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Everything posted by mloser

  1. I log almost all with NGS if they haven't been recovered since about 1990. If the description has changed I will measure and re-describe if possible. See KW0836 for an example. I often add information if I feel it will help someone find the mark.
  2. I hit 239 the other day, and am proud to have recovered a "Not Found" from 1995. The disk was indeed there but was under some dirt and mulch. The business owner was happy to let me search, but it was a home builder so they know how important surveys are.
  3. Gecko, But if they are eccentric, what are you actually measuring? Are you using them as triangulation points against known elevations so their actual elevation is unnecessary? If that is the case there is no reason for them to be benchmarks--any high structure could serve.
  4. Bblhed, I suspect something happened with the program since last night (when I successfully entered a number of recoveries) and that it will be corrected after the long weekend.
  5. Geo, what are those types of things used for anyway? The elevation is not exact, nor is the horizontal location. What good are they?
  6. And a reminder to LOG THOSE BENCHMARKS with NGS. As cool as it is to me to get the FTF on Geocaching, it feels much better to be the first to log with NGS since 1936 or 1942 (or whatever), because by doing that I stand a chance of helping someone else find the mark for a useful purpose. It is even better if I can change a "not found" to "found" or if I can change the description to help the next person find the benchmark.
  7. Probably a temporary error. If something happens to the program on the weekend it seems to take until the next working day to fix. I have had this happen about 4 times in as many months.
  8. Something inside my head (a little birdie, or perhaps an echo from the emptiness?)says this is using a benchmark for the wrong thing, and may border on being illegal. In some ways leaving caches in public places without permission already might be illegal, although I am not sure what you would be charged with if you placed a cache in, say, a tree fork in a public park. Littering? Maybe it is the invitation to multiple people to open the benchmark container that bothers me. The more people who open it, the more of a chance the container or mark are disturbed--even more so from people with no interest in or knowledge of benchmarks. I think most, if not all, of us here respect all the benchmarks we find and would go to great lengths to not disturb them. That would not be true of the general geocaching public. I would be very surprised if NGS gave their permission to do this, or even if they could, as they are not the owners of many of these marks--they are the property of the setting agency, which ranges from USGS to CGS, to state and local agencies.
  9. Seventhings, You have described my method exactly, except for little issue that I only got my Garmin last week, so although I used it on a trip to Connecticut to benchmark WITHOUT a topo map (see post below about how well that couple of days went!), I have yet to do it here with my stack o' maps. I expect to head out Sunday with all my tools though, just as you have described, with two notebooks and about 25 maps in hand (I never know which direction I will head!). To expand on my technique: I would suggest anyone add USA Photo Maps to their toolkit, at least at home. It is fast and very easy to use. Just like Seven, I spend time marking each benchmark on the topo map with a dot and the PID while displaying them on USA Photo Maps. I switch between the aerial photo view and the topo view to research the marks. I have located a number of marks after noticing landscape changes that were fairly obvious on the photo view--moved roads are especially noticable for many years on a photograph, and the mark may have been beside the "old road", not the new. I make notations on the sheets if warranted. Unlike Seven, I DO search for almost all "Not found" marks, even CGS/NGS ones, unless they are very inaccessible. Needless to say, all USPSQD "not founds" are suspect and are my best bet for turning a "not found" into a "found".
  10. I just returned from a trip to northern Connecticut for a soccer tournament for my daughter and thought I would grab a few benchmarks. So I downloaded the nearby quadrangles and printed them out, then actually loaded one into my brand new Garmin GPSMap 60CS, and during break(s) in the games, out I headed. To begin with, I was a bit depressed that such an old area of the country had few old marks--most seem to be dated 1978 or newer. But, I reasoned, at least they would most likely be there! How wrong I was! I managed to locate 4 of 16 marks I searched for and got so fanatical about actually finding ONE that my family worried about me for a bit! The first mark I searched for was 200 feet from the soccer fields. Not there--the road had been widened. One up the street (they seem to be placed every quarter mile in that area) was also MIA... and on it went... Everywhere I went there was evidence that a street was widened or something had changed. Even when I found nothing disturbed there was still no station. I thought I would search for a 1979 triangulation station, and spent some time in a wooded area talking to the renter of the property about the marks. He had lived there in 1979, and in fact was mentioned in the description, but knew nothing of the marks. At another location there were two (TWO! 2, dos, zwei) witness posts, yet I could NOT find the station. I refused to claim the town's water tank, which was visible every time we drove to the soccer fields, until I had found an actual disk! LOL I was more successful in Boston, where we went after the tournament, but I didn't have the time or proper transportation to search for many marks. I only managed to find marks that had already been located by Geoaching members. Well, I am back to Pennsylvania hunting, where my failure rate is not 75%!
