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Black Dog Trackers

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Everything posted by Black Dog Trackers

  1. I'm a bit puzzled here, and possibly misunderstanding what a "scaled" location means. I search for benchmarks in a suburban area. Many of them have a "scaled" location. Does that mean their coordinates are derived from scaling a map (perhaps an old 15-minute quad)? If so, it seems to me that geocachers giving coordinates +-15 feet with a toy based on satellite technology is better than a location based on scaling from an old map. Are the really old benchmarks still useful for professional surveying? How accurate are their locations according to the professional grade sub-centimeter GPS units?
  2. Actually, for the hobby of benchmark hunting, I think that finding the shank of a sheared off benchmark in the proper (near) lat-lon location and especially physical situation could be counted as a find. In the case of HV2224, my using a note rather than logging it as a find is random - I could have done it eiither way. There's approximately a zero chance that it is something other than the benchmark's location, given the situation. Since we're just hobbyists and not professional surveyors, it is of no significant problem if a find is logged in error. On the other hand, I'd be very reluctant to report a disk as missing to NGS without both finding the missing shank in place and seeing the circular evidence of a benchmark disk at the listed location. In the case of HV2224, this was the case so ArtMan's note to NGS is proper. I have been to a location where within 25 feet of each other, there were 3 benchmark disks placed by 3 different agencies, two of which don't have any data on the geocaching site's database (one is state and the other is county). So, there's always the chance that a broken shank is from someone else's benchmark! Reporting such as a find would be an error.
  3. Actually, for the hobby of benchmark hunting, I think that finding the shank of a sheared off benchmark in the proper (near) lat-lon location and especially physical situation could be counted as a find. In the case of HV2224, my using a note rather than logging it as a find is random - I could have done it eiither way. There's approximately a zero chance that it is something other than the benchmark's location, given the situation. Since we're just hobbyists and not professional surveyors, it is of no significant problem if a find is logged in error. On the other hand, I'd be very reluctant to report a disk as missing to NGS without both finding the missing shank in place and seeing the circular evidence of a benchmark disk at the listed location. In the case of HV2224, this was the case so ArtMan's note to NGS is proper. I have been to a location where within 25 feet of each other, there were 3 benchmark disks placed by 3 different agencies, two of which don't have any data on the geocaching site's database (one is state and the other is county). So, there's always the chance that a broken shank is from someone else's benchmark! Reporting such as a find would be an error.
  4. I agree with Dawgies. Wading through the poor description, I would guess that the benchmark is in a tidal area, being outside the high water mark (most of us live inside coastal high-water marks; the U.S. is a bit larger when it's low tide on both coasts ). The benchmark is covered by 3 feet of water at mean high tide, so it's 3 feet (minus 3 inches) lower than the high water mark and 16 feet offshore from it. Also, from the description of Ref. Mark #2, "inshore ... and back of high water line" is apparently the opposite side of the high water line from "outside of the high water line". If monuments were found lying on the beach, no doubt the main station and RM 1 are long gone.
  5. I agree with Dawgies. Wading through the poor description, I would guess that the benchmark is in a tidal area, being outside the high water mark (most of us live inside coastal high-water marks; the U.S. is a bit larger when it's low tide on both coasts ). The benchmark is covered by 3 feet of water at mean high tide, so it's 3 feet (minus 3 inches) lower than the high water mark and 16 feet offshore from it. Also, from the description of Ref. Mark #2, "inshore ... and back of high water line" is apparently the opposite side of the high water line from "outside of the high water line". If monuments were found lying on the beach, no doubt the main station and RM 1 are long gone.
