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Differences between a Benchmarker and a Geocacher

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Not much action on this Forum the past couple days. So, I thought I'd post a question for all you Benchmarkers. What differences have you noticed between the two? I consider myself a Benchmarker first and a Geocacher second. Like many of you, I started out Geocaching and discovered Benchmarking soon after. Ready...wait for it......Go!

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We can't speak to the question of the differences. The closest we've come to geocaching was some months back when we joined in an online resection challenge posed by Klemmer and TeddyBearMama. We started hunting survey marks about four years ago, and have yet to even see a cache.

 

Cheers,

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A benchmark hunter is like a geocacher, but with the soul of an engineer.

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You all have an appreciation for being a part of something bigger than yourselves. Your work while enjoyable also has a benefit and you enjoy that. You also enjoy the learning that comes with it.

 

A cache doesn't have the history, depth, or usefulness that benchmarks have and that difference makes all the difference.

 

That's my observation from the other side of the fence.

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m&H, Klemmer and TB Mama, bill , Renegade-I think you've hit it right on the head. The thrill of the hunt, with a little history lesson thrown in. Put on your Sherlock Holmes hat, turn around, and hit the trail again- that's how I approach hunting for BM's. Renegade, do I sense a little philisophizing thrown in too? Thanks everyone...would love to hear more!

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Ahh. Hmm... More of a geocacher than benchmarker. 2000 geocaches, 800 benchmarks... I'm not sure that historical value enters into my thoughts. It's more the challenge, and offerering useful information to the NGS. Not found since monumentation in 1931? Lets go for it! NJGS cannot find it? Should be an easy find! Let's correct the record. :ph34r: Okay, the newer benchmarks don't really interest me too much. Some of the old triangulation stations are in really great places! Then there's the challenge on the scaled disks. Found one a quarter mile off, another 1500' off. And none of the references from the 1930's are still there! There's a benchmark on a mountaintop north of the Delaware Water Gap that's calling me! Hasn't been found since the 50's!

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Well, I do both and both have some historical significance and interest. There are of course the virtual caches and earthcaches and some caches at historically interesting places. There is the old Route 66 series and I'm sure there are others. I also enjoyed the virtual and regular caches around the USS Alabama in Mobile, Alabama for instance. On the other hand, neat seeing old courthouses and post offices and railroad bridges. But, then, you can only see so many culverts. They both have fun points in spite of the more utilitarian purpose of the benchmarks.

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Caching is just for fun, while benchmarking is more serious, especially if you're submitting NGS reports. I wish that casual geocachers would take the time to see if they have actually discovered the correct benchmark instead of submitting so many logs which say, in essence, "Oh, there's a disk, that must be it!" And of course, there's the "Found" log which says "I'm sure it must be here someplace."

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There is 1 thing a benchmark hunter can do that a cacher cannot!

 

We can drive along any highway (even in unfamiliar territory) and see a sign for a benchmark, stop and get out of our vehicle and go 'recover' the benchmark! You just can't do that with caching! :lol:

 

Also, when was the last time you found a 100 year old cache? :ph34r:

 

John

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...Also, when was the last time you found a 100 year old cache? :lol:

 

John

This is why time capsules will be a cache type on my non existant caching site. :ph34r:

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This is why time capsules will be a cache type on my non existant caching site. :ph34r:

 

Which would make it a "hidden treasure", no? :lol:

Edited by EdFromOhio

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Hmm....we've been geocaching more lately. But the big difference I see is the lacking "wow" factor when I find a cache versus when I find a benchmark. A container in the woods or a guardrail is just something that only matters for the moment its found and the log is signed. And then it's forgotten. Now a benchmark - it doesn't matter if the benchmark was placed last year or last century or if I'm the last in a long string of recoverers or the first - it still wows me to find one. And once found it's not forgotten when the next one is found.

 

With caches, it's pretty damned easy to know where they are. The coords are pretty much spot on. Benchmarks....not the case. I love becoming the detective and peering into the past. Where would the train station have been? Was the road always this wide? Did they have to travel through worse brush than this to survey and place the station? In fact, that's the biggest thrill for me - the feeling of being able to step back in time and feel part of history - not as an observer, but as a participant. Corny I know. But I also blame that feeling on my love of history too. And no matter the cache, I have never gotten that feeling.

