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Hello from Deb Brown at NGS


DebBrown
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Hello dear Geocachers,....it's been awhile since I've written to you all so I thought I'd post a new note to once again thank all of you who contribute so much to helping us keep our database up to date. You're work is valued and necessary and your efforts are recognized.

 

Another reason for my posting is to let you know that I'm who you should be sending all database updates to now that Cheryl Malone has retired. Please send any database corrections me at Deb.Brown@noaa.gov. Please include your name, not just email address so I can respond to you directly.

 

Thanks again and happy hunting,.....deb

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Not sure if this is the right place, but I have found some benchmarks in very good condition but hasn't been reported on since its original placement or the benchmark has been destroyed but this condition hasn't been reported on. I'd like to submit my findings to NGS. I understand there is a form to fill out for each one I report on? I've heard that the form can be confusing to people who haven't filled it out or who especially aren't surveyors... terminology, etc.... So, Deb, what would we be emailing to you? And in what format?

 

Barry Watson

aka Doc Geo

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Assuming that a databse update is different than a benchmark recovery submission, what types of things is Deb, or are you, looking for in a database update? I thought I read somewhere that things like water towers, standpipes, or other "building" stations usually aren't used much by surveyors anymore because they are not as accurate as the actual disks are. I remember seeing someone write that the NGS would be "happy to take these off the books" if they can be confirmed destroyed.

 

Perhaps for my benefit, and the benefit of others that come accross this thread, someone can reply with what type of "database" information Deb is looking for. This may also help Deb avoid sifting through emails of simple benchmark recoveries or such, that people stumbled accross this thread and simply emailed her.

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The most common thing you'd e-mail Deb about would be if a benchmark is destroyed.. things like the water tank being torn down, or a steeple being replaced making the station destroyed, antennas being taken down or lengthened, etc. She can then log these marks as destroyed on the NGS database. Be sure to sent her digital pictures of the destroyed mark with plenty of descriptions.

 

Other things that she is looking for is errors on the NGS datasheets..... things like the wrong county name, or the wrong type of marker. Big blaring errors that stick out like a sore thumb.

 

The submittal page is at: http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/FORMS_PROCESSING-c...y_entry_www.prl

 

Be sure to read lots of other geocachers reports on actual datasheets first to get a feeling of how these are written. And please remember that this is the FORMAL database that the world of professional surveyors use...........don't embarrass us :)

Edited by StripeMark
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Barry,

Take a look at the NGS Forum FAQ. It will give you some guidelines for reporting NGS marks.

 

A couple of tips--before you report, make absolutely sure of what you are reporting. If you found the mark, be sure the stamping matches the datasheet. If you DIDN'T find the mark, be sure you put in the same amount of effort that a surveyor who needed that mark for his job would have put in. That may mean measuring, probing, metal detecting, looking at maps, talking to locals, etc. I have returned to a some marks' locations 3 or more times, not satisfied that I was looking in the right place or searching the right way. Sometimes that results in a Found, sometimes it means I am much more confident of my Not Found verdict.

KW0933 took 3 trips until conditions were right for the find, KW0932 took as many trips until I saw the obvious--the bridge abutment had been capped with concrete, KW0931 took 4 or 5 trips, some major weed wacking, digging, and a metal detector, just to find the stem of the mark. In the case of KW0931 there were NO remnants of any of the references described. I looked at maps, photos, paced off distances, and finally took repeated guesses at where it would be. I got lucky, but it wasn't all luck--there was some hard work and a bit of skill mixed in. (Yes, I find it odd that three such troublesome benchmarks are all within sight of each other.) Even crazier was KW0924 where the mark EXISTED but had been remounted in a new bridge. My gut told me something was wrong, but only by looking at old maps and walking the area did it finally dawn on me that someone had removed the mark from its old location and reset it in the new one, yet never reported it to the NGS. At the opposite end of the spectrum are marks like KW2692. It only took a driveby to determine that the bridge was truly gone, abutments and all. I often stop at these to verify the lack of any mark, but sometimes I don't bother.

 

If nothing has changed with the mark, you can simply leave the recovery portion blank.

 

If things have changed, remeasure the distance from the mark to key reference points--road centerlines, large trees, curb lines, power poles, building corners, etc. Be as accurate as possible, keeping in mind that they are only guides to find the mark. Make sure your directions are correct, and adjust them for any declination if necessary. Put the distances in reverse order-- "65.5 FEET NORTHEAST OF POWER POLE 123, 40.1 FEET SOUTHWEST OF THE CENTERLINE OF FOREST STREET, 14 FEET WEST OF A 12 INCH MAPLE TREE" THE MARK IS LEVEL WITH THE GROUND."

