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Unknown Marker - Middle of Intersection

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I'm fairly new to the whole finding benchmark process and today I was driving from one I just found to another when I saw this marker in the middle of an intersection. I took a couple pictures and decided to check it out when I got home but I'm unable to find anything that is useful in determining what this is.

 

The mark is located in at the intersection of Bellaire Ave. and County Road E in White Bear Lake, Minnesota which is located in Ramsey County. There were no physical marks on the small disk but it would appear that something may have been on the surface but it got worn down after time.

 

Here's a shot of the intersection

 

DSC00548.jpg

 

Here's a shot of the mark close up

 

DSC00549.jpg

 

I did a little poking around looking for data sheets with the NGS and the closest that I come up with is AH4851 which is down Bellarie a bit when I enter the coordinates in; yet I know coordinates are not always right on most the time.

 

Thing is the record at the top says "Msg=FATAL_ERROR - No Marks found" when I do bring that record up.

 

So my question is: Is this AH4851 or perhaps something else that's unregistered or have I missed something altogether. Heck this could be nothing too and I'm just thinking it's something. Any help or pointers on how I can clear something up like this in the future would be appreciated.

 

Funny thing is further down the road at the intersection of McKnight and County Road E I think I spotted another one but I didn't have time to stop for that.

 

Thanks for any help!

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Based on its location, it appears that this disk monuments the north quarter corner of Section 36, Township 30N, Range 22W, 4th Principal Meridian Extended, in the Public Land Survey System (PLSS). As such, it would be a cadastral survey marker serving a role in the delineation of property boundaries and is probably not a "benchmark."

 

In the PLSS states, a marker at the intersection of two roads, one running north-south, and the other running east-west, will often be marking a section corner or quarter corner. Inspection of a topographic map of the area usually can help determine if a PLSS corner is/should be located nearby.

Edited by tosborn

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I ran into a simular unknown mark while looking for SY2738 at the intersection of Stadium Way and Division St in Tacoma WA. Found this mark in the road and can find no mention of it in the City of Tacoma Survey mopnument list. Any ideas?

11lhcua.jpg

2rwxefr.jpg

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Based on its location, it appears that this disk monuments the north quarter corner of Section 36, Township 30N, Range 22W, 4th Principal Meridian Extended, in the Public Land Survey System (PLSS). As such, it is a cadastral survey marker serving a role in the delineation of property boundaries and is probably not a "benchmark."

 

In the PLSS states, a marker at the intersection of two roads, one running north-south, and the other running east-west, will often be marking a section corner or quarter corner. Inspection of a topographic map of the area usually can help determine if a PLSS corner is/should be located nearby.

 

Ah! Thanks for that; I had no idea about the PLSS. I'll have to do some reading then on this so I can further my knowledge so when I run into them again I can take this into consideration.

 

Thank you very much.

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Geosym:

 

I don't know. It's possible that your mark could be a PLSS corner. If so it would most likely be the NE corner of the NW quarter of the SE quarter of Section 32, , Township 21N, Range 3E of the Willamette Meridian, but it could be something else entirely. The "88" painted next to it is probably important. Is there an "87" or an "89" 100 feet up or down the street?

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I can't dispute the possibility that either of these marks may be PLSS marks, but at first glance, I would doubt it. PLSS marks have a particular way they are to be stamped in order to be correctly identifed. These marks have none of the correct markings. They may, however, be "temporary" surface marks used to identify a proper sub-surface monument. (The term "temporary" as I'm using it here is a relative term. "Temporary" may be two decades, relative to a PLSS mounment which may have been in position for a century and a half.) All that said, I have seen proper PLSS section corners improperly marked, and not marked at all.

 

I would tend to think that the mark shown by Reipod is simply a centerline monument. It is very common for centerline monuments and PLSS monuments to coincide in a relatively close position, often at the same horizontal position, but different vertically, with the PLSS mark set well below grade and the centerline monument above. Centerline monuments are commonly set at the surface, with nothing more than a centerpunch mark or scribed cross to identify them.

