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foxtrot_xray

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Me, myself, and I, not-really-famous creator of the Google Earth Benchmark tool and NGS»GPX, has decided to try making an Android app connected with the stock Maps program.

 

Seeing as how I've only one phone, in a few months when I get around to a version that's stable, I'd like to have some other Android users try it on their devices, just to be sure. If interested, please drop me an email or PM here, with your interest and android device type.

 

Goals are simple for the little app -

- Browse an area on Maps, mark all stations nearby.

- Use NGS's live database, not a cached one like my GE utility.

- Allow clicking on one to pull open the datasheet.

 

Cheers,

--Mike.

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Count me in. I have a Droid X2 and a Motorola Xoom, so I can test both phone and tablet versions.

I have been playing with Geobeagle and Locus Free and both do a decent job, but I have to load the gpx files of the benchmarks on them. This isn't a big deal for me, but something like you created for GE would be great!

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Okay - I had much more reaction to this than I had anticipated. Maybe I should charge $10 a piece for it when it's ready. (Kidding!)

 

I should have a testing-ready version out in no more than a couple months, barring any real-life carp occurring. :)

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I'm not a benchmarker, but I can give it a try anyway. HTC Desire Z here.

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Dang, you are going to make me want to get rid of my bagphone and get an android now.

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That would be awesome. I use your other benchmark program and it is awesome. I am currently deployed at the moment though, but could give it a shot on my Nook Color.

Edited by jbuffethed

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Just what I've been looking for. Count me in if there is still room. Samsung Fascinate here.

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Just what I've been looking for. Count me in if there is still room. Samsung Fascinate here.

Got a Fascinate myself. Best screen of any of them out there. :) And there's room - I'm not limiting the beta. I just can't be held responsible if it eats your contact list. ..It probably WON'T, but.. you know.

That would be awesome. I use your other benchmark program and it is awesome. I am currently deployed at the moment though, but could give it a shot on my Nook Color.

That would be interesting, since HW specs for the Nook are limited (compared to a phone).

 

Quick update - Holy crap, I'm making progress:

version0001.png

Welcome to Version 0.0.0.1. :) So far, most of my time has been spent learning Eclipse and Java. I'm a Windows guy, so much of my hangups was learning the difference between what 'Clean' means in Visual Studio vs. Eclipse. But I digress. The blue token is my current location. The title ('BM Maps' in this case) won't be there, as screen real-estate is useful. The button there with the icon will automagically center the map on your current location (if you pan away). After panning the map (as you can do in any Maps on your phone), the program will query the NGS site for stations, which will appear as markers.

 

Considering I have a working, moving map in the first four or five days of playing with this, I'm kinda impressed with myself. I'm going to get ice cream! :)

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Assuming you have Groundspeak approval for this, I'd be willing to sign up with an htc wildfire (and Mr F with a Samsung galaxy Europa). We're in UK if that makes any difference.

 

Am sure you've thought of this, but here's what I think of the geocaching apps out there...

 


  •  
  • It is nice to be able to stop the automagically centred on selfness as sometimes you do want to pan away further than it wants to let you.
  • It is great to have a trail showing where you have been, ability to save it if you're logging out (and in again - updating it to distance as the crow flies)) and calculating the distance you've covered.
  • Showing the scale of the map is important, imo.

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Assuming you have Groundspeak approval for this, I'd be willing to sign up with an htc wildfire (and Mr F with a Samsung galaxy Europa). We're in UK if that makes any difference.

GC won't be involved, at least for a while. The databse will be from NGS, and at the most a link to the GC.com page will be available. A link will also be available that will let the user view the (full) datasheet from NGS site.

 

Am sure you've thought of this, but here's what I think of the geocaching apps out there...

 


  •  
  • It is nice to be able to stop the automagically centred on selfness as sometimes you do want to pan away further than it wants to let you.
  • It is great to have a trail showing where you have been, ability to save it if you're logging out (and in again - updating it to distance as the crow flies)) and calculating the distance you've covered.
  • Showing the scale of the map is important, imo.

For #1 - will be done, because I agree, and it's already in place. :)

For #2 - I'll add this to a 'possible enhancement' list. Namely, so far I haven't seen any built-in options to enable logging. This means that I'll have to attach to the NEMALocation service and the logging manually.

For #3 - I'm not sure this is possible, I'll look into it and see if it's doable. :)

 

--Me.

Edited by foxtrot_xray

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Assuming you have Groundspeak approval for this, I'd be willing to sign up with an htc wildfire (and Mr F with a Samsung galaxy Europa). We're in UK if that makes any difference.

