Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1
monkeykat

Google Maps API and Benchmarks

Recommended Posts

Very cool! The only thing I'd change is to have it use an icon other than the geocache icon, to distinguish by the icon from geocaches. Easy to make a mass replacement in a full featured text editor though. I did a little playing, and it looks like the default is the small city icon. I put "benchmark" in like gc.com does for the BM waypoint files, and it brought up the same symbol in my software as when I put "refried beans" in as the type. Not sure what mapsource or other software will do as I don't use it at home.

 

Either way, definitely much easier than finding them here and then going to gc.com to get the waypoints, which is also what I had been doing. Thanks again Monkeykat!

Share this post


Link to post

I hope all users are enjoying the benchmarking viewer site....

 

Love it - sure makes nosing around different areas for BM lines much easier ! Thanks for putting in all the effort!

Share this post


Link to post

Very cool! The only thing I'd change is to have it use an icon other than the geocache icon, to distinguish by the icon from geocaches. Easy to make a mass replacement in a full featured text editor though. I did a little playing, and it looks like the default is the small city icon. I put "benchmark" in like gc.com does for the BM waypoint files, and it brought up the same symbol in my software as when I put "refried beans" in as the type. Not sure what mapsource or other software will do as I don't use it at home.

 

I did some playing around with this too, and it seems like whatever I put into the type field it doesn't matter, I get the same icon on the GPS. I haven't been able to find a file standards document for .LOC files, so I am not really sure how to change this yet. May need to make it as a GPX file which has much more fields, and can be modified more, its also a bit more difficult.

Share this post


Link to post

Been a while since I've made an update, but I just checked the NGS website this morning and the Shape Files I use to create the database of points for the benchmark viewer has been updated. The links in the popup bubbles take you to the most up to date database entries for each PID, but the actual data I use to color code entries is static in my own database (apprx 750,000 points and 100MB space). These points haven't been updated in my database since March 2007, the last time the shape files were uploaded for public use.

 

Needless to say, with all the recoveries being made, and beautiful maps by holograph, users have been getting anxious to see the benchmark viewer turn green with recoveries.

 

My web hoster (godaddy) has decided to disable the bulk upload command I was using to update my database so I have to write some new scripts to get things working. It may take me a few days to get all 50 states updated, but I am already getting started.

 

I have NY State updated this evening, so if you are a user of that state, take a look at some of your recoveries from the past year that you remember being white or not updated, and see if they have changed. There are also 22,603 markers in the state now, when the previous database held 22,587 points. 2 of the points have apostrophies in their names and choked my script, so I will have to figure that out for the other fifty states. (probably do a replace of ' with an _ ).

 

So in conclusion its Great News! Updates arriving soon.

 

In the future, I still need to contact NGS about finding a way to get more regular updates or working with the software people there to maybe share information easier. For now though, I should be able to get the database updated thru december. Of course in another 3 months we will all get antsy again as the database gets old. Hopefully I'll have a solution by then.

Share this post


Link to post

As an example, or my proof of update, I noticed that 2 of my recoveries have been updated to green in the screen capture I use to represent the site.

 

Old March 2007 Version:

 

bench_viewer_sm.jpg

 

New Dec 2007 Version:

 

bench_viewer2_sm.jpg

 

The red arrows show two recent recoveries.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't think anyone meant to complain, but we certainly thank you for keeping up on the project! :P

 

Certainly no complaints from me. This is a great tool and much appreciated. The updates you are able to provide are just frosting. MMMMM Goood. Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post

After taking a little longer than it should have, due to software issues, and some personal stupidity, I believe I have gotten the database updates complete. In doing the upgrade I found out that Alaska and Utah both had all the marks loaded three times into thier tables. I am not sure what effect this had on viewing points. Did it load three points at time? Will it be faster now? Unknown, maybe it will be the same.

 

Bad news for New Jersey and Washington DC hunters, it looks like those are the only two files without an updated shape file for my database. They will still have the original March 2007 data.

