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Everything posted by mloser

  1. Deb's email is Deb.Brown@noaa.gov
  2. I agree with Bill. Even in the picture it is obvious that the disk has been shifted in the mounting by about 1/2 inch. For an adjusted point this is definitely a consideration. I am not a surveyor but I would think it might be usable for some work, depending on accuracy needed. The concrete monument, though much the worse for wear (and lawnmower blades I suspect) seems stable, so it isn't a factor in determining poor condition. My guess is that both recent recoverers (is that even a word!?) are amateurs, like most us here, and may not have known enough to say that the disk was shifted in its mounting. When I submit recoveries I try to think like a surveyor, assuming that what they want is the center point on the disk to be exactly where it should be, either the right elevation or horizontal position, and then try to determine if the disk is usable for that. I believe that more words are better than few if I am in doubt, so if all is not well I try to describe what I see so that a surveyor who is reading my recovery can make a determination about using the disk without having to travel to it. In this case I would have said something like "Monument is solid but disk has been damaged and has shifted by approximately 1/2 inch horizontally. It may be shifted vertically also. Center point is visible."
  3. Artman, you are correct. The number and position of the satellites (the "constellation") make a big difference in the signal. Has anyone ever noticed that at times you get great accuracy and other times, even though you are "outstanding in your field" so to speak, you can't seem to get a good signal. Well it all has to do with the constellation--what satellites are visible and high in the sky. GPSWorld discussed this in 2009 There are calculators for determining the best times to get GPS readings. Trimble has a downloadable one.Navcom has an online one. I am sure there are others out there. Edit: found an even cooler one (through a link on the John Deere site). http://navcomtech.com/Support/Tools/satellitepredictor/main.cfm
  4. I played with it in pre-release for a bit while on a summer vacation and liked it. He has made quite a few changes since then but I haven't had a chance to get out hunting with the app. All the changes look terrific though!
  5. http://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=GA3593 I saw that the mark was PINNACLE NO 5, which is the 5th reference mark for the triangulation station PINNACLE. While triangulation stations typically only have 2 reference marks, if some are destroyed and new ones set, the new ones are numbered starting from the last used number. I used the advanced search http://www.geocaching.com/mark/nearest.aspx to look for PINNACLE in VA, and found PINNACLE and PINNACLE 2 (and PINNACLES OVERLOOK, which doesn't count). Since there is a PINNACLE 2, I assumed that PINNACLE was not found and replaced by PINNACLE 2, so I looked there first. I later looked at PINNACLE and confirmed that it was replaced by PINNACLE 2 in 1950. On the advanced search page you can search for benchmarks based on name, zip code, and coordinates.
  6. I swear I saw a similar arrow on top of the Hamilton Watch Company building in Lancaster, PA but I can't locate it now, or even WHY I was looking at an aerial photo of the building (I know it had something to do with a survey mark, and was probably something I picked up reading an old NGS report from Google Books). The arrow was clearly painted on the roof of the building and pointed, if memory serves, to the Lancaster airport, a few miles to the north (NNE to be more specific). I thought it was on PennPilot but a search of pics on that site didn't show it.
  7. Those USGS reference marks can be very hard to find. I found very few of them in my searches and don't recall any of them being well defined. As you mentioned they are often in church steps, curbs, etc., and I am pretty sure they were cut into edges and corners, and not deeply cut in the center of any of the places. I can think of one very close to home that SHOULD have been there--everything was in place and the steps mentioned in the description were in good condition, but I had no luck. I carry a flashlight to sidelight marks like this in case they are so shallowly cut and the sun is high, but still I got nothing.
  8. Oh, my hopes are UP! Waaaaay up. Better deliver. Honestly, I haven't played with the program since early July. My benchmarking declines markedly in the summer, mostly due to the heat, and this summer has been hotter than most here in the northeast. Today is a beautiful day though and I am starting to jones for some hunting. By mid-September I should be back at it.
  9. 2oldfarts, This isn't worth arguing about. You were looking for images of the post. I was looking to see if they were at the SITE of the mark. Although I would have liked to know more about the post itself, I was satisfied that what they took pictures of is the base of the original monument, and that they were at the right place and saw what was there. Papa Bear's information helped clarify that even more. Would more pictures have been nice? Sure. Is it a find? I wouldn't log it as such since it doesn't fit the description. But this is a hobby and we all do it our own way. BTW, if you want to see pics of IBC monuments there are a lot of them out there: PG2495 for example
  10. I would guess that neither is a loggable mark here. The first one is a corner boundary marker--showing the corner of what is most likely a property parcel. The second is a special mark set by the University of Vermont (U.V.M)and its Scientific Advisory Committee (I am guessing about that last part) in 1980. It may have been set as a survey exercise or to mark some point near or on the campus. I see it is entitled "DOCK". Is it near the water, or on a loading dock? Shirley, There ARE pictures of that 1845 mark. If you read upside down (I had to turn my head) the image shows "No. 653", which is the name of the mark in question, and then has "RENEWED 1902 in the concrete. It looks like the concrete has been placed around something else, possibly the base of a 5 ft high granite post that was broken off at ground level? I can't tell if the disk is in the center of the monument or not--it looks like it is set in concrete though, and not stone.
