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Corrections ? - Benchmark Hunting Page - Faq?

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1. Should Geocaching's Benchmark Hunting Page be revised? Instructions on this page re reporting coordinates and photo submission on are inconsistent with more recent criteria propagated in this forum .


2. Who's in charge of that page?


3. Does that page serve as a frequently asked questions (FAQ) file?


4. Should a separate FAQ be published (forum info is getting pretty fragmented - cluttered- difficult to unravel).



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If you are finding benchmarks just for the fun of it, then maybe This thread will help answer your questions.


Your link and this one covers the Geocaching Benchmark Hunting side of this game.


Hope you're not feeling pressured to file with the NGS or the need to post picture proof of your finds. Only do that which is fun for You!


Good luck with the benchmark hunting,



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After reviewing the FAQ page I would say it is very well written and an accurate mirror of discussion that goes on in here.


This forum is all-inclusive for all variations of Gaming and NGS recovery of what we refer to as "Benchmarks". There is no requirement or pressure for anyone to do either. Some discussions are more technical than others for those who are attempting to recover and report to the NGS, as it can be more technical in nature but that too is reflective of details given in the FAQ. It is a fair use of the forum to talk NGS recovery, after all, the NGS does provide the game pieces and hunting data in the first place, and the players who choose to recover them are providing a community service which is consistent with the overall philosophy of Groundspeak. Groundspeak also hosts forums that are specifically dedicated to Ham Radio, GPS education, Ecology, the USGS National Map, etc. All seem to be spin-offs that fit the overall theme.


I have seen some confusion as to what kind of recovery is being intended, and there is disparity in the "criteria" for each kind of recovery, but that too is covered in the FAQ. The simple truth is that the criteria for recovery _is_ different for the game than it is for NGS recovery. In most cases, the discussion in the forum is about doing it all as best anyone can for either kind of recovery, although it does often include the history involved and other information pertaining to the recoveries. It is difficult to speak to any given tread in a forum and remain inclusive of all players of the game when taken as a whole yet, many people find this discussion interesting. Most importantly, the forum works pretty well for all the ground it has to cover. Everyone seems to be having fun following their version of hunting and reporting benchmarks, in the way they choose to have fun whether their preferred variety of the game is one way or the other.


The FAQ page is hosted by Groundspeak and was written and edited by both Groundspeak and people who play the game here in this forum. All are hobbyists, some are also surveyors, or work in related fields. As it is and as things are, it serves as a FAQ page pretty well as long as people are inclined to read it in the first place, but many here know it is often overlooked and we happily help all comers either way, no matter what their questions may be.


Until the Benchmarking forum has additional topic forums added to it like the Geocaching Related Topics have, we really have no choice other than to discuss all our topics and musings in here. It is but one forum for a multi faceted, often confusing topic. Each person who starts a thread sets the tone of their desired discussion. It is rare in this forum to see any topic starter close a topic, even if the topic is taken to a place other than originally intended. It is a very broad Topical Forum when taken as all inclusive of the various ways it reveals itself. Until the if and when a decision is made to add additional topics to the Benchmark Hunting Forum is made, I fear more than one FAQ (for those who do read it) would be even more confusing than what we have.


Many choose to post photos of their benchmark recoveries in lieu of a cache log. It is the same kind of proof a cache log would provide if there was one, but there is no rule or requirement to photograph anything, that is something many people just elect to do.


Most Importantly, I want you to know that this should be first and foremost fun, and that you should not feel pressure to play in any way other than the way YOU like. Just because some may take the game more seriously than others is no reason for anyone else to participate in any other way than feels best for them, whether they have recovered 8 or 800 of these things. I hope that helps to answer your questions. Feel free to ask anytime.



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Sorry. Was not clear - tried too few words. Two suggestions I would have sent to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheriff but don't know who or how.


SUGGESTION 1. Revise the benchmark hunting intro page, http://www.geocaching.com/mark/ , Section entitled "Can I log an official report to the NGS?", Para 4, to conform with (rather than directly contradict) more current guidance from National Geodetic Survey (NGS). Presumably most new mark hunters get their orientation from this well written page. Only the more highly motivated venture regularly to the forum - so an intro page worth publishing may be an intro page worth updating.




http://www.geocaching.com/mark/ says "You can also check out the NGS document on the digital photo requirements if you wish to report with pictures."

But NGS (Ms Brown) says "The criteria for submitting photos found on our website is intended for those submitting blue-booked projects. It's more stringent than that for recovery submissions. Use the criteria I mentioned above for your recovery work." These criteria differ substantially from the referenced NGS document with respect to number of, content of, and file names for submitted photos.


http://www.geocaching.com/mark/ says "Do not report benchmark coordinates to the NGS for any reason."

But NGS (Ms Brown) says ".... please include your hand held position in the text portion of the recovery form."


There may be other discrepancies. One of the experts will want to check.


SUGGESTION 2. Make or update a FAQ document people can use to find answers fast and easy; without wading through unstructured forum index followed by pages of extraneous comments. Could be done as addition to intro page but probably better as link to separate FAQ page - to keep the intro page uncluttered.

One prime example: The important but convoluted info in http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=67981 (currently over 50 posts) could easily be compressed into a/the FAQ. Other examples, only upon request.



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Just about all these things plus many more have been discussed in the pinned subject at them top of the benchmark forum page, The unofficial HEY JEREMY & ELIAS thread -suggestions, requests, bugs for the GC.Com Benchmark. I suggest, rather than starting a new string here, that it all be kept together in that string.


Maybe someday Jeremy will get back to taking care of some of the problems in this section. Meanwhile, I'm sure he has plenty more to keep him busy.

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Thanks for raising the points you did. They are good food for thought. It looks as if the FAQ could use some touch ups, and yet overall it does well. Some of the things that you call attention have evolved since the last FAQ update.


That said, the NGS has been evolving ways that they with benchmark hunters. They are very happy to have our help. Dave Doyle has not only Deb Brown working with benchmark hunters in the recovery efforts but has recognized our efforts and added Cheryl Malone to this work and assigned a Liaison, Casey Brennan as well. The NGS is very interested in the work this community has been doing and are shuffling resources around so as to accommodate it.


Within the forum here, there is a lot of evolving going on as well. We as a group continue to do what we enjoy, and through sharing our discoveries and for instances, we all become exposed to a lot of fun, interesting, often anecdotal instances from which we all learn something new as well. I would say we as benchmark hunters are evolving in the ways we hunt as well. This entire forum is like a library filling with information, and everyone who contributes takes it new places all the time.


This thread too will serve as a chapter as to how we can improve things going forth. I think I am going to post this thread's link into one of the pinned forum topics so we have access to your ideas at a later time.





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