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New Geocacher Reports Mark to NGS

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I wanted to point out a post that popped up on the Land Surveyors forums. I know the people that frequent this forum understand the difference between scaled and adjusted coordinates and I also know that most here understand that their recreational GPS cannot get survey quality results.

 

That being said, this was logged in geocaching less than a year ago:

 

DRex30 found KY3089 (NGS Benchmark) [visit log]

Found benchmark in middle of dump behind Cool Springs. Access via Abe Lincoln school then up hill to the left. This BM has moved several feet from its original location.

Tri-station SHANNON

 

3bde38d1-8d62-40da-bbca-2050201a865e.jpg

 

This is their post to NGS:

 

KY3089 STATION RECOVERY (2008)

KY3089

KY3089'RECOVERY NOTE BY INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTORS 2008 (DH)

KY3089'NGS REPORTED COORDINATES N 40 DEG 21.216 W 080 DEG 00.990 (NAD 83)

KY3089'ARE INCORRECT.

KY3089'THE ACTUAL COORDINATES ARE N 40 DEG 21.219 W 080 DEG 00.994 (NAD 83)

KY3089'SEE TINYURL.COM/6KNOTQ FOR PHOTO SHOWING THE INACCURACY.

KY3089'THE BENCHMARK POSITION HAS CHANGED.

KY3089'IN THE DOCUMENTED HISTORY 25-JAN-1989, 'HIT BY MACHINERY AND PART OF

KY3089'THE DISC HAS BEEN SHEARED OFF. THE MARK MAY BE SLIGHTLY OUT OF

KY3089'POSITION'

KY3089'PLEASE EITHER UPDATE THE COORDINATES OR MOVE THE BENCHMARK BACK TO THE

KY3089'CORRECT LOCATION.

 

NGS SHANNON

 

This is one of the reasons why I have never pushed or suggested for new geocachers to send updates to NGS. This person actually is requesting that the coordinates be updated to his Magellan or take a hammer and move the mark to his Magellan's position.

 

I know that education is the only way to help prevent these things, but this person only has 9 benchmarks logged on Geocaching and only had 2 when they decided to update the NGS. They probably have never been to this forum and don't understand one bit the procedures involved to survey these positions.

 

As I started, I know this isn't an issue here, but I wanted to point this one out.

 

Kurt

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Excellent point, Kurt.

 

As I approach 2,000 recovery reports to the NGS, I am still a bit nervous about inadvertantly inducing an error that will either inconvenience a professional user of the database or, much more likely, induce derision for the GEOCAC agency among those professional users.

 

W

 

p.s. I guess now I should definitely remove the large sledgehammer from my benchmark hunting toolkit.

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Now I know why some people log under Individual Contributor instead of GEOCAC. Can I get my initials off all those data sheets so I'm not associated with this fracas?

 

This person logged a about 22 Found, NF, and Destroyed on GC all within two weeks, almost a year ago. There have been no further benchmark nor geocache logs since Apr 2008. I think he wore out his enthusiasm.

 

His profile says he logged in a few days ago. Maybe someone alerted him to the current discussions.

 

I see that someone has posted a thorough tongue lashing on the GC page for KY3089.

 

Edit: I shouldn't post until I'm sure my brain is up to speed. I see now that he posted as INDIV. I'm glad of that, so it doesn't reflect directly on GEOCAC.

Edited by Bill93

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Now I know why some people log under Individual Contributor instead of GEOCAC. Can I get my initials off all those data sheets so I'm not associated with this fracas?

 

This person logged a about 22 Found, NF, and Destroyed on GC all within two weeks, almost a year ago. There have been no further benchmark nor geocache logs since Apr 2008. I think he wore out his enthusiasm.

 

His profile says he logged in a few days ago. Maybe someone alerted him to the current discussions.

 

I see that someone has posted a thorough tongue lashing on the GC page for KY3089.

 

Rope Stretcher actually left a mostly constructive and professional response. The bantering on the Land Surveyor Forums are sometimes less than Professional and constructive and the discussion about Geocachers reporting to NGS is no exception.

 

There will always be these types of people in any hobbies. Eager to report and help out, but with little knowledge of things. They flame hot and burn out fast and it appears that this geocacher is no exception.

 

I commend and appreciate most in this forum for their thorough and exceptional reports to the NGS and likewise in the Geocaching database.

 

Kurt

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I am glad it is not filed under GEOCAC.

 

I like everyone else have hopefully set high standards for recoveries to the NGS.

 

I only add a change if it is really a major change.

I almost never add coordinates unless I find something wayyyyyyyyyyyyy off.

But I have and will do some.

 

In another matter kinda like this with the GEOCAC Marks we are setting.

As Novices we have a great opportunity to add what we learn as we go along and should be considered as equals in the field without license and also should not be thought of as a mere Hobby Benchmark setters.

We have done these with help of the professionals and will have them added to the Data Base when completed.

 

We have gone to a great length to have these added and then thought of as just a hobby.

 

Sorry for that but I will get off that soap box since it is not just on topic.

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As a semi-related note, we need to be careful when we log to NGS with a legitimate, researched report pointing out a problem. There are a couple data sheets where I was correct in my assessment, NGS has fixed the problem, and now there is this idiotic report from me that makes no sense because the mistake I pointed out is gone. Think about what it will look like if they fix the mistake.

 

NK0783 is one that is marginally confusing, but understandable.

 

I begged and begged until they removed a paragraph from MH0753. I reported that MH0702 adjusted coordinates did not match the disk location by 0.6 mile. NGS determined that there was no permanent mark at MH0702 but the disk being described was really MH0753 near my coordinates. Great. But they copied my Found report from MH0702 to MH0753 including the part that said the coordinates were wrong. Too confusing. All is well now with that paragraph gone.

Edited by Bill93

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At least that was the one and only NGS report filed by that person. I liked the comment on the surveyor's forum "HE DIDN'T EVEN PUT THE RECEIVER OVER THE POINT!!! :D "

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When I find em I report em...

