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iPhone Benchmark app

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Hi,

 

Because I couldn't find an iPhone app that met my needs for benchmarking, I wrote one. It's on the App Store now. It's free, with no ads. Strictly a labor of love.

 

The app is called FindMarkers, and the download URL is: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/vince-star/id591714436

 

From your iPhone, the easiest way to download it is to go to the App Store and search for "ngs".

 

If it gets any traction, I'll take requests for enhancements. I'm sure you folks will have a bunch of ideas.

 

Thanks,

 

Vince

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Thank you so much! Just downloaded and installed it. It's wonderful!

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I'll pull it down and see if it's better than FindAControl. If it is, then unless a iphone version of taht really nice looking android app that someone on here did pops up for iphone, I may have found a new BM hunter program.

 

*edit* I did play with it.

 

I found me a new app.

Edited by Ashallond
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You asked, so here it is...

 

Well, very first thing I noticed; The App is called FindMarkers, but the first time I went to use it, it told me that "HuntMarkers" would like to use my current location, also after the app is downloaded and installed onto my phone, it shows the name HuntMarkers. So I'm guessing that was a beta name of the app. It was a no brainer to just just say OK, but still...

 

Then the first time I tried to use it, it just stayed on a white screen with a dialog box that said "finding bench marks" for ever and ever, I'm guessing that was because I was indoors, but my iPhone usually gets some kind of GPS position indoors anyhow, but not this time I guess. I just went to the search tab and used search again, and it found me right away though

 

I think it would be very nice if the icons for marks on the map were a little bit smaller. I kinda think the main icon on the phone screen could be a little more detailed, and maybe eliminate that circular gloss effect on the icon also. If you'd like, I can work up a couple ideas for ya.

 

When I scroll the map to find marks in the neighboring town, the app doesn't refresh the marks from the server, but I feel like it should. Automatically would be nice, but manually would be acceptable too.

 

When you select a point on the map, and then it gives you the PID, and then you click on the right arrow to get the details, at the very bottom, in the Bench Mark details section, the last item, Log bench mark, is that to make a log on the Geocaching site or the NGS site? It's not really obvious.

 

That is the only one of the 5 options on that Bench Mark Details list to have an icon, and I think it would be more consistent if: either all of them had and icon, or none of them did.

 

Then, when you're looking at a listing, and click on "near you" at the top of the screen to go back to the map, the app rezooms the map and refreshes your position, and re-downloads the marks from a server somewhere, and it would be awesome if it didn't re-zoom the map and the displayed marks were cached and not redownloaded.

 

When you look at the history of the mark, some of the dates only show the year, but some show the month and day also in the YYYY-MM-DD format, and the app pushes those long dates into two lines, and it would be awesome if it didn't do that, if the column were wider by two characters to accommodate the longer date format. I like the color scheme used though.

 

Finally, all the Bench Mark Details are show in the Helvetica typeface, which is multispaced, and it would be awesome if this information, especially the description, were in a monospaced font such as Courier, because that is just the way we're used to seeing that sort of information.

 

 

I really like how the app displays all the important details such as type, stamping and horizontal control. I also really like how there's a mark on the map for where you currently are.

 

Now if only you could navigate to the mark with a compass, like in the geocaching app. Also, it would be really cool if the app could look at your finds (on geocaching.com) and see if you have found this bench mark, and if so, change it's icon on the map, and give the option for hiding all the ones you've found or not.

 

 

Sorry to be so anal. Thanks for a great app as is, and could only get better.

 

If the app did all these things, I'd gladly pay 4.99 for it though. But then there'd have to be a free version that was limited somehow, so I could see if I liked it...

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Would LOVE to see if you coulg get LIVE integration with Geocaching.com for logs and reading of the GC logs and things. That'd be nice.

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Would LOVE to see if you coulg get LIVE integration with Geocaching.com for logs and reading of the GC logs and things. That'd be nice.

 

Yeah, I'd really like to see that also.

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Great job on this app. Lots of info. I like that it links to the gc.com benchmark pages too. Thank you! B)

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Also requires living in the US :( (benchmarks are US only, but some of us like to cross the border now and then :P have to use a workaround to get the app in Canada)

Edited by thebruce0
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Wow, AWESOME comments! I agree with pretty much everything you said.

