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Can You Pocket Query Benchmarks?


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So, I've searched, read, pondered, but still cannot figure it out. Can you run pocket queries on benchmarks?


I've gone paperless, but the benchmark descriptions are still the most useful thing. The pocket queries for gc, run through GSAK -> HTML, then Plucker, are wonderful. I'd like to do the same with benchmarks, but I cannot figure out how.


The LOC files don't have the descriptions and seem to be limited to 20, max.


So, I'm looking for an easy way to get a large list of benches, HTML formatted, with all the descriptions.


Anyone help?

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You cannot download benchmarks per say a pocket query but you can still go paperless with them.


Here's how to do it


1. You will need to go to the NGS website and download the particular county maps you want to search. It's best to do it one county at a time for the size of the file. Start out by clicking on this link http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/ds_archive.prl


2. Select the state and click on get county maps


3. Select which county and click on the download PC Zipped button to get it downloaded (make sure to unzip the file if your computer doesn't do it automatically for you)


The file you will get will be in the .dat format. The data in this file will probably be more current than the data on GC. You will need another program that converts it into the familiar gpx format that everyone uses with GSAK, GPXSonar, Mapopolis, etc etc. This is why you need one more piece of software conversion utility.


4. Click on this link and get the BMGPX conversion software. http://parkrrrr.com


You will then convert the dat file to a gpx file and there you go. PAPERLESS. Put the BMGPX file in it's own folder. Also put the downloaded dat file in this folder. Just drag the dat file and drop it on the BMGPX icon and it will automatically convert it and add a gpx file with the same name in the folder.


Just take this newly converted gpx file and do the same things with it that you do with your geocaching gpx files.


Just make sure to rename the files to something you can remember them by. I use Mapopolis, and GPXSonar on my pocket pc and they work like a charm out in the field. All the information about the benchmark and mapping to it. The best of both worlds.


Hope this helps

Edited by LSUFan
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I have been wondering...


It is true in my thinking, Geocaching is not really very active with the benchmark hunting community. Hey, just my observations. Getting to the heart of this though is a dialog I would like to see.


Here is what I think I know. Jeremy, the principal owner of Geocaching is a busy guy, and he has to limit himself to certain things so he can run the show. It is simply how he must balance tasks.


I am sure he has a vision, but there always what must be done to keep things running and that eats into visionary time.


When you have this sort of situation, the adage "squeeky wheels get greased" often rule the day. This I believe is some of what is behind the philosophy and operational culture here at Geocaching.


Of course the weight of premium membership opinion will outweigh the holders of free memberships, but Jeremy is a listener. He has said here in this forum in the past that he has ideas and is open to hearing them. But there is a catch. he does not have the time to read this forum often. He is pretty thankful that it takes care of itself. This is not true of most Forums.


He has also said to the benchmark hunting community that if you have something you want to tell me please use the website Forum which can be found here:




He also has his email address to contact him directly with as well.


As to the Pocket Query question and a few others, I would like to suggest an Idea. What if we were to try the squeeky wheel approach. What if someone who is a regular here in these forums were to start a thread in the website forum about the PQ for benchmarks as an Ice breaker. Then come back here and start a thread with a link to that thread. If enough of the people here really want this and petition Jeremy to open a dialog with us, Maybe we can invite him to come here to discuss some of our other concerns and desires as well.


The key is to get the dialog open and getting Jeremy persuaded to stay in it with us for a bit. We may be able to express some ideas and allow him to think about them. We of course will need to be willing to accept the answers he gives us as well. He may tell us no on some things and why he does not want that. In any case, it would be a way that as a group, we would like some of his time, to address a few thoughts issues, concerns what have you. I have a sense as a Group working together we could get some answers. As individuals just talking amongst ourselves here, nothing much has come from it.


It is also possible that people emailing Jeremy Directly may work as well, But what say you all? Do you think trying his main form, and starting with Pocket Queries is a good beginning in This? I think opening an active dialog would be a good Idea and we ned to invite him somehow.


In the end, or in time if you will perhaps we can offer him some ideas which can promote Benchmark hunting, and possibly add value to his business with money making ideas, maybe tat can happen too. We have to start somewhere.


Any thoughts?



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I am Not asking for PQ's... I don't use them. I am suggesting that if you guys really want change that you should try contacting Jeremy directly rather than going on for months about how nothing ever seems to happen. While I'll agree that it sure looks like little changes, I watch to see if anyone will take it up with him and they don't. It seems odd.


I know it will take some courage on the part of someone to do this, but it is the only way you guys will get what you want. Someone needs to open a Dialog with Jeremy. Sorry, but I am not who that needs to be. :-) I am just offering the solution. If no one opens a Dialog with him, it is safe to say that things will remain as they are.


If no one bothers, None here have any further place to complain.


The NGS website works for me 100% so I have no want for PQ's. But I know you all have your wants. It just seems Bizarre that no one just emails Jeremy and asks. It isn't rocket science and he puts his pants on the same way everyone else does.


Good Luck.



