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monkeykat

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Posts posted by monkeykat

  1. Thanks for that link, I don't think I remembered to bookmark it. My family vacations in Tupper Lake the first 2 weeks in August every year, and the last couple years I have endeavored to hit some of the smaller peaks in search of summit benchmarks. My last few trips have taken me to Goodnow, Mt. Morris, Floodwood, and Mt. Arab. Also did a few high peaks in Redfield, Gray, Panther, Couchy, and Colden for my mom's 46th.

     

    Haven't made my plans for this year yet, possibilities include a grueling Marcy day hike, Vanderwhacker, Moosehead, Ampersand, or Snowy Mountain. Gotta get planing I suppose.

  2. Yeah, its a work in progress. I'll try and make an "announcement" if I get something I really think works. Right now, I am trying it as a web site, but I hope maybe to get an Android app running at some point.

     

    There are some decent controls I think I can put in to make the web site work better, like resize to be size of the screen of the device, and there appear to be some "what is my location" functions. But they seem to have to ask for permission for use. Kind of like when you go to a web site and see a bar at the top that says "do you want to run activeX" or "a popup was just blocked". This one says do you want to share location information.

     

    I think if it was an installed app it wouldn't need to ask for permission. Unfortunately I do not have a web enabled phone, so testing may be difficult. Site seems to work OK in the iphone simulator I found. B)

     

    iphone tester

  3. If you didn't have service just use the distance and bearing info to do it the old fashioned way with paper maps.

     

    But for a realtime experiance - like using Scaredy Cat Films Benchmark Viewer - without having a preloaded database of marks you would need service.

    One of the first sites I bookmarked on the new phone! :D

    You should prod Monkeycat and get him to make a mobile device friendly page that will center the map on it's current position. B)

     

    I'm experimenting with a mobile page. If you want to be cutting edge scaredycat, try: http://benchmarks.scaredycatfilms.com/mobile/index.html

     

    It tries to determine your current position (doesn't like internet explorer, plus it has to ask permission), it also tries to expand to fill the full screen (doesn't seem to like to do this very often). I put in a button called "center state" that you can click, and it will access the database for whatever state is in the center of your current map. Thanks for the links billwallace. Can't guarantee its up time, because it is still being worked on.

  4. So what are people looking for in a Benchmarking Android App? Maybe we can get a list of wants together, in case someone wants to try and develop something. Something realtime? Like my location is here, what benchmarks are close to me? An app that calls up data sheets? An app that can store data and benchmark locations for display later, perhaps without internet connectivity? I think that any app that allows you to log data with Groundspeak would have to be written by Groundspeak.

     

    I wouldn't mind giving a try at developing an Android app, but I really doubt I have the spare time to learn it well enough. It's a big plus that it can be developed in Java, which I already know some of. I also have my mirror copy of the NGS Benchmark database that I use for scaredycatfilms. I have a friend that is interested in developing in Android, and already wrote at least 1 test app, but he also likes to charge a small fee for things, and I like to offer them for free. I was thinking that if we could come up with some simple requirements I might be able to pitch it to him as a cooperative type learning project.

     

    And if we can come up with some requirements, maybe someone else would write it, or Groundspeak could build it into an app they are writting.

  5. I apologize if this has been done before, but the quality search filter didn't turn up much for a search on "first" and when I tried "first find" I got the less than 5 character error.

     

    Well, what I thought would be fun, would be if anyone would care to share some stories of their first benchmarking finds. I know I would love to hear about some of the more prolific benchmarkers first finding trips, exciting or boring, it would be fun to read.

     

    As for myself, I just pulled up the nearest marks near my house and went for a walk. There were several within a mile of my house. There is a nearby christian college to my house and several marks were nearby. My first true find was OF2407. It was a good description, and took a small bit of digging at the sight to expose the mark. It was fun to find though. I wanted to get some searching under my belt because a few days later I would be traveling to the Adirondacks near Tupper Lake and wanted some experience before I did some runs up there.

     

    So I had one clear find of the AZ Mark, one 99% certain find of a mark with the ID spray painted on the road but the mark underwater, and a DNF in a regraded area for Day 1. I went for a few marks near my parents house too that day. An easy church steeple find, and several reference marks.

     

    Didn't take much to get me hooked.