 

I noticed I am a little behind with the latest Google Maps API technology, as Papa Bear can probably attest to, but I did add in the Terrain map and set it to the default. If people would rather have the regular map set as the default, I can change it back. Just thought the terrain maps look kinda nice. I also took the little overall map out of the corner, as I need to do a little tweaking to get it back working correctly (gonna follow papa bears lead on that one). Not sure how many people really used it anyway.

 

I will probably try to make the map type a pulldown at some point, since all six buttons along the top take up a lot of space. For those wondering why all of those buttons are there, take a look at the Denver Colorado area. It has the Urban maps working, which are really detailed. Between the urban, terrain, satellite, and topo, some areas have it better than others.

 

Enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post

Good News Benchmark Viewer Users! The NGS has uploaded its latest set of archived shape files so I can now begin the task of updating my copy of the database. This means all the marks you have submitted to the NGS between Dec 21st 2007 and June 28th 2008 will now be updated when you use the viewer.

 

This will serve as your notice that for the next week (hopefully less) I will be updating each state in the database. You may experience a brief downtime (hopefully only a few seconds) while the database is being transitioned. Most likely users will never see it. But in case you notice some weird occurrings, it may be from the upgrade I am performing. If the problems persist, feel free to email me through the geocache account and I will try and resolve them.

 

Also, if you would like your hometown added to the list of "Cities" on each state page, let me know and I will add it in so you can just click the link to go close to home. I would like to get some sort of cookie or command line option available so you can bookmark the page when it is showing your home, but never got around to it.

 

Enjoy.

 

[A note to users of excel. If you are trying to export data as a CSV (comma separated file), Excel has a bug and will sometimes not export every column. This can be a major problem if you are using that CSV to do a database insert and are missing columns here and there. The solution (thanks to my wife) was to use Open Office Calc (the excel equivalent). It does not have problems dropping columns when exporting CSV files.]

Share this post


Link to post

Good News Benchmark Viewer Users!

 

Yes very good news.

 

 

.....Also, if you would like your hometown added to the list of "Cities" on each state page, let me know and I will add it in so you can just click the link to go close to home. I would like to get some sort of cookie or command line option available so you can bookmark the page when it is showing your home, but never got around to it.

I would love to have Eugene Oregon as a click link.

 

Enjoy.

 

 

I have enjoyed this and will continue to do so. Thanks again for this wonderful benchmarking tool and the efforts you put into it.

Share this post


Link to post

We'd like to echo the bravos and the thanks. Near the top of our surveying bookmarks we have "monkeykat's Amazing Benchmark Viewer." It's changed the way we hunt.

 

Cheers,

Share this post


Link to post
We'd like to echo the bravos and the thanks. Near the top of our surveying bookmarks we have "monkeykat's Amazing Benchmark Viewer."

<aol>

Me, too. :D

</aol>

 

I use it frequently. A wonderful resource.

 

Patty

Share this post


Link to post

Been going a little slower than I thought, I had some more file format issues. But I have up through the "I" States loaded.

Share this post


Link to post

States before "M" are not too important anyway...

 

Your s/w has saved me big bucks on gas and avoided endless clicking

back and forth for route planning. You are a Great Spirit of Benchmarking!

 

Please add Winchester, MA to the favored few! :)

 

Thanks!

-Paul

Share this post


Link to post

OK, I think I got all the states updated. I am going to try and do a token search on each one to make sure the upload went OK. I still have the old data backed up so I can recover if necessary. So go ahead and check your state, I think it should all be fine and maybe even some marks have had their color turned green near you. Any problems, let me know. In a few weeks I will blow away the backup data to save space.

 

I am heading up to Main for July 4th week, so if I can't find any errors or fix them by Friday night you'll be out of luck for the week.

 

But I think it all went fine anyway. Enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post

All looks good in my area of SoCal ,and the Yosemite National Park area, where several of us from these forums will be doing some serious benchmark hunting in a couple weeks. Thanks for the update! Enjoy your vacation!