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Just FYI for those that are interested in benchmark PQs, BuckBrooke queried Jeremy about these (along with a couple of other benchmarking-related requests) a few weeks ago over in the Geocaching.com Web Site forum. Jeremy's reply was:


Surprisingly, the solution for locationless and virtual caches will address the needs of the benchmarking community, albeit slowly. We really haven't done a lot of updates for this reason (and for the fact that downloading and parsing data sheets is a pain in the butt). But we are trying to integrate features from one hobby with the other so we don't have to recode everything.


Yes it isn't the best of timelines but we're workin' on it. Stay tuned for the next couple of weeks as announce the new solution.

I know it's technically already been 'a couple of weeks' since Jeremy's reply, but even though I'd certainly like to have benchmark PQs, I figure I can wait a while longer and see what this new system looks like before my own wheel starts squeaking. :)

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Just call it Business acumen, I have worked with a lot of "types" in my career. Ultimately, it is nice to get something done eventually, and hey, there is nothing wrong with having goals to reach on your own agenda. The "if wishes were fishes" theory is great for people who enjoy sitting on their hands, and waiting for someone else to do something, then becoming a counter culture resistive component of why nothing should ever be done is not usually helpful either. But they deserve what they often get to be. Envious and without.


Jeremy is a Squeeky wheel Person. He has lots of fires and the biggest get attention. Sooooooo, If you want him to pay attention to your wants, you gotta be there in his realm of attention and become a Hotter fire or Squeakier wheel.


I would think if people figure out what the want list is and then go over to the website forum and his email box, perhaps there could be some action, answers and results... But I never see it happen so I dunno.




I have tested my theories here, and you know what. I cannot really say what Benchmark Hunters want other than PQ's... I would have to say that I don't really see a unified front. I have even tried Proposals with folks here, And I have seen primarily resistance and many who opt out and say nothing. There are no clear leaders, perhaps some anti leaders though. So perhaps it is just better to complain, eh?


So when everyone organizes enough to decide it, and goes to Jeremy with the requests and stays there till they are answered, perhaps change will be possible. But we have seen that Change is pretty slow around here.


I would love to see the Benchmark Hunting Community receive better representation and some finer tools but I think they need to collectively decide what it is, want it, and lobby for it. I have not seen it happen. Who knows if it will. It is not all up to me.


Good Luck.



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Just bumping this up to see if any of the local wanters have been being proactive. Has anyone tried to open a dialog with Jeremy via email or over on the Geocaching website forum?


I hadn't seen any action in the public channels and was just wondering if this issue is as important as people make it out to be... Maybe? Maybe not?



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While this topic is of only minor interest to me (I use the NGS method), I do remember Jeremy's last significant weigh-in on the issue stated that the major redevelopment's currently underway would make all "sections" of the site more uniformly formatted so all features would work site-wide (watchlists are a good example).


I know that a re-working of locationless caches is a major part of these modifications. With a current estimate of the end of June for a roll-out, I'm patiently waiting to see what all is included before I go asking for something I believe may well be on the way already. At a minimum, it will set the groundwork to build on.


In other words, if the new feature release doesn't include re-vamping of benchmarks, it had to be done first, to make said re-vamping possible.

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I hope this homogeneity of featurs includes the "Geocaching.com Maps" having an option to show benchmarks instead of geocaches with a list of checkboxes that apply to benchmarks like:

A checkbox for PIDs marked 'found it' by one of us.

A checkbox for PIDs marked destroyed by one of us.

A checkbox for PIDs marked with a note by one of us.

A checkbox for PIDs marked 'didn't find it' by one of us.

A checkbox for 'not yet logged'.

A checkbox for 'may be missing' (a not-found in the NGS data, marked with a question mark icon).

A premium feature checkbox for YOU Found/Didn'tFind/marked Destroyed/Noted (this one would be an 'overlay' type like the last 3 on the current map legend)

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I Don't PQ Them Either, Don't care to. I use NGS.


What I am trying to see here, as an observation, is if the Benchmark Hunters have the Political Will to Lobby Geocaching and Jeremy for something they want... That and to keep after it till something proactive occurs.


They need to email Jeremy directly or go to the Geocaching website Forum, but so far the will looks really low.


I know Jeremy does not read this forum so complaining here will never matter at all... I do read a lot of wants that emanate from around here, yet nothing ever happens, nor does it seem like people organize to form a concerted effort. No team... I have tossed out a few methods that might get Jeremy's attention though, and All I have seen over there is the Pursuit of a safer Ansi Compliant vest... Non of his buddies supported him though. Not sure if they ever really came down to knowing what they want and agreeing to go after it. Been wondering if a Bug can be put in any ear around here. Mostly there is resistance, oh and skepticism... Sure there are a few exceptions but... <shrugs>


Gotta wonder where the ol' rubber meats the road I guess :-) BDT, I mean most specifically that in order to get the things you want, Hoping is not enough. I have no attachment to it either way, I don't have a dog in the fight, but I know you must ASK, and the ASKing must be done over in that other forum called the Geocaching website forum, or Jeremy's email Box...



