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Everything posted by pgrig

  1. Here is part of the description for MY4412. Fortunately, a present day recovery no longer requires crawling on your belly, providing a password, and hoping they don't shoot you. It sorta gives the concept of "drill hole" a whole new meaning... STATION RECOVERY (1943) MY4412 MY4412'RECOVERY NOTE BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1943 (PLB) MY4412'STATION AND REFERENCE MARKS WERE RECOVERED IN GOOD CONDITION MY4412'AS DESCRIBED. THE 1940 DESCRIPTION BY P.L.B. WAS FOUND TO BE MY4412'ADEQUATE. THE STATION SITE IS NOW USED AS A MACHINE-GUN MY4412'NEST. THE DISTANCE AND DIRECTION TO THE REFERENCE MARKS COULD MY4412'NOT BE MEASURED DUE TO THE MACHINE-GUN NEST.
  2. Would it work to create a "Benchmark Image" site of our own and have it host the equivalent of the Gallery, reached by links from the GC site? I assume the cost would be very low, relative to the cost (pain) stemming from the 300px limit. [Of course, with all the technology talent resident in this group, we could probably produce a benchmark-only site on its own. Or could we?
  3. I went out on a trip (around Marshfield, MA) today and experienced a first: my GPS could apparently "see" several satellites, but all morning long (9AM-about 1PM), I had absolutely NO signals from any of them! Zero bars on my GPS. Later (about 1PM?), I did get enough signals to get a 3D fix, and later in the PM (around 3PM) I also seemed to have a fix, but the signals jumped around so much, finding a disk was impossible. What happened? -Paul
  4. Cool. I have no idea what the "400--foot tunnel" is! From the photos, it seems to start near one of the old Endicott Period batteries, and might run from there to connect with the "old fort," otherwise known as the Water Battery, a Third System fortification located to the northeast of the Endicott main gun line. My friend the Park Ranger can likely tell me, but he's on detail to another facility until after Christmas. I will also ask people who know a lot more about Ft. Totten than I do. More news as it happens... I'll also ask about an "Under Sound" tunnel towards Ft. Schuyler, but I would be very sceptical of that one. The waters between the two forts were used by the Army Engineers to test different underwater explosives for submarine mine systems in the period 1870-1895. -Paul
  5. TillaMurphs-- You're always welcome! But you've got my curiosity up. The only "long tunnel" I know of is associated with the old mortar battery, and it hasn't been seen since the 1940s. True, I would like to explore it once again, but how could you know (unless you're channeling (pardon the pun) Coast Artillery)? The best history of the fort isn't on the web (I'm working on that), so I don't see how you could know....spooky. I believe visitors to the fort (which is now a state park) can "roam (more or less) freely,"--in season--but I am in contact with the Park Rangers, since I want to explore the old "concrete batteries" (and the Fort Totten mark) which are somewhat deteriorated and, I believe, largely fenced off from general visitors. -Paul
  6. Dear Holtie22-- Once again, you have proved yourself to be a Patron Surveying Saint (PSS) of the Coast Defense geodetic mark-hunting community (or at least this one member of it!). When I get down there, this station should almost find itself, which is a good thing, since the Description suggests that even back in 1933 it was set in asphalt that had been poured over the gun battery(!). Your work is a nice Christmas present for me. Have yourself a merry one too! -Paul
  7. Thank you, guys. I sort of knew "normal" meant a right angle, but since there was no line to draw a right angle from, I was stumped. The "shortest distance" definition might be more helpful. I'll have to actually get to the site to see.
