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Everything posted by shorbird

  1. Geocaching was a great way to learn about benchmarks. It was fun to have benchmark forums with online discussions, and to play games like Poker Fun Run. The maps showing every county in the U.S. by color so that we could see how geocachers were doing with their benchmark finds was very motivating until it was discontinued. But benchmarking is so much more than a game; it's a way to connect with history and the significance of surveying in creating our state lines, county lines and other engineering projects. Although I have submitted over 12,000 logs to the NGS over the years(somehow less than half of them showed up in the geocaching totals), it never gets old, going out to look for that next benchmark. A few weeks ago, I recovered a benchmark which had been logged by the NGS as not found in 1979. That was a reward in itself. The front page article about benchmarking in the Wall Street Journal several years ago was a thrill to read, and the online version even included a video, taken during my daylong benchmarking experience with a Journal reporter who flew in from California to do the story with me. It was also rewarding to see the 5-minute TV news story on my local station about the experience I had touring my local downtown with a reporter so that I could show him 9 benchmarks. Many thanks to ArtMan, Ernmark, and 2oldfarts, among others, for their helpfulness in my benchmark education. It is disappointing to learn that Groundspeak will no longer support benchmarking on the geocaching site, but I hope that somehow, new users will discover benchmarks and if they are interested, learn about them and possibly submit logs to the NGS.
  2. Unable to access my past logs after the first page of log listing. Screen display says that I have 352 pages of 8795 logs, but I cannot get past page 1. Please repair this.
  3. Second time around for this notice. I suppose that we will see it every time there's a shutdown. 90% of Commerce Department employees(NOAA) are considered "non-essential."
  4. You could contact the USGS and request datasheets for your area. Their records are still kept on paper in filing cabinets, I understand. Keep in mind that many benchmarks located on high points of land are 12-24 inches below the surface.
  5. I have not found this to be the case. All of the links to the NGS datasheets site which I have used are working.
  6. In response to the comment about icaching.com, have you tried easygps? Just go to their website (easygps.com) and download the program to a laptop. Then attach your GPS to the laptop and you can upload as many benchmarks as you wish to your GPS. All of the benchmarks will be shown as GPX files with a GC prefix. You can edit them to insert the correct two-letter benchmark PID prefix if you want to.
  7. An update of the benchmark database would be much appreciated. Also, let's see the link to the main benchmark page restored to the geocaching home page. Thanks!
  8. Harry, The benchmarking community here is but a shadow of its former self. Perhaps it is partially because there is so little support from the website(disappearance of the benchmark link from the home page, etc.). Nevertheless, you had some of the more thorough benchmark logs on the site, and your input is missed. If you ever decide to take up the hunt again, the community will be better off. shorbird
  9. Bill93, Thank you for your input on this. Geocaching can be fun, but benchmark hunting is much more rewarding. I, too, decided to look for benchmarks instead of caches for the same reasons that you gave. More people should travel that way.
  10. I don't understand the reluctance to use DSWorld, or the criticism of its user interface. I've been using it for quite awhile now, and I find it very easy to use. It certainly is a major improvement over the old website-based datasheet recovery forms. Also, submitting photos is a snap with DSWorld. If anyone has any questions about how to use DSWorld, I'd be happy to try to answer them. Having started with the geocaching part of this sport, I have moved completely to benchmarks. I like the idea of hunting for them, plus the submission of an NGS report helps out any surveyors who may need to use the benchmarks in their projects. This strikes me as a useful public service. I am extremely disappointed in the actions of the geocaching organization, which has redesigned the geocaching website so as to make it almost impossible to locate any references to benchmarks, thus making it difficult for new users to even find out about them.
  11. With benchmarks, any coordinates are always better than none. Scaled coordinates, which were developed by someone working with a map in an office, may be slightly "off", or even off a lot, but at least they will give you a starting point. From there, you rely on the physical description from the datasheet to complete your find. There may also be a bit of "extra work" involved, such as removing moss or dirt which may be covering the mark. Adjusted coordinates, on the other hand, are often so accurate that you can often use them to walk right up to a benchmark.
  12. Use the EasyGPS program. You can load benchmarks into your Garmin to avoid keying in all of the coordinates manually. Each benchmark will show up as GC plus the last four digits of the PID.
  13. Gungadoy, The number of USC&GS disks you find is usually related to the part of the country you are in. In some areas, there are plenty of them and in others, not so much. In Florida, there seem to be a large number of county and state disks. There are quite a few USC&GS disks along the coasts, along A1A on the east coast and 41 on the west. shorbird
  14. In Erie County, PA, ND0178(LIGHTHOUSE) has been protected with what appears to be plexiglass set in metal. You can only see the disk when weather conditions are right, since there is often condensation covering the inside of the glass. Such a solution probably wouldn't work for one of the Central Park bolts, but I would certainly love to see one of them someday!
  15. I liked the way that this disk has actually been fitted to the rock it was attached to by tidal action since 1941. This is TR1620(BIGHT 1941) in Port Townsend, Jefferson County WA.
  16. When I was seeking a disk which was 1 foot underground near Columbus, Ohio, a local farmer offered me the use of his tile probe. Voila!! It worked!! I immediately ordered one online and have used it ever since. When you don't have a metal detector, it's a very useful tool. The probing part has a rounded edge so it doesn't puncture anything.
  17. Thanks to 2oldfarts for the photos of triangulation station disks MERRY and CHRISTMAS!!
  18. Your project sounds fascinating! I have often wanted to look into more of the borough's history since reading Vincent Seyfreid's "Queens: A Pictorial History," which contains so many photos of places in Queens which have vanished. As a former resident of NJ, I used to explore Queens by subway and el. As a current resident of the Midwest, Queens is rather out of my range now. It is amazing that you have located so many of the Koop marks. Who knows? Maybe the NYPD will give you access to Fort Totten. Good luck!!
  19. I have had good fortune when attempting to look for benchmarks at various Coast Guard Stations. I just stop at the gate and tell them what I am doing, and they have always let me in to look.
  20. I had been curious about the reasons why the Wall Street Journal would be interested in a story about benchmark hunting, but then I remembered the aforementioned front-page feature story and thought, "Why not?" Erica and I spent a very interesting day searching for benchmarks in western New York. We found some along an old railroad bed, some out in the countryside, one on a small bridge, and one in a post office building. She was full of questions as she took notes, made videos, and followed me around in her quest for more knowledge. We're all looking forward to seeing your story, Erica!
  21. Where is the link to Benchmark Hunting from the Geocaching Home Page? This link is very important to those of us who hunt for benchmarks. Please return this link so that everyone can search for benchmarks!!
  22. Thanks for your explanation, Dave. We only have a small window into the complex of NGS available information, and most of us have very limited understanding of the entire mechanism. I had no idea that each datasheet was computed on the fly! Let's hope that this situation is resolved quickly.
  23. Until further notice, the NGS website is unavailable because of the government shutdown. The following notice appears on your screen instead of the NGS home page: Due to the Federal government shutdown, NOAA.gov and most associated web sites are unavailable. Only web sites necessary to protect lives and property will be maintained. See Weather.gov for critical weather information or contact USA.gov for more information about the shutdown.
  24. Having used both Find-A-Control and Mike's BenchMap, I would recommend BenchMap by far. It's a necessity for the unplanned trip, and very helpful with the NGS datasheet availability as well as the map. Thanks, Mike!
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