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"Found It"...but nothing else


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I wouldn't call it wrong, but it doesn't seem to be in the spirit of benchmarking.


Unlike caches, where the object is to discover something meant to be hidden, benchmarks are in fact placed and reported (officially) so they CAN be found.


When you log a benchmark, a few details (and photo) are helpful to confirm your find. As an experienced benchmarker I've seen many mistaken logs — for example when a reference mark is claimed as the main station mark. Photos help confirm that you've got the real deal. Think of it as sort of peer review. (And if you don't understand what I'm talking about with terms such as "reference mark" or "station mark," that only emphasizes my point. There is a certain amount of technical art to benchmarking.)


Also, we understand that professional surveyors are increasingly using geocaching.com to get updated reports on the condition of a mark; and for help finding them for the important work they do, a picture is worth you-know-howmany words.



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Ditto for ArtMan's comments.


While it possible to do "arm chair" recoveries, i.e., where one logs a mark he/she has not visited, it is very unlikely to occur. There are several reasons why this is so.


(1) It would get boring, very fast. The fun is in researching and then visiting marks!


(2) There are no awards for high numbers. Hence, there is little motivation to falsify logs.


(3) In time, the fraud would be detected by the peer review process.


May I give you a real-life example which currently is being addressed? Members of the US Power Squadron get "activity points" for performing public service activities. One of these is recovering benchmarks and submitting reports to the National Geodetic Survey. During the past two months, it was noticed that reports from one regional unit included only marks which had been reported "found" during the past eighteen months. There were no exceptions; no "new ground" was being covered.


A mark-by-mark review revealed that four had been recovered within 18 months, but which had been destroyed since the last report. (With two of the four, another reporting entity had been to the mark and found it destroyed, just ten days before the USPSQD's reported find.) It appeared that someone was going through the NGS list, and writing down identification numbers (PID's) of marks which were safe to "boilerplate".


Unknown to the arm chair explorer, one of the marks had just been destroyed by removal of a gas pump island at a store. Another was on a trestle which was demolished. Two sidewalk-mounted disks were lost to road widening.


I won't bore readers with the entire list of irregularities, but one was especially interesting because it involved a GEOCACHING recovery. Picture a triangulation station with two reference marks on either side, each about 30 feet from the main disk, located on a 5-foot tall wooded bank near an apartment complex. The site was visited by GEOCAC fifteen months ago. The three disks were recovered and reports on each were submitted to NGS.


For some reason, only one report was published. No one knows why the other two "fell through the cracks" along the way. The GEOCAC observer noticed the omission in September, 2006 and wanted to get the missing disks into the system. Rather than file an out-dated report, the observer revisited the site to make certain things had not changed. All three disks were found intact on the revisit, and each was flagged with red survey tape.


Eight days later, according to NGS records, the USPSQD visited the site, but only the previously-reported disk was submitted by the Power Squadron. The other two were not mentioned--despite the fact that anyone reporting Reference Mark No.2 would have had to walk right by RM1 and the main disk--both of which had red tape hanging above them, and with the main disk having a 4-foot high witness post! Nobody, seeking one disk for points, would have ignored two obvious freebies!


In fairness to the US Power Squadron, let me point out that its members recover thousands of marks annually, on a nationwide basis. For the most part, their findings are consistent with later recovery efforts by GEOCAC. The situation mentioned herein appears to be coming from a single individual. Efforts are underway at NGS to advise USPSQD, so it can identify the source of these reports and make whatever corrections are necessary to ensure the integrity of the organization's submissions to the national database.


False reports on GEOCACHING.COM do not carry the adverse implications of bogus reports to the NGS database. Nevertheless, it is not something that our hobby wants to see occur. The review process on this site is similar to that described above, with some additional "twists" which do not need to be included in this forum. I have been pleased to note that when irregularities are noted, the submitter is notified in an educational tone, rather than with a police mentality.


Your area (Nevada) has some very seasoned benchmark hunters who are held in high regard by members of the GEOCACHING community. The vast majority of Nevada reports contain photos and revised "to reach" directions. I'd like to encourage you to visit benchmarks, and then file reports of your own. As a first step, go to some which already have been recovered. Compare the written description with what you observe first-hand. The experience will be valuable when you start looking for those "first to find's"!


Best regards,


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TeamTettamanti -


I certainly agree with the information supplied by Artman and PFF. However, I wanted to post a short note here to give an answer with a benefit-of-the-doubt perspective. There are some benchmark hunters that either don't have a camera, or are mainly a geocacher and don't realize that taking pictures of the benchmark and its area are an integral part of a good benchmark report as Artman discussed. So, it may not be fair to say that a log with no picture means that someone is logging just for the numbers.

