this out and avoid giving a Bibliography longer than the answer, Here is the Gist of what I could find. Prior to the take over in 1970, when NOAA and the NOS basically Swallowed the CG&S (Coast and Geodetic Survey, NGS basically ended their Geomagnetic program. Perhaps as late as 1973, as there are differing sources, the USGS took over the Bulk of that work. It would appear you found the website for USGS coverage, but it does not seem to treat the subject really well with respect to the history. Though it appears that the CGS was involved in taking geomagnetic readings as early as the late 1800's perhaps prior to the early 1900's, the bulk of the work appears to have gone on after World War II. The NOAA history of NGS seems to allude briefly to this Geomagnetic work in places, but even though electromagnetic observations are very important, it really turned out to be not as important to the study of Geodesy as Gravity and Other forms of physical observation and so they gave it to an Agency to whom it would be a better fit to their mission. As such, it is only touched on just briefly in the NGS History. I suppose you could redirect your study of this towards the actual instruments and methodologies, Perhaps some of the College based and private website will allude to the history of this work as well. For the worst part, A Government Career generally lasts only 30 years so the people who may have been players in the geomagnetic game at NGS have likely been long since retired. I would well imagine that the Bulk of them closer to the 35 years ago when the work there ended. That is a pretty cold trail. Best bet would be to see if a Historian at NOAA or NGS knows of or has read of history beyond that which seems to be currently available. As to your direct questions: >they don't seem to get replaced when destroyed. They really have little value beyond their Optically Derived Triangulation Data. Today's Models are GPS CORS and HARN. >What is their significance? They were places to specifically measure geomagnetic values at specific places in the country. This still happens but in different locations and is a real time network. There are also Satellite and aircraft derived observations as well. These stations are simply, Old School if you will. >Why were they set? To create a replicatable location from which data compiled over time could be compared. >How are they different from other marks? Well, They are similar in that they were often Optically Triangulated and so are part of the Horizontal survey network, they are different in that they served an additional duty in the Compiling of Geomagnetic Data. I would imagine that some scouting in a local area and knowledge of the local geological conditions in that given area helped determine the Net Value of a given location, before it was determined to be suitable for making this sort of observation. In other words, It is likely that not just any location is good enough, you have to find the best ones. >How often were they occupied or visited? The frequency may be determined and seeing if a filing was made on the datasheet. That would be the way to reverse engineer that answer anyway. >For how long at a time? Before real time observations became doable, Most any survey measurements ever made are meant to be productive so we, as observers, take only as long as it takes to get the information needed and verify (as in double check) it is as accurate as we can manage. I am unfamiliar with the specific equipment used in that era. This is really pretty specialized scientific work. >What equipment used Well Here is a site which may help with today's take on the question: http://www.gemsys.ca/Quantum/Scientific/Pr...39;s%20Fury.htm For some super in-depth information have a look at this site and prepare to spend some time reading. http://www.lund.irf.se/HeliosHome/geomag_magnetometers.html >What parameters measured? Again I think you may find that covered at this link: http://www.lund.irf.se/HeliosHome/geomag_magnetometers.html The USGS may also have outlined what data they collect and how they use it. Good Luck and enjoy! Klemmer, Thanks for the Link but we were talking Gravity in that discussion rather than Geomagnetics. But I think we can agree there is a lot to know about the world. In the news just today we learned that the Earthquake in the Indian Ocean on Dec 26, 2004, the one that caused Tsunami's has been observed to have altered Geodetic measurements reportedly by as much as a half inch globally. I look forward to seeing more fact that support that news flash soon! Rob
  15. I came across what I was looking for as an addition to this thread. All you likely want to know about the survey marker. These will be downloads in .pdf format. Be prepared to expect this. Open with Acrobat Reader. ftp://ftp.ngs.noaa.gov/pub/uddf/info/Attach_7_9.pdf 288k ftp://ftp.ngs.noaa.gov/pub/uddf/info/Attach_10.pdf 3.4MB But worth it. Enjoy, Rob
