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pgrig

The ABCs of GSAK for Benchmark-Hunting?

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Hi folks--

 

Maybe I'm just dense, but I'm having trouble figuring out how to use GSAK to record my progress in benchmark-hunting, in such a way that I don't get messed up trying to use it later for other things you all seem to like it for (like batch downloads of NGS data).

 

I'd like it if GSAK would let me enter the PIDs I want to search for and then keep track of my progress, telling me if I found or did not find each PID (with the date) and whether I wanted to keep the NFs on a list for a second try at them. It would also be great if I knew whether I had logged each one with GC and/orNGS, and when. It would also be super if I could keep track of the JPEGs from my visits along with the occasional Google Maps clip I take to help find the more difficult marks... :(

 

These fields don't seem to be in GSAK. Am I supposed to use the User fields for these things, or perhaps use shadow names for some of the existing fields? Can I add new fields? (I am not a programmer!)

 

And what happens later if I ant to try one of these County downloads people seem to use to populate their databases with all the marks available in their areas? Do people keep these databases separate from their other ones in GSAK, or perhaps use different data structures?

 

It seems to me that if I could figure out GSAK, I could perhaps make progress with the other tools people are using.

 

Advice, anyone?

 

Drowing in Datasheets,

-Paul

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Hi folks--

...

 

I'd like it if GSAK would let me enter the PIDs I want to search for and then keep track of my progress, telling me if I found or did not find each PID (with the date) and whether I wanted to keep the NFs on a list for a second try at them. It would also be great if I knew whether I had logged each one with GC and/orNGS, and when. It would also be super if I could keep track of the JPEGs from my visits along with the occasional Google Maps clip I take to help find the more difficult marks... :(

 

...

 

Advice, anyone?

 

Drowing in Datasheets,

-Paul

I use GSAK and I do most of what you want. Here's my work flow:

 

1) Decide on a new county to load. Let's say New York county NY (which I had already logged 100s of marks both on GC and with the NGS).

 

2) Get the complete datasheets from the NGS for this county and stick them into one text file. It's important to do this rather than relying on the incomplete version on GC.

 

3) run foxtrot_xray's wonderful BM2GPX procedure. This turns the datasheets into a GPX file, plus does other neat things like turn reference marks into Child Waypoints.

 

4) create a new database in GSAK and load the GPX file in to populate it. When this loads it checks my logs on GC and with the NGS and marks them found, DNF, etc.

 

5) Run a macro I wrote to figure out marker type.

 

Here's a thread about foxtrot_xray's program: BM2GPX thread

 

Done. 10 minutes

 

Now I can sort by Found, DNF, date, etc. etc. If I go back and find a new mark, IO just click on the Found column and I keep up to date.

 

Unfortunately I don't have a way to resynchronize with GC.com. Probably foxtrot-xray could figure out how to do that.

 

I also wrote a few URL button definitions to create custom Google Maps, link to my web site etc. These are easy and you get a few of them to start with from vanilla GSAK.

 

I'm sure others have done equally interesting things with GSAK (especially foxtrot_xray). Hopefully they will chime in here.

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Drowning,

It would also be great if I knew whether I had logged each one with GC and/orNGS, and when. It would also be super if I could keep track of the JPEGs from my visits along with the occasional Google Maps clip I take to help find the more difficult marks... :(

 

These fields don't seem to be in GSAK. Am I supposed to use the User fields for these things, or perhaps use shadow names for some of the existing fields? Can I add new fields? (I am not a programmer!)

For these two items, I have wrote little macros in GSAK to handle this. One, the first, is available to anyone to use, downloadable from the GSAK Macro Directory.

1. To keep track of special situations (like "Did I report it to NGS? Did I report it to GC? Will I need a Metal Detector?", I wrote a macro called "CacheFlags". It stores a string of data in the "User" field, wthat you can then use on searches/filters. I originally wrote it for BM'ers, but had a couple requests, so there's a few Cache items in the "flag" list.

2. For the pictures, I can't speak for anyone else but me on this - I store my pictures in the format: "\Pictures\<State>\<PID> [<Designation]\" So, one of my custom URLs is set up as a macro, similar to:

!Pictures=%macro=picturesurl.gsk% (exact terminology not known at this moment, sorry.) So when I click on the "Pictures" URL in the description (or right-click and go to "Custom URL..", and select pictures, Windows Explorer opens up to that mark's picture directory.

 

You can't add extra fields - unless you do it via Macro. (For example, my CacheFlags makes a new database file that has the PID/Code and and "Special Other Text" that you enter.

 

And what happens later if I ant to try one of these County downloads people seem to use to populate their databases with all the marks available in their areas? Do people keep these databases separate from their other ones in GSAK, or perhaps use different data structures?
I only benchmark hunt, so I don't have any Cache databases. However, as common practice, I ALWAYS recommend keeping benchmarks in seperate databases. Benchmark finds should go in their own database too. I keep one database for every state in the union, and each database has ALL the marks for that state in it. There are search options (like distance, type, etc.). So I have 52 databases - one for each state, and my "Found" database.

 

It seems to me that if I could figure out GSAK, I could perhaps make progress with the other tools people are using.

 

Advice, anyone?

In the end, its entirely up to you. I've learned that everyone here organizes and handles their data differently. (For example, I'm the only one that does it all by states and not by counties. To me, I need the whole state. I never know when I may be down on the other side.) And on top of that, I use maybe.. 25% of the features in GSAK - mostly because I get what I need from what I use.

 

GSAK has many fields that are cache-specific, and below is what/how I use GSAK:

1. I store my data by states.

2. I store the county in the "country" field. (This will change once 7.3 comes out, as we'll have a "county" field then!)

3. "Archived" status is my "Destroyed".

4. My User2 field is the elevation.

5. I use the "FTF" (First To Find) field as "Found Not Found". (I like finding something that a previous recovery person couldn't find!)

7. The Cache Type field/icon is whether it's an Intersection or station marker.

8. Logs have the NGS Datasheet logs, and their status.

9. Owner and Monumeted is the first agency the monumented the station.

 

That's about it. Again, depending on how you BM hunt, it would be different for you. :D

 

[Edit: Fixed my quoting. I suck.]

Edited by foxtrot_xray

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