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aclakey

Benchmark hunting information

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I am a Engineer who has quite a bit of survey experience as well. I started looking at the benchmark information in my area and I am anxious to revisit and post my finds. It is interesting that I have visited and used many benchmarks on the list for my local area that have not been "published" as visited. Is there a way to load a GPX file with Mapsource, like receiving a query and uploading? Secondly I am getting a PN-40 soon and was wondering what that process would be. Thanks for the information.

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I'll take a stab, I'm sure the more experienced hunters will jump in. There are several if not many topics/threads on this forum answering this and it has been suggested that the concise info be pinned to the forum.

 

I don't think there is any way to get anything but a .loc file from GC.com for benchmarks - I just dropped a .loc file in mapsource and it took it but all you get is the coordinates.

 

I think everyone here pretty much starts with the NGS datasheets which can be obtained straight from the NGS. Click the DATASHEET button - there are several options to search by.

Another cool way to get datasheets is from this NGS BENCHMARK VIEWER.

County-wide files can also be obtained at Holoscenes.com.

 

Using the first two methods above, you may end up with text info in a browser window - just copy everything, paste into notepad and save with a .dat extension.

 

There are at least two ways to turn the NGS datasheets (with as much info as you need/want) into gpx files:

NGS>>GPX and

NGSREAD

 

There are threads/topics in this forum discussing both of these datasheet converters.

 

Except for the NGS link all of the "tools" above come from people that frequent this forum often.

Check out Holoscenes Benchmark Hunting Wiki.

 

A lot of us use GSAK - there is a GSAK macro that will export to a PN-40.

I don't have a PN-40, but shirley :D you can just copy a gpx file right to it with windows explorer or the mac equivalent.

 

If you have a PDA it might be easiest to put the datasheet info on it - There are threads for that too.

 

Here is the thread from not that long ago when I posted a similar question. :)

Reading it again I see that I could have just posted a link to it - thnx again to all the old-timers here. :D

 

bill

Edited by billwallace

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Bill has done an EXCELLENT job coming up with a summary.

Others with a PN40 can help you with the specifics of benchmarking with that unit.

 

I just wanted to welcome a fellow Oregonian benchmark hunter - Welcome!

 

-- The TillaMurphs

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Secondly I am getting a PN-40 soon and was wondering what that process would be. Thanks for the information.

Since Bill idd a great job with everything else, I'll carry the PN-40 bit. There's at least two of us here that can help you with it. All the other losers use less-advanced toys. :P

 

Right now(*) the best way to use it is to use one of the GPX conversion programs that Bill mentions. (I wrote one, but I'm not that egotistical.) It will generate a GPX file that you can then load into DeLorme's software to transfer to the PN-40. (I won't get into details there, because you can find everything you would need to know over at the DeLorme forums. If you decide to use GSAK, load the GPX file into it if you want, and then generate a GPX file with the selected/chosen stations that you want to go find. (Note: GSAK has a 'Export to DeLorme' option. If you use THAT, you will only get the coordinates, name, and URL. You won't get all the juicy details.) Alternatively, if you don't want to go thru DeLorme's software, you can use this page (created by a DeLorme forum member) It has a few downsides, namely that it's slow and you MUST use Firefox. And, you have to use DeLorme's software to transfer any maps anyways. (But, it's a good utility if you're away from home.) Both the website and Topo8 will accept BM-produced GPX files.

 

(*) - This coming Wednesday, DeLorme is releasing something called "Cache Register". Both PC and Mac versions will be available. (Just in case.) It will also accept BM-produced GPX files, and handle them MUCH better than Topo, their desktop software. I HIGHLY recommend getting it - it'll be a $9.95 download, and will cut out much of the time to transfer stations to the device. They asked for my input on handling benchmark stations - as I boated before about it - and it should be a gem. :D ESPECIALLY since it will run on a Mac too.

 

Er.. I digress. Anyways, I hope that helped! As an aside, since you'd be looking for stations, I would highly recommend getting the NetLink Annual Subscription - this will let you download USGS 25k maps of any area you go to, and having those on your PN-xx device are a lifesaver. :D

Edited by foxtrot_xray

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Some really helpful stuff here. I am based in the UK and will be heading for the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel in Orlando soon. I want to chase some benchmarks as well as caches whilst over and hope someone can just provide a little help:

Is there a way of just downloading those benchmarks within a 5 mile radius of where I am staying (as I have done with the caches).

 

Secondly downloading the NGS datasheet sheet, naming it as a DAT file and then converting it to GPX worked fine, except I have a combination of benchmark icons and puzzle icons in GSAK. can someone provide the bits I need to input to into the NGS search just to get the benchmarks.

 

Many thanks

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Not clear which datasheets you are converting but if you have that down, it's possible to do exactly what you want on the NGS website. Go to the Datasheet Retrieval Page, and select the Datasheets button, which brings you to a query page that allows you to do a radial search (among other methods). On the radial search page enter the coordinates of your central point and the radius. When the search results come up, hit select all, then get datasheets. Copy the resulting page into a text editor, save it as a plaintext file, then you can run it through whatever program you're using to convert from datasheet to GPX, and you're all set.

 

Happy hunting!

 

Some really helpful stuff here. I am based in the UK and will be heading for the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel in Orlando soon. I want to chase some benchmarks as well as caches whilst over and hope someone can just provide a little help:

Is there a way of just downloading those benchmarks within a 5 mile radius of where I am staying (as I have done with the caches).

 

Secondly downloading the NGS datasheet sheet, naming it as a DAT file and then converting it to GPX worked fine, except I have a combination of benchmark icons and puzzle icons in GSAK. can someone provide the bits I need to input to into the NGS search just to get the benchmarks.

 

Many thanks

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aclakey

If you are still watching this thread:

I finally got around to updating from Topo USA ver 7 to ver 8. HUGE improvements for benchmark hunting. Now completely paperless benchmark hunting IN THE PN-40. If Topo USA ver 8 didn't come with your PN-40, Delorme has a 6 month free upgrade policy (well, you pay for shipping). Get it. The process:

1) Get the .dat file you want from NGS

2) Convert it to a .gpx file (BMGPX or BM2GPX)

3) Optional: Load it into GSAK

4) Optional: Filter it down to less than 1000 benchmarks, if necessary (radius, or whatever)

5) Import it into Topo USA 8

6) Check it out on the maps (even have benchmark icons)

7) Transfer to the PN-40 (up to 15,000 characters of the data sheet will be in the PN-40! Transfer is quick, under a minute for me for 500 benchmarks on my 3 year old PC. Awsome!

 

Alternative: You can now bypass Topo USA, and use Delorme Cache Register is it very cool for geocaches, and for Benchmarks you can import the .gpx file, and send it to the PN-40. It is $9.95 from Delorme (download), and THERE IS ALSO A MAC VERSION (for you MAC'ers out there). Also awesome!

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