GC won't be involved, at least for a while. The databse will be from NGS, and at the most a link to the GC.com page will be available. A link will also be available that will let the user view the (full) datasheet from NGS site.

 

Am sure you've thought of this, but here's what I think of the geocaching apps out there...

 


  •  
  • It is nice to be able to stop the automagically centred on selfness as sometimes you do want to pan away further than it wants to let you.
  • It is great to have a trail showing where you have been, ability to save it if you're logging out (and in again - updating it to distance as the crow flies)) and calculating the distance you've covered.
  • Showing the scale of the map is important, imo.

For #1 - will be done, because I agree, and it's already in place. :)

For #2 - I'll add this to a 'possible enhancement' list. Namely, so far I haven't seen any built-in options to enable logging. This means that I'll have to attach to the NEMALocation service and the logging manually.

For #3 - I'm not sure this is possible, I'll look into it and see if it's doable. :)

 

--Me.

 

As if Groundspeak even still cares about Benchmarking. :lol:

Agreed that panning should be unlimited, and once the map is panned, a search should be able to be made centered on the new location.

I don't think I want the app to waste resources in tracking my ...track. All I care about is how far is it to the mark I am after.

Showing the map scale would be really helpful.

 

And just to pile on...

The ability to invoke Google Maps Navigation would be nice.

 

I'm sure there is more, but it's late and I have consumed too many adult beverages.

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Another quick update..

  • It is nice to be able to stop the automagically centred on selfness as sometimes you do want to pan away further than it wants to let you.

I see now why this 'simple' thing seems to be an issue for other apps. The Android Maps API does NOT include a notification of when the user manually moves the map. Luckily, using bits and pointers from online, I believe I have a way of overriding it, we'll see.

 

  • Showing the scale of the map is important, imo.

I have a scale displayed!

 

..However, it's not accurate. On my phone it's about 2x the distance it should be. On my PC emulator, it's about half the distance it should be. This one may have to wait a while.

 

Haven't gotten a lot done in the last week due to a major release at work, and having to work on my car. What time I had was spent looking at the android/maps APIs and figuring out how to do what I'm needing it to do. Made some progress there, at least.

Edited by foxtrot_xray

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Still room for one more tester? My wife is loving looking for benchmarks so anything to assist her helps me greatly. I have Droid X.

 

Tanks...

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Still room for one more tester? My wife is loving looking for benchmarks so anything to assist her helps me greatly. I have Droid X.

 

Tanks...

Yup, drop me an email thru my profile, let me know what device(s) you have and android versions on it, and I'll add you to my list. I'm not really limiting the beta people, and I'm guessing 90% of the people that will use it have already signed up to test it, so I'm fine with that.

 

Beta is getting closer. The map screen pretty much works, will display location status and EPE and a small button to center on your current location. (Sorry, no screenshot today, because my phone's being stubborn.) It's not pretty, as I haven't spent any time with cute graphics and other crap (this is *not* Angry Birds).

 

Things left to do, in not really any order:

1. Call the NGS site to get results of any items viewable on the screen.

2. Add a small spinner to let the user know we're waiting for results/querying.

3. Add results to map and make them clickable.

4. Create screen that displays datasheet.

 

So, most of it is left. :) So far, however, all the map functions are tied into which made #1 above possible now that I can get the lat/lon boundaries.

 

I've been thinking of other features as I work on this, and a few things that won't be in the first good release but in later releases include:

1. Using an available intent on the device to open a full compass view to get you to the station's coords.

2. Somehow marking a station as found, allowing note input for.. doing something with the file later.

3. Hooking into the camera (if the device has one) and taking a picture of said station, linking to the previous item.

 

--Me.

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I would love a compass on it with 1 degree readings to replace my cheap Cabella's one. The less I have to tote around the happier I am.

 

Geobeagle has logging features (but I haven't tried them). I suspect they lend themselves to geocaching more than benchmarking but it would be nice to get rid of paper. There is also a Found/Not Found feature, which marks the cache and changes the icon, and then, I think, does something when you send the data to your GC.com account. I would love the ability to change the icon based on my Found/Not Found, but don't need to download the data into anything at all. Now that I said that, I think I lie. If you give us the ability to enter data about a mark it would be great to download it, even just as a text file, to edit and then paste into the NGS site for recoveries.

 

Also, I am offering my brother's web server to house any NGS data you want to serve. He is an old programmer and might be talked into creating some sort of crawler to get bench mark data from the site on an ongoing basis in order to keep it up to date too.

