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Using Google Earth to Select Benchmarks

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Did a short search and didnt' find this discussed, so figured I'd pass it along.

 

I use Google Earth a lot instead of Google Maps because you can get a 3D view of the ground and because the GUI interface is more intuitive to me. Found a really quick way to display a list of benchmarks in Google Earth. You can click on the benchmark and it displays a link to the GeoCaching.com benchmark info page.

 

This made it easy to quickly find benchmarks in the area of interest and also quickly determine whether a benchmark had adjusted or scaled location. (I wanted adjusted beause I was trying out a new RTK GPS). Suppose you can do this with Goggle Maps too, but GE is just easier for me all around.

 

Here's the procedure:

 

1) Browse to http://www.geocaching.com/mark/ and select the PID or ZIP code and press the GO button. (I get them by Zip code.) A new page is generated either with the benchmark info for one mark, or a list of benchmarks is by Zip code.

 

2) For benchmark list, press the "Download All Results to *.loc" button in the top right. For single benchmark, press the "Download Waypoint File (*.loc)" link near the top. Save the .LOC file to disk (and remember where).

 

3) Browse to http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/map_input?form=googleearth. This brings up a form page with settings to control the display in Google Earth. In the upper right, press the Browse button(s) and browse to the .LOC file on your local disk you generated in step 2). You can identify multiple files of multiple GPS data types.

 

4) Adjust settings for the benchmarks in Google Earth:

 

* In the upper right, you can select whether to generate .KMZ (archive) file (default) or KML file.

 

* In the lower left, you can set the waypoint icon and label text colors, distance from ground, etc.

Keep the default "Waypoint labels: Labels on waypoints + bckmarks".

 

You can also set most of these things inside Google Earth.

 

5) In the lower right, press the "Create KML File" button. This brings up a page with a link to download the generated KMZ/KML file. This page also has a second link to generate a TOPO map overlay image for the area surrounding the benchmark(s) that you can display in Google Earth too if you want.

 

6) Anyway, click on the benchmark KMZ file. You should be prompted to Open or Save the file. If you Open it AND have Google Earth installed, Google Earth will open the file, add a bookmark for the benchmarks in the Temporary Places folder, and display the benchmarks. If you kept the default "Waypoint labels: Labels on waypoints + bckmarks" the benchmark names will appear for each benchmark. If you Save the file, you can import it into Google Earth later. I usually open the KMZ and let Google Earth save the info in it's Temporary Places Favorites list.

 

Google Earth can be downloaded from http://www.google.com/earth/download/ge/agree.html. They include Google Chrome browser and Google Toolbar by default, but you can UNCHECK these before you press the "Agree and Download" button if you don't want them. I don't include them.

 

7) Note that the benchmarks are saved to a new folder in Google Earth's Temporary Places folder, which is deleted when Google Earth exits. To save this benchmark folder so it's available whenever you run Google Earth, right click on the benchmark folder and select "Save to My Places", which will move the folder up under the My Places folder. You can also drag the folder up there with the mouse. The benchmark folder has a checkbox next to it. Uncheck the box to hide the benchmarks, check it to display them. If you transferred multiple benchmarks, they're individually visible. Click the little righ facing triangle to the left of the benchmark folder to display the Waypoints sub-folder. Click it's little triangle to display all the benchmarks by label. You can check or uncheck them individually to display/hide each.

 

8) Click a benchmark displayed in Google Earth and a popup box will display with the benchmark label and a "[Web link]" link. Click on the web link to display the GeoCaching.com "Details for Benchmark" page for that benchmark.

 

I use the GeoCaching.com Details page to check whether the benchmark has adjusted or scaled location info.

 

As I noted above, when I'm in Google Earth, I usually hold down the SHIFT key and hold the Left mouse button and drag down to display in 3D mode while I move around. Helps to see what the topography is for the benchmarks. (I hate Topo maps... :-)

 

Hope this is useful. Enjoy. - Mark :D

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May be a little easier, but you can also download my KMZ file, here:

http://ngs.tsqmadness.com/ge/index.html

And you can browse anywhere(*) in GE and not have to pre-download or run extra steps. Clicking on a station will give you a link to GC.COM page as well as the NGS datasheet.

 

DSWORLD will also load up stations, but you will have to run it first to select the stations you wish to appear.

 

--Mike.

 

(*) - Anywhere, as long as you're in the US, of course.

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Have you tried scaredycats benchmark viewer yet?

 

click here

 

EDIT: Took out the part about Foxtrot X-Rays, as he beat me to the punch. LOL

Edited by LSUFan

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On my just completed three week road trip from Yuma AZ to Animas NM and back I used GE county downloads almost exclusively for target selection - looking for old number strings, GLO, RR rivets and USGS. Upon picking a target I would double split screen and overlay the GSAK data line (generally showing four or five PID's of the same string) and GSAK link to the NGS Data Sheet; keeping the mark showing on about a quarter of the page.

 

I almost never checked to see if it had been logged. If GSAK showed a recent recovery I would not bother with it if a GEOCACHE but always double check if USPSQD. This took me to an interesting history sequence:

 

DA0352'LEVEL WITH THE HIGHWAY, AND RIVETED ON TOP OF A 3/4-INCH IRON PIPE

DA0352'PROJECTING 0.9 FOOT ABOVE THE GROUND.

DA0352

DA0352 STATION RECOVERY (1981)

DA0352

DA0352'RECOVERY NOTE BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1981

DA0352'CONCRETE POST WAS FOUND BUT DISK WAS NOT INTACT. MARK BELIEVED

DA0352'DESTROYED.