 

My main concern is about logging. I hadn't considered letting the user log directly to NGS, but I suppose that's a possibility. (The submission form is at http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/ngs-cgi-bin/recvy_entry_www.prl, in case anyone hasn't seen it.)

 

I know people typically log to geocaching.com. I don't particularly want to usurp that, but I'm not sure what to do with the markers you log with the app. My original intent was the next release would allow you to upload your logs and share them if you want to. Now I'm not so sure.

 

I don't have any access to GC's database, so beyond linking to the PID page, there's not much I can do. I would welcome any suggestions.

 

Vince

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Also requires living in the US :( (benchmarks are US only, but some of us like to cross the border now and then :P have to use a workaround to get the app in Canada)

 

Sorry, blame my jingoism. But I love my neighbors to the north! I'm hoping that when I submit a revision, I can widen the distribution to include Canada. I'll also investigate including Canadian bench marks. If you have a link, that would be most excellent.

 

Thanks,

 

Vince

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Also requires living in the US :( (benchmarks are US only, but some of us like to cross the border now and then :P have to use a workaround to get the app in Canada)

 

Sorry, blame my jingoism. But I love my neighbors to the north! I'm hoping that when I submit a revision, I can widen the distribution to include Canada. I'll also investigate including Canadian bench marks. If you have a link, that would be most excellent.

 

Thanks,

 

Vince

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Also requires living in the US :( (benchmarks are US only, but some of us like to cross the border now and then :P have to use a workaround to get the app in Canada)

 

Sorry, blame my jingoism. But I love my neighbors to the north! I'm hoping that when I submit a revision, I can widen the distribution to include Canada. I'll also investigate including Canadian bench marks. If you have a link, that would be most excellent.

 

Thanks,

 

Vince

 

Well, I managed to make a US iTunes account and nab the app ;)

 

As for Canadian benchmarks, there are links to benchmarks and resources on Waymarking.com - http://www.Waymarkin...235c49&exp=True

 

There's also the one Brass Cap cache, a virtual now, GC43F3 in Alberta which has become a grandfathered listing (afaik) which "moves". From its hidden date, you need to find the current benchmark, or a previously logged benchmark, and include a photo or the numbers. So that listing has a link to a GPX of hundreds of benchmarks in the province that have been logged (master index, cap map). But that's only Alberta.

 

*shrug* just some input, no idea how you incorporate the benchmarks, so do with it as you please :)

 

ETA: After some manual searching for importing into my Geosphere app, I've also located the CSRS database which contains all Canadian geodetic benchmark stations. I've imported a report of over 500 in/around my home city as waypoints for that app (after a lot of work to determine the best way :P). Not sure how usable/accessible that db is for a dedicated iOS app, but they might have an API for db access... haven't looked that deeply.

Edited by thebruce0
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Wow, AWESOME comments! I agree with pretty much everything you said.

 

My main concern is about logging. I hadn't considered letting the user log directly to NGS, but I suppose that's a possibility. (The submission form is at http://www.ngs.noaa....y_entry_www.prl, in case anyone hasn't seen it.)

 

I know people typically log to geocaching.com. I don't particularly want to usurp that, but I'm not sure what to do with the markers you log with the app. My original intent was the next release would allow you to upload your logs and share them if you want to. Now I'm not so sure.

 

I don't have any access to GC's database, so beyond linking to the PID page, there's not much I can do. I would welcome any suggestions.

 

Vince

 

Well, logging directly to the site from the field is not as important to me. I don't mind going home to log, if I can just take notes on the find to mention in my log later on.

 

As for the access to GC's database, there's the Geocaching Live API that many programs use, you might be able to use that, but I don't know if it can access their Benchmarks section.

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>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

My main concern is about logging. I hadn't considered letting the user log directly to NGS, but I suppose that's a possibility. (The submission form is at http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/ngs-cgi-bin/recvy_entry_www.prl, in case anyone hasn't seen it.)

 

I know people typically log to geocaching.com. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Vince

 

Vince,

 

I can't find a previous forum thread right now, but it is generally expected that a new benchmarker log quite a few marks into Geocache and then be very familiar with the above 'pinned' topics before attempting an official 'RECOVERY' with NGS.

