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ArtMan

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I am finding benchmark logging (Benchmarking?) a terrific addition to Geocaching.com, but there are a couple of benchmark-specific enhancements I'd be interested in seeing. I'm sure the vast staff and infinite corporate resources behind this endeavor would be only too happy to meet our requirements if they only knew what they were ;-)

 

Herewith, then, a few items I'd like to see on the site to keep the game interesting.

 

(1) A leader board. I'm actually less interested who is logging the most marks, but what sort of numbers the top 20 or so are logging.

 

(2) Number of geocachers who are doing benchmarking, and what percentage of cachers.

 

(3) Ability to specify distance for radius search. The default is 10 miles, which for many users will provide too many or too few hits. I know there is a workaround (e.g., adding '&dist=2' I think to the URL limits radius to two miles), but it should be more user friendly. This one should be pretty easy to code.

 

(4) Ability to have searches return hit list minus marks user has already logged.

 

(5) Notification system that would send an email when someone logs a mark I've already logged, or a watch system like on the cache side.

 

(6) Graphical search. I know, the NGS site has this, but it is pretty clunky.

 

Anyone else care to contribute to this list?

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I'll touch on two of them quickly...

 

quote:
Originally posted by ArtMan:

 

(3) Ability to specify distance for radius search. The default is 10 miles, which for many users will provide too many or too few hits.


 

The "hide and seek a cache page" has this already.

 

quote:

(6) Graphical search. I know, the NGS site has this, but it is pretty clunky.


 

We're securing a mapserver which will allow a lot of this. Initially it'll work for Canada and the US, but will expand outward once we acquire the data. We'll also have geocoding (yay!) so you can search by address, or city.

 

Jeremy Irish

Groundspeak - The Language of Location

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quote:
Originally posted by Jeremy Irish:

I'll touch on two of them quickly...

 

quote:
Originally posted by ArtMan:

 

(3) Ability to specify distance for radius search. The default is 10 miles, which for many users will provide too many or too few hits.


 

The "hide and seek a cache page" has this already.

 

Jeremy Irish

Groundspeak - The Language of Location


 

Yes, for caches, but not for benchmarks...

 

25021_1200.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by Web-ling:

Yes, for caches, but not for benchmarks...


 

D'oh! icon_eek.gif

 

Jeremy Irish

Groundspeak - The Language of Location

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quote:
Originally posted by Web-ling:

Yes, for caches, but not for benchmarks...


 

D'oh! icon_eek.gif

 

Jeremy Irish

Groundspeak - The Language of Location

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quote:
Originally posted by ArtMan:

I am finding benchmark logging (Benchmarking?) a terrific addition to Geocaching.com


 

Me too! In fact, I signed up to be a charter member when Jeremy put in the latest changes. Kinda a reward for the continuing hard work he's put in. I figure I've gotten much more than $30 worth of enjoyment out of this.

 

quote:
A leader board. I'm actually less interested who is logging the most marks, but what sort of numbers the top 20 or so are logging.

 

I'd love to see this too. On the other hand, this is not a competition. I have resigned my competative nature to the fact that I will not see a leader board or anything similar to it. I have fun finding them, sometimes it takes some work, sometimes I don't find them and I can log them all on the site, thanks to Jeremy!

 

The best I can to for suggestions is:

 

- Improve the output from the search. Indicate somehow (smily face, frowny face icons?) if a benchmark has a found log or a not found log in addition to the log date. Currently, only found logs show the log date.

 

- Include benchmarks that once were lost but now are found according to NGS history.

 

- And, if I can edge into the competative arena, maybe a list of how many benchmarks have been found by state so we can see what parts of the country are really active vs. devoid of geo-benchmarkers (which we are!). A graphical map of the U.S.A with different colors based on percentage found within that state would be awesome! (and not so detailed as to make it competative)

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Seems to me like it could be set up in a manner that would allow those who wish to compete to do so, and also allow those who simply wish to participate recreationally to do that, with an optional scoring system, like such sports as golf and tennis. People living in urban areas have a huge advantage over those in rural areas, due to the density of markers nearby. In the absence of some incentive to look elsewhwere, all the easy urban markers will probably just be found and recorded repeatedly. Therefore, the remoteness of a find is what I would consider the most valuable aspect of the endeavor. Finding one on a mountain, in a desert, or in a forest, is surely more satisfying than finding a dozen along a city street. The ones in the cities and towns are nearly all regularly visited by surveyors anyway and are little challenge to locate. The ones in undeveloped areas that have been long neglected are the ones that are in need of recovery and thorough documentation, to verify that they still exist, so that they may be protected from accidental destruction due to ignorance of their existence in the future.

 

If I understand it correctly, the main value of geocaching in general is to encourage people to get out and enjoy exploring and adventuring, while learning navigational skills and connecting with others who have similar interests, in the process. The concept of "benchmarking" introduces some new elements into that equation, such as learning the signifigance of the markers, encouraging others to respect them rather than vandalize them, and passing this knowledge on to the next generation. While there is no physical reward for this, I think many people with an appreciation of history may find it rewarding to know they are walking in the footsteps of those who helped build our nation, and observing the results of their work. Everyone is free to decide for themselves how far afield they can safely venture, and how much time and effort to devote to the pursuit, but I think those who reach the farthest points, and go to the trouble of properly recording their activities to contribute to the preservation of these important and historic markers, are worthy of some recognition.

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