  11. I rely heavily on my cheapie Harbor Freight detector--it works to about 6 inches when I am lucky, 4 pretty regularly, at least for disks. I haven't had any luck with the small rivets on railroads in my area. It also finds aluminum cans VERY well, and rebar in concrete bridges. I use it quite a bit, and it takes a beating. It is about 8 years old and, believe it or not, I am only on my second set of batteries! Everything is scratched and beat up, the battery door falls off from time to time, but it keeps on working reliably. One benefit is that the handle is extendable, which will allow me to shorten it and put it upside down in my backpack for longer hikes. Granted it looks like I have a halo, but I am pretty much of an angel most of the time anyway so that suits!
  12. I agree that the best use is as you said, "Hey, I am here at (fill in place) and I would love to torture the spouse by looking for disks along the nearest dirty railroad track. Where are the closest ones!?". On my Motorola Xoom the app looked great. The zoom in was just about right. However, on my phone I couldn't zoom in close enough to suit me. The feature you added that didn't show benchmarks until I zoomed in a bit was a good idea. I would LOVE to be able to overlay topo maps, but I suspect that a feature that is lacking in the map API. That feature you put into the GE KML file is wonderful! It has helped me find numerous benchmarks. I have had Geobeagle for a bit and it works well for planned trips (you have to load a gpx file into it), but it does link to datasheets which is great. It also lets you enter notes for a mark, which is great. I haven't tried c:geo much may give it a try.
  13. Mike realized that I would add value to his development effort and begged me to try the pre-release version. No, wait, the begging was in the other direction!
  14. I was lucky enough to give the alpha version a short test on a recent vacation and can say it worked well, with a few bugs. Mike promised he has fixed the biggest one, which was that after looking at the datasheet the screen returned to a somewhat random location (near where it started) at a random scale (usually much closer in). Besides that it was very usable and would be a great addition to a benchmarker's arsenal of tools, especially since it can be used ad hoc to look for benchmarks wherever you are, even (especially) if you didn't plan to hunt. My wife will just love that!
  15. I looked around to see if it could be a reference mark for any of the Naval Observatory marks but it doesn't seem likely. None of the marks on the property referenced anything at that distance or angle. I also looked up DC geodetic marks on the DC GIS site and didn't come up with anything. It is definitely an odd mark, especially with that ring of degree markings around it. Note that they are REVERSE of a normal compass too. My first thought is that they are that way to show backsight direction to some other monument, but that is just a guess, and to be honest, a surveyor would naturally reverse the directions for a backsight, so maybe not. The two pinholes in the top might there to mount some sort of instrument, but I am not sure what. Also, and this REALLY puzzles me, it says GEODESIC marker, not GEODETIC marker. I have no thoughts about what that could mean. Geodesic is a math concept and has to do with the shortest line between two points in space, hence the geodesic dome made up of triangles (straight lines). Its root is "geodesy", which refers to measuring size and shape of the earth, so we get back to surveying a bit, since, according to the all-knowing Wikipedia "in the original sense, a geodesic was the shortest route between two points on the Earth's surface, namely, a segment of a great circle." I just have no memory of ever seeing that in reference to survey markers. Maybe it IS related to something at the Observatory. Anyone else have any thoughts?
  16. At least one other person would love to use this on his vacation instead of having to download files to use in GeoBeagle. His vacation is next week though!
  17. Way to overreact Oklahoma! As if the helipad couldn't be built 10 feet to one side, or even out of a material that wouldn't have destroyed the mark. There is no evidence of the pad on Google Earth, even going back to 1990. It was probably torn up soon after it was installed.
  18. You do it however you feel is best! I wasn't aware that NGS had CGIs for such things, so of course it would be best to use the original data source and save intermediate steps.
  19. I would love a compass on it with 1 degree readings to replace my cheap Cabella's one. The less I have to tote around the happier I am. Geobeagle has logging features (but I haven't tried them). I suspect they lend themselves to geocaching more than benchmarking but it would be nice to get rid of paper. There is also a Found/Not Found feature, which marks the cache and changes the icon, and then, I think, does something when you send the data to your GC.com account. I would love the ability to change the icon based on my Found/Not Found, but don't need to download the data into anything at all. Now that I said that, I think I lie. If you give us the ability to enter data about a mark it would be great to download it, even just as a text file, to edit and then paste into the NGS site for recoveries. Also, I am offering my brother's web server to house any NGS data you want to serve. He is an old programmer and might be talked into creating some sort of crawler to get bench mark data from the site on an ongoing basis in order to keep it up to date too. Oh, in regards to a scale, there is a Google Labs Scale Bar. Can you tap into that? There is also one called Measure.