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Yes, sometimes it IS about numbers. No log to sign either. Images aren't a requirement, so if you say you found it, you found it.


A lot of benchmarks are found as an adjunct to a nearby geocache. The cache may even mention the benchmark (often they are tri-stations, at the top of peaks). This leads to the previosly mentioned recovery of a reference mark as the station, as the geocacher doesn't know better. Those folks are indeed boosting their numbers, either overtly or casually--geocaching has a numbers aspect to it that can't be denied. It is a large part of the game to many people.


The serious benchmarkers here don't really pay any attention to those "casual hunters" (not all are casual--BDT makes a good point above). Did they find the right mark? Maybe. Do we care if the get credit for it if they didn't? Nope. That isn't the game we play (if indeed this obsession we have can be called a game!). The serious benchmarkers do this for many reasons, and all apply high standards to the hunt. We typically submit our posts to the NGS to help surveyors. For me, that is the ultimate satisfaction from an afternoon spent outdoors, talking to locals, seeing history, communing with nature--that even AFTER that, by submitting the recovery to the NGS, someone else can benefit from what I just did for fun.



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In my neck of the woods there are a couple of people that went through the GC.com database and if the last log from the NGS data base indicated the benchmark was destroyed they added their own destroyed log on GC.com without visiting the site. They never said they went to the benchmark, they only pointed out the NGS log said it was destroyed. I can only assume they were going for the numbers. Or maybe they just wanted the exposure.

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In my neck of the woods there are a couple of people that went through the GC.com database and if the last log from the NGS data base indicated the benchmark was destroyed they added their own destroyed log on GC.com without visiting the site. They never said they went to the benchmark, they only pointed out the NGS log said it was destroyed. I can only assume they were going for the numbers. Or maybe they just wanted the exposure.

I've done that some. I don't personally care about the numbers - to me it's an easy way to see which marks I should go after and which I shouldn't. I trust the NGS logs, so I put them in when I come across something like that. I wouldn't care if it didn't count towards my numbers.


Plus, I figure if TPTB ever implement an "Ignore Marks Reported Destroyed" checkbox, it will come in handy.

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In my neck of the woods there are a couple of people that went through the GC.com database and if the last log from the NGS data base indicated the benchmark was destroyed they added their own destroyed log on GC.com without visiting the site. They never said they went to the benchmark, they only pointed out the NGS log said it was destroyed. I can only assume they were going for the numbers. Or maybe they just wanted the exposure.

I've done something like that.


In visiting all the marks in my home county (Manhattan) I came across 40 some-odd stations that were destroyed, and I logged them on GC as that. I logged them on NGS as not found, presumably destroyed. I then sent them all to Deb together with supporting documentation. A few months later they were marked by the NGS as destroyed.


Then I went back to each station on GC and posted a note to the affect the the NGS had just marked them destroyed. This was in the nature of a followup and also to provide information to others who might be looking for these marks. Several in particular were getting some FOUND logs on GC, even though in fact they were destroyed (they were confusimng an earlier and later aid to navigation). My note was to alert such folks to the situation.


I think other benchmarkers who manage to get the NGS to mark a station as destroyed, should similarly post a note on GC to that affect.


As to third parties scanning the NGS database for destroyed stations (which they had never visited) and then logging them as such on GC, no, no.


I also visited some (not all) stations in my county that were already marked destroyed, and found 2 that were actually NOT destroyed after all. I sent these to Deb who said she would UNdestroy them. Obviously these were never logged on GC since the entries were not there.

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I would say I take photos on 80-85% of the PIDs I find. For the other 15-20%, something prohibited me from having a camera with me (the wife had it, the memory card was full, I forgot it, etc.). I don't think it's bad to not have a photo; the issue is effort and reliability of recovery.


Taking and posting a photo is going that last 10% to make a solid recovery. However, I would also rely upon a report that didn't have photos, but had updated coordinates, or a better to-reach, or more information about the disk's situation.


I guess I look at three things when rating the reliability of someone else's report:


1) Their professional history (personal or organization)


What do I know about that person? When I'm going after a station, and someone's logged a station already on Geocaching, I usually case their logging history. How professional are they? If it's an NGS log, what feel have I gotten for that particular agency, or person if I know enough about their initials?


2) Quality of log


I'm much more willing to believe a log that is fully fleshed out, with updated coordinates on a SCALED station, better to reach, generally more text, etc., compared to a fellow nearby who has logged half a dozen stations with:

:P:P:P:P:):P FTF!!!!!!!! :P:):D:):D


3) Photos


Good photos can make up for a bad or mediocre log, and are sometimes better than a good log.


