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Team_Talisman

Witness Post At Benchmark

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Maybe, this has been answered somewhere else that I could not find...

When you find a witness marker, Is it right to dig in the dirt to actually find marker???

 

2nd Question would be a marked with the description JIM on it was found and no JIM marker on GCs list for colorado... By using co ordinates on gps the GC search came up with a benchmark number fitting the description... How do we find out if JIM is right or the GC number is right for this benchmark....

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Hi Team Talisman:

 

Digging: Well, depends a lot on the location. In middle of the grass in a city park: not a good idea. Unimproved area, public land, not a wildlife reserve or anything like that: I would consider it. I would try my metal detector first, but I know you may not have one... Even without the metal detector, if the location is "suitable" (common sense being a good guide), I have done so, and would again. Not on private property without permission, for sure.

 

I think folks here will be happy to help you out on the 2nd question, but we need more info: Lat/Long coordinates, PID number you thought you may have found, pictures of the disc if you have any, or a good description of the disc, etc. Anything else you have would help.

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First you must use common sense. I will not dig on private property unless I can get permission. If I suspect that I found the mark under ground and it is in a public park, on public school grounds, in a public right of way not maintained by a home owner, I will dig a single hole, only 1 shovel deep. Any deeper than that, I move on. I will ALWAYS put the ground back exactly as I found it. I would like to leave all the marks uncovered but haven't decided I should do that yet.

 

I use my 'poker' tool to locate most of my buried disks. I cut off an old broom handle, fastened a 24", 1/4" pointed steel rod to the end of it. It will allow me to probe about 16" in the ground without bending over. Once the ground gets dry this summer, the deepth may be more limited. I borrowed a metal detector with not much luck at all. Saved me a bunch of money from purchasing one for myself.

 

I have come across two witness posts so far that I can't locate the disk. My local county records still show them as good, but I wouldn't feel right digging up someone's front yard, even though it is near the curb.

 

Good Luck in your hunts... James

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I was just out with a NGS crew(the real guys), and we used a backhoe to try to recover a benchmark. We made a wicked hole before filling it back in. No luck in our hunt though. Digging... Yeah I think it is ok, but get permission for sensitive or private lands.

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I use my 'poker' tool to locate most of my buried disks. I cut off an old broom handle, fastened a 24", 1/4" pointed steel rod to the end of it. It will allow me to probe about 16" in the ground without bending over. Once the ground gets dry this summer, the deepth may be more limited.

 

I created my poker from an old mini golf putter. I put the business end in a grinder and it came out like this:

http://www.sheehys.com/mopar/P0007357.JPG

http://www.sheehys.com/mopar/P0007362.JPG

 

It is not as sharp as it appears - I rounded the tip off for safety.

Brendan

Edited by Team Fawlty

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Maybe, this has been answered somewhere else that I could not find...

When you find a witness marker, Is it right to dig in the dirt to actually find marker???

 

The purpose of the witness post is to aid in the finding and recovery of the mark in question. It is very common for the marks to get buried and digging for them is, in many cases, necessary. The digging should be done as prudently as possible though. As a general rule, the witness posts are placed in relatively close proximity to the mark. Also, they usually point toward the mark (so you can read the witness post if you're standing on the mark). Read the data sheet (or any other information you may have about the mark) to see if the distance between the mark and the post is called out. If it is, start there, if not, start about a foot in front of the post and work your way out. It's best to start by probing a bit. You can use a probe if you have one. A shovel can be used in a similar manner without disturbing too much soil but they usually can't go as deep. I tend to just kick the dirt and/or weeds out of the way with my boots and 'feel around' for it. Then I start digging.

 

The warning has already been given but I'll restate it: always ask permission before digging on private property. Most property owners wouldn't mind you looking for a survey marker on their property provided you're not damaging or destroying something. Doing so without asking prior permission may put you at the business end of a vandalism or criminal trespass lawsuit. Don't go there.

 

2nd Question would be a marked with the description JIM on it was found and no JIM marker on GCs list for colorado...

 

I believe the GC.com search function needs more than three characters to work. There could be a JIM mark in Colorado, but it needs more than just JIM to work with. (Some of the others may want to chime in here to verify or dispute this.)

 

...By using co ordinates on gps the GC search came up with a benchmark number fitting the description... How do we find out if JIM is right or the GC number is right for this benchmark....

 

If you've used the coordinates to perform a search and found a mark that fits that description - from the setting to the stamping to the ties (if any) - then it's most likely the correct mark. If you still have questions, let the forum know the PID (benchmark number) of the mark in question, and post a picture (or good description) of the mark. There are many people here who can help you with an answer.

 

- Kewaneh

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Another aspect of digging which has not been emphasized in this thread, is that you must be very alert to buried utilities. Putting a sharp poker through a large telephone cable or fiber optic can cost you a lot of money, and hitting a buried power line could be more exciting than you wanted.

 

Look up and down the road for warning signs, splicing pedestals, cables going down a pole into the ground, etc. Account for where the electric lines, phone lines, TV cable, etc might be even if not marked. Then, if everything looks ok I go ahead, but don't get agressive in probing or digging if I hit a resistance. I usually dig with a garden trowel, not a shovel. Even though it is much slower, it seems safer.