  11. I have been watching this ever since we broke 1,000. If I remember correctly, we had two weeks at greater than a grand, then dropped, at times to less than 500. I do my best but am beginning to think that summer is not as good as I hoped when I started benchmark hunting in February. I spend much more time probing in deep grass and weeds now, and there are spots I look at once and make a mental note to return when the cooler season is here and weeds die. A post elsewhere mentioned chiggers, black flies, and other hazards of summer, and I know that I have seen some of the best and healthiest poison ivy in my area this spring also. Not that I plan on quitting--but it HAS become harder at times.
  12. Rich, I didn't expect it to be real obvious, but it was the lame description that set me back. All this talking about it has me it an obsession now! It isn't real hard to get to so I will be heading back to see what I can find. My thinking is that it is below track level under some ballast or dirt. Here is an example of an easy to find chiseled square. IT is about 1/2 inch deep! Chiseled Square
  13. I totally agree with your assessment of the information being left out. In fact, it is not completely clear which side of the tracks this mark is on. Now that I have thought about it and gone over the location mentally I am pretty sure the square is on the north support's footer, on the west end (putting it at the southwest corner), and most likely under ballast or dirt. I neglected to read the description fully and at the time was distracted by a phone call and by the fact that my 14 year old son had just walked through something that made his legs hurt. So I probably didn't spend as much time as I should have at this location. My son has agreed to return with me, despite the weed and leg issues so I will conquer this one! And describe it better!
  14. I did find a ledge on this bridge base, but not close to the ground. To be honest, I was convinced that the mark would be on the top of the bridge foundation and only looked there, so I might have missed a true "water table" closer to the ground. I guess my only recourse is to return and, armed with my new knowledge, look some more!
  15. Thanks Mike. Those were all excellent answers and helped me a lot. I know there often isn't a single answer to a question, but it is hard to find out this "real world" information. Just knowing that you typically set marks at one mile intervals gives me a greater understanding of the lines of marks I have followed and searched for. I realize there are exceptions to every rule but just knowing the general procedures gives some insight. Knowing there was a separate team to set the marks is intriguing. Personally, I would love to tag along and help set a few (not make a career of it mind you!). I haven't had any luck finding surveying books that aren't written as technical guides and appreciate the link. There are some marks on mountains here that would still need pack mules or horses to get equipment to--the roads are non-existent. Finally, I know that the triangulation stations were often named for property owners or local landmarks. I have actually MET some of the owners who's names appeared on the marks, which is really neat. There is evidence of surveying sense of humor in my area too, with the mark that appears at the left and is my favorite, named "OYES". It is a takeoff of a nearby town named "Ono", which had its own station by that name, as well as the "O Yes" restaurant (sadly gone now). I wonder if the crew ate lunch there and thought, why not call THIS mark OYES!?. Was it up to the crew? Finally, one more question. The most recent marks in my area are dated 1993. Are any being set any more? Or has GPS ended the need for new marks?
  16. Hey Rog, I edited my comment above, since I think I found out what a water table is. It still makes no sense for it to be on this bridge, since the supports are UNDER the roadway and therefore fairly protected from the weather. Nonetheless, there IS a projecting stone course on both major supports beside the track. I know that the UNK monumented date means that the CGS found an older mark and used it. The bridge definitely predates 1935--it is wooden for one thing. That was some of the reason I went looking for these marks this weekend. I knew the chiseled and brass bolt ones predate 1935, some by a large time period. This one just stymied me, and as I mentioned above, the description still does. Matt
  17. Wait, I may have answered my own question by doing a Google search--does this sound right? "Water Table In architecture a water table is a moulding, or other projection, in the wall of a building intended to throw off the water. " In that case, the stone bridge supports had such a projection at about chest level. It looked more decorative than architectural, but who knows. I DID look for the mark on this projection but not very hard as the description mentions concrete and the water table is stone. Edit: I have reread the description and it still doesn't make sense to me. I wish I had taken a pic. The water table is not near the track--it is chest high. By my reasoning the square is not actually ON the water table though, but on a footing. I didn't dig around the stone for the footing, but if the mark is on the footer supporting the stone, why would the water table be mentioned? There is a concrete cap on top of the stone that supports wooden columns for the bridge, but I looked there for the mark and didn't find it. For that matter, why mention the water table at all if the mark is on a concrete footer of some sort? The description could just say the mark is on the footer at the top of the southwest end of the north stone support, or the footer at the base of same. Anyone have any clues? I guess I will have to return and look again, and get some pictures. Matt
  18. WATER TABLE??? My son and I looked for KW0757 for about a half hour, but we were severly hampered by not knowing what a water table is. I looked on all the bridge abutments but didn't find anything. Of course, since the mark was set in 1935 and not looked at since, it is quite possible there IS no water table remaining and we were looking in vain!
