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holograph

Where Are We?

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I thought it would be interesting to see what parts of the country are being visited by Geocaching benchmark hunters. Since there is no easy way to obtain the Geocaching.com numbers, I used the NGS recovery reports as a proxy. Here for your viewing enjoyment is the result of the analysis. The regional impact of some of our heavy hitters is clear.

 

 

geocac_map.jpg

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Wow! That's really cool!

 

More excellent work, Holograph!

 

I'm glad to see my niche in south-central Ohio shows up, let alone a darker color in my county.

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Very cool, holograph. I've wanted to do this, but bow to your database skills.

 

Who's responsible for the Upper Peninsula in Michigan? I wouldn't have expected so many up there.

Edited by BuckBrooke

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It was really cool to see this graphic representation of our work. I wish that each state/county was clikable and would either expand the area or show a list of recoveries and who recovered them!

 

My territory, south central PA, is pretty heavily hunted. I get over it extensively and there are some others who head my way from time to time--Greg Rotz is in my area and BDT and 7 have been up. I have also ventured down their way for short hunts, usually on my way to other places.

 

I was happy to see what appears to be an effect I alone have had--in the Memphis, TN area and in two counties to the northeast of Memphis. I think I am the only Geocaching site hunter who has reported from Crockett County, TN! (Yes, it was home to Davy Crockett at some point). I also hunted a line from near the New York state line down to Harrisburg, PA as I returned from taking my daughter to a camp in northern PA and I see that line on the map.

 

Cool work Holograph. I think I recall you saying you had written your own mapping program to do this sort of thing, which is impressive. I have used ArcMap and should probably try to put something similar together myself just to keep my hand in!

 

Matt

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This particular map was not created with my own graphics software. I recently acquired a relatively inexpensive GIS (Manifold) and this was a nice little trial project.

 

edit: typos

Edited by holograph

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holograph -

 

Outstanding map!! Thanks for the great work.

 

Were you to update this periodically, I would use it as a trip-planning tool.

 

As I inspect the map, I can only think "I know what I did last summer".

 

Thanks again.

 

Will

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Wonderful! I have several thoughts.

 

It is amazing the number of virgin counties left, including some very populous ones.

 

I think I agree with the choices for shading density, but you do need to remember that even 1 recovery shades a county and 10 or 25 only makes it a little darker.

 

Some of the regions I can associate with forum regulars: PFF in NC, the PA/MD/VA folks, etc. There are several darkened areas that I can't associate. Does Z15 also work northern Minnesota or do we have someone active there who I don't know of from the forum? Who is reporting in Alabama? SE Washington?

 

I think GH55 and I have the majority of the reports in Iowa, excepting the very westernmost end. Has anyone else reading this reported any in centeral or eastern Iowa? Who is working NW Illinois?

 

Next time you get bored, you could plot the percentage of the PIDS in each county which have GEOCAC recoveries.

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Some of the regions I can associate with forum regulars: PFF in NC, the PA/MD/VA folks, etc.  There are several darkened areas that I can't associate.  Does Z15 also work northern Minnesota or do we have someone active there who I don't know of from the forum?  Who is reporting in Alabama?  SE Washington?

 

I think GH55 and I have the majority of the reports in Iowa, excepting the very westernmost end.  Has anyone else reading this reported any in centeral or eastern Iowa?  Who is working NW Illinois?

 

Next time you get bored, you could plot the percentage of the PIDS in each county which have GEOCAC recoveries.

Northern Minnesota - Pear Head

Alabama - maconart

E Iowa & NW Illinois - Bill93,CacheBar,GH55

SE Washington - Camper1

 

I did plot the % of PIDs recovered, but the percentage is so small that only a very few counties have more than a few percent. It didn't make an informative map.

Edited by holograph

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Very Cool, holograph.

 

I am delighted to see my Western Maine-Eastern New Hampshire finds showing up so darkly.

 

Thank you for a very informative project.

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Don't forget us Joisey Boyz! Holograph is in Sussex. I'm in Morris, but also hunt in Sussex, Passaic, Bergen, Hudson, and New York Counties (with occasional forays into other strange areas...). Papa-Bear-NYC is doing a great job in New York County. But, is that Essex or Union with no finds?!? We shall have to do something about that!

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Add my kudos to the list. Well done! What would Edward Tufte say? (Tufte, for those who don't know, is the author of the amazing book, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.)

