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Black Dog Trackers

Google Earth with clickable icons for both Geocaching and NGS

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This is a bit of a trick, but can be handy and has an amusing visual effect.


In doing this, I used the unix SED editing tool. Other automatic text-editing tools could be used too, of course.

SED is available at this GNU site. Download UnxUtils.zip and extract SED.EXE


This SED works in a DOS window on a PC.


sed -f sedscriptfilename gpxfile > ngsversionofgpxfile


sed -f gc2ngs.sed sheets.gpx > sheetsn.gpx


The contents of gx2ngs are just these 2 lines:

/<urlname>/s//<urlname>NGS /


(In case anyone doesn't know, the BMGPX program is available here on Fuzzy's Page. This program is very important in that it will convert a .dat file to a .gpx file, which is a format used by several other programs. The place to get .dat files (files of NGS datasheets) is here on the NGS Datasheet page.)


Anyway, the .gpx file made by the BMGPX program puts in references to datasheets on the geocaching site. The sed script I gave above changes geocaching site references to NGS site references.


So, you can get two .gpx files; with names like sheets.gpx and sheetsn.gpx as per the SED example above.


Load both of these .gpx files into Google Earth. (Click on File, then Open, select Files of type: GPS, then select the regular .gpx file, then do the same for the edited .gpx file.) Both files will have the same benchmarks, but two different sets of references.


The Google Earth Places window will now have 2 "GPS device" entries under "Temporary Places".

Click the first "GPS device", then right-click it.

Click "Properties".

Click the "Style, Color" tab.

Click "Color" on the "Label"'s area and select bright blue or another bright color and click OK.

Click OK.

Click the icon on the top right corner.

Select the icon with circle with 4-point star (second row, 5th icon).


Click the second "GPS device", then right-click it.

Click "Properties".

Click the "Altitude" tab.

Move the slider to about 300 meters.

Click the "Extend to ground" box.

Make sure the dropdown box says "Relative to ground".

Click the "Style, Color" tab.

In the "Label"'s area, click down the "Scale" all the way down to zero.

In the "Icon"'s area, click "Color" and change to red or some dark color.

Click OK.


For some unknown reason, you may have to 'tell' the two "GPS device" items to change icon and size and color over again. Anyway, after you get them 'settled down', what you should get is one blue label per marker and two icons; one being a small dark red square.


As you move the map around with your mouse, the red square will float around, but always have a line tying it to the unmoving icon that shows the mark's location.


If you click on one or the other of these icons for a mark, you will see that both have a blue Description reference to click to see the datasheet and one will have "NGS " pre-pended to the Description. So, you can click one, and then the other to get both NGS and Geocaching datasheets for the mark!


Now for the amusing part. :blink:

Move your mouse to the top right corner of the screen so that the viewing angle controls appear.

Hold your mouse on the right end of the horizontal one to move the viewing angle to look across the landscape. The red icons will move up on their white lines so they look like witness posts! Then you can cruise the landscape looking for electronic witness posts. :laughing:


Obviously, even if you don't like the 2-icon trick, at least you can use the SED or something like it to change the BMGPX result to point to NGS datasheets instead of Geocaching datasheets.

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I do not know about that yet looks like fun.


I do have clickable icons for each data set.

I use the advanced feature browse to the icon I want and place it.


It is probably the slow way but I only get the data I am going to use insted of a big bulk more than 500.

I keep about 500 active benchmarks that have not been recovered in a area around me.

The circle keeps getting biger but yahtehe.


I also use the GPSTrackmaker to place all my reference and azimuth marks with their respective lines in Google Earth as well.

Makes it simple to go right to the marks.


Well time to spearamint some more.

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