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Everything posted by mloser

  1. This disk has looks used but there is no designation. Anyone have any ideas what it could have been for?
  2. Nor will a radial search unless specified.
  3. 3) Payday is every other Friday.
  4. I am also interested in a detector and would love to hear more of what you folks use! I am hoping that something cheap(er) will do me, as I already plan on buying a GPSr and digital cam.
  5. I say go for it! I had to dig to get KW0976. As you can see I dug behind the mark before I dug in the correct spot. By the time I was done I was sweating profusely, but proud of my find!
  6. Actually I would look under that water cap. I recently found KW0934 under a blue painted water cap. Open 'er up and take a looksee!
  7. My reaction would be different depending on what I thought the intent of the finder was. Many benchmark finds are from casual hunters who are out hunting a cache and find a benchmark. 'Looking for the XYZ cache and stumbled on this...' etc. I doubt they would really care to know their find isn't correct, so I would just post the status I observed on the benchmark page. If it was one 'us', a serious hunter, I would post my interpretation and possibly email. I try to think what I would do if I got an email saying my find was incorrect, and whether I would be offended, and my reaction most likely would be to go back out to the mark and see if I agree. Either way, I wouldn't get all worked up about the posting or the poster. After all, it is just a hobby.
  8. John, I have yet to find a dated disk that has a different date than the monumented date on the description. Interesting!
  9. Sometime this summer I am going looking for some of the older marks in our area, and even not-so-in our area! My one major criteria for finding an old mark is that it hasn't been reset or updated--I want to see the work of the original survey party. So if it was set in 1905 as a beer bottle under a rock with a plus carved on it, I want it all to be there. Many marks around here seem to have been reset in the 1930s or 1940s with a standard disk. To me that just doesn't count as a 1905 find! John & Shirley, those are both great finds in my book! The drill hole and the disk are both original (at least I THINK the disk is original--it is different from all that I have seen). I have also found a few chiseled squares, and based on the location of them I think they were done long before they were described. I think I was looking at late 1800s surveying work. This one, KW0735, in Columbia, PA is my favorite find so far. It says it was monument in 1955, but I am sure it was old before then! Keep on hunting! Matt
  10. 7, I do a drawing sometimes too, especially if the description is complicated. That certainly saves time in the field trying to reinterpret the description. I do that in the margin or on the back of the datasheet so I don't lose it. And my favorite part of hunting is finding the 'Not Found' previously ones. I am happy to say I have a number of these to my credit. Matt
  11. Here is my methodology to hunting benchmarks... I am not necessarily recommending it, but it works very well for me. I use USGS quad maps extensively and bought a whole bunch at once directly from the USGS Store, which has them for $6 each, and shipping $5 for the lot. Then I go to the NGS website and retrieve all the datasheets for each quad at Datasheet retrieval by Quad. I save the web page as a .txt file, edit it to strip off the junk at the top and bottom, and run it through BMGPXto get a .gpx file. Then I open USAPhotoMaps and open .gpx the file I created, display the topographic map, and manually highlight all the benchmarks listed on my paper map. Next I edit the quad .txt file and format it to clean up the pages, print all the description sheets, put them in a binder in their own quad section, and I am ready to hunt! The books and maps stay in my car so I can hunt on a whim. When I find a station I check it off on the map and make a notation on the sheet. If I can't find the station, and am sure I will never find it, I put an X on the map and make a not found notation on the sheet. Those sheets get put in a found/not found book. I make any notations on the sheet that might help to update the description and later use those sheets to enter my finds on Geocaching and NGS web sites. If I can't find a mark I will often use USAPhotoMaps aerial photo capability to research the mark. Looking at the images often gives clues that aren't seen in maps, such as rerouted roads, new features, removal of features, etc. I have found a few (not a lot, but a few!) marks that way. And on a couple of occasions I have NOT found a mark, but was at least pretty confident I was looking in the right spot. Here is an example KW1220. I have read a lot about paperless hunting in these forums and, despite being a computer professional, I don't really have any desire to drag a Palm or Windows CE device around with me as I benchmark. For one