 

Theoretically, any time, any place, you put a shovel in the ground, you are supposed to have called the one-call locator service to mark the area ahead of time. You need to judge the risk you are taking if you don't.

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2nd Question would be a marked with the description JIM on it was found and no JIM marker on GCs list for colorado... By using co ordinates on gps the GC search came up with a benchmark number fitting the description... How do we find out if JIM is right or the GC number is right for this benchmark....

 

You can search by name on the NGS site.

There are two marks named JIM in Colorado

KJ0537 and LK0484

Both are listed on GC.com

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Harry is correct. The caveat about searching on GC.com that Kewaneh mentioned is at the bottom of the search page: *If you use keywords of 3 letters or less, the query will look for an exact match. In all searches by designation, only 100 results will be returned. Searching for JIM will find you only marks named exactly JIM. Searching for JAME will get you JAMES, JAMESTOWN, JAMESWAY, etc. This is most likely to limit search times since three letter combos can be found in words more often than 4 and more.

 

Kewanah also makes a great point about private property. Most land around my area is privately owned, so I have to read the clues before I wander onto it--this leads me to interpret the amount of "private propertiness" when I look for a mark. For starters, most marks set by the sides of roads are on the road's right of way. This means, to me at least, that it is semi-private property, although I am sure the owners may think of it as totally private! How I approach a mark along a road depends on the property: If it is on a bridge abutment, then it is part of the road. I have often had to ask permission to park in someone's driveway while I walked up the road to the bridge however, as there is rarely a wide spot to pull off right at a stream or overpass. A yard is definitely private property and I won't even set foot on it until I get permission, much less dig (and owners have let me dig, and on more than one occasion, actually helped me dig). The corner of a farm field or a wooded area beside the road just is probably part of the road right of way, and if it is not close to a house I will usually just step out of the car to see what I can find. If I need to do more than walk on and off I will check with the owner. A big No Trespassing sign around here usually means NO HUNTING, but one can never be sure, so I tend to forego marks on marked land. Again, if they are 5 feet from the road edge I will often head in to get them. And if I can figure out who owns the land I will ask. Don't ask me how I handle railroads--that subject has come up enough here and there are some strong opinions. I will simply say that I know it is private property and that I will never get permission to enter, so I deal with that.

 

Klemmerer, I have indeed dug up marks in public park areas. It depends on the exact siting and situation, but if I can locate the monument and it is ony an inch or so deep, I will cut the grass on three sides of a square shape, peel it back carefully, take my pics, then replace my divot. I can usually do this without leaving any real evidence (shhh. don't tell but I did it in somone's yard once without telling, after I got permission to look for the marks).

 

I used to be an avid "proder" but my cheapie metal detector has almost totally replaced my Walmart camp fork with tines removed. When I do poke and prod, I am very aware of the existence of utility lines in the area. My proding is normally only a couple of inches, although at one mark I was down about 2 feet (in someone's yard, with permission. I didn't dig because I didn't find anything to dig for).

 

The markings on a benchmark are an important part of the recovery. If you found one marked JIM but your datasheet says you need one stamped J 123, you are at the wrong mark. Read the description and keep trying.

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Common sense is the rule of the day.

 

One of my recent funny cases was in Moscow, TN. I rolled up on FE0973, which is a rather old (1934) marker in a culvert headwall. As we drove up we noticed the culvert was near railroad tracks, and on the other side was a police officer in his car (county, I think). I get out and look, finding the culvert all covered with debris, so I get out my shovel (full sized) and start to dig it off. About 5 minutes later the officer starts up his car (looking for speeders, I think), drives across the railroad tracks, stops by me and says:

 

"You got my attention now. What are you doing?"

 

"Looking for a survey marker."

 

"I just wanted to be sure you weren't digging up a dead body or anything."

 

"Oh no, there's a survey marker in the headwall of this culvert."

 

"Alright".

 

Of course, my assumption in this case is that the headwall is in the road right of way. Might not have been for all I know.

 

On private property I ask, almost always. Always for someone's yard. Always if it's "taken care of". People don't want you messing up their stuff, right? I know I wouldn't. A lawn is off limitis, a field is off limits. Overgrown area, well, if you can locate the mark (e.g. you have the headwall as a reference) sure.

 

I always use a probe method first. Metal detector, the shovel straight in a couple of inches without digging. Make sure you're in the right spot. If you can, put it back the way you found it. Make sure you have the data sheet to show someone.

 

Recently I found a mark in the road right of way, but in front of someone's house (a good 400 feet from the road). It was partially exposed (just push the grass back a bit), but a woman came out and started yelling what are you doing. I tried to explain from afar when a man walked around the house and started chatting with me. I gave him a data sheet, and my PR PDF, and he was very curious to find out what the mark was there for having mowed around it a good many times. He apologised in the end for the woman, saying "you can't be too careful" these days and I agreed.

 

Educate people about what benchmarks are and why they are there. Dig with care, and only when necessary and you think you're right. Don't go digging for an underground mark when the surface mark is missing unless you really, really know what you're doing.

 

And remember, even cops have a sense of humor. We've talked to them three times, all with no issues just idle bemusement.

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Hrry neiter one of those Jims are close to where this one is... I have about 10 days off before knee surgery so will go check it out while I can and get image and such for this forum...

 

Thanks Guys, for all the suggestions....Most benchmarks I have on list to find is on state property and not private...

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