  6. Well I just can't resist this one. For being more discreet, paint the thing brown, not yellow, and it would look like you were trying to get something off your shoe. People would stay away! Joking aside, at $19.95, this is quite a cool deal, I'd say! I think I might prefer it on a walking stick, though. I was actually pondering taking my metal detector apart some way to make it more unobtrusive, but this product looks good. I hope it has an earphone jack so you can run a wire up your pants. Of course, you could rig one anyway
  7. A couple of things I'd like to see in the benchmar section: 1. In the Nearest Benchmarks Search list, a code(s) in the "Date Found" column for a not-found. With different people working the same area, it would be good to see which benchmark sites we (geocachers) have checked out and which we haven't, whether actually found or not. No date is needed for not-found of course, but an indicator (code like NF) instead would be nice instead of the current blank mystery until you click in. This way, an area could be more systematically worked by geobenchmarkers. (Whether or not not-founds show up "My Cache Page" or not is, I think, unimportant.) 2. Additional special classification(s) for benchmarking. As mentioned in another thread, benchmarking is a bit more complex than geocaching and deserves at least one additional code. This would be a special case of not-found in which the structure on which the benchmark existed is completely gone. Examples are a benchmark on a bridge over a creek that is now in an underground pipe, an benchmark last seen in 1935 on a school building that is now gone and replaced by a parking lot surrounded by high-rise commercial buildings, etc. Again, such a code would make finding benchmarks in an area more efficient as well as more fun. Satellite pictures help but it isn't the same as being there. The radio button description I'd suggest is: "Benchmark's platform is gone" with a PG code showing in the benchmark search listing. 3. A latest official date column (Last Date) in the benchmark search listing. This would be the latest official history recorded date from the original datasheet. (Instead of a new column, the date could be appended to the type in the Type field.) This would make the listing much more cool, especially with a geocaching found date next to a really old official history date!
  8. For chemical treatments, unless you know all about the chemical makeup of the rock, trying anything might be dangerous to the rock. Painting on or soaking in polymers like paint or epoxy could trap moisture, resulting in worsening the ordinary freeze-thaw degradation of rock. Poisoning the lichen would probably help, but it would be temporary. Eventually the chemical would be gone and the lichen would be back.
  9. Approximately 100%. I have looked for several benchmarks that turned out to be in such areas, and some I haven't even bothered to try. From my 'calibration' of how high benchmarks are in importance, even the re-construction of a few sidewalk squares or bridge re-surfacing will spell the end of the benchmark. Reporting? The geocaching site's database disincludes most of the ones reported missing. Also, I almost never look at the NGS site, so I can't calibrate how often benchmark destructions are reported by the people doing the destruction. Instead, people who look for them report them as unfindable. If you suspect a benchmark-destructing level of re-developement in an area, it pays off to use the mapping site http://www.lostoutdoors.com/ - you just copy and paste the coordinates from the benchmark's page and you'll get a satellite picture of the area. For instance, the lack of a bridge in the picture means that the waterway is now totally in a pipe - your benchmark was carted away with the remains of the bridge. Another example is a benchmark on the wall of an old building where there's now only now a parking lot.
  10. I have a metal detector, but have so far resisted the temptation to put it in the car for a benchmarking trip. I just don't want to be seen metal detecting in either public or private areas here in the suburbs. I might do it way out in the country, but even there, you can get into big trouble with a metal detector if you're not very careful. People assume you're illicitly looking for treasure (or civil war relics here in the East) with the intent to sneak in and steal it away from the rightful property owner. Having said all that, any cheapo metal detector would be great for finding a benchmark. Unless the benchmark was a couple feet deep (too far), it would go off like gangbusters on seeing that big hunk of metal in the ground! The more expensive the detector, the more electronic technology it has to discriminate against junk metals like nails, flatirons, and aluminum pop-tops to only beep when it finds valuable metals silver and/or gold (and some not-so-great metals like zinc they might avoid mentioning in their literature). I'm not sure where the bronzy metal of a benchmark would fit in the high-tech discrimination features - they might just discriminate against it when you switch on the goodie feature. So if you want to buy a metal detector for benchmark detecting, get a bottom-of-the line one. By the way, for those of us who like FINDING things for the sheer pleasure of it, an inexpensive metal detector can be a lot of fun. Dig up your own front yard and find cool old stuff!
