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elrojo14

Downloading Benchmark Data for Offline Use

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My 2019 Geocaching Goals are to find a bunch of benchmarks. Which is fine if I have cell reception. However, I like to Geocache where there is no cell reception and am wondering if there is anyway to download benchmark data to my phone or my Garmin Oregon. Even a laptop if necessary. Thanks in advance for what I hope might be an answer that surprises me.

 

Is there any interest from Groundspeak in allowing benchmark pocket queries that would download the data? That would be nice. 

 

edit: Cachly will do it!!! Scroll down for how to do it.

Edited by elrojo14
To add Cachly details!

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elrojo14,

 

If GSAK is still available, and if you can figure out out how to get Bench Mark information into a GPX file, you can do all kind of sorts for special sub-sets such as &SS marks and even filter for a specific word or phrase (try 'bronze rod' in Arizona), or add selection codes in one of the UserData columns; then create a sort-able excel file for your lap-top.  Always liked to do some name Data > Text to Columns slice& dice to place true bench mark strings into linear order.

 

I think that full datasheets can downloaded from the online NGS site by full states or a submitted list of PID's. 

 

I do not have a phone - early on just used HH2 GPSr & laptop.  Later got a Verizon 'air card' and could find cell signal in some way outback locations for GSAK updates. kayakbird

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Hi rojo,

 

Since you have a Garmin Oregon, it should be a simple matter to import GPX files. The unknown for me is how much Garmin lets you put in there. I added "Download GPX" to my app (at the bottom of the legend, once you show at least one bench mark; it makes a waypoint for every bench mark on the screen). Just click it and save the file somewhere. Then plug in your Oregon via USB and upload the GPX. I'm using the <cmt> field to put stuff, and I don't know what limits Garmin has imposed, or how they would display, since I don't have one of these (though it looks pretty nice!).

 

Let me know if you can get the GPX over to your Oregon, and if so, we can work from there.

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I did open the .loc file in notepad and noticed it didn't have much other than coordinates and PUID. Which is better than nothing, but on benchmarks not having the datasheet description will effectively leave you searching in circles on some benchmarks where the coordinates are off by a quarter mile or more. 

 

I almost think I can upload .gpx to Cachly too! 

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Good, so now I know:

 

1) You need the datasheet description

2) You use Cachly

 

Both good data points. From what I've read, Cachly will import GPX. I'll add the datasheet to the GPX, and see if that helps.

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forbin_c! Cachly is probably the finest Geocaching app of all time. Why? Because they actively take customer requests and try and implement them into the product. I asked for something for Apple Watch and they had it in a new release three days later!!!

 

Let's ask them to do Benchmark support! If we can get the right data file that has the relevant data, there should be no reason Cachly can't easily display the data for us. I will go ask. 

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So for those of you who don't care about the Cachly forum, you should start caring. If you can convert USGS datasheets into .gpx, Cachly will easily show benchmarks on a map and their data! This is a game changer!

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Yes, the developer (Nicholas Hubbard) cares, which is the most important thing. He's already contacted me to discuss this. I'm confident I can add whatever fields he needs to allow for Cachly display.

 

In the mean time, I added the description to the <desc> field of the .GPX. There's a program in the App Store called GPX Viewer  ($0.99). It's slightly convoluted to use, but you can use it to view the bench marks with their descriptions offline. It's no Cachly, but it gets the job done. You might want to check it out as an intermediate step.

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Ok, huge developments today. Here we go.

 

First, if you have the right .gpx file for benchmarks and upload it to Cachly, Cachly will display the benchmarks on the map and you can click on them and see the full data sheet details! With Cachly's awesome map and compass system, this just made benchmarking in remote locations 100% doable. 

 

However, this is where it gets complicated. First, you could always download the entire state's benchmarks. Main problem with that is I downloaded half of California's benchmarks today and it was 31301. It took nearly six hours to download the half of them. If you want to download them all you will need to take these steps. 

 

First, download the state list of benchmarks here. ftp://ftp.ngs.noaa.gov/pub/DS_ARCHIVE/DataSheets/ However, that data is not ready to make a .gpx, so you are going to need a converter. I used http://ngs.tsqmadness.com/ngsgpx/index.html. According to Tung8, the converter can't handle that many at one time, so somehow he split it in two. My guess is he opened the .txt in notepad and cut half of the data. 

 

Once you convert the data from NGS-GPX, then place the file in your Dropbox and then from Cachly, go to More>Import from Dropbox. Wait for it to import. You might want to do it over night (which is what I will do with the other half of CA's benchmarks I still need to go.

 

You might not have the time or storage space to do such a thing. So the quest to find an easier way to get the data began. And I found one way. Go to https://www.ngs.noaa.gov/datasheets/index.shtml and there are several options here, but make sure you click on the .txt version. I tried doing the County, but it timed out. So then I did it by a quad and then also by radius. Once you are able to get to the next screen that shows the results, you want to select all and then view datasheets. Once that is finished, it will show you "The NGS Data Sheet". Copy all of that text and paste it into a notepad file and save it as a .txt file. 

 

You will then need to convert it using NGS-GPX and then place it on your Dropbox for transfer to Cachly. This method will make the files much smaller and easier to use in Cachly. 

 

And that there is how you get offline paperless Benchmarking on Cachly!!!

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