  16. Skillet. As you may know A USGS Map only includes USGS Survey, But some of their survey markers did make it into the NGS Database. Keep in mind though that they (NGS and USGS) are separate and different US Government Agencies with different missions. When you see BM1034 on a map, USGS Surveyors leveled an elevation of 1034 feet at that location, as based on the datum that was in use at the time. What does BM Mean? Bench Mark. By definition; a point of measured elevation. When you see a BZ1034 on an NGS Datasheet, you are seeing a computer generated naming convention which becomes a File name for data in a database. The Data is not the PID. In this case the BZ area of the country happens to be where you live. Many of the NGS stations in your local area will have BZ in their Data Name, PID. In reality we have o the one hand a Terminology and on the other a file naming convention. There is more about all this in the FAQ, I am sure you already read that though :-D Rob
  17. National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 Yup. Currently superseded by the North American Vertical Datum of 1988. Vertical elevations only. These are for the Bench Marks. NAD27 which is superseded by NAD83 are for horizontal control Rob
  18. StripeMark, On A station which is used for vertical control. The "where exactly" a surveyor is to place the instrument so measure a specific height is extremely important. It is a physical contact sort of measurement. We are not allowed to guess. The Criteria is to follow the directions exactly. This Bench Mark was above ground and chiseled into a vertical surface requiring us to hold our instrument to the mark. Now that the mark is gone. The station is destroyed. I am sorry but from a survey standpoint it is not usable by the standards and criteria we have to follow. A photo documented email to Deb Brown at NGS showing the loss of this chiseled square will likely result in the destruction and removal of the PID from the NGS Database. Nice work! Rob
  19. Buck, First Paragraph. I accept your feelings about this. It is a common question here at the forum as to how to use the various functions of the NGS Website. In truth, 90% of all recoveries are not logged at NGS and I would imagine that it would likely remain this way. NGS may see this as different than you are, but they know that in the Narrative Recoveries there are bound to be inaccuracies. In fact there already are. We can strive to make it better or less dated but not perfect. All we can do is all we can do. It is merely a way of making the option available. Most people who will bother are going a bit out of their way and are doing so voluntarily. They want to do well I am sure. All submissions to NGS are looked over prior to becoming published, and errors do get through. It happens. Second Paragraph. I am not advocating that all recoveries to GC.com would be forwarded to NGS so if you are thinking I would advocate this, please do not. All I am saying is a link to the NGS recovery page could be there as an option. People would have to click that link of their own volition in order to proceed further. You and I are simply Volunteers. We are neither employees of NGS or GC.com. I cannot look over everyones shoulder nor is that my intention. It is simply about making choices available. NGS would appreciate recoveries in places they are not getting them now, and back to the culture of the country, If it is not made relatively simple to do, people won't bother. Third Paragraph. I can lead a horse but I can't make it do anything. So if people want to learn how they start hanging out here just as you did. I do not have a right to judge them on their lack of qualifications, and why? It would only turn them off. We already have a reputation of being High Minded elitists here as you may know. I am sure it is a turn off for many. For myself, I see questions and I try to answer them. I Volunteer, I take no pay nor solicit any credit. I simply try to help all the people I select to answer without any political motivation whatsoever. I try to tell the truth as I understand it so it helps others. I have no further motivation and I hope I have helped people here get a better grasp of the subject. It is not always easy as Survey Data and theory are not really formatted to be compatible with common everyday language. I draw on my own experiences in the field. It is easy to see where Survey Marker recovery may come off as being High Brow to some. There are rules. It is important that we make a good effort towards accuracy. Not all people are going to be compatible with that sort of a rule. It could be an image but it could also just be a perception which is not entirely correct. I can see how some people could feel they way that they do. It is notable that many do post recoveries and photos to GC.com on benchmarks who never set foot in this forum. It is foolish to think that they should need to run anything past us in order to qualify them as proficient. In the end I would like to find a way of appearing more inclusive to more people. So how would you propose being more inclusive? Casey has done a great service of making what he feels is a Basic FAQ for a general public sort of person to read, as find easily. He want's their contribution and is willing to accept what he gets. If that is what he want's as the Liason of the NGS to GC.com, I am advocating that we help him. I think NGS is prepared to protect the quality of online recovery submissions or they would not advocate making it easier. It is a shame we cannot seem to pin a similar link to the GC.com Benchmark hunting FAQ at the top of the GC.com Benchmark hunting Forum. It is a bummer that it seems that difficult to make even a simple improvement. Wouldn't you agree? There are some simple basic things that could make things work better. It could have better detail, include more info and be easier to navigate. It seems a shame that they are not as easy to modify as they could be. If in the end, nobody can agree, then we have what we have for now and I guess it will remain as it is. Rob