  20. Count me in. I have a Droid X2 and a Motorola Xoom, so I can test both phone and tablet versions. I have been playing with Geobeagle and Locus Free and both do a decent job, but I have to load the gpx files of the benchmarks on them. This isn't a big deal for me, but something like you created for GE would be great!
  21. I don't put much stock in highway stations--I have only found a few that were still relevant to the search for a mark. However, I DO have a theory about your mark (PA0473) which doesn't pertain to the "survey station". First, the idea of the stage road intrigued me. There was no evidence of it near the Bend-Burns Rd in the aerial photo on Google Earth, but I couldn't expect it to still exist. Then I saw that a similar mark, PA0475, was found by the Tillamurphs. It also mentions the stage road, and the Tillamurphs found the old road. I was able to follow the stage road on Google Earth. Surprisingly, it went west, not northwest to follow the Bend-Burns Road. So something has to be wrong in the description, or in our interpretation of the description. I followed the stage road west and it sort of paralleled current U.S. 20. The description mentions U.S. 20 very specifically. So I overlaid a topo map on GE and sure enough, there is a B.M. directly south of the coordinates of PA0473. The elevation is close-3 feet off, but so is the elevation of PA0475. And sure enough, the stage road seems to run just north of the highway at this point. Maybe the OLD Bend-Burns Rd IS the stage road, and the current Bend-Burns Rd is the NEW Bend-Burns Rd? Tillamurphs, I see you referenced a copy of Spirit Leveling in Oregon. I can't find it online so I can't look but I bet you can find that mark and its original description in that book. And the description is certainly too new for 1903. Sometimes old descriptions make it into the database under the original monumentation date but with a newer description from field work done after the mark was set, without showing the date of the recovery. That is the theory that I have, and which is mine, and what it is too. (for you Monty Python fans)
  22. I gave up on GC.com the last time my membership came due. There have been no changes in years and no offers for any upgrades or changes in the past 5 years or so. I still visit to view and post in the forums, and look at the benchmark recoveries for my area, but since Jeremy has lost interest in us, so have I lost interest in supporting or caring about this site.
  23. I started playing with GeoBeagle last week and liked it fine. You have to load the benchmarks in a gpx file but that works fine for me since I keep mine in county-sized files anyway. It displays the datasheet when you select Details which is exactly what I wanted. There is also a way to link to a web page, according to the forum, but I haven't found that feature yet. The link from the benchmark to the map broke when it was updated for tablets though. If the developer will fix that and make a couple small changes I think it would suit me fine. Locus is another one that I downloaded to take a look at. There are free and paid versions. I have the free version--don't mind paying a bit but I want it to work first. I haven't played with it yet but plan to. It also displays the datasheet but getting to it is a two tap process. It also has links to a web page (NGS->GPX puts the GC.com link in the gpx file that both apps use).
  24. I had offered to go to a local tri-station but as the event unfolded I realized that as a non-surveyor I would be of little help. So instead I looked at a map of my state and discovered that a surveyor was setting up at the Stargazer's Stone. I spent two hours talking to a surveyor who was taking 5 hours of readings over the stone in the hopes of getting it included in the NGS database. The Stargazer's Stone is almost unheard of but played a huge role in creating the MD/PA border (of course). The monument and stone are not easy to find and is now in an easement on private property. There is no access from the road (the only real clue to finding the stone is that the road is named Stargazer Rd), so you have to park in the driveway of a huge house and walk across their yard to it. I welcomed the opportunity to visit the stone semi-legally. Once before I had stopped at the end of the driveway and run up to the stone to get a quick look. Even better than the visit itself was that I discovered the the surveyor also had an interest in old marks and we may be able to team up to find some of them--his $30,000 surveying equipment sure beats my Garmin!
  25. I am a latecomer but I also agree with those who feel the disk has been disturbed. I have seen disks set at angles but not that great an angle. Further, you kept saying that the disk was in a "rock" and it is listed as being in an "outcrop". In my mind that is a big difference. Was your "rock" actually part of an outcrop or could you shift it at all? In your picture titled "Rocks" the right side of the rock the disk is in looks damaged. This is noticeable in the next picture titled "Rock" on the bottom of the rock. The existence of surveyor's tape only means that a surveyor found it and possibly used it. I wouldn't say that the majority of surveyors are as careful as we are about what they find. In fact, I would bet that FEW surveyors are as fanatical about survey marks as we are! To them it is part of a vocation; to us it is an avocation. (Or perhaps obsession would be a better word in some cases!) In a nearby county I once found the top portion of a county mark (adjusted), turned upside down and imbedded in the ground, painted orange by a survey crew who didn't take note that what they saw was the bottom of the stem of the disk, or that the concrete was rough and damaged. They had probably used it as is, where is. I hope the accuracy they needed was not so great that they ended up with a major problem!
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