Trying to be real conservative. I'm definitely a newbie and there seems to be plenty of info in this forum to point you the right direction. You do have to read it though. If the coords are scaled I might include mine in the GC.com log but not to the NGS - the furthest off so far is 170 meters.

 

I have a DNF that I haven't even logged at GC.com yet, AC9282, - the sidewalk in the description is gone, a new lane was added to the overpass. Construction has been going on for quite a while now - seems like someone would have submitted an NGS report. Coords are off by about 145 meters.

 

Here's another that I haven't submitted to the NGS despite good advice from this forum FV1779.

 

I read an old post (2002 I think) the other day from a surveyor (apparently) saying that he/she thought it was a really bad idea for amateurs to be out there poking around cadastral marks - sounded pretty upset - had some valid concerns. I didn't see anything further - does this sentiment still exist? Is it an issue?

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Yes the Surveyors here have the same attitude.

They do not want us poking around Cadastral Marks.

They feel that we might disturb them in some way.

Even though I have become an Associate Member in the MSPS they still frown when I mention PLSS or Cadastral Marks.

 

I know some of the reasoning but I have the same thoughts as they I like perpetuating a Historic Point in its Original Position.

 

But you have to also realize that there are many who would love to move those marks for their own benefit.

And I think that is their main concern.

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Yes the Surveyors here have the same attitude.

They do not want us poking around Cadastral Marks.

They feel that we might disturb them in some way.

Even though I have become an Associate Member in the MSPS they still frown when I mention PLSS or Cadastral Marks.

 

I know some of the reasoning but I have the same thoughts as they I like perpetuating a Historic Point in its Original Position.

 

But you have to also realize that there are many who would love to move those marks for their own benefit.

And I think that is their main concern.

 

So... I got pointed that direction after reading a post here and got pretty enthusiastic about the Cadastral marks - They seem even more interesting to me. I was mainly going to start looking for township corners but I really don't want to step on anyones toes or potentially creating an uproar.... maybe just don't tyalk about it? <_<

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Yes the Surveyors here have the same attitude.

They do not want us poking around Cadastral Marks.

They feel that we might disturb them in some way.

Even though I have become an Associate Member in the MSPS they still frown when I mention PLSS or Cadastral Marks.

 

I know some of the reasoning but I have the same thoughts as they I like perpetuating a Historic Point in its Original Position.

 

But you have to also realize that there are many who would love to move those marks for their own benefit.

And I think that is their main concern.

 

So... I got pointed that direction after reading a post here and got pretty enthusiastic about the Cadastral marks - They seem even more interesting to me. I was mainly going to start looking for township corners but I really don't want to step on anyones toes or potentially creating an uproar.... maybe just don't tyalk about it? <_<

 

Billwallace,

 

The cadastral marks as well as any of the NGS marks(which fall on public property) are all part of the public domain and accessible to anybody. If you find an interest in searching out monuments of any type and they are publicly available; then you are more than welcome to go searching for them.

 

ANY of the monuments that you or anybody here looks for must be treated with respect and not damaged in any way. As long as you do not harm them, search them photograph them and then show them off.

 

Kurt

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This thread illustrates an interesting point about the relative ease for submitting a report to the NGS. When describing my hobby of benchmark hunting to a friend, he asked me if there was anything from stopping him submitting flase reports for benchmarks. Was there anything preventing him from putting in my name and information? My answers were no, there is nothing stopping anyone from fraudulently submitting, or making a poor submission by NGS guidelines. Should there be? I kind of assumed that with the information being gathered (names, email, etc..) that the onus is on the NGS to not add reports that don't look quite right. Of course with so many submissions some months, who has the time or $$$ to babysit. Hopefully the ease of submitting for 'quality' reports will not be lost.

 

As a side note, I kinda do what billWallace does, and usually only submit a report if I found a mark. My reasoning being that I am absolutely terrified of making a submission of not found when a mark exists and it is my own error in not finding it. I recognize that often times a not found report can be extremely valuable, but I feel that if a surveyor is looking through the database and sees my 2008 found report vs a last found in 1945 on a mark nearby, they may be inclined to just use the more recent found, if applicable to his/her survey.

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billwallace -

 

Cadastral marks, if they are disks, can be waymarked in the U.S. Benchmarks Waymarking category.

To make a waymark, you provide the coordinates from your GPSr and upload a photo or two. (Once there, the photos can be linked into this forum if you like.) There are already quite a few cadastral marks in the category.

 

PLSS marks have their own Waymarking category.

 

Also, interestingly, Waymarking has a category just for azimuth marks!

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I am surprised that NGS didn't evaluate the description before posting it to a datasheet. Surely they must evaluate them. In which case some of the oddball comments can be deleted. The key new information that anyone including a geocacher can provide is an updated location description, condition and for 'unadjusted' marks an updated position. This is valuable to NGS and to surveyors who might want to use the mark. Level benchmarks are notoriously hard to find so this information is valuable.

 

Most NGS database stations are substantial monuments, and recovering them may consist of simple visual sighting to scraping off a few inches of soil or turf that has grown over them. One problem with Cadastral marks is that they are not always so.

 

A surveyor who is trying to retrace section lines within the PLSS township system may at some time be trying to identify very fragmentary evidence of 100-200 year old wood posts or stones. If everyone who comes by starts digging through mounds or digging holes trying to find such remains they are likely to disturb and even destroy such evidence without even realizing it. That is the main caution about Cadastral corners. If the corner is a nice iron post with a brass cap on it, you aren't probably going to hurt anything by recovering it. However, a surveyor may do special things in the way of archeological or biological investigations to verify a corner or blazed and scribed bearing tree, but if a few dozen amateurs come by and start chopping into trees and digging into mounds again the fragile evidence may be destroyed. There are of course surveyors who can be careless as well, but usually fewer of them than there are geocachers and benchmarkers.

