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Things > Benchmarks > Other U.s. Survey Markers

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OK, I'll start the debate, then.

 

Right now, I'm leaning toward having the main benchmarking activities on another site (ex. www.benchmark.com, if that isn't taken). My reasons:

 

- Fundamentally, it's a different activity. Waypoints are about finding and logging a place according to a theme where the time the waypoint is observed is not that important. Benchmarking is about recovering and logging an observation of a waypoint at that moment in time.

- There are currently over 68,000 benchmarks recovered. I'm still unclear how wm could handle this number in a well organized manner without extensive directory trees.

- The benchmarking datasheets should be updated 'periodically' from NGS. If it is incorporated into wm, would updating be even harder?

 

Now, having said these points, I think that the waypoint site has a large potential in adding to the benchmarking activities. Possible categories:

- Benchmarks in ____ state not in the NGS database

- Interesting state border markers (whether they are NGS listed or not)

- Unusually named benchmarks

- Town/city hall benchmarks (these would by NGS only, though there would be overlap if there was a wm category for town and city halls)

- Benchmarks in Poor Condition

- Favorite Benchmarks

- Benchmarks on Mountain Peaks

- Moved (therefore destroyed) Benchmarks

- Vertically Mounted Benchmarks.

- Examples of each type of benchmark (ex. intersection station, survey disk, driven rod, drill hole)

- Examples of each organization that has a benchmark listed in NGS, like the list being developed in the benchmarking forum, could be done here.

 

A lot of potential that way.

 

Any one else want to weigh in?

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Even though this is logically the best place for this discussion, it has already been raised here at the "Benchmarks -- Which Site?" topic. It has at this point 38 replies so the discussion should probably go there.

 

NorStar, you might want to post your excellent post over there, perhaps without even using the QUOTE thingie. <_<

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Thanks - will do - I just realized that I posted under the suggested topic and not the other.

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New topics and questions in existing topics arise every few days over on the Benchmarking forum regarding non-NGS survey marks and how to log them. I keep saying to be patient; the capability will be coming with Waymarking. :D

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The benchmark database we use in the benchmarking section is from the NGS database. Although the NGS database includes over 700,000 geodetic marks, there are many thousands more that are not included in the NGS database. When benchmark hunters have found these non-NGS marks, they have been frustrated by the fact that we cannot add these non-NGS benchmarks to the database. There have been many topics established in the benchmark area asking how to log these marks; about 2 per week.

We have had to answer every time that it cannot be done.

 

The Waymarking concept would allow for these non-NGS benchmarks to be waymarked, logged, and photographed.

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Granted I haven't been into benchmarking as much as I'd like. My question would be whether it would make sense to break out the benchmarks into the type of markers that this category would cover or just include all other US benchmarks that aren't in the NGS database.

 

The reason I ask is that cities create their own survey disks and it may be appropriate to create a seperate category for them, but we could also merely add an additional variable so someone could enter the name of the organization that placed the disk. What do you think?

 

Also, what variables should be added to this category?

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OK, I see what you mean. :lol:

 

Let me start with the separate cities concept first.

 

We currently have 337 agency-types of disks on BuckBrooke's benchmark agencies site. Probably 20 of those are types of one agency (different manufacturers or something), so there's probably around 300 different agencies and we're not finished finding all the different ones.

 

To have a separate subcategory for each agency would, I think, be a big fat mess. Unnecessary and cumbersome too; we have been doing very well with just one category, the NGS dataset, which obviously contains all these 300 agencies' markers.

 

The Disney benchmarks is, although only by using somewhat soft logic, a different sort of thing than just another agency. This type of benchmark obviously has its own following and is therefore a special case, I think. This is in apposition to the concept of having a special category for say Johnson County, Kansas Public Works benchmarks (like KE1720). Not to say that Johnson County, Kansas Public Works department has no fans, but it just ain't got the magic of a benchmark with mouse ears! :D So, I'd suspect that Disney benchmarks should be at least a subcategory or a totally different category on its own.

 

I will continue with more variables....

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If there is a list to start, we could just add them as one dropdown list with an "other" type just in case it isn't listed. The dropdown list can be updated as often as you like. That certainly makes sense.