 

Oh, in regards to a scale, there is a Google Labs Scale Bar. Can you tap into that? There is also one called Measure.

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Another screenshot. No real meat-n-potatoes yet, but have more little stuff done:

device.png

The green icon is the button for turning on/off auto-center on current location. (It's on at the moment.) The green icon is the button for enabling/disabling Satellite view. (Again, enabled at the moment.) In the middle is the EPE, in the screenshot it's so high because my GPS on my phone is off, it's using network/wifi.

(Everything has a blue hue to it because the EPE circle overlay is so large in this shot. At the moment, can't do anything about that.)

Edited by foxtrot_xray

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I would love a compass on it with 1 degree readings to replace my cheap Cabella's one. The less I have to tote around the happier I am.

I'm going to tie into the GPS Status application's "Intent" to do routing. The built-in maps compass is horrible at the moment. :(

 

Also, I am offering my brother's web server to house any NGS data you want to serve. He is an old programmer and might be talked into creating some sort of crawler to get bench mark data from the site on an ongoing basis in order to keep it up to date too.

 

Oh, in regards to a scale, there is a Google Labs Scale Bar. Can you tap into that? There is also one called Measure.

Thanks for the offer. Unlike the GE plugin, I'm aiming to NOT have to keep a duplicate data source for data - essentially, using the CGI's on the NGS site. (Kinda like DSWORLD, but without DSWORLD. Or my GE tools, without my site in the way.) So far, looks like it'll be possible, too. :)

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You do it however you feel is best!

 

I wasn't aware that NGS had CGIs for such things, so of course it would be best to use the original data source and save intermediate steps.

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Update:

 

The most 'difficult' part is done, and that's reading the map screen, getting the bounds of the displayed map, calling NGS for available stations in those bounds, translating them into objects that I can overlay onto Maps, and then .. well, overlaying them:

 

android.png

 

The green markers are stations in this screen, obviously.

 

There's a few things I need to fix before I give everyone their beta -

1. When following your location is turned on, the screen will jump as it tries to display both NETWORK and GPS locations at the same time.

2. Sometimes, when you're finished panning a map and the stations are loaded, the overlay isn't appearing until you touch the map again.

3. Remember the state of 'follow my location' and 'show satellite' settings.

4. See if there's a logging feature I can combine so that if you guys FC, I can get stack traces and debug info.

 

Known issues, stuff left to do (after folks get beta 1):

1. Change the action tapping an item does. In Beta 1, it will open the URL for the station. It will pop up a menu and allow you to either:

-A. Track to that station, or

-B. View the datasheet (without launching the phone's browser.)

2. Graphics still need to be updated. (The marker image is rather tiny at the moment.)

3. Fix an odd bug where quick panning and/or zooming can cause the app to FC. It's crashing outside of my code, but I'm doing something to cause it.

4. Implement other settings, such as: setting default action on tapping an item; Add query to pull up (and display) destroyed stations; etc.

 

While there seems like a lot left, most of it should go pretty quickly, when I have time to work on it. Unfortunately, July's time for 'working on it' is rather limited, due to vacation(*), a contract with the state DOT, and other on-road work.

(*) My vacation, however, is one of the reasons I'm pressing to get at least a useable version. Nothing helps like actually using it out on the field.

 

As a side note, I'm not posting the beta to the Market, so when I send you the .APK, remember to change the setting to allow the device to install from untrusted sources.

 

--Mike.

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At least one other person would love to use this on his vacation instead of having to download files to use in GeoBeagle. His vacation is next week though!

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Another eager tester chiming in!

 

Currently I use google maps to store coordinates and notes for recovery attempts, but this looks like a great tool for spur of the moment benchmarking. Can't wait to give it a shot.

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Another eager tester chiming in!

 

Currently I use google maps to store coordinates and notes for recovery attempts, but this looks like a great tool for spur of the moment benchmarking. Can't wait to give it a shot.

If you haven't already, drop me an email letting me know what device(s) you have, and the Android version loaded on them, please. :)

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Wow! You bet!

 

I'd love to try it on my Droid!

 

You can contact me through GC.com as Run&Hike or email me at RunandHike@verizon.net

 

Bob

 

+++++++++++++

 

Me, myself, and I, not-really-famous creator of the Google Earth Benchmark tool and NGS»GPX, has decided to try making an Android app connected with the stock Maps program.

 

Seeing as how I've only one phone, in a few months when I get around to a version that's stable, I'd like to have some other Android users try it on their devices, just to be sure. If interested, please drop me an email or PM here, with your interest and android device type.

