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How was data distributed pre-Web?


ArtMan
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Perhaps one of our professional surveyors can answer this:

 

Today, if I want to find information about a benchmark (and anyway, just what exactly is properly termed a 'benchmark' and what isn't?), I can go to the NGS web site or those of the other entities that maintain such files on their own benchmarks, and pull down a data sheet.

 

How was this done in the past. Did one write to NGS for copies? Visit the local office that kept these records? Did surveyors keep their own records? Today we take for granted the easy accessibility of these (and many other types of) records, but I wonder how much of a difference it makes to a working surveyor.

 

Thanks for you reply!

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The word Benchmark has many meanings in various industries, but within the surveying community it refers to an object that has a known elevation. It is not used to describe points with precise horizontal coordinates. Every set of construction plans and every topographic survey typically shows and describes the type and location of at least one benchmark, which then becomes known as the Project Benchmark or Site Benchmark, meaning that it governs all elevations on the construction site.

 

Until 1988, the NGS gave out information for free over the telephone. Packages of data sheets were also sent out upon request at a nominal shipping charge. About 10 years ago, they put the data on compact discs, but they had to charge a fee for those. Fortunately, we now have better access to the info than ever before and its free, unless you consider the fact that its taxpayer funded.

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It is apparent that snail mail was used for notification of changes to a station in the past. Here is one from my area that was moved in 1946 because of the erection of a steel tower. This tower is now owned by ATT, but apparently was originally owned by Western Union.

 

JU3020 STATION RECOVERY (1946)

JU3020

JU3020'RECOVERY NOTE BY LOCAL SURVEYOR (INDIVIDUAL OR FIRM) 1946 (HRF)

JU3020'LETTER FROM MR. H.R. FRIZZELL, DIVISION PLANT SUPERINTENDENT,

JU3020'WESTERN UNION TELEGRAPH COMPANY, NEW YORK, NEW YORK, DATED

JU3020'MARCH 12, 1946--

JU3020'

JU3020'STATION MARK WAS LOWERED 5.040 FEET IN ITS EXISTING LOCATION

JU3020'DUE TO THE BUILDING OF A STEEL TOWER.

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