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steeples, etc


73westy

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My personal rule is that I want to get as close as I legally, safely can. For a steeple, I'd want to stand next to the building housing it. For a water tower, outside the chainlink fence surrounding it is fine. For a disk on a military reservation, well, someday I'll have a military friend get me closer.

 

"Why don't you just ask somebody?"

 

"No, no. I've got a map. Don't worry about that."

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I like hunting for benchmarks, but in the case of watertowers and church steeples, you just drive by and there it is - no hunting. So I don't look for them - it just doesn't seem like a GPS game to me.

 

Maybe someone can figure out some sort of challenge involved with them, but I can't. Wait, I guess one could take a picture of watertower and church steeple benchmarks from a nearby regular benchmark. Hmmmm. There would be both a finding challenge and a photographic challenge to that.

 

A significant aspect of benchmark hunting is taking pictures and maybe there's a way to make some kind of artistic collection of pics of church steeples or something. But then, some church steeples and watertowers are pretty without being benchmarks.

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I have logged a couple of church spires (plus a radio tower), and I did wonder why I bothered. Not much of a challenge, admittedly. But there were a couple of interesting issues at the churches. In one, the station was supposed to be the wind vane atop the spire, but the spire was topped by a cross, not a wind vane. In the other, the description specifically said there was no cross, but the church in fact now has a cross atop it. Probably these were later modifications, but it does show you that things are not always as simple as they seem.

 

However, there is a good reason why sightings of these landmarks can legitimately be considered appropriate for logging. The reason these high places are selected as survey points is precisely because they can be seen from the ground from a distance. A surveyor does not climb to the top of these structures to use the position information; rather, the surveyor using appropriate instruments sights the structure from the ground, just like we would do.

 

One kind of mark I will not log are actual disks (nails, rivets, etc.) atop buildings. In this case, access to the actual station is needed for surveying purposes, and in my opinion gettting close enough to touch (or for closeup photography) is needed for a legitimate logging.

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I have looked for 6 BM's so far and found 2, 1 disk and 1 watertower. I worked tanks for years including elevated tanks (watertowers) so they interest me. I try to read the plate on the manhole cover to find what company built it and when. Some of my friends worked the south-east in the 60's - 80's and if I find one I think they worked on I'll ask them if they want a picture. I'm just starting at this game so I'll log anything, lol. Sure wish I was playing when I was at all those other towers icon_smile.gif.

PS: Web-Ling is correct, the steeple itself is the BM as for towers they use the finial (decorative top-knot)on the roof(this usually also serves as a vent).

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I have looked for 6 BM's so far and found 2, 1 disk and 1 watertower. I worked tanks for years including elevated tanks (watertowers) so they interest me. I try to read the plate on the manhole cover to find what company built it and when. Some of my friends worked the south-east in the 60's - 80's and if I find one I think they worked on I'll ask them if they want a picture. I'm just starting at this game so I'll log anything, lol. Sure wish I was playing when I was at all those other towers icon_smile.gif.

PS: Web-Ling is correct, the steeple itself is the BM as for towers they use the finial (decorative top-knot)on the roof(this usually also serves as a vent).

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Church steeples, water towers, control towers, antennae towers, airport beacons... are landmarks in themselves. I am not sure of this in all situations but often, as I understand they don't have any marker or anything. A lightening rod at the top of the structure, a cross, the point of a roof, a nail in the tar paper... or the motor on the airport beacon may be THE marking point. Since you can't get to that point in most situations, I would think you would want to simply use objects like this to practice your creative photographic abilities. Get a nice beauty shot. Then take some other pictures from that location showing the suroundings. Maybe read the info sheet and key into some of the markers located there. If the sheet tells you that it an object or landmark is 75' from the center line of Highway X than you might want to take a picture showing the proximity of the marker to the centerline of Highway X. If there is something special and relevant in the area surrounding the marker than you might want to get photos of that. Say the marker is an airport beacon and the airport just built a new tower and located a new beacon there. And, you notice that there is some demolition near the existing beacon you might want to document that. Just in case the intention is that the marker is going to be removed. Your photos might be the last documentation of that point. Show some photos from different directions or photograph the object in relation to different view points. Proximity to other buildings... An example of an airport beacon near me is that it is about 30' from the edge of a roadway and along side a hanger building. I might want to show that proximity to the building as well as the gate entry to the airfield and the thouroghfare that runs past it.

 

If you want to do a near official job of it, There is an article somewhere on the NGS website that describes what they need for the documentation of a benchmark. I don't remember the link though. The article is published by the National Geodetic Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Department of Commerce. It is titled, Requirements for Digital Photographs of Survey Control . It is Version 10 dated January 25th, 2002. You might be able to find it through a Google Search. I think it might be a PDF format but on Google they might have an HTML version. The HTML might not have photos on it though. This article is good in that it also tells how to clean up a benchmark and highlight the stamping to make them more visible in your photo. The article also tells how to number and caption your photos, what kinds of photos are necessary and how to label your photos so that they can be searched in a database and to assure that they contain references to certain features in the photos. Arrows and other marking divices or printed references inserted and captioned ON the photo.

 

As for the GPS factor of these types of objects that might come in with your ability to reference your photos to GPS points so that others can re-experience your experience. Also so that your documentation of the position of the land mark can be more accurately plotted on maps by people who might want to visit the site. The waypoints listed on the data page are often not very accurate. I make it a point to try an take new waypoints right from the object, or at least as close as I legally and safely can. Don't forget waypoints when writing your logs and documenting your find.

 

quote:
Originally posted by Black Dog Trackers:

I like hunting for benchmarks, but in the case of watertowers and church steeples, you just drive by and there it is - no hunting. So I don't look for them - it just doesn't seem like a GPS game to me.