 

The mark shown by Geosym is a similar mark, but in a much more substantial setting. A smaller mark set in the AC paving can be subject to the pavement motion (expansion, contraction, traffic loads, etc.) but an iron collar filled with concrete offer a great deal of protection from potential movement, either natural or manmade. Geosym's mark's proximity to the curbline indicates that it may not be a centerline monument, but the setting - and the scribed cross - make it a PLSS possibility. The painted "88" is probably nothing more than a random control point number used by a local surveyor, valuable only to him on the project he was working on that day.

 

- Kewaneh

Edited by Kewaneh & Shark

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Around here (NW Arkansas), you are very lucky if you find a stamped tablet representing a PLSS corner. For example, the section in which I live has only two stamped tablets...one at the NE section corner and one at the North quarter corner. The center quarter corner is monumented with a cotton spindle set in the asphalt of a residential street. The 16th corner just West of me is monumented by a P-K nail set in asphalt. The south quarter corner was monumented with a railroad spike set in the asphalt until 1982. It was then replaced with a stamped tablet set flush with the asphalt, which has not been seen since 1993. To locate this corner today, local surveyors whip out their Schoenstedts and put a spot of paint on the asphalt where they get the loudest tone. The SE section corner was proportioned in the mid-1980's and is in conflict with previous recorded property surveys and longstanding lines of occupation. There are generally no underground monuments upon which to rely and of course the original 1831 bearing trees have long since disappeared, as have the bearing trees from the 1980 perpetuations. In general it's a sorry state of affairs.

Edited by tosborn

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Where I grew up in southern Iowa, I understand the corners are stones placed deep. 'm not sure if all the stones were placed by the original survey or if they are a perpetuation, as I have studied very little of the original notes. Then there are railroad spikes or rebar just under the surface in many places. Like tosborn said, I know that I get a hit with the metal detector in about the right place in the road intersections near my mother's land.

 

I have an interesting clipping from the local newspaper in 1982 where an old guy was reminiscing about his youth the summer of 1931 when he worked for the county engineer. Of course he didn't have much training to know what they were doing, but as he stated it "a number of boundary lines had either proven inaccurate or else had been ignored, and it was time to bring things back in line." Two crews worked on the project. He recalls "one day, grubbing for a cornerstone laid down in 1847 or thereabouts, and after a lot of work finding it several feet off the mark. Picking it up and replacing it correctly, In knew how an archaeologist must feel." This is of course directly counter to the usual rule that a corner, once placed and accepted, remains fixed regardless of measurement error in its original placement.

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After some research I have discovered this this is a City of Tacoma survey monument.

This one however does not appear to be documented. I spent the afternoon looking for others like it in the area and didn't find any with 87 or 89 painted by it but DID find documented marks just like this one. So, looks like mystery solved. Please excuse my ignorance but what is a PLSS corner?

Thanks for the help and suggestions on this!

Chris :rolleyes:

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PLSS = Public Land Survey System, the division of land into townships and square-mile sections used in most states from Ohio west.

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Above I mentioned how some surveyors "locate" unseen corners beneath asphalt using their magnetic locators (e.g. Schoenstedt). This is a very poor practice as Jerry Penry illustrated in the July 2003 issue of Professional Surveyor Magazine. See the 1 page pdf at http://www.profsurv.com/pdf/archives/psm_2...y_surveying.pdf

In the article you've linked, Mr. Penry is not speaking against the use of Schoenstedts or other magnetic locators, or describing it as poor practice. In fact, the description or use of a magnetic locator is not mentioned in the article at all. A magnetic locator is a very useful and often necessary tool for a surveyor, however their proper use is manditory for accurate results. In his article, Mr. Penry is issuing a warning about the use of surface monuments which are set above proper PLSS section corners, and identifying their potential for being out of position. That out-of-position potential is what I was refering to in my earlier post, although I may not have stated it as clearly.