  6. Hey, now that the quiz is over, does anyone remember if it was in a thread somewhere where somebody made a chart about how many marks were placed by year? Couldn't find it when I looked a week ago, but I thought someone had made a bar chart of marks by year, with red bars perhaps, big spikes in the 40's and 70's? Maybe I am crazy... :P

  7. Made some updates to the benchmark viewer over the last few weeks. I added the ability to view maps with smaller pushpin markers, and to turn the markers off completely. This makes it easier to use the viewer to just look at topo maps.

     

    I used some really basic code, so if you refresh the screen you can get the check box options confused, and need to toggle them to get things back on track. I don't save your settings either.

     

    I also did the November Database update.

     

    So if anyone has any problems with the new code, let me know so I can fix it.

  8. Yeah, I noticed the video was a little light on the info. Like first off, how am I getting the info onto my PDA and GPS? It does appear to be a pretty good quality (professionally done) video that they put some effort into, despite the lack of info. I agree with Paul, definitely needed to include the "Don't go out and collect them" info.

  9. I would like to weigh in with my vote for a variety of honeysuckle. There are many varieties, and I see scrub like your photos all over western new york. It gets quite dense, has relatively small leaves (compared to a tree), and usually gets some nice red berries the birds love to eat.

     

    I have seen a lot of striped maple in the adirondack region, and it can grow into quite a large tree, and is very distinguishable by its bright green and white stripes. Once it gets older the green turns to brown, but I really think the shrub is a honesuckle rather than maple. The leaf shapes aren't very close.

  10. Hey that's not so deep, I was out benchmarking and just had to go take a look for NB1974 which somehow magically went from flush with ground in 1936 to 10 meters below ground in 1992.

     

    NB1974 HISTORY - Date Condition Report By

    NB1974 HISTORY - 1936 MONUMENTED NYGS

    NB1974 HISTORY - 1969 GOOD CGS

    NB1974 HISTORY - 19920529 GOOD USPSQD

    NB1974

    NB1974 STATION DESCRIPTION

    NB1974

    NB1974'DESCRIBED BY NEW YORK GEODETIC SURVEY 1936 (LRH)

    NB1974'IN MENDEN, 0.45 MILE SOUTH OF RUSH-MENDON ROAD, 26 FEET WEST OF

    NB1974'CENTER LINE OF WEST BLOOMFIELD-PITTSFORD ROAD, 214.8 FEET SOUTH

    NB1974'OF CENTER LINE OF LEHIGH VALLEY RAILROAD MAIN-LINE ROADBED, 48.5

    NB1974'FEET WEST OF EAST RIGHT-OF-WAY FENCE, 20 FEET NORTH OF

    NB1974'INTERSECTION OF RIGHT-OF-WAY AND FARM FENCES, AND 4 FEET EAST

    NB1974'OF WEST RIGHT-OF-WAY FENCE. STATION IS A U.S.C. AND G.S. AND

    NB1974'STATE SURVEY STANDARD DISK IN CONCRETE FLUSH WITH GROUND.

    NB1974

    NB1974 STATION RECOVERY (1969)

    NB1974

    NB1974'RECOVERY NOTE BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1969 (GWM)

    NB1974'ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION INADEQUATE. NEW DESCRIPTION FOLLOWS--

    NB1974'

    NB1974'IN MENDON, ALONG WEST BLOOMFIELD ROAD

    NB1974'

    NB1974'0.45 MILE SOUTH OF RUSH-MENDON ROAD

    NB1974'

    NB1974'4.0 FEET EAST OF FENCELINE

    NB1974'

    NB1974'23.2 FEET WEST OF CENTERLINE OF WEST BLOOMFIELD ROAD

    NB1974'

    NB1974'20.1 FEET NORTH OF FENCE CORNER

    NB1974'

    NB1974'128.0 FEET SOUTH OF POLE RG AND E 128

    NB1974'

    NB1974'1.17 MILES WEST SOUTHWEST OF STATION LONE 1969

    NB1974'

    NB1974'STATION IS A U.S. COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY AND STATE SURVEY

    NB1974'STANDARD DISK IN CONCRETE STAMPED 1062, 1936

    NB1974

    NB1974 STATION RECOVERY (1992)

    NB1974

    NB1974'RECOVERY NOTE BY US POWER SQUADRON 1992 (AMW)

    NB1974'THE FENCE NO LONGER EXISTS NEAR THE STATION. THE CORNER POST IS STILL

    NB1974'THERE. THE MARK IS 3 FT (0.9 M) ESE OF A WITNESS POST. THE MARK IS

    NB1974'ABOUT 10 M (32.8 FT) BELOW GROUND LEVEL AND WAS UNCOVERED.