 

Although I have to admit, caching gets me out for a day with a great group of friends. None of my caching friends are into benchmarking and certainly don't care to hear about it. So benchmarking is strictly a family affair and that's a really cool aspect!

 

So yeah. Those are the big differences for me.

Edited by AstroD-Team

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Well I have to agree with a little bit of everyone post. I have 2500 caches and 250 benchmarks and I enjoy both. The virtual and Earthcaches are full of history and geology and I love finding the old benchmarks and see old buildings. Both have their benefits. I also have more friends that cache over benchmarking.

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Here is one difference - Geocachers tend to hide caches besides finding them. Some of the people who are both a Benchmarker and a Geocacher will look around for a spot to hide a geocache close to an interesting benchmark or use a benchmark for a reference. It tends to give Geocachers a reason to log said benchmark.

 

It is also a lot of fun for the owner, to read the logs on the cache page when there is a benchmark involved. Our one cache - Mollies Nipple is such a cache with not 1 but 2 benchmarks they can log.

 

Difference...you can "Place & Own" a cache but you cannot "Place & Own" a benchmark (that is in the GC data base).

 

Shirley~

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Lets see when I started there were very few geocaches in my area.

So I decided to go for the benchmarking portion.

 

Then as I was placing geocaches ll over in great places rules changed a little and could not place them in far off places.

It was apparent that a new type of game needed to happen then came Waymarking.....now I can mark all those distant places.

 

I love mapping,I am a technician,and associate member in the SWC MSPS and working on GIS in our area.

I think they are all related in some fashion but each has it's own pleasures.

 

So I guess I am a Benchmarking Geocaching Waymaking guru.LOL!!

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I got to thinking about "placing and owning" benchmarks....

 

Governments are already selling "naming rights" to things as big as sports stadiums (stadia?). How long will it be before we can "buy the rights" to benchmarks, getting our names and a serial number to replace the designations of the disks, and perhaps the right to monument a personal benchmark disk next to the "official" one? Sigh...

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Well GEOCAC has placed 5.

I do not think we "Own" them though as they are now or will become a part of the system.

 

We collectively have a part in them though and we can say we are a part of Benchmarking History.

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Similar objectives, similar methods, happen to be available on the same site. All part of a great community.

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From a logging standpoint benchmarks require a more structured log if you are a serious benchmarker.

 

This is the thing that keeps me from searching out more of them. I am not sure what the proper formats are and what the correct terminology and found/not found descriptors are.

 

As an example, Destroyed, means that the mark is damaged to me. But to a surveyor if the mark can still be used it isn't destroyed. At least I think that is the case.

 

Perhaps someday someone will have a benchmarker 101 class in KC and I can learn how to log the benchmarks correctly.

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It is far more important to describe what you find than it is to categorize it. Is the disk or other object there? Does it look like it is stable in its original position? What other details will someone need to help them find it in the future?

 

Yes, to a surveyor, categorizing the condition means how well the position in space is being marked, not the physical object used to mark it. It doesn't matter how pretty or ugly the disk is, the urgent question is "can I put my level rod or prism pole in exactly the same place that was used to get the data on the data sheet?"

 

On the geocaching site, many people don't understand this distinction, and it isn't a big deal if they go by appearance instrad. For logging to NGS, if you choose to do it, it is very important.

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It is far more important to describe what you find than it is to categorize it. Is the disk or other object there? Does it look like it is stable in its original position? What other details will someone need to help them find it in the future?

 

Yes, to a surveyor, categorizing the condition means how well the position in space is being marked, not the physical object used to mark it. It doesn't matter how pretty or ugly the disk is, the urgent question is "can I put my level rod or prism pole in exactly the same place that was used to get the data on the data sheet?"

 

On the geocaching site, many people don't understand this distinction, and it isn't a big deal if they go by appearance instrad. For logging to NGS, if you choose to do it, it is very important.

The other VERY IMPORTANT distinction is that many folks consider the mark to be "FOUND" if it's there, even if it's out of the ground laying on its side. To a surveyor, if this is the condition, it is absolutely unuseable.

 

The mark IS NOT THE DISK, it's the location or elevation the disk is supposed to mark. Thus a brand new looking disk which got knocked out by a piece of construction equipment (not unusual) is destroyed, no matter how good the disk looks.

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The mark IS NOT THE DISK, it's the location or elevation the disk is supposed to mark. Thus a brand new looking disk which got knocked out by a piece of construction equipment (not unusual) is destroyed, no matter how good the disk looks.