thing they are somewhat fragile devices and might not last long. For another, they are hard to read in direct sunlight. I would LOVE to have a laptop with me in the car with USAPhotoMaps on it so I can reference the aerial photographs. That isn't real likely though. And while it is possible to load a huge number of points into a GPSr, I am note sure how I would handle that, as my books encompass well over 1,000 marks and I tend to hunt randomly, either heading off in some direction and seeing what I can find, or hunting when travel takes me somewhere, such as my daughter's soccer practices. Where GPS IS handy is where reference points are vague, mentioning such items as 15 inch oak trees with triangle blazes, which are certain to be unblazed 50 years later and no longer 15 inch. A GPSr can get you close at least. Any of you veterans do it this way? I would love to hear how others do it. I started doing it this way soon after I started and have refined it a bit, but not much. It works for me and I enjoy it, so I doubt I will change much (my car is a constant benchmark hunting mess between the maps, books, shovel, poker sticks, measureing tape, stakes, etc etc). But I also like to hear others' techniques too! Matt
  12. That is a great find! And to think I ALMOST went to the aquarium when I was in Seattle in March. That is a great mark, and it obviously took someone time to do it. It is sort of an inside joke too, because only surveyors and their ilk would even get it!
  13. So despite what our resident engineer says, GPS won't be replacing benchmarks very soon, and the work I am doing is not to waste?
  14. Mike While it seems GPS is replacing benchmarks, there must still be a lot of use of them, as I come across them with flag markers, spray paint, etc. How are they used today? What is a typical, if there is one, use of a benchmark for a surveying project?
  15. Hey DBC, I was wondering why triangulation stations had three disks (No, not because I don't know what a triangle is!). You are saying they are primarily to calibrate prior to surveying? And as much as I love GPS, dadgum it all for making benchmarks less needed!
  16. And oh yeah, I went from Pennsylvania to Seattle to get a few. Ok, it was a business trip, but I DID drag 3 coworkers along on the hunt. So I think I deserve a little credit for distance... or persistence... or making my coworkers question my sanity.
  17. Thanks Greg, I appreciate your appreciation. I always wanted to find a benchmark when I was younger but I wasn't aware there were descriptions for them, and sometimes went looking armed only with a USGS map. Since the margin for error on those maps is large I never succeeded. With spring and daylight savings time here I have been out hunting quite a bit, often heading out after work to grab a mark or two and using my daughter's soccer practice time to search. I have embraced benchmarking with my usual intensity, learning as much as I can about benchmarks and their uses. I haven't met any other benchmarkers yet but I imagine I will at some point. There are a few in my area and I have corresponded with one. As for my postings here, I don't know nearly as much as many of the forum users, especially those who were surveyors. I am just a hobbyist, so I tend to give advice only about what I know and what I have done, which is search for and report benchmarks. I think I have been pretty successful because of my enjoyment of the research process, so that is what I tend to share. As for my search criteria, I agree with everyone who has posted here about what they look for... CKHD, I agree with quality over quantity. The not founds are the best! 2oldfarts, my favorites also are the older marks (but there aren't too many real old ones around here. 1942 is a old in my area). BUT, I am also trying to find every mark in each USGS quad, so I am somewhat methodical about my searches sometimes. I tend to set out trying to find all the marks along a route, or in an easy-to-drive area, marking them on my map and on each description sheet as I find or not-find them. I usually go with a specific not-found mark as my main goal, and pick up whatever other marks I can on the way there or back. Matt
  18. You won't hear back from her... at least I don't think I did the time I submitted a mark that was destroyed. You WILL be able to look the station up on the NGS database in a couple of weeks and see that it is destroyed however. I am not sure how others feel, but I really like to see my submissions on the NGS database. The best are those that were previously marked 'Not Found' and are now found. I also take special effort to redescribe marks so that they are easy to find. Many stations benefit from simple additions to the description--naming the road, making sure a nearby power pole number is correct, new measurements, etc. Gnbrotz, I hope you are starting to consider me a non-newbie! I have been doing this for only 2 months so far but have over 100 finds, and think I take it seriously enough to be one of the gang.