 

Don't be overly wordy or personal. Say "NOT FOUND AFTER 30 MINUTE SEARCH WITH A METAL DETECTOR" instead of "I DIDN'T FIND THE MARK AFTER A 30 MINUTE SEARCH", "BRIDGE REPLACED" instead of "THE BRIDGE HAS BEEN REPLACED", etc. Only in the rarest of instances should information not directly related to finding the station be included (I include this because I KNOW someone will counterpoint if I don't. It comes under the "never say never" adage).

 

No matter what else I may put in the recovery I try to add coordinates from my GPSr (when I remember to take them). There has been some discussion about the proper format but I use "HH2 N hh mm ss.s W hhh mm ss.s", e.g. "HH2 N 40 35 40.4 W 075 30 45.5". This is especially important where the area has changed or the posted coords are signicantly different.

 

One thing about Not Found reports. In my opinion, false Not Founds can be at least as damaging as false Founds. If a surveyor is relying on my report to help him find a mark to use, but I incorrectly reported the mark as Not Found, he may end up a mile or more away and have to spend time transferring that elevation to his final destination instead of using the closer mark.

 

Destroyed marks? Email Deb Brown with information about the mark and pictures showing it is destroyed. Remember that you NEED to find the disk in order for it to be marked destroyed. In all other cases the evidence is not strong enough to convince the NGS that you found what ain't there (so to speak).

 

Water towers, smokestacks, other tall pointy things are another issue. The NGS no longer wants to know the status of these intersection stations, unless they are destroyed.

 

Now get out there and hunt!

 

(Edited to fix a duplicate url. And to fix Deb Brown's name)

Edited by mloser
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Stripmark and MonkeyKat,

 

Deb told me that she would prefer if we no longer bother with the intersection stations, as she does the entries when she gets them just for historical purposes. They are not used in the field any more (surveyors feel free to chime in here if I am wrong--I am just reporting what I heard from Deb).

 

When marking an intersection station destroyed I have found it useful to take a picture with my GPSr in GOTO mode pointing at the non-existent station. Getting good focus and view on everything is difficult so I take a pic of the GPSr so you can see the arrow pointing, then a wider shot showing WHERE it was pointing, and no tower, standpipe, etc, in the background. See KW3032 for an example. I usually send 3 or 4 pics to Deb though, not just the two I put in the log on GC.com.

 

And a general point to consider regarding Found/Not Found marks. Stations where the disk has been pried away from the setting, leaving the stem, or some other evidence of the mark, are considered "Found, Poor", not "Destroyed" or "Not Found". This also came to us from Deb and I can see her point. There are times when a surveyor might be able to use a damaged mark if sub millimeter accuracy is not desired. So it is better to let them know what the situation is and let them decide if the mark will suit their purpose. "DISK HAS BEEN REMOVED. STEM REMAINS".

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Deb,

Thank YOU for keeping your extensive database current so that we have the information we need to go out there and go benchmark hunting. It's a never-ending challenge to get out there and look!

 

shorbird

 

Hi Barry,

 

The form can be found on our website at ngs.noaa.gov. Just click on "datasheets" and then "datasheets" again. From there click on "submit a recovery". If you're not affliated with any particular group, use the contributor code "INDIV". From there just fill in all the information and you'll need to know the PID and designation for the mark you're reporting on. The PID consists of 2 letters and 4 numbers. If you don't know the PID, go to our website and click on "datasheets" and then do a radial or station name search. If we have control on the mark you're referencing then the PID should be there. If you need further assistance, email me at Deb.Brown@noaa.gov

 

Happy hunting!

 

deb

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Hi Everybody,

 

I've read your latest posts and am impressed by the thoroughness of your efforts. Just for clarity,....database changes would be anything you find on the datasheets that doesn't accurately refect the current status of the station. Examples would be the setting was coded wrong, or the county is wrong. Others might include disk type or the spelling of the nearest city etc. Please note that database changes that you'll let me know about such as the ones above are to be sent to me via email at Deb.Brown@noaa.gov Recovery work and updates on the status of the station (ie. condition or to reach) is still done through the online recovery form.

 

Many thanks,

 

deb

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Stripmark and MonkeyKat,

 

Deb told me that she would prefer if we no longer bother with the intersection stations, as she does the entries when she gets them just for historical purposes. They are not used in the field any more (surveyors feel free to chime in here if I am wrong--I am just reporting what I heard from Deb).

 

When marking an intersection station destroyed I have found it useful to take a picture with my GPSr in GOTO mode pointing at the non-existent station. Getting good focus and view on everything is difficult so I take a pic of the GPSr so you can see the arrow pointing, then a wider shot showing WHERE it was pointing, and no tower, standpipe, etc, in the background. See KW3032 for an example. I usually send 3 or 4 pics to Deb though, not just the two I put in the log on GC.com.

 

 

Just curious - if the intersection stations have no real value anymore, why don't they just purge them whether they exist or not?