  11. I noticed a weird bug in the benchmark gallery. I saw a picture taken of a benchmark I had previously visited but I didn't take the picture; Artman did. When I clicked on the gallery picture, my comment is there, with his picture (but not his name or comment), making it look like it's giving me the credit for his picture. When clicking on the benchmark from a search or 'visit benchmark', or 'my page', however, I get my note and then his note correctly associated with his picture.
  12. I noticed a weird bug in the benchmark gallery. I saw a picture taken of a benchmark I had previously visited but I didn't take the picture; Artman did. When I clicked on the gallery picture, my comment is there, with his picture (but not his name or comment), making it look like it's giving me the credit for his picture. When clicking on the benchmark from a search or 'visit benchmark', or 'my page', however, I get my note and then his note correctly associated with his picture.
  13. So we're searching for a benchmark, kicking leaves and sand off of cement, investigating bare spots in grass with our shoes, trying to look inconspicuous, and suddenly, there it is! Back 30 or 80 years ago, survey professionals were right here in this very spot with their bucket of wet cement, installing this benchmark. But why exactly here? Except for the obvious church steeples, mountain peaks, coastal points, and standpipes' finials, why were the vast majority of benchmarks placed where they are? Here in the suburbs and cities, the placement of benchmarks seems rather random. Some of the old ones were put in people's front yards, on their houses, etc. A few are in high spots, but not most. Were they located by request from local professional surveyors? Were they strategically placed during some long ago building project? Did they match some integral degree mark back then? Are some a special spot from which several church steeples and watertowers could be seen? Is their apparent randomness merely a series of overlaid logical nets made decades apart? What is so special about these locations? Besides these guesses of mine, does anyone actually know
  14. This website shows a direct connection between the boating group and their benchmarking. http://www.usps.org/localusps/anclote/whoweare.html Just wait until THEY find out about US !!
  15. Everyone has differences in what aspects of an activity is the most enjoyable to them. Benchmark hunting is different from Geocaching in that a large part of the activity in Benchmark hunting is photography. Benchmark photography is in 2 categories - photographing OF the benchmark itself, and photographing the view(s) FROM the benchmark. I find the view photography much more interesting. I wonder what other people's thoughts are on this. I have found some benchmarks and enjoyed the process of finding them, but have never taken pictures of any, although I have taken view pictures and posted them. I also greatly enjoy looking at other people's view pictures in the Gallery, but never look at the benchmark pictures - they just aren't all that different from each other. The view pictures have such interesting differences in local plants, landforms, people, and other scenery aspects! I guess one could say that without a closeup benchmark picture, there's no actual proof that I've been to the benchmarks that I've logged, but I'm out for the challenge and the process, not proofs, and certainly wouldn't claim a find if I couldn't achieve it. Plus, after one person has photographed the benchmark, how do you photograph it differently to prove that you were there too? Put your driver's licence next to it in the picture? I can't resist bringing up the relationship of all this to the spoiler concept. I find that benchmark hunting does have an aspect of challenge, and I just wouldn't be as interested in finding a benchmark's location that's 'spoiled' by a picture showing how to find the benchmark. I think that neither a CLOSEUP VIEW OF IT, nor a view FROM IT is particularly a spoiler, but a view of it that shows its location in relationship to the local environment IS definitely a spoiler. I know - just don't look at the spoiler. But its existence on the site is itself a spoiler whether you look at it or not.
  16. I like hunting for benchmarks, but in the case of watertowers and church steeples, you just drive by and there it is - no hunting. So I don't look for them - it just doesn't seem like a GPS game to me. Maybe someone can figure out some sort of challenge involved with them, but I can't. Wait, I guess one could take a picture of watertower and church steeple benchmarks from a nearby regular benchmark. Hmmmm. There would be both a finding challenge and a photographic challenge to that. A significant aspect of benchmark hunting is taking pictures and maybe there's a way to make some kind of artistic collection of pics of church steeples or something. But then, some church steeples and watertowers are pretty without being benchmarks.