  20. GC would be the primary recoverer on their site, They would still get all recoveries as they do now. if an NGS recovery was decided upon by the hunter, it is up to them to file on their own. They would be responsible for electing to do so or not. I simple link could be provided making the option easier to find. I can tell you from first hand experience that you do not want leave a geocacher with the albeit false impression that they have to do anything, or you will meet with resistance like you could not imagine, even though it is basically a wrong impression on their part. They can tend to become a bit emotional and it can deteriorate from there. Not a good idea to make people wrong either. Text on the internet is widely open to emotional interpretation. There are many people who adamantly do not want to recover anything to NGS. Could be a fear of Big Brother, I don't know. In any case, It would not be in anyone's best interest to even allude to recommending that they do so. It is particularly important (seemingly) to be upfront about mentioning that even discussion of such things is a mere hypothesis and not even a suggestion. Just a gentle option they could exercise if they wanted. The Culture of our Society today requires that I don't have to do anything any one says or recommends to me, all rules are not really meant for me, and even if they are, I still don't have to follow them unless I want to. I have observed that this holds true here at Geocaching as well. That said, I want it known that I am talking business here and not personal or emotional so let's discuss what we think is doable. Can we come up with a plan that can help improve benchmark hunting for GC.com? The CD is a generally bad idea. NGS does not want copies of dated data out there. That is basically why they discontinued the use of the CD database. Further it was costly to produce and Buy, and if various copies are made and distriuted, NGS cannot vouch for the content on them, nor their validity. They did not make the disc and cannot say it was properly accomplished. It would not be a great idea to have a source for uncertifiable data running out there that could mislead someone. As an industry professional, I feel that is sound thinking. That is why they discontinued the CD option. As to the load on their servers, that is simply something they have to accept as a part of doing business. In the best case scenario, GC needs to stay in sync. There only needs be one datasheet. GC can parse what ever data from the sheet as it wants just as it currently does. In fact, I am not recommending that GC change much of how it appears to the public on it's face, just some of the methodology that goes into the generation of each page view. It uses fresh NGS Data rather than Old Out of date Data. It would still collect and serves data that Benchmark hunters submit to GC. In the final analysis, the Onus is not on NGS to do anything beyond accept more traffic on their servers. I am sure that is not a problem. GC.com will have to do the balance of the doing. What I am saying and very specifically so, is that if a method is not found to make this as painless for GC.com management as is possible, absolutely nothing will happen and you can expect things to remain exactly as they are for some time to come. So do we want to think about ways we can help an improvement happen that many people here say they want, or is the mountain too high, the ring to far to reach for. If nobody really wants to do anything to improve the situation, I'll stop advocating that we should organize a way to try. So if anyone would like to add further input, Have at it. Rob
  21. To be certain, I do not really think the idea of compiling a new CD of the database is the correct scheme. In other words, I think there may be a better way. I would personally like to see geocaching consider revamping their data so that they do not database NGS data in house at all. Let the NGS database be the database. Call your data direct from it. This way there is nothing to get stale or dated. Do I really expect Jeremy to take up this sort of project on his own? No. His plate is too full, but he has expressed interest in looking at ideas in the past. He has also expressed interest in ways of updating the Benchmark database. Can we come up with a method he would not want to refuse? Several people here have NGS lookups on their own websites. There is no reason NGS data couldn't be called by Geocaching from the NGS database the very same way. Here is what I am thinking: First, The NGS database could be spidered for active PID's at regular