 

One caution here - how many others have been guilty of not always reading the fine print (not always published, such as the DATASHEET for most MORCs) close enough to realize that there is a sub-surface mark?

 

And NGS requires a lot of documentation to place a mark in the DESTROYED category. Mike

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Not sure what your reference to a sub-surface mark was about. Unless the surface mark is gone, nobody looks for a sub-surface mark because to do so would destroy the surface mark.

 

It is true that we probably shouldn't report a mark as destroyed if there is a reasonable possibility a sub-surface mark remains in place. If someone wanted to, they could get close enough with professional GPS to find a sub-surface mark. It is unlikely anyone would care enough to do this-they would more likely just measure some convenient spot with their GPS and work from there instead. In the days before this was practical, I have seen even USGS mark a tri-station destroyed when the surface mark was moved and all reference marks were gone (see MH0608). The effort to survey in optically was uneconomical.

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Not sure what your reference to a sub-surface mark was about. Unless the surface mark is gone, nobody looks for a sub-surface mark because to do so would destroy the surface mark.

 

 

He was referring to people claiming a mark was destroyed when in fact there was a sub-surface set and it most likely was still in place, but not searched for. Many resets are done using the sub-surfaced mark.

 

John

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A cache doesn't have the history, depth, or usefulness that benchmarks have and that difference makes all the difference.

 

Ooh, but you have obviously never found one of MY caches. There are no micros or nanos and I have very few hides compared to many. Thats because EACH of mine is carefully selected for one of a few specific reasons, often several...historical purposes, geological oddities, neat facts, etc. Each also contains a short story for you to read that explains in detail exactly why this cache is here & what makes the location important, or historical, or interesting.

 

My big question on this thread...why is it even necessary?? Is there anything that says you can't do both?? I do. I found caches yesterday, hid one too, & found a couple benchmarks today, learning something that will someday be applied to a cache near that location. I have also hid caches & found out while researching that location that there should be a benchmark nearby. That leads to a search.

 

My feeling is that there IS no difference between a geo'er & a bencher. Many, if not most of us do both.....at least from what I've saw.

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I have not found (or looked for) a benchmark yet. When I started caching not long ago, at first it was exciting to just find one. But very soon I realized it was more about the sharing of a 'secret' spot someone else enjoys more that just 'the find'. I don't live in the city, but work in one. I hate the 'in city' caches. I prefer the caches in the wilderness, next to a water fall, or an abandoned town, or in the middle of nowhere that brings you to an old shack- someplace with history, or anyplace 'away from it all'. I never really knew what benchmarking was until just recently by accident. Now, looking at the pics of excellent locations in this benchmarking forum, it makes me realize what I crave but not always find in geocaching- I never realized it was the norm in benchmarking.

I used to look for places people had not been. Now I find myself looking for placed they had.

 

Sorry, not much of a light hearted difference as much as a why I.

Shawn.

Edited by Pontoffel Pock

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The question 'Why do people stop caching?' has been discussed on the UK forum recently, to which I answered the following:

 

They get fed up of micros stuffed in hedges? or terribly hard and pointless puzzle caches? :D

 

Partly that. I logged geocaches for a while, then gave up on them to concentrate on looking for trigpoints and benchmarks, which I find much more satisfying.

 

Why is that? Partly, there is a historical interest side to Ordnance Survey stuff that plastic tubs will never match. And partly the aesthetics are just better - when a benchmark or trig is in an unattractive place then there is at least a reason for it, mainly, that the surroundings have changed over the decades. Frequently, caches are in unattractive places for no reason other than a lack of imagination on the part of the owner.

 

But as was mentioned already, caching is good for the kids, and I'll no doubt log a few more when mine show an interest.

 

It seems relevant here too.

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Caching is just for fun, while benchmarking is more serious.........

 

You absolutely 100% sure?? Guess CITO doesn't serve any purpose other than to have fun picking up trash. Those of us who research the area we plan to cache must be just striving to help teach others about the history of that specific area just for the fun of it....not so that places history won't be forgotten. And taking the kids out to learn a little about the outdoors & to help challenge their minds must serve no other purpose than for the adults to have fun.

 

Sorry, but I completely disagree.

Edited by astrodav

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Ooh, but you have obviously never found one of MY caches...

There is NO cache that will equal the satisfaction of finding a benchmark from the 1800's or the early 1900's that has not

been recovered since the time it was monumented. Many of us on this board have achieved this, and will agree with me.