     

    Turns out it was only down about 6 inches due to some regrading I believe when the old railroad tracks were torn up to make way for the greenway trail.

     

    Geocaching NB1974 Recovery

  11. Glad to get the discussion going about NGS logs. Paul, your information was very interesting to read. I respect your thoughts and opinions on bvrballs benchmark hunting and if there's anyone here who has the tact to broach this subject with him, I've no problem with you doing it.

     

    Yes, the logs I read were not at all how I would write them. Its just, with no real regulation of how the logs get into the database it only takes a few poor reports from anybody to dirty the GEOCAC reputation, and make all our logs "unreliable".

     

    I know a friend at work once asked me what was there to stop him from submitting false reports to the NGS. And all I could say, was nothing. There was nothing to stop him from going in and messing with the database.

  12. I was using my benchmark viewer to plan a trip this weekend, when I noticed a lot more red (not found) marks in my area than I had remembered seeing previously. I know we all keep an eye on "our areas" and I found what I considered some surprising reports to NGS.

     

    Here's a few examples.

     

    Mark OF2103:

    Log on Geocaching: Geocaching OF2103

    Log with NGS: NGS OF2103 Log

     

    Mark OF2120:

    Log on Geocaching: Geocaching OF2120

    Log with NGS: NGS OF2120 Log

     

    Now I consider myself pretty conservative with my reports to NGS. I usually don't report not found unless I am absolutely POSITIVE the mark is gone. 99% of the time I assume I am at fault and the mark must still exist. So I was quite surprised at the length and language used in these reports:

     

    " OF2103'RECOVERY NOTE BY GEOCACHING 2008 (SWK)

    OF2103'PREVIOUS DESCRIPTIONS PLACE THIS MARK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD AND

    OF2103'UNDER AN IRON COVER. THE GPSR POINTED DIRECTLY AT A COVER IN THE

    OF2103'ROADWAY. I WAS UNWILLING ENTER TRAFFIC TO ATTEMPT RECOVERY OF THIS

    OF2103'MARK. I WILL INSTEAD SUGGEST THAT THIS COVER APPEARS TO MATCH THE

    OF2103'DESCRIPTION AND FURTHER EFFORT WILL BE NEEDED TO VERIFY THE EXISTENCE

    OF2103'OR DESTRUCTION OF THIS MARK.

    OF2103'HOUSING IN THIS AREA HAS BEEN REPLACED BY BUSINESSES AND SO ANY

    OF2103'REFERENCES IN THE TO REACH INVOLVING HOUSES ARE NO LONGER USEFUL."

     

    I mean yikes. Is that the type of report that should be made? In this case (not found), I would never have even made a report, as the recovery was not even attempted. Now this cacher (bvrballs) if you view his profile, has hundreds of Benchmark finds, and is still quite active. (bvrballs profile).

     

    So, is this what we want in a GEOCAC recovery? I was thinking of sending a note with a link to one of the threads describing the difference in NGS and Geocaching recovery. Thoughts?

  13. I need to do a little more reading and comparing between the two, but I should have a little more time for that this weekend. First thing I noticed is that I tend to put the Next section on the right side of the page, as if you are proceeding forwards, like a book, and the previous to the left of it, or even the left side of the page. It seemed un natural to click the left of the two options to go forwards.

     

    I also stumbled for a second when I clicked a photo and nothing happened. Turned out the photo was already loaded, so it didn't need to refresh. It didn't even flicker, and I thought a javascript error or something occurred. But then I realized what happened. Also, since some of the photos are a different size and make the page expand, once I forgot which one I had clicked on, and then clicked it again and nothing happened. Maybe you could highlight something to show current photo selected.

     

    I wish you had write ups for the Adirondack 46, as most information on those peaks is bottled up in trail guides that you must purchase. I tried to get my dad to write up his climbing experiences, since he is retired, but he is still very active living life, and not sitting in front of a computer screen for hours a day, like me. Whenever I go on a trip I love to research in detail all aspects of the hike, and the area, to make sure I don't miss anything (meaning benchmarks) and to make sure I get the maximum enjoyment of the trip. Your write up's are definitely helpful in that respect.