 

I feel the same way about amateurs going after underground NGS marks and digging up bottles and other fragile remains. That should be left to surveyors in my opinion, or exercising extreme caution and documenting the work and the position, best leave it alone.

 

That being said, there are many marks destroyed everyday by construction and other oblivious activities so I guess a few more is not necessarily a big deal and there are probably no laws to stop you unless it is the antiquities act.

 

There are many benchmarkers here that set a superior example in terms of research and recovery that would make any surveyor proud. Just be aware of where to draw the line, it is basically common sense, but common sense depends on some level of understanding and appreciation.

 

- jerry wahl

Edited by jwahl

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There are many benchmarkers here that set a superior example in terms of research and recovery that would make any surveyor proud. Just be aware of where to draw the line, it is basically common sense, but common sense depends on some level of understanding and appreciation.

 

That is a huge statement Jerry.

We appreciate your insights.

 

With learned things comes responsibility.

It is not as easy as you have said to locate certain things.

Yes that should be and is the Professionals job.

 

I Treasure our Treasures.

I have found many that are much older than the PLSS or the other Benchmarks and do not share some things because of their sensitive natures.

In some ways in holding these back there is some excitement in the knowing and have found some ways of sharing where it might be possible to find some of these.

But like the PLSS or Cadastre marks you may have to do a lot of research and looking to find them.

 

That is what one and all the marks left by our Forefathers are to me a POINT in History or Time.

I do not disturb anything at a Historical Site.

If it is already documented and has a chain of custody and control I do not mind placing those as waymarks or recovered US Benchmarks.

 

But there are many that need for the Pro's to get to.

This is a Huge Nation with all kinds of marks.

 

I also like getting the Images of what is there now.

It has it's own way of documenting these and I have added some of the Corner Restoration Documents for a few.

It is a lot of work to do for a volunteer.

It is because I like to do it and have a pride in it and when I have the time I add what I can.

 

I try to pass this on to others who may go with me and to those whom ask me about finding them.

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Although I have never searched for Cadastral marks , I have learned a lot about them from this forum thread. I want to thank everyone here for their excellent comments and for the education I just received about them.

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When I find em I report em...

Trying to be real conservative. I'm definitely a newbie and there seems to be plenty of info in this forum to point you the right direction. You do have to read it though. If the coords are scaled I might include mine in the GC.com log but not to the NGS - the furthest off so far is 170 meters.

 

I have a DNF that I haven't even logged at GC.com yet, AC9282, - the sidewalk in the description is gone, a new lane was added to the overpass. Construction has been going on for quite a while now - seems like someone would have submitted an NGS report. Coords are off by about 145 meters.

 

Here's another that I haven't submitted to the NGS despite good advice from this forum FV1779.

 

I read an old post (2002 I think) the other day from a surveyor (apparently) saying that he/she thought it was a really bad idea for amateurs to be out there poking around cadastral marks - sounded pretty upset - had some valid concerns. I didn't see anything further - does this sentiment still exist? Is it an issue?

 

My thoughts exactly. I may get chatty in the GC.com log for a mark, but the only comments I have made in a NGS report were for major changes, and then only rarely. I haven't reported any DNFs to NGS, even for the 400 foot radio mast that I personally witnessed being torn down 15 years ago!

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... I haven't reported any DNFs to NGS, even for the 400 foot radio mast that I personally witnessed being torn down 15 years ago!

If you witnessed it as being destroyed why wouldn't you want to help clean up the database by removing it? :)

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If you witnessed it as being destroyed why wouldn't you want to help clean up the database by removing it?

 

I'll field that question. Because our job is not to "clean up the database". Well-meaning folks from GEOCACHING.COM have done harm by engaging in this activity. Many times, the only reference to a station (historic or otherwise) is in the datasheet for another station which no longer exists. When this datasheet becomes unavailable, valuable reference data is lost.

 

Cross-references have been instrumental in many of my finds of granite state-line and magnetic stations from the 1800s. Ditto for many USE disks. And recently I was searching for a 1960's mark with SCALED coordinates when I realized there was a cross reference to a radio tower. The tower is long gone, but the data sheet is still available. And aerial intersection points have adjusted coordinates! Problem solved.

 

So, please! No crusades. Log what you find. Log what you witnessed regarding a water tank or tower. But be cautious about requesting that a station be classified as "destroyed".

 

-Paul-

Edited by PFF

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If you witnessed it as being destroyed why wouldn't you want to help clean up the database by removing it?

 

I'll field that question. Because our job is not to "clean up the database". Well-meaning folks from GEOCACHING.COM have done harm by engaging in this activity. Many times, the only reference to a station (historic or otherwise) is in the datasheet for another station which no longer exists. When this datasheet becomes unavailable, valuable reference data is lost.

 

Cross-references have been instrumental in many of my finds of granite state-line and magnetic stations from the 1800s. Ditto for many USE disks. And recently I was searching for a 1960's mark with SCALED coordinates when I realized there was a cross reference to a radio tower. The tower is long gone, but the data sheet is still available. And aerial intersection points have adjusted coordinates! Problem solved.

 

So, please! No crusades. Log what you find. Log what you witnessed regarding a water tank or tower. But be cautious about requesting that a station be classified as "destroyed".

 

-Paul-

 

Hey Lost02, I think I can add a little more on what Paul said. I had asked the question in the forums awhile back on reporting marks as either "not found" or "destroyed". Here is a link to it:

 

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php...=199037&hl=

 

What was explained to me in that forum was when I submitted a NGS recovery, to log it as a dnf if I didn't find it. I should then put in my comments, that I ASSUMED the mark was destroyed . By doing it this way, the datasheet is preserved for reasons like Paul stated above.........but at the same time, it lets anyone reading the datasheet after you know that there is a high degree of probability that the mark really isn't there, and they can decide if they want to expend energies searching for it. Here is an example of one of my recoveries and dnf logs, where I without a doubt know the mark is long gone. I just put in the comments, the reasons why I assumed it is destroyed.