  17. A few years ago, I calibrated my pace and have since found it a good way to measure. In an office environment (hallway, preferably), notice the ceiling tiles. Often they are the ones that are 2 feet x 4 feet. Also, most floor tile is 1 foot square (or 9-inch if it's really old). Pace for 50-100 feet and count tiles and you won't have to bother with measuring tapes. I have a particular "measuring pace" that I know will give me good accuracy. Plenty good enough for the 100 feet or less in benchmark finding. Once you've calibrated yourself, you're ready for benchmark finding and other uses too. So, I'd add my calculator watch to the things to bring - I divide the number of feet stated in the description by my calibration (2.54 feet per pace). Same as cm / inch - how about that! Cellphones have calculators in them also. Oh yeah, bring your cell phone in case something happens to you or your car!
  18. I don't think any of the choices should be replaced. In fact, more should be added for the benchmarks. O Found It! O Couldn't find it! O The structure it was on no longer exists. O Destroyed - I found its remains. O Destroyed - only a hole in the cement. O Post a note. Any number of radio buttons can be added of course. Too many choices would be absurd, but I think benchmarks deserve a couple more. Any other suggestions/wording?
  19. I think the 2-year limit is a good idea. I don't know whether 2 years is the best amount of time or not, and it depends on the frequency of traffic and the characteristics of the forest and its plant life and in particular the plant life in the particular cache access area. In some places 2 years might be too long, while in others, 2 years would show little or no effect. Certainly you don't want a visible path straight from an official trail to your cache! Would that take more or less than 2 years? It depends. I can see their point. It's like crop rotation. Let the land rest once in a while. Don't assume that the whole policy must be judged by the particulars of just one cache - they must make a *general* policy. Although the rule states that your cache must move in 2 years, it basically means that it's time to re-apply, and you could even re-apply for the same location and if they see there's no path, they'd probably agree to let it stay. Othewise, you'd probably agree too that it's time for the cache to move on and let the place rest. In some cases, you might agree in less than 2 years! Let's be as benign as we possibly can! Not only benign to the land, but to the forest managers as well. Let the managers have their review time of 2 years - it's not a bad idea. And if they don't want to spend the time finding and going to each cache at its two year anniversary to see that there's no damage, be considerate of their time in managing the forest, not a bunch of caches, and go ahead and move it anyway.
  20. A quick get-together sometime would be fun. Let's do it. A Saturday lunch at some deli or something? I do like benchmark hunting. I see that Art-Man and I are doing benchmarks in about the same area. Quite a different situation from regular geocaching. Instead of a secluded pretty park locale, a benchmark is usually in a public and sometimes less than beautiful place. However, the general hunt is the same - dealing with the GPS, satellites, and wondering how difficult the find will actually be. In many ways, benchmark hunting is more challenging. No one's been looking for it for perhaps several years. Some are gone. Others are not near the stated position. You wander drunkenly in a public place! But, there are many more benchmarks than geocaches, so there's plenty of things to hunt for with the GPS.
  21. A quick get-together sometime would be fun. Let's do it. A Saturday lunch at some deli or something? I do like benchmark hunting. I see that Art-Man and I are doing benchmarks in about the same area. Quite a different situation from regular geocaching. Instead of a secluded pretty park locale, a benchmark is usually in a public and sometimes less than beautiful place. However, the general hunt is the same - dealing with the GPS, satellites, and wondering how difficult the find will actually be. In many ways, benchmark hunting is more challenging. No one's been looking for it for perhaps several years. Some are gone. Others are not near the stated position. You wander drunkenly in a public place! But, there are many more benchmarks than geocaches, so there's plenty of things to hunt for with the GPS.
  22. During the past 3 days, I get "The page cannot be displayed" when I try to search for nearby benchmark locations about 17 times out of 20. Once in a while I get the list, but not very often. When I do get the page with list of benchmarks to show, I make sure to right-click on benchmarks so that I can open a new browser page instead of having to use the 'back' button to go back to the list.
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