     

    I kinda like the old way a little. Its all just placed out in front of me, and I can scroll wherever I want to.

  14. Is there any interest out there for a GPX type output in addition to the LOC output I provide? I am not sure I can get the benchmark description into the text field areas of a GPX file because the shapefiles I use to populate my database copy don't provide it. I haven't looked much into the GPX files and benchmarking because I have an etrex and use LOC files. Might need to do a little research on what's out there for GPX viewers because I know there are some. Just seeing if there is anyone using GPX for benchmark hunting with the Scaredycat viewer. Do you save as a LOC and convert to GPX?

  15. This is REALLY cool. I've been going up to the Adirondacks each summer for about the last 25 years. There are a good number of markers on the top of any number of small and large peaks in the area. Benchmarks on peaks gives me a great number of day hikes to take to enjoy great views AND do survey mark recovery. Looking forward to finding a few this August. Going to do some hikes in the Long Lake / Newcomb / Tupper Lake areas, along with Colden for my mom's ADK 46th.

  16. Well when some helpful individual posted a link to the NGS FTP directory of shapefiles, I neglected to read the text file associated with it that mentioned the State shapefiles would be updated monthly. But now that I did read it, it means good news for users of the Benchmark viewer. I wrote some perl scripts today to automatically download the zip files I need, extract the dbf files, massage the data into a form my php script can use to upload the data to my database, and ta-dah... monthly updates, with minimal future work on my part.

     

    I know its the end of June, but I just realized these files were available, and to get my system up and running I have loaded the latest shapefiles into the viewer. These files are mostly May updates. Hopefully June updates can be done by the middle of July.

     

    Enjoy.

  17. As BDT Mentioned in a recent thread, the NGS has finished an update to the dat files for the USA. This has allowed me to upload new shapefile data to the Benchmark database mirror I keep on my server. The database for each state has been updated for the period from Feb 15 to March 13 2009. I am calling this version 1.4.

     

    Interesting things I noted while doing the update were:

     

    1. Florida gained around 700 entries

    2. Louisiana lost around 2,200 entries

     

    I still haven't created a solution for when marks appear on top of one another.

     

    Hope users enjoy it, and of course if there are any suggestions for changes or improvements, post a reply or send an email and I'll see what I can do. With spring arriving, a happy hunting season for all! (Benchmark Hunting that is :) )

  18. Most users who notice the link called "view original datasheet" probably (and not unreasonably) assume that the datasheet that pops up is current, not a document that may be eight years out of date. And, again not unreasonably, most users seeing a section on each benchmark page labeled "Documented History (by the NGS)" would assume that it is up to date.

     

    -ArtMan-

     

    Hah! 'View Original Data Sheet', I never noticed that before. I always went and checked the NGS Site, and ignored any "NGS" data from geocaching. But now that I see the link, I can understand how that could be misleading

  19. First time I read the original thread about the bad recovery report. Some of the comments regarding benchmark hunters that geocache or "geocash" are pretty brutal. But I would make the same folly were I to categorize professional surveyors as rude. It just helps me to recognize the quality individuals that contribute constructive thoughts and recommendations (and sweet photos) on this forum.

     

    I wonder what they would have to say about our benchmark "contests". :D

  20. This thread illustrates an interesting point about the relative ease for submitting a report to the NGS. When describing my hobby of benchmark hunting to a friend, he asked me if there was anything from stopping him submitting flase reports for benchmarks. Was there anything preventing him from putting in my name and information? My answers were no, there is nothing stopping anyone from fraudulently submitting, or making a poor submission by NGS guidelines. Should there be? I kind of assumed that with the information being gathered (names, email, etc..) that the onus is on the NGS to not add reports that don't look quite right. Of course with so many submissions some months, who has the time or $$$ to babysit. Hopefully the ease of submitting for 'quality' reports will not be lost.

     

    As a side note, I kinda do what billWallace does, and usually only submit a report if I found a mark. My reasoning being that I am absolutely terrified of making a submission of not found when a mark exists and it is my own error in not finding it. I recognize that often times a not found report can be extremely valuable, but I feel that if a surveyor is looking through the database and sees my 2008 found report vs a last found in 1945 on a mark nearby, they may be inclined to just use the more recent found, if applicable to his/her survey.

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