 

CQ0044

 

Logging it this way, provides accuracy, yet also CYA.....just in case. :laughing:

 

On another note, Thanks Black Dog Trackers, for the link earlier about the discussion on Cadastral marks. I learned so much there, that I feel like I should be paying someone. ;)

Edited by LSUFan

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If you witnessed it as being destroyed why wouldn't you want to help clean up the database by removing it?

 

I'll field that question. Because our job is not to "clean up the database". Well-meaning folks from GEOCACHING.COM have done harm by engaging in this activity. Many times, the only reference to a station (historic or otherwise) is in the datasheet for another station which no longer exists. When this datasheet becomes unavailable, valuable reference data is lost.

 

Cross-references have been instrumental in many of my finds of granite state-line and magnetic stations from the 1800s. Ditto for many USE disks. And recently I was searching for a 1960's mark with SCALED coordinates when I realized there was a cross reference to a radio tower. The tower is long gone, but the data sheet is still available. And aerial intersection points have adjusted coordinates! Problem solved.

 

So, please! No crusades. Log what you find. Log what you witnessed regarding a water tank or tower. But be cautious about requesting that a station be classified as "destroyed".

 

-Paul-

 

Paul,

 

Please elaborate. It was my understanding that Deb wanted reports of destroyed intersection stations.

 

Even when a station is reported destroyed, the data sheet remains available, so the information is not lost.

 

For example...RK0571, which is the first station I ever reported to Deb as destroyed.

 

Andy

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It was my understanding that Deb wanted reports of destroyed intersection stations.

 

Hi, Andy,

 

Thanks for asking. Deb wants ONLY reports of destroyed intersection stations. In other words, she does not want updates on towers, water tanks, and church steeples, but it is acceptable to submit a "destroyed" report to NGS when documentation is available.

 

-Paul-

Edited by PFF

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In LSUFan's example there was no choice. He didn't have sufficient evidence to get it destroyed. Andy's example apparently had sufficient evidence.

 

The thing I don't like about the NGS system for destroyed reports is that it doesn't display the evidence that was submitted for the destroyed status. It just gives a note saying someone convinced Deb it was destroyed.

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The thing I don't like about the NGS system for destroyed reports is that it doesn't display the evidence that was submitted for the destroyed status. It just gives a note saying someone convinced Deb it was destroyed.

What I do is I first submit at "Not Found" report, giving my opinion on why the mark is "Lost". I use "Lost" instead of "Destroyed" intentionally. "Lost" is often used in logs for old stations that are almost certainly destroyed.

 

Then for that subset for which I have convincing evidence that the mark is actually destroyed, I submit a request to Deb with appropriate evidence.

 

Here's an example: Anthonys Nose Beacon. My evidence in this case was a photograph of the concrete footings, sans tower, with my GPS in the frame.

 

I understand folks have been discouraged from submitting lengthy explanations with "Destroyed" requests, but this method seems to work.

 

OTOH, I believe I have found some stations that were classified destroyed long ago, which I believe are still there. Here's one: Great Meadow. If you read the datasheet, the mark was covered by 2-3 feet of fill and a concrete pad in 1934. To me that's not destroyed. Even a witness said "THE FIRE WATCHMAN FURNISHED THE INFORMATION THAT THE COPPER BOLT IS NOW COVERED BY A CONCRETE SLAB SITUATED AT THE 'FOOT OF THE STAIRWAY TO THE TOWER". Now the tower is gone, the concrete pad is gone and (I think) the fill is much less due to regrading. I hope to do some digging some day and find this sucker. Destroyed? No way!

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Thanks, Paul for the explanation--that was what I had thought was the case. I thought you were urging people not to submit reports on destroyed stations.

 

What I do is I first submit at "Not Found" report, giving my opinion on why the mark is "Lost". I use "Lost" instead of "Destroyed" intentionally. "Lost" is often used in logs for old stations that are almost certainly destroyed.

 

Then for that subset for which I have convincing evidence that the mark is actually destroyed, I submit a request to Deb with appropriate evidence.

 

Here's an example: Anthonys Nose Beacon. My evidence in this case was a photograph of the concrete footings, sans tower, with my GPS in the frame.

 

I understand folks have been discouraged from submitting lengthy explanations with "Destroyed" requests, but this method seems to work.

 

Papa Bear, submitting a "not found" prior to a destroyed report is an excellent idea, and one I think I will start implementing in many of my destroyed reports. I assume that Deb keeps the supporting documentation on file, but it would be nice in many cases to see the evidence that was used to declare a station destroyed.

 

OTOH, I believe I have found some stations that were classified destroyed long ago, which I believe are still there.

 

Excellent example, again. I have not come across a destroyed report (yet) that I believe to be in error, but do have a station near me in a very similar situation. Though in this case, it's several feet of fill and a paved parking lot. This one would be looking for a needle in a haystack, but it probably actually *is* still there. I've put a note on the GC page, but there are already two "not found" reports on the NGS data sheet.

 

RK0417

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Excellent example, again. I have not come across a destroyed report (yet) that I believe to be in error, but do have a station near me in a very similar situation. Though in this case, it's several feet of fill and a paved parking lot. This one would be looking for a needle in a haystack, but it probably actually *is* still there. I've put a note on the GC page, but there are already two "not found" reports on the NGS data sheet.

 

RK0417

Yes Andy, I'm sure there are lots of marks under parking lots. But since it has scaled coordinates with no references left, you are out of luck.

 

I have one advantage: mine is a horizontal control mark with adjusted coordinates. Furthermore there is another newer mark nearby which could serve as a reference. The big problem is, it's inside a National Guard facility which is generally a "keep out" kind of place. But hopefully someday I may find the right person to ask. "My" mark was set in 1836 by Simeon Borden and was a primary station in the 1833-35 survey of Massachusetts. So you see, it's well worth pursuing.