 

A good surveyor will rarely trust a simple surface monument, particularly if historic county records refrence a different type and/or more substantial monument. A surface monument may be used if it is documented, or if its position, relative to other nearby monuments, is within reason. A surface monument is generally only there to help locate the true and proper monument. (A magnetic locator is also only used as a help.) A nail, cotton spindle, or other temporary surface accessory is not a generally acceptable perpetuation because of the potential errors. Measuring the location of this surface accessory with modern equipment to pinpoint accuracy does not validate the location of the surface monument. For an accurate retracement of an original survey (PLSS or other) the original monuments, or accurately placed and recorded perpetuations must be found.

 

In the last line of his article, Mr. Penry states that "...the most important tool in [a surveyor's] arsenal will always remain the pick and shovel". The surface monument needs to be dug up to find the proper monument. Modern theodolites, total stations, and GPS equipment make our work faster and easier, but they do not replace the work done by previous surveyors, either what they set, or how they set it. Mr. Penry is saying what I've said in my tagline for this forum for years: New tools are no replacement for old rules.

 

- Kewaneh

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Kewaneh:

 

You must have missed Jerry's step #4 in his figure where it says 'PK Nail set in asphalt after using the magnetic locator to “define” the position of the (unseen) Rebar below.'

 

In addition to the points you mentioned, Jerry is saying that using a magnetic locator soley to "define" the position of an unseen monument is poor practice. The tone you get could be any piece of ferrous trash under the asphalt, or it could be what you are looking for but significantly displaced by snowplows or other road machinery like the iron pipe in the figure. Only by using the pick and shovel will you be able to verify what you have found and whether it accurately represents the original corner. Unfortunately it's my experience that too few surveyors these days are willing to invest the time, energy, and expense to use the pick and shovel particularly when it means coordinating with the city to close a street, excavate under the asphalt, and then repair the street. The prevailing attitude seems to be to whip out the Schoenstedt, get a tone, paint a dot, and you can be on to the next job that much sooner, and no need to get involved with remonumentation or the filing of a certified corner record. It's this improper use of the magnetic locator that I was referring to, not the use of magnetic locators in general. As you may know, Jerry Penry is very much an exception to this trend. Some of his efforts to recover, monument, and lower original GLO stones are recounted at rpls.com and on his website, and are examples of the way it should be done.

Edited by tosborn

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I ran into a situation just like that. It was amazing how many PS's had used the surface mark that was just like in the illustration. They survey lots, set plats all from this bogus surface mark which was witnessed and recorded by a well respected PS. When we had ROW issues with a Nat'l Park/US-41, we did a GPS survey that tied in everything recorded, and found. One the PS came out and said, this 1880's plat corner is the only thing that does not fit, we did to dig it up. So we got out the Jack hammer and dug up the city street. What we found was 2 monuments in 3 ft of road fill and none were over the original plat monument, off by about 3 ft. This had gone on over a 25 yr period of time and there were plats that were now encroaching on US Hwy ROW. One Assessors Plat was able to be stopped and that cost that PS some $$ because DOT would not approve plat till he resurveyed the correct boundary monuments. Man was he po'd at us. But he turned our 66 ft of ROW into 57 ft and there was no room for widening of the road.

Edited by Z15

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Tosborn -

 

I think we're arguing about the same thing here. Granted, I didn't see the locator reference in the diagram; I only read the article where there is no mention of one. I stand by my argument that using a temporary surface monument of unknown origin, in most cases, is the wrong thing to do. I also believe that an LS who stakes a project or his reputation on a temporary corner is flirting with foolishness. Penry is saying the same and I believe you are too. Am I wrong, or did I miss another part of the article?

 

I quoted your post because, without reading the article, your post makes it sound (to me anyway, maybe not for others) that the point of the article is that using a locator in general is poor practice. When I read the article, I didn't get that.

 

I do know that there are surveyors who do the sort of thing you and Z15 describe, however, I'm not one of them. I also believe that the majority of surveyors do their searches and surveying correctly. The prevailing attitude where you are may be to "...get a tone, paint a dot...", but it's my experience that the professional practices of the surveying community at large will regulate that surveyor out of the business. If that IS common by the survey community as a whole, the local jurisdiction may be at fault for allowing such a practice. I agree with you and Penry: a surveyor must find the proper corner. I'm not disputing that. I've personally broken many holes in the pavement in the middle of a street, and I've upset more than one crew chief when I've sent them back out to a site to dig under a nail they've found that I wouldn't accept. But that's part of the job of retracement.

