Jump to content

What Is The Best Way?


LiveStrong
Followers 0

Recommended Posts

There are as many ways as there are people hunting. Here is what I do:

 

1. Go to the NGS Datasheet page

2. Select DATASHEETS

3. Select County, pick my state and county, leave the other settings the same, pick Get Marks

4. Resort by PID, Select All, Get Datasheets

5. When the page is done loading, I save it as a .txt file

6. Edit the text file and take off the junk at the top and bottom. Save it again.

7. Run the file through BMGPX

8. Import the resulting file into Mapsource for my Garmin

9. Upload to the Garmin

10. Format and print the datasheets I saved in step 6.

 

I think most of the others here do some sort of variation on this method. Most start with downloading the data from the NGS, usually by county. Some go paperless at this point by loading the text file into their laptop or PDA. I have been known to use my Blackberry and a web page set up by my brother to hunt marks I don't have printouts for.

Link to comment

I go after these one at a time, usually putting in way too much effort before deciding that the thing is missing or destroyed. I download the datasheets from the NGS site (remember that the info here is a couple years old and won't have the latest recoveries, though it does have a quick map), then bind them into notebooks by area and/or route. The notebooks go into my backpack with camera and GPSr. Then I load the trunk with probe rod, metal detector, small straight hoe, sometimes a large shovel, and a huge tape measure. That's enough junk to tackle just about anything! Sometime maybe I'll automate the GPS stuff, but frankly the GPSr isn't terribly useful for benchmark hunting. It's the word description that will determine whether you find the thing.

Link to comment

Photobuff, you bring up something that I was thinking about last week--it might be time to "open our kits" and show each other what we got. There are enough newbies on here that quite a few people might benefit from seeing what those of us who do this as an obsession feel is helpful in finding marks. For that matter, there might be things that some of us "hard timers" could benefit from.

 

Here is my suggestion for those who want to participate:

 

Take pics of your benchmark kit, or kits, depending on how you hunt.

Describe the stuff in it and how you use it. If the item is something odd, tell us how and where you found it--a couple of examples are the probes we all seem to use, and clipboard combos that hold datasheets and all the other junk necessary to hunt.

 

Whoever goes first, put it in a new thread so we can refer back to it (if search ever works again), or even transfer it to the Pinned area after some editing. If anyone has trouble adding pics send them to me and I will pressure my brother into setting up a small space on his server for us.

Link to comment

Photobuff, you bring up something that I was thinking about last week--it might be time to "open our kits" and show each other what we got. There are enough newbies on here that quite a few people might benefit from seeing what those of us who do this as an obsession feel is helpful in finding marks. For that matter, there might be things that some of us "hard timers" could benefit from.

 

Here is my suggestion for those who want to participate:

 

Take pics of your benchmark kit, or kits, depending on how you hunt.

Describe the stuff in it and how you use it. If the item is something odd, tell us how and where you found it--a couple of examples are the probes we all seem to use, and clipboard combos that hold datasheets and all the other junk necessary to hunt.

 

Whoever goes first, put it in a new thread so we can refer back to it (if search ever works again), or even transfer it to the Pinned area after some editing. If anyone has trouble adding pics send them to me and I will pressure my brother into setting up a small space on his server for us.

 

 

What actual NGS data do folks load into their GSPr's usign the above suggestions?

 

I have a new Garmin 76CSX, I used a *.loc file with all the local BMarks into GSAK. Then I filtered on BM type and exported them to a gpx file. I used Garmin's POI loader to create a custom POI database of all of those BMarks, but now want to include more of the description and details either in the POI database or in Cachemate on my PDA so I can on the spur of a moment go looking.

 

Has anybody sucessfully exported the NGS datasheet stuff into Cachemate so you can go paperless with the descriptions and recovery logs appearing like they do for a Cache?

Link to comment

What actual NGS data do folks load into their GSPr's usign the above suggestions?

 

I have a new Garmin 76CSX, I used a *.loc file with all the local BMarks into GSAK. Then I filtered on BM type and exported them to a gpx file. I used Garmin's POI loader to create a custom POI database of all of those BMarks, but now want to include more of the description and details either in the POI database or in Cachemate on my PDA so I can on the spur of a moment go looking.

 

Has anybody sucessfully exported the NGS datasheet stuff into Cachemate so you can go paperless with the descriptions and recovery logs appearing like they do for a Cache?

 

Yep....Download NGS Datasheets by County, Convert the DAT file to a GPX file with BMGPX and load that directly into Cachemate. (PPC) Tap and Hold on a record , then tap on View Record.

Entire Datasheet comes up just as you would see it on your PC.

 

Note: You must use the file just as created by BMGPX ! If you open it with another program and save it you lose the Description data. At least I haven't been able to find a program so far that doesn't "lose" it.

Link to comment

We download several counties at a time from the NGS site. Then with the programs mentioned by others, we dump the county file into GSAK on our laptop (which always goes with us in the car).

 

To get a view of all the BMs in a given county, we export the GSAK file into Microsoft Streets and Trips. This certainly helps in navigation (unless the coords are way off) and determining which areas of a county have a higher concentration of BMs. As we find each BM, we delete it off the map and check it off in GSAK.