 

After all, last year Dave (ddnutzy) and I found MZ1807 - MOUNT TOM BORDEN, another Borden station (set in 1835). It was a similar case, under 18 inches of fill and under a building for many years and near other marks for reference. But ... it was NOT on a National Guard Base.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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Excellent example, again. I have not come across a destroyed report (yet) that I believe to be in error, but do have a station near me in a very similar situation. Though in this case, it's several feet of fill and a paved parking lot. This one would be looking for a needle in a haystack, but it probably actually *is* still there. I've put a note on the GC page, but there are already two "not found" reports on the NGS data sheet.

 

RK0417

Yes Andy, I'm sure there are lots of marks under parking lots. But since it has scaled coordinates with no references left, you are out of luck.

 

I have one advantage: mine is a horizontal control mark with adjusted coordinates. Furthermore there is another newer mark nearby which could serve as a reference. The big problem is, it's inside a National Guard facility which is generally a "keep out" kind of place. But hopefully someday I may find the right person to ask. "My" mark was set in 1836 by Simeon Borden and was a primary station in the 1833-35 survey of Massachusetts. So you see, it's well worth pursuing.

 

After all, last year Dave (ddnutzy) and I found MZ1807 - MOUNT TOM BORDEN, another Borden station (set in 1835). It was a similar case, under 18 inches of fill and under a building for many years and near other marks for reference. But ... it was NOT on a National Guard Base.

 

So, the point is that there is a difference between DESTROYED and UNAVAILABLE.

I like LOST. Sometimes LOST things can be found again.

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It was my understanding that Deb wanted reports of destroyed intersection stations.

 

Hi, Andy,

 

Thanks for asking. Deb wants ONLY reports of destroyed intersection stations. In other words, she does not want updates on towers, water tanks, and church steeples, but it is acceptable to submit a "destroyed" report to NGS when documentation is available.

 

-Paul-

Exactly why I asked why he did not report it as destroyed.

 

When you KNOW a station is destroyed why not report it as DESTROYED? Even destroyed data sheets remain around "forever". Just do a query and you will still find them.

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...The thing I don't like about the NGS system for destroyed reports is that it doesn't display the evidence that was submitted for the destroyed status. It just gives a note saying someone convinced Deb it was destroyed.

Bill, yeah just a note, but Deb does have the evidence. I assume if you need it she'll send it to you.

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When you KNOW a station is destroyed why not report it as DESTROYED? Even destroyed data sheets remain around "forever". Just do a query and you will still find them.
They are available, but only if you specifically go after them. Otherwise, they are hidden, and you don't know they exist, not to mention not knowing what valuable info they might contain.

 

Granted, most stations exist independently of others. But there are instances where granite monuments from the 1800's are used as reference points for modern benchmarks. Some of these are along state lines and thus are extremely valuable in re-establishing the boundary. Often, the only info about them is in the description of more recent benchmark.

 

Or, consider EZ6409. It is destroyed, meaning it no longer can be used for the intended purpose. However, its description contains details of a nearby disk which can be used, if you know it is there. And this other disk (Q-6) is not in the NGS database. So if the data sheet for EZ6409 fades into the background, who would think to poke around at an abandoned store, hoping to find a substitute for a surveying job?

 

I'm not against sending in destruction reports, if it is done carefully and correctly. The hot-button issue for me was the phrase, "clean up the database". Several years ago, a well-meaning benchmark hunter went through the NGS database, nationwide, and sent in destruction reports based on previous recovery reports, without having visited the sites. Before this was detected and stopped, the individual's actions had a negative impact on projects being conducted by the South Carolina Geodetic Survey and the North Carolina Geodetic Survey.

 

So when anyone throws out the idea of "cleaning up the database", I get nervous. Most of us of understand the difference between that, and submitting an occasional destruction report. But some folks who are new to the hobby (perhaps simply passing through the forums while trying to find a benchmark that was near a geocach) might get the wrong idea. Look at the original topic in this thread as an example of what can happen when someone decides, "Hey, the NGS stuff looks like fun! I think I'll send in some entries!"

 

-Paul-

Edited by PFF

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Several years ago, a well-meaning benchmark hunter went through the NGS database, nationwide, and sent in destruction reports based on previous recovery reports, without having visited the sites. Before this was detected and stopped, the individual's actions had a negative impact on projects being conducted by the South Carolina Geodetic Survey and the North Carolina Geodetic Survey.

Yikes! :laughing: What did that person do--look for "Not Found" reports and consider those stations destroyed?

 

Patty

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Yikes! :unsure: What did that person do--look for "Not Found" reports and consider those stations destroyed?

 

Hi, Patty,

 

Usually, it was based on a report that a station had been replaced. Therefore, most of the destruction reports were, indeed, correct. But we lost valuable information about historic survey marks, such as this 1898 Meridian Pair (shown in blue type), at an intentionally unidentified city in North Carolina. [The PID and geographic references have been deleted.]

 

 

DESCRIBED BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1938 (CIA) AT ****, ABOUT 200 FEET EAST OF NORTH-SOUTH STREET , 200 FEET SOUTH OF EAST-WEST STREET , 58.46 FEET NORTHEAST OF NORTHEAST CORNER OF JAIL AND 51 FEET SOUTHEAST OF SOUTHEAST CORNER OF COURTHOUSE, ON JAIL AND COURTHOUSE LAWN. SURFACE AND UNDERGROUND MARKS ARE STANDARD DISKS IN CONCRETE. STATION MARK IS STAMPED 1933-38. REFERENCE MARK NO. 1 IS A GRANITE POST 6 INCHES SQUARE AND 3 FEET LONG, PROJECTING 6 INCHES, AND IS 30 FEET SOUTH OF NORTHEAST CORNER OF COURTHOUSE, 4 FEET EAST OF EAST SIDE OF COURTHOUSE, AND 119.49 FEET (COMPUTED) FROM STATION N 00 DEG 25 MIN E. THE LETTERS NCGS USGS 1898 ARE CUT IN TOP OF STONE, WITH CROSS AT CENTER. [The Original Triangulation Station] 1933 (SEE DESCRIPTION THEREOF) IS 125.27 FEET FROM STATION S 00 DEG 69 MIN W. THE FOLLOWING BEARINGS ARE FROM STATION--NORTHEAST CORNER JAIL, S 59 DEG 22 MIN W. SOUTHEAST CORNER COURTHOUSE, N 12 DEG 01 MIN W.