  19. By the way, based on your picture I would submit that station as destroyed. Follow the directions on the NGS site in my last post. Basically you email pictures to Deb Brown and she makes the determination. The mark has a convoluted enough history that I don't think anyone really knows what the original mark was anyway!
  20. You have to read the description carefully, and in the case of an existing structure there is almost always a point on top that is the station. Flat roofs do no good because they have no single point to mark from. If the pyramid is gone, you can submit a picture to NGS and they will determine if it is destroyed. As for NGS reading our postings, some of the staff looks at this forum, but they don't look at the benchmarks we find and don't find. I would recommend going to the NGS datasheet page at http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/datasheet.prl and using the recovery section to note your recovery. They are very quick at updating the descriptions and I get a big kick out of seeing my initials on a recovery, especially one that was previously not found and I located. As for research, that is a major part of my enjoyment of this hobby. I want to find the stations that are harder to locate, and when the time comes I won't hesitate to request access to special areas. I have already asked and received permission to access prohibited locations of a local military site, dug holes 2 feet deep, poked with a steel rod, and the list goes on and on. The key is that I ASK PERMISSION, and don't just expect people to understand what I am looking for or doing. I have never been turned down. Gotten some strange looks, yes, but denied, no! One of my biggest research tools is USA Photo Maps, which I pour over in detail before heading out into the field. Looking over an aerial photo will often give clues to old roads, houses, fences, fields, etc, that can help you when you get to a location. I have found a few benchmarks that were 'not found' along roads that had been moved. The marks were along the old road or roadbed and still existed but the last person to look didn't know the road had shifted. The aerial photograph made the difference!
  21. Someone learned a big word and wanted to use it, because all you did was take something that is positive and make it negative. Nobody on here ever talked about hating you dadgum foreigners and how you are different and therefore evil. Just kidding Natalie, but let's turn this around and think of how the benchmark part of this site got started, which was probably with a positive action to add the database found at NGS to the site, perhaps at someone's request. I seriously doubt that anyone ever thought of leaving out other nations, but the truth is that it is an American site and it centers on American data. As has been mentioned in this thread, access to other benchmark-ish data isn't real easy, so to expect someone to provide it may be too much to ask. Maybe you want to work with Jeremy to provide access to what you want to get to. Also, the cache section is indeed global, but I am really to engrossed in my Americanness to bother looking at it. * *This is a lie. I just don't cache. I only look for benchmarks. In America. Because that is where I live.
  22. I would continue to look too, but I have noticed that a lot of the 1930s era marks set by the Pennsylvania Railroad, especially in bridges, were rivets and not actual benchmark disks, so you can't rule out entry error. The fact that it was found in 1970 casts some doubt on this but I have found that the quality of recoveries is often pretty poor too. I found a similar situation on a railroad bridge where there is a rivet exactly where the disk should be but but no disk (yet). What is holding me back from a full search is that fact that the station is on a bridge abutement with a 30 foot sheer dropoff and the mark, if it is NOT the rivet, is covered with dirt and brush. The dropoff makes me a bit nervous about getting out there with tools and shoving dirt around because a mis-step would result in more severe consequences than usual. I will not log the found-not found until I have made a thorough search though.
  23. Those marks don't seem to remove the old date at all... they are more random.
  24. I agree that the Not Founds bring the greatest pleasure when found, and I spend a lot of time poring over maps and aerial photographs looking for clues. I use USA Photo Maps extensively and find that the aerial photographs often show me where roads were rerouted, etc. and help me look in the right spot for a mark. I am not saying I always FIND it, but at least I look at the right place!
  25. Well, we didn't even come close to 1,000 this weekend. I didn't do my part at all. I found just one, despite spending over 6 hours in two days looking. I can imagine that the cold weather in the northeast kept many in my area indoors. I should have stayed in with my success ratio. Well, there is always next weekend. And, yes, I WILL benchmark on Easter Sunday!
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