Edited by Klemmer & TeddyBearMama

Share this post


Link to post

OK, I think I got all the states updated.

 

Looks good. I checked a few of my most recent recovery's and all is well. I noticed the link to the city I requested just under the maps in an area titled major cities. Thanks. I wonder now if they were there all along and I just didn't notice them. :ph34r: Either way I was looking for the link and found it. It is appreciated.

 

 

One oddity that I do not think is related to your maps is a mark that I found and reported in poor condition is no longer showing on your maps even though I found it in part by using your site to plan a trip into California.

 

LU0170

 

The data sheet is now updated and still active (not destroyed) so I wonder if they were working on the update of the data sheet causing it to be left out of the files you used for your updates. :lol:

Edited by TheBeanTeam

Share this post


Link to post

I wonder what conditions might cause a mark to not show up on the map. Last night, I was gathering information on a chain of benchmarks in Yosemite, and when I noticed two missing PIDs in the sequence, I checked the NGS website for more information. Usually, missing PIDs on Monkeykat's maps are easily explainable as marks that have been destroyed. But not this time.

 

The two marks are HR0815 and HR0816. Can anyone spot anything on the datasheets that would cause them to not be captured by Monkeykat's software?

 

Patty

Share this post


Link to post

Could it be that it's because both HR0815 and HR0816 have the exact same coordinates?

This always happens when 2 or more reference marks for the same station have PIDs and both of them have scaled coordinates.

Share this post


Link to post

Could it be that it's because both HR0815 and HR0816 have the exact same coordinates?

This always happens when 2 or more reference marks for the same station have PIDs and both of them have scaled coordinates.

Sorry, I'm not following you. Are you saying that if two entries in the NGS database have the same coordinates, the mapping software freaks out and doesn't display either of them?

 

Patty

Share this post


Link to post

Yes, BDT has found the issue. With The Bean Team's mark, both LU0170 and LU1692 have almost identical coordiantes, and for Wintertime HR0815 and HR0816 have the same coordinates. I just assumed (and I thought in the past) the marks would show up on the map and you would only be able to click on one of them. However it appears that the marks aren't even showing up at all.

 

I bet PappaBear has a solution for this already on his application. There is probably some way to find this occurance and figure out something to do about it (a special icon that pop's up additional information maybe). Hopefully it doesn't occur too often. I'll look into it after vacation.

Share this post


Link to post

Yes, BDT has found the issue. With The Bean Team's mark, both LU0170 and LU1692 have almost identical coordiantes, and for Wintertime HR0815 and HR0816 have the same coordinates. I just assumed (and I thought in the past) the marks would show up on the map and you would only be able to click on one of them. However it appears that the marks aren't even showing up at all.

 

I bet PappaBear has a solution for this already on his application. There is probably some way to find this occurance and figure out something to do about it (a special icon that pop's up additional information maybe). Hopefully it doesn't occur too often. I'll look into it after vacation.

 

That may be it but I was sure I had looked at this mark in the earlier version. I could be wrong though.

Share this post


Link to post

Well, I just wanted to post a thank you for your work - I just got in to the GPS / benchmarking thing and spent the last few days searching for benchmarks via zip code or ID. Today I figured there must be a map-based solution and sure enough you made it! Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post

I bet PappaBear has a solution for this already on his application. There is probably some way to find this occurance and figure out something to do about it (a special icon that pop's up additional information maybe). Hopefully it doesn't occur too often. I'll look into it after vacation.

Not exactly. When two marks are indistinguishable on the map, the last one plotted is on top and that's what you see. However, I have a limited number of options to turn off certain marks, such as found, not found, verticle, horizoontal, etc.

 

So if there is a found mark and a not found mark on the same spot, if you turn off one set (say all the founds) then the not found one will appear. If they are both the same category (say both not found) you will just get the "top" one.