All of these factors come together in my mind when looking at someone's log. Generally, it's hard to lie and claim stations you haven't found, because someone else will eventually come by and check your work.


What makes a good log in my mind? My below guidelines are nothing new in this forum, but describe how I try to log.


1) "I found the station in good condition, as described."


This means that everything checked out ok, the station was there, it was solid, and nothing had changed since the last time.


2) If the station has SCALED horizontal coordinates, you note that the coordinates are ok, or you provide better hand-held.


I try to do this for all of my SCALED finds, except where reception is lousy (under-bridge pier stations, for example) or the few times I forget.


3) If the to-reach or the station condition has changed, describe how it changed, give an accurate to-reach that will place the person at the station, and note how accurate your distances are.


4) Take 2 photos, 1 from 6 inches or so above the disk and the other from eye level 5-15 feet (whatever's appropriate) feet away, as the approach shot.


If a log has all of these, it's rock-solid. If there's enough data provided, it's still rock solid.

Edited by BuckBrooke
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I pretty much follow the same as BuckBrooke. If nothing is changed in the to-reach information, and the descriptive text remains accurate. I'll just put "Found in good condition as described."


I very seldom post handheld cordinates because the GPS is mounted in the truck with a mounted antenna.


I always take pictures if I can. I've even taken pics from inside the vehicle when unfriendly dogs are on the loose.


I take 1 close-up of the disc - close enough to fill the field of view, another of the immediate area around the disc, and at least 1 directional view showing surroundings (with the disc in marked in the photo!) as they would look as you come up on the mark. If possible, I usually take 2 directional pics from opposing directions.


....and yes, I think many are in it for the numbers.

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Lots of benchmarks in my area are "found" but there are no pictures of the location, surrounding area, the benchmark itself. It almost seems as if people are just "Finding it" to get credit for it. Maybe I'm wrong, but it just seems wrong.





Most geocachers are not interested in finding large quanities of benchmarks, they just find a few to get the "Benchmark Icon" on their profile page. Some log their finds when the cache hunts uses a benchmark as a leg in a multi cache.


If you have read the FAQ benchmark home page then you know a picture is NOT required to claim a find for a benchmark. Besides, not everyone can afford a digital camera & using a 35mm would get very expensive if you do much benchmark hunting.


The name of the game is to get out and have fun. The best thing about it is you don't have to conform to my rules or those of BDT, or Bill93 or anyone else. Simply go find the benchmarks and log them to the best of your ability (& pocketbook). If you choose not to follow the standard procedures when logging on GC.com, don't worry, the benchmark police won't come knocking and delete your logs.


If you choose to log with the NGS then you will be required to follow their regulations.


Either way, it is just a hobby, something done because WE enjoy it. For GC.com, there is no right or wrong, there is just enjoying Your time out hunting the benchmarks.




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I think we all agree that a photo is helpful, and pictures should be included if at all possible. I was just looking at a website selling apparently decent digital cameras for $20-30, so affordibility is less of an issue...how much did you spend on that GPSr?

Those logs that say just 'Recovered as Described' indicate to me that there should be no problems finding the mark.


The real point of this post is to bring up my irritation from those 'Mark Not Found'...and nothing else logs.

Why wasn't it found?

Was the bridge or other structure no longer there?

Was it likely buried, and you didn't have a shovel?

Is the described area fenced-off private property?

How hard did you look?

Did you just glance around the area from inside the car?

Or did you spend two hours with a probe and a metal detector?

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Pictures are good! Anyone can look at my photos and say "Yup. That certainly looks like the right disk." Or "Dumb dolphin." Likewise, I can look at other photos, and say "No, that's RM1. Says so." Or the reset. Nine logs on this one KU2870. Two have the right benchmark, two logged the reference mark near the cache. As to the other five? Who knows what they found? I went looking for one, with the only gc comment: "It is an "easy" find. right off the trail. its a small weatherd brass disk on a stone." Very nice. But if a picture had been posted, I would have known that it was RM6! The actual station apprears to be 8" under the trail. Oh, well.


(AZcachemeister @ Nov 4 2006, 09:29 AM)

The real point of this post is to bring up my irritation from those 'Mark Not Found'...and nothing else logs......etc.


Tell me about it! Bridge destroyed. Condo complex built here. Interstate Highway wiped this one out. These things would be nice to know! New curbing. Area paved over. One of my pet peeves with US Power Squadron is a log of "Not Found"; when you read the page, you discover that it is on the roof of the high school.

Oh, well.

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