 

-Paul-

Edited by PFF

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...I'm not against sending in destruction reports, if it is done carefully and correctly. The hot-button issue for me was the phrase, "clean up the database". Several years ago, a well-meaning benchmark hunter went through the NGS database, nationwide, and sent in destruction reports based on previous recovery reports, without having visited the sites. Before this was detected and stopped, the individual's actions had a negative impact on projects being conducted by the South Carolina Geodetic Survey and the North Carolina Geodetic Survey.

 

So when anyone throws out the idea of "cleaning up the database", I get nervous. Most of us of understand the difference between that, and submitting an occasional destruction report. But some folks who are new to the hobby (perhaps simply passing through the forums while trying to find a benchmark that was near a geocach) might get the wrong idea. Look at the original topic in this thread as an example of what can happen when someone decides, "Hey, the NGS stuff looks like fun! I think I'll send in some entries!"

 

-Paul-

Paul,

 

I agree that you don’t want just any old person to “clean up the database” just for the fun of it, but my question was solely about the incident I referenced where dtshaw66 specifically witnessed the destruction of a station, but did not want o report the station as Destroyed.

 

I have a Software Engineering background, and I looked at this as a Database Integrity issue. The problem is that “Not Found” is supposed to mean exactly that - not found. Not Found is supposed to mean that the Station was searched for and was not found, or the Station was searched for and it may be destroyed but there’s no proof that it was actually destroyed. When you know the station is destroyed because you have the proof, and you simply mark it is as Not Found, you give a third meaning to Not Found: “Destroyed”. This third meaning causes Data Integrity issues with the database, because a truly Destroyed station is either Destroyed or sometimes it’s Not Found.

 

For example, if the NGS wants to make an “official” report of the known Destroyed Stations they should simply be able to do a query for Destroyed and get the number. If they want to make an estimate of the number of destroyed stations they would also take a certain percentage of Not Found Stations and add them in, a certain number of Found stations and add them in, and maybe even also subtract out a small number of Destroyed stations (because sometimes Destroyed stations are actually found).

 

When someone decides on their own (i.e. not the owner of the database) to make a change to the meaning of a database field they corrupt (however slight it may be in this case) the database. Planning for new Stations by the NGS may be affected (they wouldn’t know a Station is really Destroyed), a user may waste time thinking that they could possibly find a station that was Not Found, etc.

 

This case may seem like a small problem/issue, but from my experience with database systems, issues like this can, over many years, cause major headaches for the owners and users of the database. What begins to happen is that query results begin to get skewed and the owners and users then begin to have doubts in the actual data in the database. What the database owner has to do to fix the problem is to make the effort to grind through the database and fix the offending field, and typically add some type of constraint to ensure that problem does not occur again.

 

Database Integrity is really a big subject. There are many other issues and ways to correct problems, but from database perspective, I think it basically comes down to the point that I would not want to recommend to anyone who is entering data into a database that they knowingly make an incorrect data entries. I believe no entry at all is superior to an incorrect entry.

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Usually, it was based on a report that a station had been replaced. Therefore, most of the destruction reports were, indeed, correct.

Ah, okay. That's more reasonable than basing it on "Not Found" reports.

 

But we lost valuable information about historic survey marks, such as this 1898 Meridian Pair (shown in blue type), at an intentionally unidentified city in North Carolina.

I wonder whether we have anything as old as 1898 in California. That was the year my father was born (albeit not in California, or even in the U.S.), so it would be fun to find something from that year. Larry? Kurt? Anybody?

 

Patty

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Usually, it was based on a report that a station had been replaced. Therefore, most of the destruction reports were, indeed, correct.

Ah, okay. That's more reasonable than basing it on "Not Found" reports.

 

But we lost valuable information about historic survey marks, such as this 1898 Meridian Pair (shown in blue type), at an intentionally unidentified city in North Carolina.

I wonder whether we have anything as old as 1898 in California. That was the year my father was born (albeit not in California, or even in the U.S.), so it would be fun to find something from that year. Larry? Kurt? Anybody?

 

Patty

 

Patty,

 

I know that this one was set in 1888 by the USC&GS in front of the Captitol.

21B USGS

33198_200.jpg

 

I found it 5 years ago while working down in your neck of the woods.

 

By the by, I am in currently in Salt Lake City at the ACSM conference. I spoke with both Dave Doyle and Rhonda Rushing today. I can see the Salt Lake Base and Meridian from my hotel room.

 

Kurt

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There is a marker just north that I did not have time to locate.

 

I think it was a Astronomic Station for a reference from the meridian.

 

I will have to look that data up again if I can find it..

 

Edit:

I think it was this one.

LO1008

Edited by GEO*Trailblazer 1

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I know that this one was set in 1888 by the USC&GS in front of the Captitol.

Nifty. I'll have to stop by that next time I'm in Sacto.

 

By the by, I am in currently in Salt Lake City at the ACSM conference. I spoke with both Dave Doyle and Rhonda Rushing today.

Was Rhonda wearing her Disney benchmark pin? :o

 

I can see the Salt Lake Base and Meridian from my hotel room.

"Hi, is this the hotel that's hosting the convention? I'd like to request a room overlooking the PLSS base and meridian, please. Hello? Hello? Hello....???"

 

:unsure:

 

Patty

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For example, if the NGS wants to make an "official" report of the known Destroyed Stations they should simply be able to do a query for Destroyed and get the number.