 

I'm aware of efforts to solve this with stacked marks or special info windows but I have not bothered with that. Check the Google Maps API developers Forum.

 

I have two applications, one for counties (my original one) and one I developed for the historic triangulations (EOA, etc.) The later has a special purpose and just shows the triangulation stations, and if you click on one station, it will show another map of that together with the reference marks. If you look at the last EOA thread (Epping Base Net thread), it shows lots of these maps.

 

I adapted this second app to be run off of GSAK. So all my stations are now in GSAK (I use this as my primary way to chart my progress). When I go to a new county (you could do it by county or state), I put all the marks into GSAK, the decide what I want to look for. I can then bring up a map for a specific mark of interest at very detailed scale (like 10 or 20 feet per inch) and with a print of this map, have a much better chance of finding all the RMs. ddnutzy and I used these maps to great advantage in tracking down the marks in Massachusetts last year. Scaled maps are not helped obviously.

 

Look at the entry for MZ1473 - Monadnock and you'll see one of these detailed maps plus a triangulation map. I found all 10 RMs for Monadnock, which I could never have done without the help of these maps. I also figured out the story behind the curious lines radiating from the station hole, which I could never never have done without the maps.

 

I'm straying from the original topic, sorry. These maps are good for finding specific markers and all the RMs, but they were never intended for "browsing". Since monkeykat's application does that so well, I didn't want to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. But I do use GSAK to browse, since you can sort by Lat or Long, so that's what I do.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

Share this post


Link to post

Yeah, I never got back to looking at that duplicate entry issue (where two or more points at the same coordinates display nothing at all). I'd say it is rare, but examples tend to pop up everywhere. My thoughts on the subject are that it is a failing in the google maps API software. I look at it as not being a "fail-safe' solution. If you were on the space shuttle, and two instances of the same "event" occurred at the same time/location, and the software didn't display either event, that would be unacceptable. I am hoping there is a fix in the next release of their API.

 

My sunday nights recently became free from activity, and with the NFL season winding down, I won't be sitting around watching football for several hours a day. So I am not promising anything, but maybe, just maybe I might look at it again. Would love to get some updated shape files from USGS too, I thank everyone who has resisted sending me an email about when I am going to update the database. I was kind of hoping it would magically show up on their website as a christmas present. :laughing:

Share this post


Link to post

... My thoughts on the subject are that it is a failing in the google maps API software. I look at it as not being a "fail-safe' solution. If you were on the space shuttle, and two instances of the same "event" occurred at the same time/location, and the software didn't display either event, that would be unacceptable. I am hoping there is a fix in the next release of their API.

Actually I don't think it's in the API. I have no trouble displaying two points at the same location. The problem, as described above, is that only the last one is visible. In other words, the last one covers up the other one(s). Here's an example, bring up this page:

 

http://www.stuyvesantcove.org/benchmarking...&sttype=MAP

 

You should see a page about station KU1687 "O 27", a bench mark in Yonkers, NY. with a map featuring the station, and some text on the top and side.

 

Now click on the control on the map labeled "Toggle Nearby Stations on/off" (top left of map, next to the zoom controls). Click it several times.

 

You will see a green icon is covering up a red icon. The red one is actually the station, the green one is a nearby station (KU1688 - about 10 feet away in real life) which has the same scaled coordinates. When they both get placed on the map, the one placed last (in this case the green one) is put on top of, and blocks the view of the other one.

 

If you click (or just mouse over) on the icon when the red one is visible, you will see it's the station. If you click (or just mouse over) when the green one is visible, you will see it's the other station.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

Share this post


Link to post

Ugh, you are correct, should have done some better research, but I swear nothing was appearing at one point. Hope I'm not getting older. :anicute: I was using HR0815 and HR0816 in Yosemite as an example and saw nothing on my map. Little did I know that there are 3 marks at that location and HR0815 and HR0816 are hidden under HR0817. I hereby withdraw my complaint against google software API. But the issue still exists with my maps not displaying everything nearby, so I'll have to rectify that sometime.