 

Please note the emphasis I placed on the terms 'log' (what we do to report on our hobby activity), and 'RECOVERY' (information -hopefully not misinformation - which becomes part of an official document that can be very important to professionals in the field of surveying and engineering).

 

And there are a smattering of NGS marks that are physically located north of the Medicine Line.

 

kayakbird

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>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

My main concern is about logging. I hadn't considered letting the user log directly to NGS, but I suppose that's a possibility. (The submission form is at http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/ngs-cgi-bin/recvy_entry_www.prl, in case anyone hasn't seen it.)

 

I know people typically log to geocaching.com. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Vince

 

Vince,

 

I can't find a previous forum thread right now, but it is generally expected that a new benchmarker log quite a few marks into Geocache and then be very familiar with the above 'pinned' topics before attempting an official 'RECOVERY' with NGS.

 

Please note the emphasis I placed on the terms 'log' (what we do to report on our hobby activity), and 'RECOVERY' (information -hopefully not misinformation - which becomes part of an official document that can be very important to professionals in the field of surveying and engineering).

 

And there are a smattering of NGS marks that are physically located north of the Medicine Line.

 

kayakbird

 

Agreed - NGS recoveries are going into a database which is meant to be used by professionals, and you will often want to include updated descriptions, measuerments, etc. I've always wanted to review whatever notes I've taken & look over my photos before submitting an official recovery....not to mention that typing on those little phone screens seem to allow me to make mistakes ;)

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First, I have to say that I LOVE the app. THANKS! It is was better than the primitive method I was using before. You are awfully nice to offer it for free.

 

Speaking on behalf of fellow benchmark newbies, I have a few quick question.

 

When I "Log bench mark", where is this data going? NGS? Geocaching.com? "Logged Bench marks" bookmarks tab? As kayakbird stated, I'm most interested logging at Geocaching.com and I certainly don't want to mess up the NGS database.

 

Also, I noticed that the iPhone app and the Geocaching.com map are not totally synced (missing benchmarks from each other's maps). What is causing this?

 

Again, thanks for the app.

Edited by bjohio
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I agree with Kayakbird's comments. Filing a recovery with the NGS is a serious proposition. I'm sure that even those of us who've done it a lot sit there and read every field multiple times before we click Submit, because we know that we have a responsibility to provide accurate information. And if we're including notes, we want to make sure they have the exact wording and formatting expected by the professionals who use the NGS database. Sometimes we'll even run our comments past the other folks on this forum for editing suggestions before sending them to the NGS.

 

Submitting recoveries to NGS is not a good idea for beginners, and I fear that a simple "log" button on what sounds like a very nice and easy-to-use iPhone app (I only have an iPod touch so can't use apps in the field) would inadvertently encourage people who are unfamiliar with NGS's way of doing things to file recoveries. I think it's great, though, that you make it easy to log survey marks on Gc.com.

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Thanks for making the App! Just downloaded it yesterday and used it today on my quest to find 20 benchmarks for this challenge I'm working on in NH. Came in handy!

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I think you're right, it wouldn't be a good idea to make it too easy to log with the NGS.

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I think you're right, it wouldn't be a good idea to make it too easy to log with the NGS.

 

Agreed. To reiterate, the "Log" function in my app only logs to your local device. It's up to you what you want to do with that information. It's just a convenient way to let you capture the date/time, notes, and pictures.

 

Ultimately, I'd like for you to be able to upload directly to GC, but I have to investigate their API first, and make sure that aligns with their goals.

 

Vince

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First, I have to say that I LOVE the app. THANKS! It is was better than the primitive method I was using before. You are awfully nice to offer it for free.

 

Speaking on behalf of fellow benchmark newbies, I have a few quick question.

 

When I "Log bench mark", where is this data going? NGS? Geocaching.com? "Logged Bench marks" bookmarks tab? As kayakbird stated, I'm most interested logging at Geocaching.com and I certainly don't want to mess up the NGS database.

 

Also, I noticed that the iPhone app and the Geocaching.com map are not totally synced (missing benchmarks from each other's maps). What is causing this?

 

Again, thanks for the app.

 

Thanks!

 

Logging just logs to your iPhone. You can retrieve your finds under the "Bookmarks" tab. Also, once you've logged a bench mark, it changes color, both on the map and in the list view, so you can quickly see any you've already found.