 

Statistics aside, that's a report that seldom (if ever) will be run. If my understanding is correct, the database exists to assist surveyors--who are required by law to tie to a benchmark if one exists within a specified distance.

 

I think we're on the same page regarding "mass" destruction reports, especially by anyone who has not been to the site. So let's look at the tower incident, again.

 

If the benchmark hunter scans the descriptive text and finds references to other nearby stations, the data sheet still has value. Mark it Not Found, describe exactly what was witnessed, and allow it to remain visible in the system.

 

Next, the benchmark hunter should examine the descriptions of nearby marks with SCALED coordinates. If they refer to the tower (with its ADJUSTED coordinates), the data sheet for the tower still has value. Don't send in a destruction note for the tower. Mark it Not Found, and describe the situation.

 

As you correctly pointed out, a station may appear to be lost, when such is not the case. Many years ago in Fayetteville, North Carolina, it was discovered that a concrete slab had been poured over triangulation station FENIX, and a garage was then built on top of the slab.

 

A new station, FENIX 2 was established. However, FENIX still exists. A hole was drilled in the slab and the old station was used during the setting of FENIX 2. Today (decades later), the garage has been removed. With just a little bit of maintenance, FENIX could be used. And since FENIX 2 is in a parking lot which probably will be paved at some point in the future, this is a distinct possibility.

 

Again, the primary purpose for the database (and the updates we provide) is to serve professional surveyors. Most of us are not in that category. We need to take heed to what the pro's tell us regarding what helps (or hinders) them as they do their jobs. Fortunately for our hobby, we have numerous licensed surveyors who participate in the Forum, and who are excellent encouragers and mentors for folks like me who enjoy "monument dusting" as a hobby!

 

-Paul-

Edited by PFF

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I think we're on the same page regarding "mass" destruction reports, especially by anyone who has not been to the site

Yes, we do agree on your “mass destruction” issue.

 

 

For example, if the NGS wants to make an "official" report of the known Destroyed Stations they should simply be able to do a query for Destroyed and get the number.

 

Statistics aside, that's a report that seldom (if ever) will be run. If my understanding is correct, the database exists to assist surveyors--who are required by law to tie to a benchmark if one exists within a specified distance.

For the database, the NGS is the ”owner” of the database and surveyors are the primary “users” of the database. As you say, the surveyors are required to use the database, but the NGS is required to maintain the database. I would think that as part of their maintenance, the NGS is also a “user” of the database and also performs queries on the database. I know I’m not a surveyor, but as someone who is helping the NGS to maintain their databases I perform many queries on the database. As far as database metrics goes, I know holograph runs metrics on the database all of the time. I don’t work at the NGS, but I know as a maintainer of other large databases I am tasked by users and other organizations to create reports from our database to be used in official reports and for budgetary considerations, and I assume the NGS would have to do the same.

 

…So let's look at the tower incident, again.

 

If the benchmark hunter scans the descriptive text and finds references to other nearby stations, the data sheet still has value. Mark it Not Found, describe exactly what was witnessed, and allow it to remain visible in the system.

 

Next, the benchmark hunter should examine the descriptions of nearby marks with SCALED coordinates. If they refer to the tower (with its ADJUSTED coordinates), the data sheet for the tower still has value. Don't send in a destruction note for the tower. Mark it Not Found, and describe the situation.

What you are describing is a way to introduce database integrity issues into the database to help to solve a problem that is not related to the actual database data but may be a problem with the tools used to pull data out of the database. For example, you are indicating that marking a station that is proven to be destroyed as Destroyed makes it not visible in the system, so you are suggesting that it should be marked as Not Found so it remains visible. I know a station never goes away in the database - even destroyed stations can still be easily retrieved - just enter the PID into a standard query. The problem you are describing appears to be with a different query mechanism that makes it hard/impossible to view the destroyed stations that exist in the database. The correct solution for this type of problem is to fix the query, educate the users on existing queries, or add a new query to address this issue. The correct solution is not to introduce database integrity problems that may help one set of users but actually hurt other users of the database.

 

Now, what if the NGS doesn’t care that “Not Found” is used in the Condition field when a Station is proven to be destroyed? Well, that would mean that there would not be a reliable list of all proven Destroyed stations, you would not be able to reliably filter out proven destroyed stations from queries, and the reliably of the Destroyed designation would drift toward become meaningless. Eventually for database integrity reasons it may become necessary to change the designation of all Destroyed stations to Not Found and stop using the Destroyed designation. Would the database be better for all users if all Destroyed stations were designated as Not Found?

 

Again, from a database integrity point of view, the correct solution is to fix or create reporting mechanisms that makes the job of each user easier, not to introduce errors into the database that may help some users but hurt others and hurt the database integrity.

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Lost02:

 

 

Whew! You're way over my head with these technical issues. All I can tell you is that in over four years in the Forum, I've not heard NGS or professional surveyors express concerns about the kinds of errors you are discussing.

 

All I'm aware of is the importance of having accurate information in the description. Even NCGS and NGS recovery reports are patterned after what I have written, above. Do a two-mile radial search on N35 52 54, W078 34 19 to see numerous examples of marks destroyed by grading, but left in the database by those who "own" the data.

 

When I've had the honor of helping professionals prepare for a job, they pull a radius search of two to five miles on the project's location, and they seem to have no difficulty deciding which marks might be useful. But, I am not a surveyor, myself. And while I'm frequently in the NCGS office or in the field with NCGS, I'm just a helper. I don't make operational decisions. Therefore, I'll pause and let the professionals (or our NGS mentors) comment on the importance of classifying a mark destroyed.

 

-Paul-

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Paul,

 

I know it can be very difficult to explain to the users of a database some of these issues, and I have found that often time the only people who care (or know) about them are the ones who have to maintain the database - not the users or the managers.