 

The OP was asking about a small marker he'd found in the middle of an intersection. It may be a survey marker of some sort. It definately would have received some attention from me if I was working in that intersection, but I didn't believe it to be a PLSS corner because of the reasons I've stated above and in earlier posts.

 

- Kewaneh

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Kewaneh:

 

We are in complete agreement about what it takes to do a credible retracement survey. What seems to be different is that in your area the PLSS corners are well monumented and documented and the surveyors don't take shortcuts. In my area, PLSS corners are poorly monumented/documented and many surveyors see no problem with holding a P-K nail, cotton spindle, railroad tie, or even just a tone from their magnetic locator, as marking the corner, and the idea of excavating asphalt to verify a corner is a foreign concept.

 

I'm sorry you got the impression that I was implying that the point of the Penry article was that ANY use of a magnetic locator was a poor practice. If I believed that I wouldn't own a magnetic locator. I should probably have been more specific. What I was trying to communicate was that solely using a tone from a magnetic locator to "define" a corner without further investigation was a poor practice. That's what the figure in the Penry article demonstrates. In that example the surveyor, based ONLY on a tone from his locator (Step 4) has set a P-K nail in the asphalt and proceeds to do a GPS occupation. What the surveyor has actually identified is the approximate location of an unseen rebar under the ashphalt that is directly over the end of a bent pipe that is some distance from the original quarter corner stone. I'm glad to hear that you don't engage in such practices. Apparently Penry has observed such practices or he wouldn't have written the article.

 

It would be great if it were true that "the professional practices of the surveying community at large will regulate that surveyor out of the business." Unfortunately, it can take a very long time for such a process to occur, if ever, and in the mean time a lot of damage can be done to the public through inaccurate surveys. Two years ago the State Surveyor of Arkansas proposed to update the State Minimum Standards...the first change since 1996. The biggest change would have required surveyors to properly monument controlling 1/16th corners, 1/4 corners, and Section corners shown on their plats and file a Certified Corner Record (CCR), UNLESS a CCR was already on file and the found monument and accessories agreed with the Record. The Arkansas Society of Professional Surveyors supported the changes. However there was a violent negative reaction by the rank and file who complained that such requirements were unnecessary and would drive-up the costs of property surveys. In response, a State Senator, himself a retired surveyor whose son is a practicing PLS, set about what some have characterized as the gutting of the Office of the State Surveyor. The result was the shelving of the update to the Minimum Standards and the resignation of the State Surveyor. Afterward, the president of the Arkansas Society of Professional Surveyors stated “It is going to be a lot easier for a practitioner who wants to do substandard work to get away with it.” This in a state where many believe it was already easy to get away with substandard work. (see http://www.nwanews.com/adg/Editorial/189521/print/)

 

With regard to the OP....I, like you, don't know for sure if the center-punched disk he found is a PLSS corner or not. I only suggested that it appeared to me that it could be based on the location which is where the North quarter corner of Section 36 would be approximately located. In your area, such a mark apparently wouldn't likely be a PLSS corner. In my area, such a monument would be a more substantial mark that 95 percent of the various P-K nails, cotton spindles, etc out there marking PLSS corners. Maybe the OP will excavate and tell us if he finds an original stone. :(

Edited by tosborn

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Hate to dig this back up; been busy and doing other things, lot of information posted above that made my brain feel like it was going to explode. I'm going to go over it again, I see there was some discussion as to what it was the mark is.

 

I found a few of these marks yesterday, seeming to be the same type of mark as above. These however are clearly stamped with a "NUMBER" and "RAMSEY COUNTY BENCHMARK". The one I found previous would appear to have had this on it but it was worn off over time, not sure though.

 

Corner from which it is located.

9114_corner.jpg

 

Close up.

9114.jpg

 

Witness Post.