 

In terms of differences between my DB and GC, mine is more current. GC did a static capture in 2000; I pulled mine down last month and will continue to update it on a regular basis. Not sure why they would have bench marks I don't, unless they've been destroyed. If you post some example PIDs, I can investigate.

 

Vince

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I decided to start finding benchmarks in town over the summer while I was riding my bicycle because I have all of the Geocaches and there is a challenge out there that requires me to find 100 benchmarks. I Googled "Geocaching benchmark iPhone" and this thread came up. I just downloaded the app and right off the bat this is excellent. I am going to go use it right now and will report back.

 

I would have just downloaded the .loc file to my Delorme PN-40, but it died on me on my epic Northern California Trip last week and with the iPhone, I am not sure if I am even going to bother buying a new GPS.

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I decided to start finding benchmarks in town over the summer while I was riding my bicycle because I have all of the Geocaches and there is a challenge out there that requires me to find 100 benchmarks. I Googled "Geocaching benchmark iPhone" and this thread came up. I just downloaded the app and right off the bat this is excellent. I am going to go use it right now and will report back.

 

I would have just downloaded the .loc file to my Delorme PN-40, but it died on me on my epic Northern California Trip last week and with the iPhone, I am not sure if I am even going to bother buying a new GPS.

 

Okay I used the app all this last week to find 12 benchmarks. Here are my observations.

 

Pros:

Good maps

Complete data

Easy to use

 

Improvements I would like to see:

On the map, I would like to be able to search from map center (I could use the coordinates, but that takes time and is implicated)

 

This is really a great app and am so thankful you developed it. Thank you so much.

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So, this thread is 6 months old now. The App is great, however are there going to be any updates to it? (I still like to use my Garmin for places with no cell signal)

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I on the geocaching "search for a benchmark" , and was wondering if there was a better, and easier, way to find benchmarks in my area, when I stumbled upon this thread. I immediately downloaded the app, and can tell it is well made, and I will definitely use it to find more benchmarks! Thanks for creating this app to solve a problem!! One thing I would like to suggest: Please make it so you can log finding a benchmark directly to geocaching.com. That would be extremely helpful and improve the app. Overall, I give this app 4.5/5 stars. TFTA!!!! ;)

Edited by CGarv
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Thank you SO MUCH for this app. I'm really pleased that it exists at all and it appears quite functional even in its 1.0 form.

 

My small feature request: Under "Settings" -> "Coordinates display" I'd like a

 

"DD MM.mmm"

 

decimal minutes option. Geocaching makes my brain think only in decimal minutes. B)

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Just came across this searching for something else.. Will try it out tomorrow. Thanks! Always want to find BMs while out, but no way to do so. :(

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Just downloaded this app and will check it out in the next few days. Thanks for your putting this app out for the geocaching community.

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I downloaded your app yesterday and used it as I went for a cache.

I love it.

My only complaint is that after I select a benchmark for details and return it does a whole new search and then I have to zoom in back to where I was.

I would prefer it not do that and let me control when the refresh happens.

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Downloaded the app and will try it out this weekend. Taking a road trip to Reno. Thanks for making this. As I tend to find benchmarks by literally stumbling on them this app may come in handy to figure out what I found.

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I downloaded your app yesterday and used it as I went for a cache.

I love it.

My only complaint is that after I select a benchmark for details and return it does a whole new search and then I have to zoom in back to where I was.

I would prefer it not do that and let me control when the refresh happens.

 

Thanks. You are absolutely right. It even annoys me :-)

 

I'll get a new version out there soon that fixes that, as well as implementing other suggestions made here.

 

Vince

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Wish I could try it, but it requires iOS6. Is there a reason it's required?

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Wish I could try it, but it requires iOS6. Is there a reason it's required?

 

Yes, the social stuff and map implementation require iOS 6. 95+ % of users are on iOS 6 now.

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Wow...somehow missed this app! Great job. Love going benchmark hunting but its always such a pain when you don't pre-plan and have the stuff already loaded up on your GPSr or smartphone.

Now there is a way. Not only that but its laid out particularly well in the app, enough so that I think it will become my main BM device now.

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This app was what got me going with Benchmarks, thanks! Now I've created my 1st Benchmark challenge with another to be published soon.