These logs are invaluable to the surveying community at large. Can't say the same for the numerous smileys posted to a geocache webpage.

 

My feeling is that there IS no difference between a geo'er & a bencher. Many, if not most of us do both.....at least from what I've saw.

.....at least from what I've seen.

 

There IS a marked difference between a Geocacher and a Benchmark Hunter.

Two entirely different mindsets and goals are involved:

1) Geocacher - "I found it", then signs a log possibly describing how much fun it was or what the weather was like, what you took, what you left, etc.

2) Benchmarker - "Recovered or Not Found", then takes the time to adequately describe his/her observations for posterity to aid other benchmarkers, surveyors

and other interested parties in the future. Details would include the condition of the mark, distances from nearby references, changes in the topography since the

last recovery, etc. Sometimes a mark can be considered "Destroyed", but only when the Benchmark Hunter can clearly document the basis for his/her findings,

at which point it is then reviewed by surveying professionals at the NGS who make a final determination.

 

Conclusion: Geocaching is just a GAME of finding tupperware in the woods. - Benchmarking is infinitely more involved.

 

~ Mitch ~

P.S. - It's considered bad form to use improper grammar and needless arrogant boasting.

Edited by Difficult Run

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Uh oh, Looks like things might be getting a little out of hand. :laughing: Let me switch the topic a little and start by adding that I find both activities can also be a great way to relieve a little stress or frustration. If a project isn't going well, set it aside for the time being and work on something else for awhile. If possible, get out and do some geocaching or Benchmarking-it works for me. Yesterday, I was looking for some Marks in the local Mountains and couldn't find one that was easily found a couple years prior. Then I remembered that someone had placed a Geocache nearby.

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..........

2) Benchmarker - "Recovered or Not Found", then takes the time to adequately describe his/her observations for posterity to aid other benchmarkers, surveyors

and other interested parties in the future. Details would include the condition of the mark, distances from nearby references, changes in the topography since the

last recovery, etc. Sometimes a mark can be considered "Destroyed", but only when the Benchmark Hunter can clearly document the basis for his/her findings,

at which point it is then reviewed by surveying professionals at the NGS who make a final determination.

 

Conclusion: Geocaching is just a GAME of finding tupperware in the woods. - Benchmarking is infinitely more involved.

 

~ Mitch ~

P.S. - It's considered bad form to use improper grammar and needless arrogant boasting.

 

Some die-hard benchmarkers will take the time and effort to file reports with the NGS, and some of us just log on GC.com (no smilie, just an increase in the type and number of recovery logs). ;)

 

Arrogant boasting is only allowed in the "Proper" benchmark forum threads, too many to link to, though! :laughing:

 

We primarily place caches since we got tired of searching for micros where something could have been hidden.

 

There is a consistency to how benchmarks are set even though each crew does things slightly different from the others, it allows a pattern to be found that helps with finding/recovering benchmarks and that is 1 of the reasons we prefer benchmarking over caching.

 

On GC.com caching and benchmarking are both games / hobbies and perfection in NOT a requirement to participate! Having fun is required..... ;)

 

John

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A benchmark hunter is like a geocacher, but with the soul of an engineer.

 

Ah, well spoken. Kudos from a Geocacher that is very interested in benchmarking.

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how about this...

I like Geocaching with my family (kids mostly) but not by myself

I like benchmarking by myself - haven't had the opportunity to coerce someone into a benchmark hunt so I don't know about that yet :)

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how about this...

I like Geocaching with my family (kids mostly) but not by myself

I like benchmarking by myself - haven't had the opportunity to coerce someone into a benchmark hunt so I don't know about that yet :)

 

 

LOL I'm the opposite. Benchmarking - hubby and 10 year old son are eager to go along. Caching - I'm on my own for that.

 

 

I've had a few other cachers ask to accompany us on a benchmark hunt as they were curious why we were so nuts over it. They never asked to go again. I guess they thought five smileys that don't count in the stats is just not a productive way to spend a day. Oh well.

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Ooh, but you have obviously never found one of MY caches...

There is NO cache that will equal the satisfaction of finding a benchmark from the 1800's or the early 1900's that has not

been recovered since the time it was monumented. Many of us on this board have achieved this, and will agree with me.

These logs are invaluable to the surveying community at large. Can't say the same for the numerous smileys posted to a geocache webpage.