Edited by evenfall
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What I am trying to see here, as an observation, is if the Benchmark Hunters have the Political Will to Lobby Geocaching and Jeremy for something they want...  That and to keep after it till something proactive occurs.


They need to email Jeremy directly or go to the Geocaching website Forum, but so far the will looks really low.

While I agree that this is typically a good course of action, in this case I don't think it's neccesary (or even a good idea at this point).


Even if we assume that you, I and everyone else that posts here wants these changes, I'm not comfortable 'lobbying' for something that's already being worked on.


Surprisingly, the solution for locationless and virtual caches will address the needs of the benchmarking community, albeit slowly. We really haven't done a lot of updates for this reason (and for the fact that downloading and parsing data sheets is a pain in the butt). But we are trying to integrate features from one hobby with the other so we don't have to recode everything.


Yes it isn't the best of timelines but we're workin' on it. Stay tuned for the next couple of weeks as announce the new solution.


I wish that things would move faster, and even though it's obvious that geocaching gets the lion's share of attention, there is just as much anticipation and enthusiasm for long promised features for that segment of the community as well. I feel comfortable saying this because I'm a member of both groups.


In my experience, despite the long wait for new features, it has been worth it when they finally arrive. Jeremy and his team seem to take great pains to check and double check before releasing new features to the community. The one exception to this is the few nagging problems from the last work done to the benchmarking section.


All that being said, when the new changes are finally revealed, I'll be glad to include my thoughts and name to an effort to direct Jeremy's attention back here to address whatever may still be lacking, be it long standing minor bugs or suggestions for the next round of improvements. I feel that by doing this we can make our requests more relevant.


I fear if we make a big push right now, some of the more popular things may already be included and the little things will once again be forgotten. I'd prefer to see what develops, then say "Thanks for the great new stuff, now can we get a couple of these nagging bugs squashed too?"

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Hi Greg,


I'll stick with my Observations.


I believe that people get what they negotiate, I have never seen success come from waiting for someone to hand it to me. I have had to reach for it all.


Waiting to see what will happen and accepting what is given can be likened to being a welfare recipient. I See your point, Take what you get, and while that is fine for a lot of people, as we have seen, there are a number of people who did not wait for geocaching to do it for them. They made something to do it for themselves. Further, in many industries we tend to work with the process and make it right as we go, not tweek the final product after the fact. It is often more sensible to do it while the process is, well, In process.


It is my observation that there is a long established pattern of waiting around here, for Geocaching to bestow a gift, and you know what it is never a lot and a long time in coming. But if the folks here would be happy to wait, well then that is what it is.


I have tried several times to see if a team of people here can develop some ideas, decide what is most wanted, and go to Geocaching to officially negotiate for what can be done. Each time I noticed that the lion's share of the people avoided the thread like the plague, then those who would chime in would bring a laundry list to the table a mile long with an air about them of, nothing can be omitted from this list as it simply will not work for me... Well, Hehehe That is right neighborly... Most kids on the playground avoid that kid and they play alone. In any case, the threads don't see much debate and die rather quickly.


So In lieu of the many complaints, and wishes for Benchmark hunting aids and upgrades I often read here in these forums, I suppose that it is time to conclude that the Benchmark hunters are perhaps complainers who refuse to agree on simple beginning constructs as a way to move the hobby forward, unable to agree on what it is the truly want on the whole, and prefer passive aggressive griping over accomplishment and ideas, for the betterment of their hobby? Going forth I suppose it would be out of line to ask Jeremy for anything? I would like to add, that if people do not want to become involved in the process of developing their hobby, and trying to fill in the want list through working together to better it, then they are sort of nullifying their privilege to gripe about it.


Nothing happens when nobody moves a muscle, and the only action I have seen has been a collective, and rather passive aggressive vote to not take any action. If this is what I am supposed to perceive and is the message I am supposed to get from the group, then I don't see any further reason to try and inspire or suggest.


I am not trying to rile anyone here, but I don't see the need to call it what it is not. It isn't about being plastic Nice all the time, it is about good debate and seeing if something can be collectively agreed upon to ask for and move the hobby forward. Better PQ's, a more interactive Database, Fresher datasheets, better statistical control on official finds. The list can go on... If you all cannot settle on it and propose what you would like to see to Jeremy, and then work with him to get it done, I don't see how you can expect for him to read your minds and bestow it upon you.


So go ahead folks, debate me on this. Make me wrong. Those who do not chime in have no voice and I'll remember that if they choose to chime in after the fact. Those who do will have to roll up their sleeves and see what they can form a consensus about. Those who ultimately "get it" Know that Jeremy has little to persuade him to do anything here, and the squeaky wheels over at the geocacher side keep him well busy keeping them and their wants greased.


Based on what I have seen, I will keep my expectations low. But I would love to see someone begin proving me wrong. Yet on the other hand and After all, It might not be a good Idea to take action at this point, in fact, why even get out of bed? :-)


Any takers?



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