monthly intervals just like Holo has mined data for his site. An automated script could be written to create, or generate Geocaching PID pages just like the ones that exist now. It would compare PID's that were mined last time with this time, add new ones and omit the ones NGS omitted. It would strip the coordinates in DMS format (please!) and the narrative recoveries just as they are included now. Clicking to see the entire datasheet would call the current copy from NGS, not an old stale one at Geocaching. Does anyone know how to code or script this so it would become an automated feature of the site, running completely hands off? If we can do this, we can help make Geocaching's site reflect what is current in the NGS Database. Dead PID's could be archived just as Caches are. Next, Since this revamp would allow geocaching to be within a month of current with NGS, PID, for PID and show all cacher recoveries shown on the real NGS datasheets, All datasheets would be via the NGS Database. All information mined for geocaching would be from the NGS Database. It would be current data, dated with the current date. There would be zero Datasheets databased at Geocaching or by Geocaching. The Geocaching web pages would simply call the data from either database it needs to. NGS or Geocaching. Geocaching would continue to database its own recovery data and all photos submitted. So between the two websites all the data could be obtained to build the webpage when a browser calls it. So, It would likely be a better scheme as the query of the NGS database would be considered fair use. It would be low upkeep for geocaching as once all the coding and scripting is done, the web pages would pretty much take care of themselves. Users could add their recoveries to Geocaching, their photos to geocaching as they have in the pas, and a link could be added to the NGS mark recovery page. Does this seem doable to any of you? Does anyone have any ideas as to how to help create this sort of a scheme, and have it be as low maintenance to geocaching as possible? That would also mean that it should be pretty easy for Geocaching to code up, maybe with volunteer help. It could mean contacting Jeremy with a proposal, asking him what his criteria would be for his database and hosting schemes and developing scripts that would get what is needed from NGS even doing some coding to show how it could be done and forwarding it to Jeremy for approval and to adapt it to the Geocaching sites way. If we can do a lot of the heavy lifting, it may be able to happen. Sometimes we can get what we negotiate. In the course of it it would have to be fairly easy for Jeremy to implement, and pretty hands off when it is said and done. Again, does anyone think it is doable? We Could end up with a current database and links to the things we need, even a methodology for NGS to utilize Geocaching databased PID photography. Feel free to toss the proposal around. Does anyone want to have a go at it? Rob
  22. Bicknell, I don't want to overstate the obvious, but about the NGS Database... It is intellectual property you are dealing with. It may be appropriate to ask Casey to see if he can find any legal reasons why it would not be ok for you to make a copy of the database as such, for redistribution. NGS is not currently doing it, but may not want it done either. I somehow think permission for that sort of thing would be a safe thing to have. No need to run afoul of anything... Beyond that, perhaps there is a way to get an update to the geocaching database that has not been explored. I would email Casey and explore it. He is a good listener who takes pretty good care of us here, and would find out what he can. Try shooting him an email... Rob
  23. Buck, That is a great Idea, But this forum is barely noticed by the moderators and the NGS forum has no Moderators. This Forum is supposedly moderated by Tennessee Geocacher but he recently became a talking head! (Max Cacher) So what would seem true, is not necessarily true. You may be beginning to see that we are a bit off in a corner of geocaching that does not see much Hot stove action... Getting something done takes a lot more than it seems like it should. There are no active benchmark hunters which have any administrative control here and few who do pay much attention, even when ideas are put forth or when help is requested. If that makes their ears burn, Good show! :-) The current crop of pinned topics is pretty stale. 2 of the 4 could likely be ok to un pinned now that there is an NGS Forum. The Rockhounders thread is the most valid to remaining pinned. I have felt two threads could be created and pinned. One, a link to the Benchmark Hunting FAQ Page, which would help newcomers read up on the basics before they ask, and one to the NGS Forum so people have easy access to a finding it, which is a place which was meant for NGS discussions as well as a more technical discussion. But getting that thread moved and pinned and such, achieved in reality is another story. Great Idea though, It will likely remain as it is. I suppose I am fickle and I don't count on too much. I have my reasons. We will have to have a laugh over this in about three months time!
