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Gsak And Benchmarking

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Clyde suggested a discussion on GSAK and benchmarking...the following is from the standard GSAK thread. If we tell Clyde how we use GSAK it might give him ideas on how to enhance it.


QUOTE (froglegsisme @ Aug 3 2005, 12:28 PM)

Wow. Tremendous support for this program. I'm just getting getting my feet wet with GSAK and probably missing the obvious, but is there a way to add some "missing" benchmark data fields from NGS to the database? Two things pop in my mind: the benchmark type (bench mark disk, reference mark disc, rivet, spike, etc.), and to somehow get the "unknown" added to the "Placed" field. This almost always means a very old benchmark, and certainly one worth re-discovering. A few older benchmarks (DC1285 for instance) don't seem to be pulling a good "Placed" date. Hope this makes sense. 


I will admit that GSAK has been tailored to Geocaching, however I know many Benchmark hunters use it. I have been waiting for the promised Benchmark PQs from Groundspeak before doing too much Benchmark specific coding, but I must confess it does seem to be taking a long time.


You have a "User Data" column and you also have "User Notes". Both allow the input of anything but the "User Data" column is more user friendly for viewing and searching.


Being from Australia I don't get to do too much Benchmark hunting so others that do may like to comment on how they address these issues with GSAK. 

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(I feel a little sheepish about encouraging Clyde to spend any time on benchmarking enhancements, since by far most of the activity is with geocaches, but here goes...)


Most of my activity is geocaching (476 found vs 172 benchmarks), but I have started including "nearby" benchmarks whenever I make a geocaching trip.


I use bmgpx to create gpx files from downloads from NGS of all benchmarks for a given county. I've done this for all counties that I normally cache in. I store these in a separate database within GSAK (5805 entries.)


When I find one, I modify it to "found". If I don't find one, and believe it is gone, I make it "temporarily disabled". If I'm certain it's gone, or some government agency has a DNF, I make it "archived". This is to provide a way of excluding these from searching or maps.


When I print the sheet for a benchmark, I change the cache type from benchmark to earthcache. This is to give me a way to distinguish these, and to give me a mechanism for changing the icon that appears on maps I create. (So I can look at a map and see easily which benchmarks I should print because they are in likely caching areas.)


(Enhancement request ER1: Could we have a new column for "sheet printed"? This would be useful for geocaching and benchmarks. I understand the argument "it will be stale" (obviously more important for geocaches than benchmarks), but I try to mimic this anyway. Archived geocaches never get to my GPS so I don't look for things that are archived, and it's useful to know, for any given route, if I actually have the cache information and map printed, stale or not.)


When I decide on a set of caches that I am going to search for, I make a point filter for them. I then apply this filter to my benchmark database to see what is close to where I will be. I download these also (using different rules, mainly because I want the real PID, not a "smart name" on my GPS.) I also need to make sure I have the sheet printed, since for most old benchmarks the coordinates won't get you very close, the description is the thing.


ER2: It would be nice if we could manually change some fields that are normally updated by GPX downloads with logs. For instance, for some benchmarks, I'd like to update "date last found" to indicate that some other benchmarker has found it.


ER3: bmgpx files have have information like:


Date Condition Report By


20030606 GOOD GEOCAC

Boy, wouldn't it be great if you could update "date last found" from that.


OK, Clyde, that's what I can think of now for how I use GSAK for benchmark searching.

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