Share this post


Link to post

Ugh, you are correct, should have done some better research, but I swear nothing was appearing at one point. Hope I'm not getting older. :anicute: I was using HR0815 and HR0816 in Yosemite as an example and saw nothing on my map. Little did I know that there are 3 marks at that location and HR0815 and HR0816 are hidden under HR0817. I hereby withdraw my complaint against google software API. But the issue still exists with my maps not displaying everything nearby, so I'll have to rectify that sometime.

Yeah, that's the problem. Since typically, when you use Javascript, each mark is established inside a function to provide "function closure" and so one mark doesn't "know" there's another mark sitting there. And it would be a major pain to do a search for nearby marks each time you created the overlay for the current mark. It would increase the time by an order of magnitude. I search for nearby marks only once, for the whole map being drawn, not for each marker on the map. I know on Google Earth I've seen stacked markers for this situation, but I think that done in the overlay layer of the application, not in the user accessible layer.

 

On the API developers forum, occasionally there are questions about this, but I've not see any good solutions. If you find something. let us know.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

Share this post


Link to post

...so I'll have to rectify that sometime.

 

Don't beat yerself up too much - it's still a killer app!

Share this post


Link to post
I was using HR0815 and HR0816 in Yosemite as an example and saw nothing on my map. Little did I know that there are 3 marks at that location and HR0815 and HR0816 are hidden under HR0817. I hereby withdraw my complaint against google software API.

Not so fast on letting Google off the hook...While HR0815 and HR0816 have the same Scaled coordinates, HR0817 has Adjusted coordinates that are only the same as the other two if you round up and drop the digits after the decimal point. Is the Google Maps API unable to differentiate locations that are less than one second apart?

 

BTW, in real-world terms, HR0815 is on the opposite side of a (barely) two-lane road and down the road some from the former location of HR0816. I'd guess they're about 60-70 feet apart. HR0817 is 39.5 feet north of HR0815, and 26.5 feet west of the former location of HR0816.

 

Patty

Share this post


Link to post

Not so fast on letting Google off the hook...While HR0815 and HR0816 have the same Scaled coordinates, HR0817 has Adjusted coordinates that are only the same as the other two if you round up and drop the digits after the decimal point. Is the Google Maps API unable to differentiate locations that are less than one second apart?

The API doesn't round and will take any number of decimal places that javascript will support (14 or 15 places for a degree? Something like the width of a molecule). Displaying, OTOH, depends on the zoom level and the screen resolution. And available map tiles are limited to about 200 ft./inch for Topos and 50 ft/inch (sometimes 20) for aerials. For higher resolution I just supply blank tiles as a custom map type.

 

Consider BUTTERMILK (LX4113) the 1833 hole in the rock in Westchester county, NY. There is a 1932 USGS disk about 1 foot away.

 

de8124a5-f259-43c7-b0c0-fab836449cbb.jpg

click for larger image

 

Here's a Google map at about 200 ft /inch (see scale). Reference marks are included.

LX4113%20200%20ft.jpg

 

Here's a Google map at about 50 ft /inch (see scale). A slight fuzzy blur near the station.

LX4113%2050%20ft.jpg

 

Here's a Google map at about 20 ft /inch (see scale)

LX4113%2020%20ft.jpg

 

Here's a Google map at about 5 ft /inch (see scale - note the scale says 10 ft, but the interval is twice as wide)

LX4113%2010%20ft.jpg

 

By 20 ft/inch you begin to see the other icon peeking out behind the station. Only at 5 ft/inch can you see it clearly. (Note - The alternate station is now blue as I'm using a different rendering program. In the other screen shots both icons were green.)

 

So ... for map tiles and zoom levels normally available, you would never see the second station. Only with custom blank tiles - which I added in just for this purpose - would they show up.