 

A couple of thoughts come to mind: Like Bill93, I note the vast expanse of white space crying out for a recovery or two.

 

I wish there were some more detail in the Northeast, where geographically small but populous counties are crammed together.

 

Holograph, I wonder if your software supports making those maps where the amount of whatever you're measuring is reflected in the area of the jurisdiction. It's the sort of map you see in the newspapers every fourth November showing the states distored to reflect the number of electoral votes, so New Jersey grows on this kind of map, and Wyoming shrinks. I'm sure there's a technical name, but I'm sure I don't know it.

 

In other words, a small county with a lot of recoveries with look much larger, and all those "virgin" counties would disappear from the map entirely.

 

-ArtMan-

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Holograph,

If you have the info of the county percentages I would love to see the effect I have had on Dauphin, Lebanon, Lancaster, and even York and Cumberland counties in PA. I am willing to bet that the percentage is decently high in Dauphin and Lebanon as I have been actively hunting there for over a year and a half.

 

Matt

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Now this is one sweet piece of work.

 

Like some of the others it is nice to see the impact of just getting busy in a small community. I have located many of the marks in the Cullman County, Alabama. It is not a highly populated county by any means, but the CSX runs right through it going to Nashville.

 

Thanks for the work you did. It really puts a visual perspective to it.

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holograph,

 

Would you consider making the raw data available?

 

I'd be interested in seeing some figures in particular from some of the geographically smaller jurisdictions in the crowded mid-Atlantic region.

 

-ArtMan-

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That is really amazing! Will this update with the other data you put together on your site? It would be interesting to watch this change over time.

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I don't yet know if it will be updated monthly. I'm looking into ways I can make it clickable so that people can zoom into their local regions. I also need to consider the amount of work it would take each month to update it.

 

Artman, would being able to click and get enlarged regions satisfy your request? I know that everyone would also like to identify the players in the regions, but I have to think about how to make that data available without taking up a lot of space on the server.

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Tee-hee, it's fun to see that my work in Yosemite is noticeable! That's Mariposa County that's dark brown in the central eastern part of California.

 

I did one on the Merced/Mariposa county line last time I went to Yosemite; it must have counted as Mariposa. I'll have to catch some in Merced and Stanislaus sometime. Looks like we could also use more reports from here on the S.F. Peninsula (San Mateo and Santa Clara counties).

 

Holo, if you do add features to the map, I agree that it would be nice to get specific data about each county. At least total numbers, if not specific PIDs. I don't think you should feel pressured to update it monthly. Not that we wouldn't enjoy that! But it would be a lot of work for you. Maybe a few times a year?

 

Thanks for doing this!

 

Patty

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That's an awesome map! :unsure:

 

I'm happy to see east central Indiana and west central Ohio show up so nicely...that's mostly where I've logged benchmarks.

 

But there are certainly a lot of counties in Indiana and Ohio with no shading...maybe I need to make an extra effort to find at least one in any county I pass through.

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I like the Heartland area.....I kinda stick out on this map.

 

You can also see the multiple(GEO*BENCHMARKERS) states recoveries.

I would have to ask for too many states,so I will be satisfied with what is here and anything else you just may want to add.

 

I see a lot of blank spots too.

Still a lot of Virgin Territory out there.

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OK, for now, if you want to see enlarged regions of the map I posted, you can use this GEOCAC Recoveries Map Viewer.

 

It is a quick and dirty response to your requests for more detail in the regions that are crowded. When I have time, I'll try to enhance the functionality, but I'm going to be busy with work for a while, and I can't promise any enhancements any time soon.

 

Enjoy!

 

Edit: P.S. I tested the page with Internet Explorer and Firefox. It may not work properly for Netscape 4.x or earlier.

Edited by holograph

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Holograph,

 

Could there be a bit of a problem with your data?

 

Pike County in northeast Pennsylvania shows no recoveries, but in fact there has been at least one GEOCAC report — TRI STATES 1942 (LY2604)

 

I'm also surprised that several counties just outside New York City remain virgin territory. Rockland, Westchester and Suffolk in New York, plus Essex in New Jersey are easily accessible, and I think benchmarkers in that area should make it their business to get some NGS reports in.

 

Likewise, I plan to target some areas out of D.C.

 

Anyone else motivated to remove some of those unsightly colorless areas from Holograph's map?

 

Thanks not just for the map, but for the inspiration!