  8. I am thinking about going after this mark and its RMs, but I have run into language about "normal" measurements that I have never seen before. It's at the end of the 3rd para. of the Station Description and immediately following. The mark is likely set in the surface of one of several adjacent former coast artillery gun positions. Can someone help me out? -Paul
  9. Just a note to say I'm still alive and well and would be pleased to send anyone who's interested a copy of the Excel SS that Jerry designed for the harbor defenses of Boston. It plots L/L to within 3"-6", which to me is outstanding for my purposes. Here in Boston, almost all of the permanent batteries have nearby disks already in place and all the fire control towers are equipped with USCGS/Army Corps disks of their own. The SS has helped me locate the 155mm guns and some mobile elements, and there may be a few directing points (DPs) that can now be pinpointed. -Paul
  10. OK, so there are lots of others around...! Were these disks cast sort of in two pieces, so that trying to lever them up by the edge caused them to fracture around a ring in the center? Seems odd. [And yes, Ft. Wetherill is the most heavily-tagged Coast Artillery fort I have come across in my two years of working these in New England. It is still a favorite hangout for kids; I saw five of them filming a video at the fort while I was there, with tripod-based video lights and furniture imported as props. :-)
  11. Here is a report on the remains of a mark I just visited at Ft. Wetherill near Newport, RI. It occurred to me that I have seen several of these "donut hole" remains (where a vandal has managed to pry up the entire disk except the datum point, including the station-identifying triangle). There are a number like this at Ft. Wetherill, and I found one for station STRONG at Ft. Strong in Boston Harbor. Are these fairly unique to the "Coast Defense Vandal" in New England, or have others seen similar remains? All the disk remains like this that I have seen were set around 1934-1941. Was there perhaps something about the disks used during that time period that made them easy to fracture while leaving behind the tip of the stem?
  12. The harbor defenses of Boston, Portsmouth, and Portland seem to have been heavily seeded with geodetic marks, compared to those in other areas of the country. Almost all of the WW2-era fire control structures had disks set in their roofs that marked the L/L of their primary observing instruments (which were stacked up on top of each other on multiple levels of the towers). In the 1938-1941 time period, many of the locales that had been picked for fire control structures had "Location" disks surveyed, and numerous minor stations were also set, as the surveys moved forward. All WW2-era gun batteries had USE grid system coordinates established for their Directing Points (DPs), which were usually the pintle centers (fulcrums) of the mounts of their No. 1 guns (the ones on the right as you looked seaward). Displacement for other guns in the battery could then be computed from these DPs. In older, pre-war batteries, the DP was often a separately surveyed point, located 30-50 ft. out in front of the battery.
  13. Does anyone know if (and how) the wartime equivalent of the Datasheets were secured during the war? I am always amazed that the precise coordinates of almost all of the fire control instruments that directed the Coast Artillery for Boston Harbor were available as USCGS/Corps of Engineers marks--also many of the gun batteries themselves. Could a local surveyor readily access these (as we do today) in 1940-1946? -Paul
  14. All seems OK again. I have no idea what happened...
  15. Scaredy Cat's Benchmark Viewer seems to be down (no map pins appear). Life as I know it has come to an end.....
  16. Hi Gene-- Working with your coordinates for the Mass DPW marker and the reports that MZ0487 is 50 to 53 ft. NW of the NW track, I put the mark roughly at 42.430000, -73.321453. This is a scaled mark, whose coordinates on the Datasheet are only approximate, and they seem to even put it "on the wrong side of the tracks" :-) --the SE side. The other references seem to relate to pieces of rail used to block off that little spur of road that appears to branch off westerly from Coverdale St. Hope this helps! My coordinates are probably lucky, since I was born in Pittsfield, but that was so long ago, the coordinates might be a little worn out... . -Paul
  17. I found the red goggles to be almost worthless. Ditto the small, red, plastic reflective target pieces (sold by Stanley, if I recall)--these might work OK if you're measuring over 20 ft. in your dim basement for a home improvement project, but they do not help in stalking the wild benchmark. Another thing that I used to use (when I spent time hunting benchmarks near roadways and city streets) was a reflective traffic cone, the kind with two or three strips of reflective tape wrapped around the top 18" or so. That could be placed over the mark and ranged upon. It can also be placed near a telephone pole or fire hydrant (fire plug? :-) ) and be used similarly. It's harder to hold the laser device steady on such a cone, though. Again, I wouldn't think that long distances (over 50 ft. or so) would be possible w/o a reflective target, and I strongly recommend the cookie sheet approach. The reflective tape is expensive, but worth it. I still carry around a scratch awl to jab into a tree or a telephone pole (or the side of a house), running through the hole in the edge of the cookie sheet, to hold it up for ranging on. Works like a charm. (But also requires putting a cork over the tip of the awl when not in use, to avoid possible serious injury to the benchmark-hunter.) I agree that the "sights" in the Bosch are virtually useless. It's a trial-and-error process of pointing the laser, thus the brighter and larger the target the better.