 

I agree that Disney is a special case. I'm sure there will be others. Perhaps we'd just start with any government placed marker. Commercially placed could have their own category though it is possible that Disney is very unique in this regard.

 

Actually I take that back. The Woodland Park Zoo has their own survey markers.

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It's a slippery slope. Even 'government agency' marks are often set by private contractors, not government employees, I believe. I think making a lot of separations along agency lines is finer than benchmark hunters in general would want. There is such a thing as overdoing the subcategorization and dropdown concept, like categorically breaking down waterfalls into 5-degree increments based on which direction they face.

 

I believe that the general preference at this point would be for just 2 categories (or one category and a subcategory) - non-NGS benchmarks and Disney benchmarks. The reason I believe this is that there is no category other than the Disney benchmarks where a bunch of people have set up a website and special GC.com forum topics for them with a significant group of fans for them. Certainly if some other type of benchmark variety eventually gets a separate following, another sub-category could be made for it.

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I may be getting mixed up by the difference in concept between a variable under a category and a separate category.

 

As I say, we currently know about 300 different agencies, but will probably never be finished cataloging all the agencies, especially since new ones could get into making their own benchmark series.

 

The main points of Waymarking a non-NGS benchmark are: finding one (a difficult task with no database), noting and describing its location, and taking the proper pictures. Categorizing one by agency or commercial firm is definitely not a main priority of interest. Finding any nearby ones regardless of what agency they are is a priority of interest, and having to cross subcategory lines would be combersome for that, perhaps. (Certainly if you're on a Disney property, you're only going to be looking for Disney marks.)

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Just a small suggestion, since my recent post on the other thread seems to have gotten this moving again. :D

 

I agree with subcategories of Non-NGS benchmarks and Disney BM's, which are rather "unique". Perhaps the Disney BM's should even be their own separate category, with non-NGS BM's being another separate category. Then, if desired or requested, the non-NGS benchmarks could further be broken out by state or region (same regions as the forums are broken into). I believe then (if I am understanding the search function at Waymarking correcty), one would be able to search by state to find any nearby marks. Just a thought; I'm glad to see the ball is rolling on this again.

 

BTW, BDT, if you needed some help managing the category or subs, I would be interested in helping.

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I'll try to explain the difference between a category and a variable.

 

A category is designed to point out a distinct object with distinct variables. For example, a water tower may have a variable that is the capacity of the tank in gallons. A tower that doesn't have a tank may just contain a variable like height.

 

If the only difference between one brass marker and another is the organization that owned/placed the mark, there is no need to break it out into states, counties, districts, or blocks. Because everything is location-based the idea of breaking out an item into subecategories because they are in different regions is unnecessary. However unique variables that define the category makes the category distinct from another.

 

Additionally, some thought should go into the theme of the category. For Disney benchmarks the Disney theme is so prominent that it warrants its own category, while County 1 or County 2 is not. The same goes for the uniqueness of, say, the Lewis & Clark benchmarks. This does not, of course, restrict these benchmarks to only be listed in one waymark category. The same item can reside in 1 or more categories depending on the situation.

 

So based on the information so far it seems that a category for "Other US Survey Markers" would be fine for any of the benchmarks that are placed for government surveys. Disney benchmarks can remain in their own category.

 

I would, however, suggest that "other" isn't used for the category name. Since they are not in the official NGS Database perhaps Recovered would be better than Other.

 

HTH

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Whew! I am glad that the independence of Disneymarks has been established. Although I'm not a Disneymark person, I was rooting (pardon the pun) for them to be their own category.

 

Now, on to the topic of variables. Thank you for the explanation of the difference between them and (sub)categories. I also looked up "variables" in forums and FAQs and didn't find much additional information except that it's planned for them to be a filtering item or some other kind of search-related factor.

 

In this regard, I propose that the most interesting variables to us benchmark hunters would be:

State, City/County, and topographic Quad.

You make a very good point about the redundancy of such variables when the waymarks will have coordinates anyway. However, many benchmarkers are very interested in State, City/County and Quad boundaries for organizing their work and interest. This could be an artificiality resulting from the NGS using these as variables, I'm not sure. In any case, I think these three would be variables that most benchmark hunters would like to have in a benchmark Waymarking category.

 

Having said that, the downside is: some of us couldn't care less about State, City/County, or topographic Quad and might feel that it was an unnecessary (as per your point) bit of research to have to do to fill out these variables.