 

-ArtMan-

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ArtMan:

 

Speaking for my neck of Maine, I have just made arrangements with a friend of mine in Androscoggin County. She and I will try to to make that bit of white on the map something a little darker.

 

I also hope to recruit her to "our side". hehehe

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Holograph,

 

Could there be a bit of a problem with your data?

 

Pike County in northeast Pennsylvania shows no recoveries, but in fact there has been at least one GEOCAC report — TRI STATES 1942 (LY2604)

 

-ArtMan-

Cuyahoga County OH (Cleveland) shows no recoveries, but GEOCAC is shown as recovering MB2854 on 3/30/03. :ph34r:

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Anyone else motivated to remove some of those unsightly colorless areas from Holograph's map?

 

Thanks not just for the map, but for the inspiration!

 

-ArtMan-

I certainly am. My reporting a week ago will fill in two more counties in Ohio and Indiana eventually. And if I'd known a map like this would appear, I would have made some effort to find a benchmark in Dearborn County IN.

 

And looking at the map, I see I'll be driving through six blank counties in Ohio late next month. I clearly need to plan to find something in each of them. :ph34r:

 

There is something about an empty map that makes me want to color it in a little...

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Great map, Holograph! THANK YOU for the effort. Looks like us "left coasters" are getting some marks done also! Orange, LA and Ventura Counties are all 100+. I've GOT to make some time to cach up on 30 or so recoveries I have logged with GC but not NGS (if appropriate for NGS). Those were from before I was "educated" enough to do NGS logs.

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I'll have to agree with everyone that it is a very cool map showing some interesting data. I couldn't help but notice though, that my county is white. Completely empty. I have made recovery notes to the NGS, however they were submitted under LOCSUR - LOCal SURveyor. As many of my finds are as a cacher, I should submit some using GEOCAC and get some color in my part of the country.

- Kewaneh

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Holograph,

 

Could there be a bit of a problem with your data?

 

Pike County in northeast Pennsylvania shows no recoveries, but in fact there has been at least one GEOCAC report — TRI STATES 1942 (LY2604)

 

I'm also surprised that several counties just outside New York City remain virgin territory. Rockland, Westchester and Suffolk in New York, plus Essex in New Jersey are easily accessible, and I think benchmarkers in that area should make it their business to get some NGS reports in.

 

Likewise, I plan to target some areas out of D.C.

 

Anyone else motivated to remove some of those unsightly colorless areas from Holograph's map?

 

Thanks not just for the map, but for the inspiration!

 

-ArtMan-

There's no problem with the data, but there can be roundoff errors in the geographic processing. The boundaries of the counties are taken from a dataset that has errors, and then the dataset is thinned to make it more appropriate for the displayed scale of the map. That thinning process can move those boundaries a small amount. Then the positions of all recoveries are compared to the boundaries of the counties and totalled by county. LY2604 is near the junction of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and the processing placed it outside Pike County.

 

It is tempting to just use the datasheet's county name to tally the recoveries, but we all know that the county names on the datasheets are not very accurate, either. We have discovered numerous errors with county names, and those errors are most frequent near boundaries.

 

When I have time, I'll see if there's a more precise algorithm for determining the positions of recoveries and the counties they are in.

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I see my efforts in the mediumly dark counties of eastern Mass. (though I only contribuited a little to Barnstable - Cape Cod). The dark spot in central Mass., though, is none of my work - that goes to ddnutzy and others. I see a 'white spot' close by, though that I will just have to visit!

 

I'm a little surprised that none of the Cleveland area has had any reports (I went to college there). It follows my general observations that many of the manufacturing or densely urban areas are less visited, but there are affluent sides to Cuyahoga and surrounding counties as well.

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I'm a little surprised that none of the Cleveland area has had any reports (I went to college there). It follows my general observations that many of the manufacturing or densely urban areas are less visited, but there are affluent sides to Cuyahoga and surrounding counties as well.

There have been reports for Cuyahoga county. Unfortunately, the one I reported was very close to the county line so evidently counted (here) as Summit county. (And another one I found further north had been recently reported by a non-GEOCAC, so I didn't report it.)

 

I suppose the next time I'm back "home" I need to find something further north.

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It is tempting to just use the datasheet's county name to tally the recoveries, but we all know that the county names on the datasheets are not very accurate, either. We have discovered numerous errors with county names, and those errors are most frequent near boundaries.

.

