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Posts posted by monkeykat

  1. Just noticed that Yahoo Maps has upgraded its interface and usability. Looks more like Google Maps now, but of course they had to add their own "touches". Instead of zooming in with the "+" on top, and out with the "-" button on the bottom like Google, Yahoo has them reversed. Also, they have map view, hybrid, and satellite views, but they place the buttons in slightly different order than Google usually does.


    The interesting thing is that they also seem to be using a different mapping agency. I know for me, this means that areas that are blurred because they are low resolution photos in Google Maps, actually have a nice resolution on Yahoo Maps.


    Just another tool for getting a view of the area.


    Link: http://maps.yahoo.com/broadband/#env=a

  2. Had a long day of geocaching/benchmark hunting on Saturday, so I took it easy on Sunday, meaning I was able to play around with the Google Maps Application for a while.


    Recent Updates:


    1. Added a Clustering Algorithm to try and average the number of marks available in the viewing area and display a maximum of 100 at a time. Works pretty well I think. Has a problem where it displays a maximum of 199 marks at a time, but once you reach 200 it has enough marks to average. Also, near water you can get some odd marks, like Cape Cod where it averages some mainland and some cape marks and gives you a marker in the ocean.


    2. Tried to update the FAQ a little. I will link to the benchmarking FAQ on the geocaching page at some point.


    3. Update the state page "template" to have a larger map and link to the other states.


    4. Added Arizona, Maine, Vermont, New hampshire, Connecticut, and New jersey to the database of states available to view. I will add more soon, so if you want your state now, send me an email.


    The index page will remain:


    Benchmark Viewer Home Page

  3. I tried to download some shapefiles to play with from the NGS site, but they are returning empty files (or empty ZIP containers). Is this a known site problem or is it a known ArtMan problem?





    Doesn't look like just an 'ArtMan' problem. I was unable to download shapefiles when using the "Shapefiles" button. I tried NY State and selected Monroe County. I got an empty ZIP file. I used the Archived Shapefiles button in the past to grab information by complete State. That one still appears to work, as I could download Delaware this morning. I've only used the Archived link in the past, so I am unsure if the empty ZIP files are a result of the upgrade, or a problem from before the outtage.

  4. Let's get this thread back on track. I've been working to fix up some of the backend stuff for the google maps API I am working on. Sunny weather and the benchmarking contest have been foiling my coding attempts, but I'm getting it done. I have been working on sliming down the SQL database I store the shapefile data in. Since all that data counts against my disk quota, I am only keeping the essential data from each shape file. I have my shapefile loader php script working great, so adding new states to the database is a breeze. (I do have tons of disk quota left, it just makes sense to slim it down in case I need that space for the future)


    I've also been trying to get a generic "state page" template done, since all 50 states will need a similar looking page, its best to finish that up before I create 30 states, and have to modify them all by hand. 1 template for easy modification. Then small customizations later.


    I moved the latest maps to a subdomain on scaredycatfilms. The newest maps can be accessed from: http://benchmarks.scaredycatfilms.com/. Soon I will take the old pages in the /maps directory down, and redirect users to the new ones, if people haven't gone there yet already.


    I added Hawaii last night as a test to see how quickly I can add a state. Only took about 10 minutes for the first try. I think the time will drop down to only a few minutes once I refine my process.


    I am going to try and work on clustering soon to increase speed and preformance. Right now the pages still seem to bog down when viewing states at a high level. That's because I pass back all the potentially viewable points, but only display the first 100. So if you chose to view the entire state of California, your browser memory would be filled with 66,000 points, but only displaying 100 of them. I'll see if my clustering works, and if it makes a difference.

  5. Had a pretty successful day hunting on Saturday 05/12


    OF2560 - REG

    OF2632 - REG

    OF0997 - REG

    OF2603 - REG

    OF2600 - REG

    OF0999 - DNF

    OF0671 - REG

    OF1722 - REG

    OF1719 - REG

    OF1075 - REG

    OF1074 - REG

    OF1677 - REG


    The rest of these are judges discretion. I am 100% confident of the finds, but dang it all, I could not get these disks cleaned off. Many were 1-2 feet deep in their tubes, and most were covered with a 3 inch layer of mud I had to scoop out. Photographs were tough into the pipes, mud was tough to get off. I tried water, but it filled the pipe up. I tried powder, but it combined with the dust. Also tough when they paint the marks because then its tough to get any definition with the numbers. And no thanks to Monroe County for not stamping the designation in the covers either. :)


    OF2588 - REG

    OF2587 - REG

    OF2586 - REG

    OF2594 - REG

  6. I love the topo map option too! I was thinking of getting a mark in PA last weekend called TUSSEY. It looked like it was only 300-500 feet from a major road. I told my wife it would be an quick easy find and no NGS reports for quite some time too. While I was down there in State College PA I told my brother in law he had a great view of one of the ridges surrounding the college. He told me it was called Tussey Ridge. We got home and checked the topo map, and sure enough station tussey was about 500 feet up on top of the ridge. We ran out of time and didn't make it to the mark, but it would certainly have been a surprise had I showed up not in my hiking gear.