 

My feeling is that there IS no difference between a geo'er & a bencher. Many, if not most of us do both.....at least from what I've saw.

.....at least from what I've seen.

 

There IS a marked difference between a Geocacher and a Benchmark Hunter.

Two entirely different mindsets and goals are involved:

1) Geocacher - "I found it", then signs a log possibly describing how much fun it was or what the weather was like, what you took, what you left, etc.

2) Benchmarker - "Recovered or Not Found", then takes the time to adequately describe his/her observations for posterity to aid other benchmarkers, surveyors

and other interested parties in the future. Details would include the condition of the mark, distances from nearby references, changes in the topography since the

last recovery, etc. Sometimes a mark can be considered "Destroyed", but only when the Benchmark Hunter can clearly document the basis for his/her findings,

at which point it is then reviewed by surveying professionals at the NGS who make a final determination.

 

Conclusion: Geocaching is just a GAME of finding tupperware in the woods. - Benchmarking is infinitely more involved.

 

~ Mitch ~

P.S. - It's considered bad form to use improper grammar and needless arrogant boasting.

 

Forgive me. I didn't realize you were the grammar police. I'll be sure to run any future post by you before publishing it. Before bashing any others for being "arrogant", you probably need to read your OWN posts. And as I previously said, you obviously haven't found one of my caches. A couple of them have historical significance going back to the earliest 1800's......how far do your benchmarks go back?? This country is MUCH older than the 1850's. If you are limiting yourself to something set in that period, which you obviously are since you seem to despise caching....then you are missing out on ANOTHER 200 years of history.

 

By the way, many of us find benchmarks WHILE we cache. And many of those pack out others trash while doing the same, perhaps even left by you in your search for a benchmark. So don't even try that arrogant "Your's is just a game, mine's better" crap......childish.

 

Some of us have learned how to enjoy BOTH sports, or actually even merge them into one.....as I have. Some haven't obviously.

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There is a cacher here in my area that has placed many caches. The write-up typically contains historical info on the location - definitely some obscure research going on. They're way cool - I've only found a few but they are all on my ToDo list. Oreo Pony's Caches

I guess these caches have a historical significance that is common to benchmarking - so that's definitely at the top of the list for me (if I hadn't already mentioned it :wub: )

I've also ran into a couple of cool EarthCaches - hmmm.......

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Forgive me. I didn't realize you were the grammar police. I'll be sure to run any future post by you before publishing it.....

You're forgiven. - Just don't let it happen again.

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Conclusion: Geocaching is just a GAME of finding tupperware in the woods. - Benchmarking is infinitely more involved.

 

 

I think one would have to say "Benchmarking [can] be infinitely more involved". Reporting recoveries to NGS or providing information useful to surveyors that might use the gc.com website certainly adds some value to the effort of finding benchmarks.

 

For most who log benchmarks, however, I suspect it is just a game of finding an object out of doors very much like geocaching.

 

As for me, I like finding stuff using a gps and then writing something about it on a web page. Benchmarks are very interesting to me for multiple reasons. Finding them is a game that I happen to enjoy.

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Hmmm, after a bit of consideration, I think I have it.

A Geocacher likes to find things that have been regularly maintained by the owner.

A Benchmark Hunter likes to find things that have never been maintained by the owner.

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A Benchmark Hunter likes to find things that have never been maintained by the owner.

 

 

That's for sure!!!! :blink:

 

My preference is benchmark hunting. I don't like having to be in the "stealth" mode, such as when searching for a geocache. With benchmarks, I get to chat with other people. It is a lot of fun being at a vacation spot or scenic overlook and having adults and children come over to ask about the disk. I have a 90-second introduction which always evokes a few questions and a response of, "That's very interesting. I'll have to start noticing these things!"

 

Recently, I was at an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. A family was there, and the 7- to 10-year-old kids wanted to scramble up a bank for a better view. The parents were willing to go along. Knowing from past experience what was on top of the bank, I decided to have some fun.

 

"While you're up there," I told them, "you can do a treasure hunt. On two of the fence posts are metal triangles. Get lined up where the tags are pointing and see what you find at your feet." They did, and they were thrilled to find the disk.....which gave me a great opportunity to do my 90-second explanation.

 

-Paul-

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A geocacher goes in a direction. A benchmarker follows directions.

 

Or, a benchmarker looks for circles, a geocacher goes round in circles?

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