I think I'd urge you to give in to that temptation. NGS will correct county names...and if they are incorrect they appear in the wrong county downloads, so it's not an insignificant problem for them (and us).

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I have made recovery notes to the NGS, however they were submitted under LOCSUR - LOCal SURveyor. As many of my finds are as a cacher, I should submit some using GEOCAC and get some color in my part of the country.

 

That's an interesting point to ponder.

 

Report under GEOCA and fill in the map (and give us brownie points with NGS, or;

 

Report under LOCSUR so folks will know the recovery was by a professional and hence is deemed reliable.

 

-Paul-

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OK, I re-analyzed the data to the best precision I have available, and the updated maps are available at the link I provided. I also updated the image shown in my first post, so you can see the effect of the update.

 

The update now includes the September recovery reports. Most of the changes due to the increased precision just had the effect of changing which county shows zero recoveries. Beejay & esskay can see that Cuyahoga county gained at the expense of Summit county.

 

Artman, you will be please to see that Pike county is now credited with a recovery, but it is actually LY2083 that falls in the county, not LY2604, which is still too close to the tri-state intersection and is falling into Sussex county, NJ.

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The update now includes the September recovery reports.  Most of the changes due to the increased precision just had the effect of changing which county shows zero recoveries.  Beejay & esskay can see that Cuyahoga county gained at the expense of Summit county.

Hmmm. The movable map isn't working for me now...I can't get off New England. I don't know if it's my computer here (not where I was last night) or something changed with the map.

 

I'm hoping the Summit county change is that they have fewer finds rather than none. I'm pretty sure I've reported finds in Summit county (MB3049), but I'll check the maps tonight.

 

[Edited to add:]

 

OK, the map is working and Summit county is blank. But I checked MB3049 and I never reported it to NGS. I'll check my notes tonight and see why I haven't reported any Summit county marks, since I know I've found a number of them.

 

[Edited to add again:]

 

I checked two other finds in Summit county. I didn't report either of them to NGS since there had been relatively recent reports and nothing had changed. So it looks like I have 7 counties to target next month.

Edited by beejay&esskay

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beejay&esskay,

 

Try again. I made a change that increses the probability that the page works with more browsers.

 

Unfortunately, Summit went to zero. The only recovery that was even close was MB2854, and it was placed into Cuyhoga (the datasheet also places it in Cuyahoga).

 

The datasheet for MB3049 is not showing any recoveries since 1990 when it was monumented.

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Pike County in northeast Pennsylvania shows no recoveries, but in fact there has been at least one GEOCAC report — TRI STATES 1942 (LY2604)

 

I have tons of recoveries in this area, it's just that I log under INDIV instead of GEOCAC, so they don't show up in Holograph's data. Just so you don't think Northeast PA is as barren as it looks! :ph34r:

 

~Zhanna

 

http://surveymarks.planetzhanna.com/

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This is a great resource. Already I am thinking of things I could ask Holograph to add, but I will refrain. It is just great to see the areas closer and I think I can tell the effects I have had in my area and a couple others I have visited. I know others have visited and recovered, but I have hammered Dauphin, Lebanon, and Lancaster counties in PA, as well as made good inroads to Cumberland, Berks and Schuylkill counties (Cumberland is hunted heavily by others though).

 

Is the raw data available at all Holograph? Although I don't have a lot of time I would love to use Arcmap to do some custom work, such as percentage recovered per county, total marks in a county, and probably other things once I got going.

 

Matt

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Now THAT is a cool map.

 

I'm glad to see my efforts in King and Snohomish county (Washington) are showing up, but even more pleased to see that the Olympic Penninsula seems to be pretty "virgin" territory. Looks like I'm going to have to plan a benchmarking odysee out that way soon!

 

Great work, Holograph. Thanks!

 

R_C

Edited by Red_Cedars

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Zhanna revealed:

 

I log under INDIV instead of GEOCAC, so they don't show up in Holograph's data. Just so you don't think Northeast PA is as barren as it looks!

 

Just curious......any specific reason, Zhanna?

 

Paul

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Rio Arriba county in New Mexico should "turn" soon, and I'll work on some of the other counties here, especially east-west along I-40.

 

Note: Aha! The new update got it. Looks like I need to go to Los Alamos, Portales, etc. *sigh* So much driving to do. This map is very cool. I'll try to get the other counties in New Mexico by Christmas.

