How To...

Benchmark

  1. What is a Benchmark?
  2. Benchmark Types
  3. NGS Datasheets
  4. Benchmark Data Sources
  5. Prepare Benchmark Database
  6. Export Benchmarks as POI
  7. Export Benchmarks as Waypoints
  8. Export Benchmarks as Geocaches
  9. Record Benchmark Visits
  10. Benchmarking Apps

 

 


1. What is a Benchmark?

 

 


2. Benchmark Types

 

 


3. NGS Datasheets

 

 


4. Benchmark Data Sources

 

 


5. Prepare Benchmark Database

 

 


6. Export Benchmarks as POI

  • Recommended only for Garmin devices unable to use *.gpx or *.ggz file formats.
  • Provides minimal benchmark information (Longitude, Latitude, PID and Designation).
  • POI Benchmarks can not be searched, filtered or logged using the geocaching features available on the device.
  • For additional detail and improved functionality, see Export Benchmarks as Geocaches.

  • Open GSAK benchmark database prepared above.



  • Select View > Add/Remove Columns..., and configure displayed columns precisely as shown:



  • Select File > Export > CSV or TXT..., edit 'File Name', configure options as shown, then select Generate.



  • Copy *.csv file created by GSAK to Create a Custom POI.



  • A new benchmark *.gpi file will now be present in the [GPSr]\Garmin\POI\ directory:



  • Restart the GPSr to view benchmarks displayed as POI:


 

 


7. Export Benchmarks as Waypoints

  • Coming Soon!

 

 


8. Export Benchmarks as Geocaches

  • Trick or Treat?

    • While modern Garmin devices do not currently support benchmarks, they do support (most) geocaches.
    • A majority of these Garmin GPSr will also allow the user to Personalize Your Map with Custom Symbols.
    • Early GPSr had zero support for geocaches, which were loaded the same as any other waypoints, with very little additional information.
    • Garmin first introduced geocache support by simply adding two additional waypoint symbols, 'Geocache', and 'Geocache Found'.
    • Future models would also add support for the most common geocache types and display each of them using their own unique symbols.
    • On these devices, the 'Geocache' symbol now only appears when an unsupported geocache type is encountered.
    • So, for us, the Trick is to ensure that the only unsupported geocache types loaded to our device are all Benchmarks...
    • And the Treat is the ability to search, view, hunt, and log Benchmarks on our Garmin GPSr just like geocaches!



  • Export to GPX

    • Recommended for Garmin devices that do not support the *.ggz file format.
    • Limited by the maximum number of geocaches and *.gpx files specified for the device.
    • GPX Benchmarks can be searched, filtered and logged using the geocaching features available on the device.
    • Must copy desired benchmark symbol to [GPSr]\Garmin\CustomSymbols\Geocache.bmp.
    • Do not load *.gpx and *.ggz files that include duplicate benchmarks to the same device.
    • To improve device indexing speed and avoid *.gpx file limitations, see Export to GGZ.

    • Open GSAK benchmark database prepared above.
    • Select View > Add/Remove Columns..., and configure displayed columns as shown:



    • Select Database > Global Replace..., configure options as shown, and select Replace.



    • All benchmarks in database should now display 'Geocache' in 'Symbol' column:



    • Select File > Export > GPX/GGZ/LOC File..., edit 'File name to create', configure options as shown, then select Generate.



    • Copy *.gpx file created by GSAK to the [GPSr]\Garmin\GPX\ directory, or [microSD]\Garmin\GPX\ directory.



    • Restart the GPSr to view benchmarks displayed as geocaches:






  • Export to GGZ

    • Recommended for Garmin devices that support the *.ggz file format.
    • Allows the user to load an unlimited number of benchmarks and provides improved indexing performance.
    • GGZ Benchmarks can be searched, filtered and logged using the geocaching features available on the device.
    • Must copy desired benchmark symbol to [GPSr]\Garmin\CustomSymbols\Geocache.bmp.
    • Do not load *.ggz and *.gpx files that include duplicate benchmarks to the same device.
    • For devices that do not support the *.ggz file format, see Export to GPX.

    • Open GSAK benchmark database prepared above.
    • Select View > Add/Remove Columns..., and configure displayed columns as shown:



    • Select Database > Global Replace..., configure options as shown, and select Replace.



    • All benchmarks in database should now display 'Geocache' in 'Symbol' column:



    • Select File > Export > GPX/GGZ/LOC File..., edit 'File name to create', configure options as shown, then select Generate.



    • Copy *.ggz file created by GSAK to the [GPSr]\Garmin\GGZ\ directory, or [microSD]\Garmin\GGZ\ directory.



    • Restart the GPSr to view benchmarks displayed as geocaches:

 

 


9. Record Benchmark Visits

  • Benchmark Logging Protocol

    • Consistent and reliable descriptions can help when appraising a mark's fitness for use and aid in station recovery.
    • Please include the following information when logging Benchmark finds (Groundspeak) and Survey Mark Recoveries (NGS).

      • Date: Include the date and time for the station observation, not the log entry.

      • Log Type:

        • Found - Must first verify the station PID, Designation and description all match the datasheet precisely.
        • Not Found - Unable to locate after significant effort with no evidence of station destruction present.
        • Destroyed - Only used when irrefutable evidence of destruction is present, otherwise report as 'Not Found'.

      • Mark Condition:

        • Good - No evidence of tampering, subsidence, frost heave, etc. Likely in original location and condition.
        • Poor - Obvious damage present or movement excessive for designated stability and/or accuracy.
        • Destroyed - Only used when irrefutable evidence of destruction is present. 'Missing' is not 'Destroyed'.

      • Description:

      • Photos:

        • Photos are very helpful for confirming station identification and condition and therefore highly encouraged!

          • Close Up - A full frame photo of the mark with all text and stampings clear, focused and legible.
          • Eye Level - Photo taken two or three meters from mark, showing immediate surrounding area.
          • Horizon - One or more photos demonstrating the mark's location in relation to area landmarks.
          • Equipment - One or more photos of the equipment used to locate and record mark location.



  • National Geodetic Survey

    • In an effort to maintain updated records on more than 800,000 survey marks set around the country and its territories, the National Geodetic Survey encourages the public to submit their survey mark recovery information.
    • Open the Mark Recovery Dashboard to view station recoveries that have been submitted to NGS.
    • Visit the NGS Survey Mark Recovery Help page to view helpful survey mark observation guidelines.




  • Groundspeak

    • The Groundspeak benchmark database has not been updated since it was originally created in the year 2000.
    • Will not include updated recovery notes or information for newer and older benchmarks since added to the NGS databse.
    • Benchmarks not found in the groundspeak database can (and should) still be logged at the National Geodetic Survey website.
    • Groundspeak benchmark pages can be located via:

 

 


10. Benchmarking Apps

  • Mobile phone apps that can enhance your Benchmark hunting experience!

    • Android

      • Benchmap - Search and view National Geodetic Survey (NGS) survey stations on an interactive map.
      • Benchmark Explorer - Search the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) database to discover benchmarks near your location.

    • iOS

      • (still looking)