 

As a volunteer that simply helps the NGS to keep the database up to date, and with my software engineering background, I look at my “responsibility” to accurately report what I find so the NGS can maintain the database integrity and try to keep the data current.

 

A very simple way to think of database integrity is to consider how much you trust the data in the database. One of the factors in determining the integrity of the data in the database is to view the consistency of a particular field. For example, I believe the “Condition” field can have the values of “Monumented”, “Good”, “Poor”, “Mark Not Found” and “Destroyed”. Are these designations consistently used by everyone? If they aren’t then you can’t completely trust the results from a query without doing some extra work (which could be as simple as reading the recovery report).

 

From working with databases, I know it is often very difficult to go back and fix some consistency errors in a field, but often “easy” to create queries for users to see the type of data they need. I guess, based on my background, on this particular issue I’m primarily concerned with the technical correctness of database, while I think you are concerned about supporting the use of the database by some surveyors that have to use the existing queries.

 

Fortunately I believe we all want to ensure that the NGS has a good tool that easily usable by the professional surveyors.

 

Joe

 

BTW - I just noticed you are 1 away from getting 1,000 posts - wow!

Edited by lost02

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Since the NGS has a way for recovery persons to indicate to it that a station is destroyed, then the NGS means for it to be used - with experienced judgement. Otherwise they would not have provided that means.

 

Although Found and MarkNotFound and FoundPoor can be chosen in a recovery entry, there is no way to do that for Destroyed. There is no way for a recovery person to 'classify' a mark to the NGS as destroyed. Instead, it's a like advice or a suggestion to the NGS. The NGS must agree on the destroyed status and only they can classify a station as destroyed. If they don't agree with you, they can either ignore your input or put in a NotFound.

 

The NGS has made it clear that they are ultra-conservative about their classifying stations as destroyed. If a station might be buried under 20 feet of dirt, that's not destroyed. If a mark is on an old bridge and there's now a new bridge nearby, the mark may be on some buried part of the old bridge abutment, so that's not destroyed either. A mark might be covered by a layer of asphalt, or a house, or any other thing, and that mark is not destroyed either.

 

Oddly enough, only if you have actually found the mark, could you say to the NGS that it is destroyed. Marks that are both found and out of their proper monumented location are the only ones that the NGS allows a suggestion from a recovery person that they classify them as destroyed. This is a resonable position for the NGS to take with their database because data space is cheap.

 

Intersection stations are a major exception. If the tower doesn't exist, the station is destroyed. That's it. If it's been replaced by a new tower and the old tower is gone, then the station is destroyed. Since we can't directly classify these as destroyed, and can only suggest to the NGS that they consider them destroyed based on our photographic evidence and experience known to them, I see no reason not to suggest 'destroyed' to them. There is really no such thing as NotFound for an intersection station. Found and Destroyed are logically the only options. If the description of the intersection station has useful information about surrounding stations, then it's the NGS's decision of what to do about that. I think we shouldn't avoid showing the NGS that an intersection station is destroyed if we can send in photograpic evidence.

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BDT - I was beginning to think that I was the only one that thinks it’s proper to report known/provable destroyed stations as destroyed. Guess I’m not alone.

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BDT - I was beginning to think that I was the only one that thinks it’s proper to report known/provable destroyed stations as destroyed. Guess I’m not alone.

I report them too.

 

And if I need to get data from destroyed data sheets, I bring it up. I can only assume that a professional surveyor would know how to manage to work the NGS datasheet retrieval system as well as or better than me.

 

In fact I occasionally bring up a destroyed data sheet, find the mark (happened twice) and then try to get it un-destroyed (not easy). If you think the NGS is hesitant to mark a station as destroyed, they are more hesitant to change it back.

 

In fact I have found marks that are not even listed and brought them back to life (like MY2668) - but that's another issue.

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I report them too.

 

And if I need to get data from destroyed data sheets, I bring it up. I can only assume that a professional surveyor would know how to manage to work the NGS datasheet retrieval system as well as or better than me.

 

...In fact I occasionally bring up a destroyed data sheet, find the mark (happened twice) and then try to get it un-destroyed (not easy). If you think the NGS is hesitant to mark a station as destroyed, they are more hesitant to change it back...

Good to hear. I have seen that you’ve resurrected some destroyed stations - something that I doubt we’ll ever do! The best we’ve done is found a station or two that the NGS reported as Not Found.

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BDT - I was beginning to think that I was the only one that thinks it's proper to report known/provable destroyed stations as destroyed. Guess I'm not alone.
Well, Lost02, I must apologize for not being able to get my point across, despite the examples I submitted earlier. And if folks like Papa-Bear-NYC and BDT don't follow what I was saying, I really must be slipping as a wordsmith! I never have taken the position that we should not report stations as destroyed. I've submitted my share of them, through the years.

 

I simply expressed my objection to the idea of "mass" destruction notices to "clean up the data base", and to submitting destruction notices on a station when the description is cross-indexed to other (important) stations or reference objects. It has never been more than that, but you consistently have dragged this thread into other theoritical areas which distorted what I tried to communicate.

 

 

Submit all the destruction notices you desire, if that is important to you. I don't give a Hoot. And I refuse to participate in any further discussion which attempts to use the simple concepts above to launch a "database integrity crusade". I don't feel this is good for our hobby, or the intent of NGS. But, rest assured, NGS will consider your destruction reports and will take the appropriate action. As you pointed out several times, it's THEIR data. -Paul-

Edited by PFF

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Paul,

 

My original question was my concern about not logging a single specific station as destroyed when you witness and have the proof that it is actually destroyed. Your comments appeared to me to indicate that if one finds a destroyed station that sometimes you should mark it as Not Found so it doesn’t’ “disappear”. I attempted, unsuccessfully, to explain why technically that practice is a bad idea. BDT’s and Papa-Bear-NYC’s posts provides much more practical reason why destroyed stations should be submitted as destroyed.

 

Sorry if I misinterpreted what you were posting.

 

Joe

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