 

Goals are simple for the little app -

- Browse an area on Maps, mark all stations nearby.

- Use NGS's live database, not a cached one like my GE utility.

- Allow clicking on one to pull open the datasheet.

 

Cheers,

--Mike.

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Oops! In my excitement to get in on this I forgot to include the info:

 

I have an original Droid running Android 2.2.2

 

Bob "Run&Hike" RunandHike@verizon.net

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Hey guys, just letting you know that the beta is coming along. What's left before I let you guys get the beta:

1. Finish displaying of datasheet. (Working on now.)

2. Add call to RADAR intent if you see a station you want to navigate to.

3. Fix 'my location' jumping the map.

 

So, not long to go. :)

 

--Mike.

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I'd love to help out. I have an ATrix 4G (i dont think i can side load yet) :/...

 

but i like it so far.. 1 question? Is it for Geometric Surveys? or just geocaching?

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I have an Android 2.2 wifi tablet. Should work on it, yes?

I'd love to help out. I have an ATrix 4G (i dont think i can side load yet) :/...

 

but i like it so far.. 1 question? Is it for Geometric Surveys? or just geocaching?

 

Yes to both - in theory, if it runs Android, you can run it. Now, I'm NOT sure if the tablets have GPS, or even a Location Service. I don't have a tablet to test on, so it's very possible that as soon as you try running it, it'll crash. (Because it has no LOCATION_SERVICE). But, As long as I can get the crash report from a tablet user, I can get around it so that you can use the app, it just won't be able to auto-track your location. No hacking, or rooting will be necessary to run the app, for sure. :)

 

Dragons - This is/will be for Survey Stations ('Benchmarks'). I'm not a geocacher, and have no idea what APIs are even available for GC.com, honestly.

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I was of the mind that this would be handy for road trips where I already have my GPSr packed with geocaches, maps, etc. and wanted to pop into a place where there's free wifi to see if I could find some benchmarks nearby.

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Hey guys,

Should have a beta going out to everyone in the next week or so. Had a h3ll of a time getting the station information to display. (From preserving formatting so you can read the datasheet, to the Android WebView not honoring newlines in <pre></pre> tags, to a bug with having the "%" character in the text. PITA!) I'll post here when I send out an email to everyone.

 

--Me.

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Take your time, there is no rush.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it ready yet? :laughing:

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Me, myself, and I, not-really-famous creator of the Google Earth Benchmark tool and NGS»GPX, has decided to try making an Android app connected with the stock Maps program.

 

Seeing as how I've only one phone, in a few months when I get around to a version that's stable, I'd like to have some other Android users try it on their devices, just to be sure. If interested, please drop me an email or PM here, with your interest and android device type.

 

Goals are simple for the little app -

- Browse an area on Maps, mark all stations nearby.

- Use NGS's live database, not a cached one like my GE utility.

- Allow clicking on one to pull open the datasheet.

 

Cheers,

--Mike.

I would like to take a crack at it. Message has been emailed. thanks.

><((((0>.

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I was lucky enough to give the alpha version a short test on a recent vacation and can say it worked well, with a few bugs. Mike promised he has fixed the biggest one, which was that after looking at the datasheet the screen returned to a somewhat random location (near where it started) at a random scale (usually much closer in). Besides that it was very usable and would be a great addition to a benchmarker's arsenal of tools, especially since it can be used ad hoc to look for benchmarks wherever you are, even (especially) if you didn't plan to hunt. My wife will just love that!

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I was lucky enough to give the alpha version a short test on a recent vacation and can say it worked well, with a few bugs. Mike promised he has fixed the biggest one, which was that after looking at the datasheet the screen returned to a somewhat random location (near where it started) at a random scale (usually much closer in). Besides that it was very usable and would be a great addition to a benchmarker's arsenal of tools, especially since it can be used ad hoc to look for benchmarks wherever you are, even (especially) if you didn't plan to hunt. My wife will just love that!

 

You bastard! :)

How did you manage to get your hands on a pre-release version? :unsure:

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Mike realized that I would add value to his development effort and begged me to try the pre-release version.

 

No, wait, the begging was in the other direction!

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I have an HTC Thunderbolt. I'll try a new caching app. I use c:geo now though and it's very good! I like the ability to get turn by turn directions to the cache site. I used to have to follow the compass arrow as I drove and it was too dangerous.

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Mike promised he has fixed the biggest one, which was that after looking at the datasheet the screen returned to a somewhat random location (near where it started) at a random scale (usually much closer in).