 

Thanks,

Brendan

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Just curious - if the intersection stations have no real value anymore, why don't they just purge them whether they exist or not?
That would seem to make sense. However, I find that many of these stations have great historic interest, referring to places long gone, or identifying prior uses of older structures. Maybe they could just be closed out with a generic statement to this effect: "Technological advances have rendered intersection stations obsolete for most purposes. This record is being maintained in the database for historical reasons, but no updates are being added as of [date]. Use with caution."

 

-ArtMan-

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On the other fin, they are often used as references for benchmarks. Example: KU3903. Nineteen references listed. Fifteen are intersection stations. Only seven are still valid. This shows two of them:

aeaf8dc8-6b9e-4170-9533-7929fc015c7e.jpg

Then again, I didn't need any of the refrences to find the disk. But it makes a pretty picture.

Of course, neither of these are listed as references...

39eda563-6a34-45df-889a-411f48a9f0e7.jpg

Hmm... Oh, well.

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Harry brings up a good point: I would think these stations may (occasionally) be valuable to a surveyor to establish an azimuth reading for a trriangulation station.

 

When Holtie22 and I recovered Buttermilk a few months ago he used a Leica device that enabeld us to find the reference marks to a small fraction of an inch. But to start he needed not one but two points. One (the station) to establish an accurate position, and any other to establish a direction. From there it was easy to find the rest.

 

Now if we could only find one disk (hopefully the station, but maybe a reference mark) and nothing more, he said you would have to use a compass reading or the stars or whatever to get the diorection. It seems to me a nearby church steeple would have done better if it were an intersection station.

 

Most triangualtion stations have azimuth marks set for this purpose, but who here has found an azimuth mark? Very hard, since usually only a direction is given and at best a rough distance. And even if you found one, the sight line from the station is usually overgrown or blocked by new structures (like high-rise condos or office towers). We found the one at Buttermilk largely because the security guy helping us immediately knew the description for it ("... GO SOUTHWEST ON THE OLD PAVED ROAD THROUGH A MEADOW FOR 0.1 MILE TO 2 CONCRETE PEDESTALS WHERE THE PAVED ROAD ENDS AND A TRACK ROAD CONTINUES BETWEEN THE PEDESTALS AND THE AZIMUTH MARK IN THE PEDESTAL ON THE RIGHT"). And no, you couldn't see it to make a sighting from the station mark,

 

Hopefully Holtie or another surveyor can chime in, but it seems like intersections stations may still have a use for deternmining azimuths.

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Harry brings up a good point: I would think these stations may (occasionally) be valuable to a surveyor to establish an azimuth reading for a trriangulation station.

 

When Holtie22 and I recovered Buttermilk a few months ago he used a Leica device that enabeld us to find the reference marks to a small fraction of an inch. But to start he needed not one but two points. One (the station) to establish an accurate position, and any other to establish a direction. From there it was easy to find the rest.

 

Now if we could only find one disk (hopefully the station, but maybe a reference mark) and nothing more, he said you would have to use a compass reading or the stars or whatever to get the diorection. It seems to me a nearby church steeple would have done better if it were an intersection station.

 

Most triangualtion stations have azimuth marks set for this purpose, but who here has found an azimuth mark? Very hard, since usually only a direction is given and at best a rough distance. And even if you found one, the sight line from the station is usually overgrown or blocked by new structures (like high-rise condos or office towers). We found the one at Buttermilk largely because the security guy helping us immediately knew the description for it ("... GO SOUTHWEST ON THE OLD PAVED ROAD THROUGH A MEADOW FOR 0.1 MILE TO 2 CONCRETE PEDESTALS WHERE THE PAVED ROAD ENDS AND A TRACK ROAD CONTINUES BETWEEN THE PEDESTALS AND THE AZIMUTH MARK IN THE PEDESTAL ON THE RIGHT"). And no, you couldn't see it to make a sighting from the station mark,

 

Hopefully Holtie or another surveyor can chime in, but it seems like intersections stations may still have a use for deternmining azimuths.

 

PBNY,

 

You are quite right about needing a backsight, but I can honestly tell you that I have not used, nor had any of our crews use a Tri-station for a setup point in over 10 years. I have used them for GPS base stations, but if I need any control I am goint to set it and survey it in by GPS.

 

We do always set them in pairs or threes for when one gets ripped out and then GPS all of them. If we use a benchmark or tri-station as one of our control points chances are we are going to GPS them all again, whether or not they coordinate values previously. Most of the older tri-stations generally are 2nd or 3rd order which were created by classical methods, as shown on the data sheets. These will not check with CORS, HARN, A or B order control, they are generally a few feet different in their reported values in comparison to these newer higher order control stations.

 

One other reason that the tri-stations do not get used very much, at least in the mountainous western states, is because most of them were put in on the tops of very hard to access mountain peaks; too darn hard to get to.

 

So, long story short, yes the intersection stations can be useful, but no they just are not used anymore by 99% of the Land Surveyors.

 

CallawayMT

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