  24. I am going to laminate 10 one dollar bills and not share any with you Buck, I am going to keep them to myself. Yeah, that's the ticket. I will have never actually done this as far as you are concerned because you are likely to tattle on me! Boy I can see the prisons becoming fill of state quarter collectors now, what with all those special state displays and all... And what of the new Nickel? I hear they want to do a new Dollar coin that americans will ultimately scoff at and collect so as to get them out of circulation too! Do you now see how insignificant this is. We will no more miss this bill than any other removed from Circulation, like being ran through the washer and dryer. My How utterly defaced that money is! Arrrrrggghhhhh! The Horrors! I think we can save you from this morbid sense of responsibility toward small denomination currency. Maybe there is a 12 step program? Maybe just thinking bigger would do it? To the Batmobile! We Must save Buck from certain Peril!! Rob
  25. Hi All, This is becoming just a little exasperating :-) (chuckling and shaking my head. Head hung a bit low. Looking at my feet even...) kc2ixe, BDT, I wish I could bring you guys to my side of the table. I have Tried, So has Holo. It is not my place to speak for DaveD, Z15, or Holo. We all just work in the field in our own ways. We all know a little. We have not asked for a lot in return for our efforts to help you understand this, but what can I say. Charlie, (if I may call you that this once,) I understand where you are coming from. I do. But If you really would like to better understand this, Please write to NGS and ask them about why Geodesists allow this terminology. I think they are far more familiar with the come and go of it. DaveD is a geodesist, and I hate to say this but Dave seems to be ok with what Geodesy does to the meter. I want for you to have that understanding like I have, but I feel at a loss to help you as best I could, and they are the source for the best answer you can get. BDT, I feel a bit differently on how to help you. I have chosen my words oh so carefully while explaining this and when I watched Holo try to say the same things I have just a different way, I saw you refute points of what we are trying to help you understand. Well, I am at a loss as to how I can help you get it. I want this for you. I have a very strong sense that you want to understand the machinations behind the Geodesy too. I have a plan. The Meter is not apparent, It is real. What happens to it in the datum formation is real and it is incorporated into what the numbers say on your datasheet. It is so. My Instruments interpret geodetic locationing as a construct of an applied Datum. That means that my instrument interprets the meter in the Datum it is told to, via post processing. Welcome to the ways the earth is measured. You can refute me if you like. I have the meter that fits my tape measure and I have the meter that fits my Datum. They are inherently a Meter. Why do you think there is an inherent difference in State Plane Coordinates, and NAD83. The Earth isn't flat! Beware of circular Trig! and that is not the half of it. Ok? :-D There is danger of being wrong when you step out of a well defined box in this game, that is why we use different systems for different applications. We do the "best fit" box a lot. It is not a good Idea to cross compare some of the boxes. It is just confusing and well, not really proactive either. That is why it isn't done. This brings me to the question for you BDT. Mine is, what would be the harm of asking a Geodesist? You are pretty Local to NGS, and a phone call isn't too spendy Maybe set up an appointment to meet with someone who can spare a couple hours to lay it all out. Maybe you can hook up and walk through the process with a full blown Mathematician with a Ph.D in Geodesy and report back to us. I am sure they can explain in detail the problems they had and what they had to agree to do in order to arrive at solutions that would fit. All this is a tough row to Hoe in a Forum. They can show it all to you in ways we could never do here, and aside from that, It would be cool to be able to ask, don't you think? I am sure the ensuing questions and answers as to why the US developed 2 nearly identical Datums that barely acknowledge each other will be an interesting story too. I have alluded to it a bit here myself. Please consider that thought. I am sorry but I fear that when I try to explain to you the things I have been taught, and you refute them, it kinda leaves me with little more to answer you with other than Sorry. That is the way it is. Accept it or don't. If you can't accept it, Ok, But try Geodesist on for size. This is what they do. P.S, DaveD is one of the Geodesists who you would want to ask about Horizontal Datum. He is considered an authority on the matter. He started this thread. I really hope this sorts out for you BDT, you are asking good questions, I just don't feel it is easy for you to accept the answers. Maybe someone else should help fill in the blanks. All the Bests, Rob
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