 

Maybe someone can figure out some sort of challenge involved with them, but I can't. Wait, I guess one could take a picture of watertower and church steeple benchmarks from a nearby regular benchmark. Hmmmm. There would be both a finding challenge and a photographic challenge to that.

 

A significant aspect of benchmark hunting is taking pictures and maybe there's a way to make some kind of artistic collection of pics of church steeples or something. But then, some church steeples and watertowers are pretty without being benchmarks.


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The Survey Tech post in the same thread got me thinking.

 

I went to military school in high school and part of my JROTC training was military map reading and orienteering(?). We never used that phrase but basically navigation. For that we learned how to use topographic maps and compasses and protractors to locate ourselves in an unknown location and be able to navagate back or summon assistance...

 

For benchmarks from such landmarks, one could go out in a nearby field or on a nearby lake or whatever and locate a couple of these markers. Say for example, using Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, I could, In addition to the beauty shots that I mentioned earlier, of the landmarks, locate a buoy on the lake and then, using a compass figure the directional headings to Black Point and Yerkes Observatory. I believe they are both listed landmarks. From there I would draw an intersection of the lines between the bouy and those marks, on a topographic map and determine the buoy's location. That is how it was done before GPS. The waypoint of the buoy could be kept secret. Giving accurate waypoints for the landmarks and the headings from those landmarks, a challenge could be for searchers to calculate out where they need to go to recreate their position relative to the two landmarks that have been given. The solution to the game could be, the searcher would need to take the headings from the landmarks and plot them on a topo map. Then go onto the lake in a boat and find the point where the intersection is, say a buoy. Then from their suspected location would need to use their own compass skills and verify that they are in the right(correct) relationship to the landmarks. The finder would then take a waypoint or 2 or 3 from that location and get a fairly accurate reading. Then to log the buoy as a find, you would have to find it and get the waypoint for it as well as, perhaps some sort of marking left on it. This could even be a way to merge Geocaching with Benchmark hunting. A virtual cache so to speak hidden at the intersection of two Benchmarks. Using the Waypoint and GPS as a means of confirming the visitors locating the cache point and marking their visit. This could even involve an actual cache.

 

Other possibilities on or along water could be piers, islands, breakwaters... On land, you could have the intersecting point be anything from a monument, tree, rock... You could also specify that photos be taken of the intersection and from the intersection, of the benchmarks.

 

quote:
Originally posted by Web-ling:

See Jeremy's response to this question in http://opentopic.Groundspeak.com/0/OpenTopic?a=tpc&s=1750973553&f=5790959854&m=4040951064. Take a picture of the steeple, and log it. If the BM is a steeple, then there isn't a disk. The steeple IS the benchmark.

 

http://img.Groundspeak.com/user/25021_1200.gif


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I recently did my first benchmark hunting trip. I went to a nearby Army installation (Fort Eustis, VA) with a list of benchmarks and landmarks. The four landmarks on my list were all last recorded in the late 1950's, early '60s. I found the main watertower intact and right away. The item labeled as an "Aluminum Tank" turned out to be a water tower. Did they build a water tower on the site of the tank or was it mis labeled?? I don't know, but an interesting question. The other water tower (building 216) was torn down, but the base of the former tower was roped off as an environmental hazard. The fourth landmark on my list was a 100 foot smoke stack. It still shows on the topo map I have. Says me to myself: "I don't remember this thing being here back in 1981" Since it is (WAS) located next to a major road I assume it has been torn down over 20 years ago. I will make a follow-up trip to the Facilities engineers office to get a definite answer. Also the trees that grow there are at least 20+ years old.

 

I thought hunting those landmarks was meaningful and fun. And I logged the two water towers as a find.

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Until the late 70's or so most elevateds (watertowers) were painted "Aluminum" or Silver since it was thought to be the most corrosion resistant. So if you were looking for an aluminum tank you probably found it. Now days towers are painted to blend with the surroundings, green, beige etc. The only ones that haven't are the ones near or at airports/air stations which are usually checkered for high visibility.

There are aluminum tanks that are used to store various products but they are usually found in chemical plants and refinerys. Hope I helped.

PS: I was stationed at Yorktown NWS in the mid 60's and have been to "Ft. Useless", quite a place. icon_smile.gif

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Until the late 70's or so most elevateds (watertowers) were painted "Aluminum" or Silver since it was thought to be the most corrosion resistant. So if you were looking for an aluminum tank you probably found it. Now days towers are painted to blend with the surroundings, green, beige etc. The only ones that haven't are the ones near or at airports/air stations which are usually checkered for high visibility.

There are aluminum tanks that are used to store various products but they are usually found in chemical plants and refinerys. Hope I helped.

PS: I was stationed at Yorktown NWS in the mid 60's and have been to "Ft. Useless", quite a place. icon_smile.gif

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My take on these is counting them as finds. There are a number that I have looked for in my area that have been torn down (including a historic one at the site of the Diamond REO Motor Car company) and since built over/around. The way I look at it, you still have to look for them.

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quote:
Originally posted by berryzang:

My take on these is counting them as finds. There are a number that I have looked for in my area that have been torn down (including a historic one at the site of the Diamond REO Motor Car company) and since built over/around. The way I look at it, you still have to look for them.


 

I hope I'm not hearing you correctly. Do you mean that you count it as a find even if the building is not there? If you look for a cache and it's not there do you count it as a find? Is the benchmark (steeple, chimney, whatever) still useful if it's not there. Admittedly, there is not much hunting involved if it is there, but the least we can do is to call a spade a spade and log it as not found if it isn't there.

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