  7. Meanwhile, monkeykat, what would it take to get you to setup California? HUGE number of marks (almost 63K marks in 2005)...


    Oh yeah, one suggestion: I wouldn't mind seeing another link for the GC page (if there is one).




    Done. I think California is up and working now from the index page. I was also thinking of adding the geocache link, which was pretty easy to do. When searching the maps I saw recoveries by "GEOCAC" and wanted to see the pictures and logs, but there was no link. Now there is.



  8. I added Massachusetts and Pennsylvania last night. I also made the index.html page a startup page with links to each page dedicated to a state that I have completed. Like a true index.


    Benchmark Test Viewer State Index


    Plan on adding the little scale in the corner to show distances. I also noticed that if two marks are at the exact same coordinates, only 1 will be displayed when the user clicks on it. I'll have to figure out how to display more. I think I may be able to do a tab-ed marker display.


    I think in the future, I will prbably dedicated a domain to these viewers. Something like "benchmarks.scaredycatfilms.<om" or similar. Then update the meta data, and it'll be ready for all to see.


    As a side note, google maps has very detailed images of areas in North Korea. You can view the capital Pyongyang and see an even more detailed satellite view than about 5 miles down the road from me. Interesting thing is that it is broad daylight, and there are almost NO cars on the road. What an interresting country.

  9. Hah! You are totally right, no matter when I actually make the submission, as long as I date it the time I actually recovered it, then the entry in the NGS will be correct as of that time. Brilliant! Even if it gets destroyed the day after, it will still have been a correct recovery on the date I submitted. Funny I didn't look at it that way. Must be this "Left" brain of mine.

  10. well that clarifies it, thanks John. I just didn't want to miss out on any DNF points if there was somehing I was missing in the rules. This contest must be a tremendous amount of work for you, and I think you are doing a great job.

  11. I was looking through some of my benchmark recoveries, and I noticed that I had not submitted a few recoveries to the NGS I made in December 2006. It got me thinking, what is the recommended "expiration date" for submitting a recovery to NGS? The recovery form prompts you for the date of recovery, so technically even though its April, I think I could submit a 12,24,2006 recovery.


    I suspect that since these particular recoveries were so long ago (Over 2 months) it would probably be best to verify they are still there all over again. In this particular case, someone has logged these marks to NGS recently (within the last 2 yrs) so the point is really mute for these marks. But, I bring this up as a reference and to look for a general consensus.


    Any thoughts on an expiration? 1 month? A week? Anything over a month and you should do a driveby to verify nothing has changed before submitting?

  12. I was looking through the contest submissions because I like to look at some of the DNFs that people have found. I have seen some that are reported in the contest logging thread as DNFs, but all the entries on the geocache page are "found it" and nothing on the NGS data sheet says DNF either.






    just curious how these are DNFs, because I highly respect the folks that found them, and I am sure there is a reason I am just not seeing.

  13. Time for an update. I have been diligently working on my google maps application to display benchmarks. Instead of trying to parse the shape files in their text form, I have written a very easy script that creates a SQL Database for the markers by State. It easily handled the 2450 markers in Rhode Island, and also seems to have added the 22000+ markers in NY State.


    For now, I just have two pages running. One for Rhode Island, and one for NY State. The app displays only the first 100 benchmarks in the viewing area, but informs the user if there are more. Details are given on the web page on how this works, and how I hope to have it work.


    I color coded the marks with green for good condition, white for monumented (as they can be in any condition), and red for everything else (usually not founds). There are memory concerns, and even though only 100 marks are displayed for very wide zoom angles, you will still have slow down in your browser.


    Rhode Island Benchmark Viewer


    New York Benchmark Viewer


    I really like the way this turned out, as I can scroll around and look for clusters of marks, and then go to the NGS page and download counties, radius, or just type in the PIDs I want to find.


    I hope to add a text box for users to enter addresses, or coordinates to jump the map to instead of scrolling.


    I think, since I am closing in on 100 recoveries, this application is good for now. For people with many recoveries, the Google Earth/GSAK is probably the way to go. Those apps will let you keep track of how many marks you have searched for already, while with this one, you need to just remember where you went.


    Enjoy, comments welcome, and its still under development. I am planning on adding Pennsylvania and Massachusetts soon. If there is a state you would like to have to goof around with, I think I can add it in minutes with the scripts I have already written. But, I am going on vacation this weekend, and have a full slate of activities for the next few nights. So I can't make any promises as to when I can update things.

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