9114_witness.jpg

 

It would appear from this site that it's a vertical control mark.

http://www.co.ramsey.mn.us/cs/verticalcontrol.htm

 

I found PLSS thrown around while flipping through these links but I couldn't 100% make the connection from one to the other. If it is indeed a vertical control benchmark, why is this something that's not logged with the NGS? Do the government and county each have there own marks and regulations? Sorry for all the newbie questions, I appreciate all the feedback though it helps me process this all better. :D

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I found a few of these marks yesterday, seeming to be the same type of mark as above. These however are clearly stamped with a "NUMBER" and "RAMSEY COUNTY BENCHMARK".

 

It would appear from this site that it's a vertical control mark.

http://www.co.ramsey.mn.us/cs/verticalcontrol.htm

It would indeed be a vertical control mark. Although we throw the term "benchmark" around quite loosely here in this forum, it is in fact a specific term in surveying that means a vertical (elevation) control mark, not a horizontal (latitude and longitude) control mark.

 

If it is indeed a vertical control benchmark, why is this something that's not logged with the NGS?

I don't know whether anyone has an accurate number, but I would guess that there are hundreds of thousands of survey control points in the U.S. that aren't in the NGS database. Although it's nice of a surveying company or department to file information with the NGS so that other surveyors can use their mark, it is by no means mandatory. I imagine that a lot of surveyors simply don't have the time or the inclination to fill out the paperwork required. I even know of NGS "benchmarks" that aren't in their database.

 

Patty

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I don't know whether anyone has an accurate number, but I would guess that there are hundreds of thousands of survey control points in the U.S. that aren't in the NGS database.

I'd have to second this. I know that the county in which I work - Cobb County, GA - they have monuments all over the county - most times at places where roads cross streams and rivers, but also at main intersections and cemeteries. (I don't know why on the latter..) I haven't been able to look at the referenced "Access Document" that's supposed to have all the monuments listed.

 

[Edit: FIxed county name. Darn new fingers!]

Edited by foxtrot_xray

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After posting on this thread about an unknown marker, I did some research on City of Tacoma survey monuments and found this listing of 4407 vert control marks and 1450 survey monuments:

 

http://wspwit01.ci.tacoma.wa.us/govME/AddA...ons.aspx?Menu=2

 

I was impressed with the number of marks in my lil old town and hopefully you might find a simular resource for your town. When I spoke to the city's head surveyor he expressed interest in any damaged or missing marks I may come across. If you scan the list you will see some interesting marks, like X in bottom concrete step at house 1050 mullen, RR spike in power pole NE corner of intersection. It has been interesting!

Edited by geosym

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Thanks for the feedback, I'm beginning to understand all this little-by-little and it's all forming a better over all picture.

 

After posting on this thread about an unknown marker, I did some research on City of Tacoma survey monuments and found this listing of 4407 vert control marks and 1450 survey monuments:

 

Yeah it's amazing how many are in a city or county, been doing some research on my area as well and even though they're not all logged with the NGS they're various ones all over the place. Family doesn't see the fun in it when I tell them about it, but each little discovery is exciting for me.

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Thanks for the feedback, I'm beginning to understand all this little-by-little and it's all forming a better over all picture.

 

After posting on this thread about an unknown marker, I did some research on City of Tacoma survey monuments and found this listing of 4407 vert control marks and 1450 survey monuments:

 

Yeah it's amazing how many are in a city or county, been doing some research on my area as well and even though they're not all logged with the NGS they're various ones all over the place. Family doesn't see the fun in it when I tell them about it, but each little discovery is exciting for me.

 

Just wait until you find an old mark that has not been "Seen/Recovered" by anyone for 50 or so years. That is very exhilarating and fun!

 

When anyone does get a good find, we like to read about it, so start your own thread and let us know.

 

Good Hunting!

 

Shirley~

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Had a nice e-mail today from someone at NGS who wanted to use my photo of QF0712 in a report. He said it was "it is the oldest, best quality photo I have seen of a flat triangulation station disk." :P:P I sent him the unedited photos to use as he wished. Last logged in 1946.

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