 

So, although it isn't of particular great interest to benchmark hunters except for the fun some of us had in collecting them in a list, the agency is one variable that could be populated into a big dropdown menu and would not be difficult for a person Waymarking a new one to just read the disk to know the agency and answer the variable. However, agency would seldom if ever be used as a filtering option.

 

Hmph. No variables? Perhaps. Currently in benchmarking, all we have (as a filter item) is State. :anitongue:

State would be a good variable.

Edited by Black Dog Trackers

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As to the name of this category proposal.....

 

As the title of this topic, I used the word "other" because I made 2 proposals the same day; "NGS Benchmarks" and "Other U.S. Survery Markers". On this group, the only thing that characterizes them is their non-NGS-ness.

 

If/when the NGS benchmarks 'go to' Waymarking, the distinction NGS vs. non-NGS could be a variable in a category called U.S. Benchmarks.

 

The most logical name for the subject proposed category would be "U.S. non-NGS Benchmarks". But, that's an ugly name. A somewhat better version would be: "U.S. Benchmarks (non-NGS)".

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Back to the topic of variables.

 

I think most people would agree that at least both State and Agency could be variables for this category.

 

We have a list of approx. 330 agencies, but they're from the NGS set. The non-NGS set would contain 329 of them PLUS at least a couple hundred more. So, a dropdown list of the 330 wouldn't be enough, and the REST should not be just dumped into 'other'. So for entering the agency variable, that leaves just clear-text, or dropdown plus clear-text; I don't know how you'd want to implement that.

 

Can an open variable be made? A hash list? I'm thinking of ones like:

Lewis and Clark benchmarks,

Canada-US border benchmarks,

someone posted an idea about fence line benchmarks,

mountain summit benchmarks,

indoor benchmarks,

etc. ....

too many to recall, think of, and predict! Such a variable would be MUCH more popular to use than agency. This would be a specialty variable with a dropdown list! A person could propose one to the category manager who could (?) get it into the list.

Edited by Black Dog Trackers

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There's also the subject of marker-type for non-NGS benchmarks.

 

The NGS set includes many types of markers - church steeple, smokestack, clay tile pipe, antenna, nail, spike, drill hole in brick, airport beacon, water tank, grain elevator, etc. When found, we know that the item is a geodetic mark because the NGS says it is.

 

For non-NGS marks, we could quickly sink up to our axles in finds of all sorts of things that people might think are a geodetic marker.

 

The only non-NGS marks that we pretty much know are geodetic markers are the disk type. (There might be some rod types where the rod is inside an access cover and the cover rim has a benchmark designation printed on it, but I haven't yet heard of a non-NGS rod. Anyway, both the disk and rod types have a geodetic marker serial number on them.)

 

My opinion is that the non-NGS benchmarks category should be limited to disk type. This is except in cases where someone gets access to an agency's list of geodetic marks to input as a big bunch of waymarks. In such cases, there might be several types of marker besides disk included, just like in the NGS set. If such lists are input as waymarks into the non-NGS category, then we'd need a marker-type variable! But again, for individually found items, I think waymarks should be limited to the disk type.

Edited by Black Dog Trackers

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BDT - I agree that the non-NGS benchmarks should be limited to disk type markers, unless there is some incontrovertable evidence that another marker of some type is an official benchmark placed by some agency. I know of four benchmarks that I would be adding to the site ASAP. One is an USGS, which I'm sure is in the NGS drop down list; one is a NYS DOT mark, which may or may not be in the NGS list of agencies; one is a Chautauqua County DPW benchmark, which I'm pretty sure would NOT be in the NGS list. I believe the fourth was another USGS mark, but not sure.

 

Again, I hope this category can be up and running soon. It was one of the first things I thought of when the Waymarking site came up. Perhaps it can be accomplished over the long northern winter and be ready for spring. I know in many areas of the country benchmarking is an around the year activity, but where I live, with an average snowfall of 120+ inches, it is pretty much placed on hold from December to March.

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catcher24 -

 

Well, save up your non-NGS benchmark finds and their pictures! I hope everyone else has too. I think the USGS type will by far be the most common. I'm hoping that there will be some local databases that can be incorporated too either by hand or by parsing them in somehow.

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