Yeaup, that's fixed! Tested that fix yesterday on the road.

 

However, due to some lacking features in the Maps API itself (what I'm building on), such as:

1. Routing,

2. Selection of layers on the map. (The Maps *program* lets you select some layers. The Maps API you are fixed with either map view or satellite view),

3. The maps view not showing some useful items such as state-lines, county-lines, elevation ticks, etc.

 

Those major limitations - #1 really specifically - means that it's *not* a program to plan out the next station you want to find, or the string of stations you want to find for the day. It's more of a, "Hey, I found myself in Cape Charles, VA(*) for dinner. I wonder if there's a station in town?" application.

 

I drove up the peninsula, from the Bridge-Tunnel to the Bay Bridge and then home. While heading northward, I was using my program to find stations, and it was useable, as long as I didn't try too hard to plan a route via it. (This may be better on larger pad devices, however, because part of the issue was zooming out enough to see the layout or roads made it too populated with stations. I now added a zoom-limit to pulling stations, and that may help.

 

-Mike.

 

Edit:

I will add that I am considering a few ideas for a paid-version of the app, either having pop-up adds on the non-paid, or adding features. May not yet, either.

 

(*) - If you're ever in the area, it's a FANTASTIC little sea-town. There's a restaurant in the old bank, that has great seafood. Highly recommended. I can't remember the name of the restaurant at the moment, it was a long night. :)

Edited by foxtrot_xray

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I agree that the best use is as you said, "Hey, I am here at (fill in place) and I would love to torture the spouse by looking for disks along the nearest dirty railroad track. Where are the closest ones!?".

 

On my Motorola Xoom the app looked great. The zoom in was just about right. However, on my phone I couldn't zoom in close enough to suit me. The feature you added that didn't show benchmarks until I zoomed in a bit was a good idea.

 

I would LOVE to be able to overlay topo maps, but I suspect that a feature that is lacking in the map API. That feature you put into the GE KML file is wonderful! It has helped me find numerous benchmarks.

 

I have had Geobeagle for a bit and it works well for planned trips (you have to load a gpx file into it), but it does link to datasheets which is great. It also lets you enter notes for a mark, which is great. I haven't tried c:geo much may give it a try.

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Hey guys,

Okay, quick update:

 

I'm EXPECTING to get an email out to everyone by the end of this week. HOWEVER - due to having to meet a semi-truck at some unknown date and time 650 miles away, it MAY get postponed until early next week.

 

--Mike.

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Haven't been lurking here for a long time, but just saw this thread ...and having just gotten an Optimus V, I'd love to try this - it pains me to drive through new areas just knowing I'm missing gobs of marks!

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Hey all!

 

I released "beta 1". (Which is, actually, more like an alpha.)

 

If you had registered your email with me, you should have, or will soon, get an email giving details. If you don't get an email from me, drop me a line through here, and I'll try re-sending it.

 

--Mike.

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Hey there,

Is it to late to be apart of this trial? I just got into benchmarking and would love to try it out.

Thanks

Nate

 

P.S. I'm using an HTC Inspire Android.

 

 

Hey all!

 

I released "beta 1". (Which is, actually, more like an alpha.)

 

If you had registered your email with me, you should have, or will soon, get an email giving details. If you don't get an email from me, drop me a line through here, and I'll try re-sending it.

 

--Mike.

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Hey there,

Is it to late to be apart of this trial? I just got into benchmarking and would love to try it out.

Thanks

Nate

 

P.S. I'm using an HTC Inspire Android.

Nope - send me an email so I can add you to the mailing list.

 

Update for everyone - I think I figured out a way to filter out destroyed and non-pub marks. However, I'm not 100% on it yet so don't get your hopes up just yet. :)

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Oh, my hopes are UP! Waaaaay up. Better deliver.

 

Honestly, I haven't played with the program since early July. My benchmarking declines markedly in the summer, mostly due to the heat, and this summer has been hotter than most here in the northeast. Today is a beautiful day though and I am starting to jones for some hunting. By mid-September I should be back at it.

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Update for everyone - I think I figured out a way to filter out destroyed and non-pub marks. However, I'm not 100% on it yet so don't get your hopes up just yet. :)

 

Allright, snag already! Plan was to simply include a compressed list of known destroyed stations, and filter them out. However, in the past, on the NGS's FTP site, there USED to be a destroyed.txt file, which had PIDs of destroyed stations. That file, apparently, is gone now. So I'm not sure how to get a list of ALL destroyed stations.. Still working on it.

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