 

For those with very good eyes: In the program that rendered the first 3 images, the program adds the alternate mark after the station, but the station label is added last. So the actual icon you see in those images is the alternate, although the station label "LX4113" is on top. On the third one you can see the label from the alternate ("LX4112") just peeking out to the left of the station's label. The last shot is a different program and that's where I use blank tiles and draw lines to the reference marks. It doesn't render nearby stations, so I added the alternate station as a reference mark (a child waypoint) so it would get displayed.

 

For those concerned only with the forest (the big picture), and not the trees (the nitty-gritty), ignore the last paragraph.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

Share this post


Link to post

As BDT Mentioned in a recent thread, the NGS has finished an update to the dat files for the USA. This has allowed me to upload new shapefile data to the Benchmark database mirror I keep on my server. The database for each state has been updated for the period from Feb 15 to March 13 2009. I am calling this version 1.4.

 

Interesting things I noted while doing the update were:

 

1. Florida gained around 700 entries

2. Louisiana lost around 2,200 entries

 

I still haven't created a solution for when marks appear on top of one another.

 

Hope users enjoy it, and of course if there are any suggestions for changes or improvements, post a reply or send an email and I'll see what I can do. With spring arriving, a happy hunting season for all! (Benchmark Hunting that is :) )

Share this post


Link to post

Well when some helpful individual posted a link to the NGS FTP directory of shapefiles, I neglected to read the text file associated with it that mentioned the State shapefiles would be updated monthly. But now that I did read it, it means good news for users of the Benchmark viewer. I wrote some perl scripts today to automatically download the zip files I need, extract the dbf files, massage the data into a form my php script can use to upload the data to my database, and ta-dah... monthly updates, with minimal future work on my part.

 

I know its the end of June, but I just realized these files were available, and to get my system up and running I have loaded the latest shapefiles into the viewer. These files are mostly May updates. Hopefully June updates can be done by the middle of July.

 

Enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post

But now that I did read it, it means good news for users of the Benchmark viewer. I wrote some perl scripts today to automatically download the zip files I need, extract the dbf files, massage the data into a form my php script can use to upload the data to my database, and ta-dah... monthly updates, with minimal future work on my part.

 

Enjoy.

 

HooRay.

 

Thank you again for this wonderful tool.

Share this post


Link to post

Is there any interest out there for a GPX type output in addition to the LOC output I provide? I am not sure I can get the benchmark description into the text field areas of a GPX file because the shapefiles I use to populate my database copy don't provide it. I haven't looked much into the GPX files and benchmarking because I have an etrex and use LOC files. Might need to do a little research on what's out there for GPX viewers because I know there are some. Just seeing if there is anyone using GPX for benchmark hunting with the Scaredycat viewer. Do you save as a LOC and convert to GPX?

Share this post


Link to post

Is there any interest out there for a GPX type output in addition to the LOC output I provide? .......... Do you save as a LOC and convert to GPX?

 

I would use a GPX file if there was one.

 

Currently I do not transfer from LOC to GPX.

Edited by TheBeanTeam

Share this post


Link to post

Made some updates to the benchmark viewer over the last few weeks. I added the ability to view maps with smaller pushpin markers, and to turn the markers off completely. This makes it easier to use the viewer to just look at topo maps.

 

I used some really basic code, so if you refresh the screen you can get the check box options confused, and need to toggle them to get things back on track. I don't save your settings either.

 

I also did the November Database update.

 

So if anyone has any problems with the new code, let me know so I can fix it.

Share this post


Link to post
Might need to do a little research on what's out there for GPX viewers because I know there are some. Just seeing if there is anyone using GPX for benchmark hunting with the Scaredycat viewer. Do you save as a LOC and convert to GPX?

While I don't use your utility (nothing against it - I'm a GE fan), I can offer anything you need as far as GPX files. Feel free to drop me a line. :huh:

Share this post


Link to post

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...
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1

×
×
  • Create New...