  18. I use the Bosch DLR 165. Amazon seems to sell it, for about $250, from a 3rd party. It does have a threaded tripod socket. I usually measure distances of about 75 ft. max., but its performance is reduced in bright sunshine or against a white backgound (hard to see the laser pip). This can be taken care of by shooting at a reflective target (I use a small cookie sheet with reflective tape on one side), but if you try this, you have to be careful not to overload the receiver, causing it to give an error and recycle. With a reflector, it will do 150 ft. easily, with the problem being one of holding the laser pip steady on the target long enough for the receiver to register its range. Since the reflective tape gives back a flaming reflection, you can usually get a reading even at 150 ft. plus after a few tries. This thing is very useful for ranging on referenced points that are on the other side of roadways (without killing yourself) and for getting the range to new references you need to tie to in the field. It's about the size of a cell phone, but 3x as thick.
  19. A beautiful piece of work (and writing)... -Paul
  20. Since we seem to see questions like pictom's about once a week, I went over to the FAQ to see what a newcomer would be faced with if this was their info. source. I'm not sure, but I think the Scaredy Cat Benchmark Viewer is by far the easiest way for a novice hunter who says, "I found a benchmark in this general area. Now how do I identify and then log it?" to quickly see if there are any marks in an area, and if so, pull up their NGS or GC descriptions. Maybe I missed it, but this tool seem to be missing from our FAQ page. Wouldn't the easiest answer to them be (1) check the Scaredy Cat viewer, (2) check description of mark you found vs. the NGS or GC description, and (3) log it? (With an explanation of Waymarking for those who feel the need to log everything.)
  21. Yes, but... If you are searching an area for a certain type of mark (like WW2 fire control towers), perhaps using Scaredy Cat's fine utility, the "Destroyed" marks fall off the map, and since you don't know their PIDs, you're SOL. I now report these old marks that I find to be destroyed as NF and put "lost" in the description, with an explanation. I win, and so does anyone else looking for a destroyed mark I've verified as such. [if the mark looks with historical merit, I may go ahead and consign it to the Dustbin of the Destroyed...
  22. Hi Steveg160-- The form for making an NGS report is here. Note the instructions given here under (1) for reporting a destroyed mark. You don't actually use the form. Instead, you email Deb Brown and describe your reasons for believing that the mark has been destroyed, with a photo if appropriate. She then evaluates your info and decides whether to make the "destroyed" designation, which she handles for you in the database. This keeps us amateurs from laying waste inappropriately to the NGS database. Regards, -Paul
  23. I have had three marks accepted by Deb as destroyed that were set atop rock ledges which were later quarried away or blasted to bits for development. Photos of the current edge of the quarry with HH2 coordinates indicating that the mark would now be hanging in in thin air sufficed to confirm the "destruction" (which in these cases was probably literal). Then there was one described as being set in the abutment of a RR overpass in which the RR had been decommissioned and the overpass had been converted to an at grade crossing (obviously, without an abutment). An image of the intersection sufficed. Then there was this one, which used to be a mark in the roof of a 1910 fire control building at Ft. Strong on Long Island in Boston Harbor. The mark located the center of the pylon for the fire control range finder. This photo of the pylon, under the now-destroyed roof, did the trick. I've also had some easier ones, like a photo of an intact disk still firmly cemented in a corner of a concrete base that had obviously been knocked off by a snowplow or digging machine and was now lying akimbo nearby. These days I generally don't file Destroyed reports with NGS, due to the fact that historical information then becomes inaccessible to the ordinary person searching the database (who does not know how to "include destroyed" in his/her query). --Paul
  24. I find so many that have been vandalized that I always cover up intact disks (that I found covered) when I leave, for their own protection. Also makes it somewhat challenging for the next person to come along. -Paul
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