DA0352 {my question - a concrete post for a standard GLO skinny pipe of that era??}

DA0352 STATION RECOVERY (1997)

DA0352

DA0352'RECOVERY NOTE BY US POWER SQUADRON 1997

DA0352'RECOVERED IN GOOD CONDITION.

 

My NOT FOUND recovery will report that a wood witness post was found at the calls, but no other evidence was seen.

GLO WOOD WP ONLY

b26bd539-8ac5-4681-bbd9-428c54c62a4d.jpg

 

Prior to starting the trip I did upload a set of points from my AZ GSAK derived Excel file to DSWORLD for OTM marks, but for some reason it was not complete and I almost missed a bunch in the Altar Valley. BROWN CG1130 did show up there, right where I was doing some birding, and after finding those neat Flared Bronze Rods I ran various filters in GSAK and came up with a set of points with potential for more (three others were found but that will be another thread). Using a Verizon air-card I was able to maintain an internet connection with GE most of the time. Tried to maintain an awareness of strings near by - with my erratic route of travel I almost never bother to pre-load my Garmin Etrex Vista - and would then revert to just GSAK info.

 

I also have a GE 'My Places" file for where I camped and have found it handy to zoom into an area of interest as I try to get caught up with photo uploads and NGS recoveries.

 

Contact me off forum if you would like my short AZ list of Flared Rod maybes before I get a thread going. kayakbird

Edited by kayakbird

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May be a little easier, but you can also download my KMZ file, here:

http://ngs.tsqmadness.com/ge/index.html

And you can browse anywhere(*) in GE and not have to pre-download or run extra steps. Clicking on a station will give you a link to GC.COM page as well as the NGS datasheet.

 

DSWORLD will also load up stations, but you will have to run it first to select the stations you wish to appear.

 

--Mike.

 

(*) - Anywhere, as long as you're in the US, of course.

 

That file is a heck of a lot better then the ones I've recently been experimenting with. :)

 

One other thing I will mention here, since the benchmark viewer site was mentioned, is that it's database is a little out of date since some markers I've seen listed as Scaled on it have since been upgraded to Hand Held with better coordinates. Don't know who runs that site, so I'll send off an e-mail about it to the maintainer. Note that this means the coordinates for some scaled marks in the Geocaching.com database may be outdated. (When it comes to loading benchmarks onto my smartphone/GSAK I get my datasheets from the NGS rather then use anything in the old Geocaching.com database.)

Edited by EdrickV

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One other thing I will mention here, since the benchmark viewer site was mentioned, is that it's database is a little out of date since some markers I've seen listed as Scaled on it have since been upgraded to Hand Held with better coordinates. Don't know who runs that site, so I'll send off an e-mail about it to the maintainer. Note that this means the coordinates for some scaled marks in the Geocaching.com database may be outdated. (When it comes to loading benchmarks onto my smartphone/GSAK I get my datasheets from the NGS rather then use anything in the old Geocaching.com database.)

You could send me an email, but it'd be something I already know. The database is two years old. It'll be updated this summer. :)

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One other thing I will mention here, since the benchmark viewer site was mentioned, is that it's database is a little out of date since some markers I've seen listed as Scaled on it have since been upgraded to Hand Held with better coordinates. Don't know who runs that site, so I'll send off an e-mail about it to the maintainer. Note that this means the coordinates for some scaled marks in the Geocaching.com database may be outdated. (When it comes to loading benchmarks onto my smartphone/GSAK I get my datasheets from the NGS rather then use anything in the old Geocaching.com database.)

You could send me an email, but it'd be something I already know. The database is two years old. It'll be updated this summer. :)

 

So the benchmark viewer website is your work? Somehow I am not surprised. :) Glad to see you already know about it and thanks for an awesome tool.

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May be a little easier, but you can also download my KMZ file, here:

http://ngs.tsqmadnes...m/ge/index.html

And you can browse anywhere(*) in GE and not have to pre-download or run extra steps. Clicking on a station will give you a link to GC.COM page as well as the NGS datasheet.

 

DSWORLD will also load up stations, but you will have to run it first to select the stations you wish to appear.

 

--Mike.

 

(*) - Anywhere, as long as you're in the US, of course.

 

I don't see a download link on there, did it go away?

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May be a little easier, but you can also download my KMZ file, here:

http://ngs.tsqmadnes...m/ge/index.html

And you can browse anywhere(*) in GE and not have to pre-download or run extra steps. Clicking on a station will give you a link to GC.COM page as well as the NGS datasheet.

 

DSWORLD will also load up stations, but you will have to run it first to select the stations you wish to appear.

 

--Mike.

 

(*) - Anywhere, as long as you're in the US, of course.

 

I don't see a download link on there, did it go away?

 

The download link, for me, doesn't get underlined or otherwise noticeable for some reason. Look for "You can get it here." and the word here is the link. (If you're still viewing this thread foxtrot_xray, it says KMX not KMZ before the link. I assume that was a typo. :) )

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The download link, for me, doesn't get underlined or otherwise noticeable for some reason. Look for "You can get it here." and the word here is the link. (If you're still viewing this thread foxtrot_xray, it says KMX not KMZ before the link. I assume that was a typo. :) )

Yeah, I know. :( There's a few errors and mistakes on the page, I have many of them marked down for fixing. The droid and NGSGPX v3.0's taking most of my time right now. :)

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