  19. Well, now that I have reached over 200 benchmarks, I think it is time I learned more about them. I have the surveying manual that DaveD listed here a while ago, so I think I understand some of what goes on with surveying. However, there is a huge list of things I would like to know. Maybe you guys who set and/or used benchmarks could provide us with a little "behind the scenes" about these bronze disks (and rivets, and bolts, and chiseled squares, etc.) we love to find. I will be happy to start with some questions! I am nice like that... 1. Who determines where and when to set marks? Around here (south central PA) there are triangulation stations on a lot of the high ridges and mountains, then there are the lines along roads, railroad, etc, with naming conventions such as A170, B170... Z170. 2. Who names them and how are they stamped? In the field, one letter at a time? Is naming something that the crew does in the field (for triangulation stations--I am guessing the lines have pre-assigned names). 3. Who on earth carried the concrete up the steep slopes we have around here in order to set the stations up there? We don't pretend to be the Rockies but we have some fairly inaccessible mountaintops with steep slopes and heavy underbrush. I suppose the "new guy" got to do the heavy lifting, but it doesn't sound like much fun. And who carried/carries the makings of the tower up those same slopes? (do they still build towers? I have never seen one peeking over the treetops in our area). 4. Who's idea was it to only use fences and trees to describe stations, and not name roads? This is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek question, but I have yet to find a fence where described! And I was thinking of getting a tree recognition guide to find all those 12 inch elms, 10 inch poplars, etc. (although last time I looked trees grew and died and fell down, so THAT sure helps 50 years after the station is set). 5. Name three survey projects that would require a benchmark these days, or at least make the project easier. I think we all want to know what we are doing is being used and/or appreciated! I hope I got some of you guys reminiscing! I would love to hear some survey stories and anecdotes. Matt
  20. I got a kick out of BDT's rating system, and it might be a little responsible for my concern for older marks. Maybe I should total all my finds up and see where I stand?! If that thread had stuck around a little longer I might have been tempted to keep a running total.
  21. Rog, I wasn't complaining about the failure rate, especially since most of the marks we looked for were fairly old and in an area with huge growth recently. In fact, since we targeted mostly railroad ones we probably had a lower failure rate than when we go back to do the rest of the quadrangle. About half the marks in that quadrangle are along interstate highways that have been widened, so marks reported to NGS as 'good' in 2001 are very likely gone today. And to add to it, that sort of mark is no fun to find--parking on the shoulder of a busy interstate while I lean over a bridge is not my idea of a fun recovery! The marks we searched for are about the oldest in my area from 1935. There are a few from 1929 floating around, and a boatload from 1942, but this string of 1935s is a rarity. As for our '1935/1936' day, the enjoyment came partly from being the first to report, to NGS especially, the station status since the mid-1930s. Matt
  22. My son and I went out hunting today, with a special twist. We looked primarily for marks not reported in a long time. I am happy to say we located three that had not been reported to NGS since 1936, two since 1942 and once since 1944. Our success rate was not too great though--out of 21 marks searched for only 9 were found. and we marked a number here as destroyed and sent evidence to Deb of most of them. Usually I get a failure rate of about 40 percent, not 50!
  23. TextHarvest is available for Windows systems. It does a decent job of cleaning out lines. You can find it on just about any download site, like Download.com or Tucows.
  24. How do you KNOW it is under there? Show us the pics of you dismantling the pile and you get my vote!
  25. Wow, some amazing pics. I will have to look more artistically at my picture taking opportunites and less like it is a job. Hard to beat the first one though--there is certainly no view like that around here. Did I miss the part about what we win though?
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