 

To be totally paperless, we load the NGS datasheets (via GSAK) into our PPC. We have all the BM information at our fingertips when we decide to go out.

 

Using this set up we can plan on a good 6 -7 hour day of BMing and, if we're lucky, we come home with 12+ finds for the day.

 

Katrina

Link to comment

There's a lot of suggestions on this thread about using high tech. (disclosure: I was a professional high tech person before I retired). Suggetion: get the basics of getting a datasheet, following the directions and finding the mark. Then after doing a few, get with the GPS, PDA, blah, blah, blah. Most of the fun and the learning takes place in the field where your hands and feet get dirty, not on your computer screen. I have never used a GPS to search for a benchmark. I use the description from the datasheet and I will use a copy of a Topozone page on which I will mark various marks.

 

Nothing wrong with doing it with a GPS, I may decide to use it for some hard to find old triangulation points. But don't become overly dependent on the technology. If you do, you'll get lost when the trees are in leaf :o

 

I remember someone who logged a report for KU1448 (which is a mark on the base of a lion statue in front of the NY Public Library). He could't find the mark because his batteries went dead (or something like that - you can read it). I think if you can't find that lion when you are standing in front of that library, even in a blizzard at midnight - there is something very wrong! (sorry - I got a little carried away there).

 

The other thing is that for Vertical Control marks, the location given is an estimate and can be way off.

 

My advice - Read the descriptions and learn to understand and follow them. And don't get all worried about what will happen if your batteries go dead (hint - bring extra batteries :bad:).

 

Remember - the fun is when you dig through the leaves and against all odds you find the mark. The rest is details.

 

Pb

Link to comment
I was wondering what is the best way to start looking for benchmarks. Can you create a PQ for them? Can you view them all at once on a map

 

A simple way to begin is to go to the NGS website. Select DATASHEETS. Select INTERACTIVE MAP RETRIEVAL. Keep drawing boxes until you narrow the view to a reasonable area--which can be defined as approximately one mile across in urban areas and three miles across in rural areas. (If the search area is too large, there will be too many points to display. You will get a feel for this by trial and error.)

 

When you are comfortable with the area outlined in the box, click on DISPLAY STATIONS.

 

-Paul-

Link to comment

I rely heavily on my GPSr to get me where I need to be to hunt. When driving in areas that I am not familiar with and doing so alone, it is a godsend. I could never do as well with maps. As for using the GPSr to get to the mark, yeah, I take it along when I am walking up the tracks, along a trail, etc., but I know the reading is just a suggestion. I also use it to mark the location to report handheld coords to the NGS.

 

I have a Blackberry and can get any datasheet on it, but it is hard to read and I tend to overlook simple things in the description that lead me to look on the north side of the bridge when I should be on the south, etc. I really prefer to carry the paper copy. With paper I can also make note of any changes in description for later input (yes, I know you can do that on your Palm-ish devices, but I can't on my BlackBerry, at least not easily).

 

Papa-Bear, I had to go look at the log for that lion mark, because something similar happened to me. When I benchmark out of my area I usually don't take any paper datasheets along, because I am not always sure where I will end up and it would be crazy to print all of, say, Manhattan, just in the hopes of recovering a few marks as I walk around the city. So I rely on my GPSr, loaded with all local marks, and my Blackberry for the datasheets. In NYC there are a LOT of places where a GPSr simply cannot get a signal, so I have walked right past NYC marks because my GPSr was behaving poorly. I have since learned to deal with that---I just use the navigation buttons to move to where I actually AM, and then keep using them to keep track of where I walk in the city. That way I have a tiny, hard to read, $600 map in my hand! But my benchmarks are on it! I was thwarted a different way at the library--I stopped by the library to get the lion benchmark and was stopped by a Rent-a-Cop because there was a private event. I was 4 feet from the lion but she wouldn't let me get any closer. However, I never log a Not Found until I think the mark is gone, so I didn't bother to log that little visit.

 

Papa's advice to read and understand the logs is VITAL! It is the difference between finding and not finding a mark in many cases. My favorite example is one I got to this weekend: KW0718. The description mentions a "WOODS ROAD" and there is a 2000 Not Found recovery from PA DOT stating that Woods Rd could not be found and may have been renamed. Not unacceptable from an noob, but in "datasheet speak" WOODS RD means a road that is basically a drivable path, going into the woods. The 2000 recoverer was looking for an actual road, I was looking for a path, a path that had been upgraded to a road since 1942, or a path that had been left to deteriorate. None of these would be named "Woods Rd". To be honest, I did sort of get lucky as what I found would have been very difficult to tell was ever a path of any sort (and Papa--my GPSr was essential in getting me near that location because not a single thing was left of the description!), but at least I wasn't looking for the wrong thing to start with.

 

Enough ramble--my point is that we each do it differently, and most of us do well by doing it our own way. I use a combo--I love the GPSr, but have no real desire to go paperless.

 

Oh yeah, one bit of technology I added a few months ago that has saved me hours and hours of searching--a cheapie metal detector. I don't know how I managed to go so long without it!

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 0
×
×
  • Create New...