CHECK OUT GC5C2E3, the South Florida Benchmark Challenge.

Edited by Gungadoy
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My copy has stopped working (it immediately closes when I try to open it) and I cannot find it in the app store to recopy. Vince has also not been on the site for over 6 months. Anyone else having trouble?

 

Perfect timing, btw, I'm in D.C. for a few hours.

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Mine crashed every time I tried to open it a dozen times just now. Not sure what happened--it was working fine last month.

 

Hmmm...it stays open when I have the location disabled. I can still search with it, of course--but not "nearby" with the location enabled. And "no be.nch marks found" when I put in my zip code.

Edited by Dame Deco
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Well, I thought to myself that I haven't given FindMarkers a try in a while, so I thought I would give it a shot. But it wasn't on my iPhone! I have to download it again, but I went to the App Store from my bedroom in California, and it couldn't find it. I followed that link directly to it in the first post of this thread, but then I only got this:

 

2016-01-20%2010.35.40_zpslfulruwq.png

 

So I don't know, I guess it's gone. I'm guessing this is related to why it's crashing for some people.

 

Well, it was fun while it lasted.

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Mine isn't working either. Has anyone tried other BM apps? I know there are a few others but "FindAControl" will be my go to one while this is being fixed.

Edited by Lurch27
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I'm running an old iPhone4 and it experiences the same crash back after attempting to load the benchmarks. I know this was working on Saturday because I showed the app to a friend who works for one of the local cities and knows what benchmarks are. I'm hoping this is a temporary I really enjoyed this app.

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I'm thinking some kind of central server behind this whole thing has disappeared.

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Mine isn't working either. Has anyone tried other BM apps? I know there are a few others but "FindAControl" will be my go to one while this is being fixed.

 

Sorry, didn't realize it was down, since I've stopped using it :(

 

If you have the app, it should be working now. If you don't, you can't get it, because I got sick of Apple's crappy (IMHO) iOS 9 software, so I ditched my iPhone and got an Android phone. I also ditched my Apple Developer membership, essentially as a form of protest (I'm sure Steve Cook is really worried). Without the membership ($99/year for the privilege of developing apps for them, puh-leez), the app gets pulled from the store.

 

I'm working (sort of, in my less-than-copious free time) on a web-based replacement, maybe missing a few bells and whistles that I suspect people weren't using anyway. This will be usable from any browser, mobile or otherwise. I'll report back when I have something. In the mean time, I apologize for the outage, and hope that those of you who already have the app installed continue to enjoy it.

 

Vince

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Mine isn't working either. Has anyone tried other BM apps? I know there are a few others but "FindAControl" will be my go to one while this is being fixed.

 

Sorry, didn't realize it was down, since I've stopped using it :(

 

If you have the app, it should be working now. If you don't, you can't get it, because I got sick of Apple's crappy (IMHO) iOS 9 software, so I ditched my iPhone and got an Android phone. I also ditched my Apple Developer membership, essentially as a form of protest (I'm sure Steve Cook is really worried). Without the membership ($99/year for the privilege of developing apps for them, puh-leez), the app gets pulled from the store.

 

I'm working (sort of, in my less-than-copious free time) on a web-based replacement, maybe missing a few bells and whistles that I suspect people weren't using anyway. This will be usable from any browser, mobile or otherwise. I'll report back when I have something. In the mean time, I apologize for the outage, and hope that those of you who already have the app installed continue to enjoy it.

 

Vince

Vince, thanks so much for getting this back up and running. I use the app regularly; the ability to link quickly to the geocaching listing (with any photos that may have been taken) is invaluable in the field.

 

Mike

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and got an Android phone.

 

For those Android users, I have an app ready, called 'BenchMap'. Feel free to use it. :D

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and got an Android phone.

 

For those Android users, I have an app ready, called 'BenchMap'. Feel free to use it. :D

 

I have that on my Galaxy S6 Active and my Monterra! Thanks for fixing the Android 4.0 issues!

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and got an Android phone.

 

For those Android users, I have an app ready, called 'BenchMap'. Feel free to use it. :D

 

I have that on my Galaxy S6 Active and my Monterra! Thanks for fixing the Android 4.0 issues!

That took forever. The 6.0 SDK really broke 4.x Android. :( A LOT of developers are going to have issues with that. Oy.

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