 

As a note, I expect very little of Alaska will fill in according to this map, since the vast majority of it's 24,000 marks do not have modern county assignments (or any assignment at all). Only ones around Anchorage and ones submitted in the last 15 years (or so) will be labelled correctly. They're still under old designations. I've sent in county assignments for all of the marks, but they haven't been reviewed yet, and most likely won't be updated until the winter/spring.

Edited by BuckBrooke

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The Alaska counties would fill, since the map is based on the lat/lon of the marks, not on the county names on the datasheet. However, since most of Alaska is wilderness, I wouldn't expect too many geocachers to be submitting recoveries for the remote areas.

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Dang, it's hard to get that darkest color.

 

I was looking at that map, happy that Wayne County IN had received that distinction, but was having trouble distinguishing the other 4 shades...

 

and then I checked my GSAK data base... :ph34r:

 

There are 173 marks in the county and I've filed reports for 64 of them (or maybe a few more that don't yet show in my NGS downloads.)

 

Evidently I have some more work to do... :ph34r:

 

(Holograph...I can't tell you often enough how much I enjoy this map...and your showing "extreme" marks by state...I'm thinking of a special trip to the western-most one in Ohio.)

Edited by beejay&esskay

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Zhanna revealed:

 

I log under INDIV instead of GEOCAC, so they don't show up in Holograph's data. Just so you don't think Northeast PA is as barren as it looks!

 

Just curious......any specific reason, Zhanna?

 

Paul

Yes, there's a reason. I don't want to hijack the thread, but here it is in a nutshell. I've been logging under the INDIV code as I was instructed to do way back in the beginning (before the GEOCAC code was obtained), and I'm planning to continue to do so. My reasoning is simply that we never know what direction things will take in the future, and it's possible that Geocachers will be seen as the next Power Squadron. I think most of our members are more conscientious than that, but things could change at any time, especially now that Geocaching is becoming a more mainstream activity. I take my recoveries seriously, and I want them to be viewed that way in the future by all who use the NGS database. I'd rather just represent myself than represent an organization (or have the organization's reputation precede me). The only reason I ever briefly considered using the GEOCAC code was to indicate to surveyors that if they required it, more information (photos) would be available at a specific site (GC.com) online. But now that NGS is accepting photo submissions and will—hopefully!—be linking them to the datasheets, that's a moot point as well.

 

~Zhanna

 

http://surveymarks.planetzhanna.com/

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Hi, Zhanna:

 

Thanks for responding. Since you are one of the "senior" contributors, I was interested to hear your viewpoint.

 

I have a suggestion for all who report to NGS--regardless of the organizational name used for recoveries:

 

I've begun adding a brief tag line to alert readers that an update was submitted to NGS in October 2005, etc. Granted, folks should be checking for the latest data from NGS. In practice, however, recovery expeditions often are planned well in advance. A delay in uploading--by the finder or by NGS--could cause someone to believe that there has not been an update for a specific PID in several years.

 

The tag line removes doubt about whether the finder is a submitter, or non-submitter--regardless of whether the NGS upload has been published. No "right or wrong" opinion, here. Just trying to avoid confusion and duplication.

 

-Paul-

Edited by PFF

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I have a suggestion for all who report to NGS--regardless of the organizational name used for recoveries:

 

On your GEOCACHING.COM entries, add a tag line which states that an update has been submitted to NGS.

 

Good idea, Paul. I've been doing that for quite some time—mostly just for completeness of the log, not for the reason you mention. But I never thought to suggest it on the forum.

 

After my regular geocaching log (which I tend to write in an informal style, telling the story of the expedition), I indicate what I've reported to NGS. Assuming I've made updates to the description, I include the wording of my NGS recovery, like this (from KV3628):

 

A report on the condition of the station mark and reference marks 1 and 3 was submitted to NGS, along with the following recovery note:

 

The station mark and reference marks 1 and 3 were recovered in good condition. The 1942 description is adequate, with the following additions. Kunkletown-Port Phillip Rd. is now called Smith Gap Road. There is a small parking area at the point where the Appalachian Trail crosses this road. The blazed tree was not found. The station mark is now approximately one foot below the surface of the ground, is covered by loose soil and several flat stones, and is surrounded by a circle of rocks approximately 6 feet in diameter. Reference mark 1 is covered by several flat rocks.

 

If no updates are necessary, I just make a simple note such as

 

A report on the condition of this mark has been submitted to NGS.

 

~Zhanna

 

http://surveymarks.planetzhanna.com/

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