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I sent an email to NGS and got the following response.


I recently became aware of this aspect of the Geocaching

program. This can be a significant public service to the Nation -- to record the condition of benchmarks so that

the information in the National Geodetic Survey database is more up-to-date. Such confidence in the continued availability of these benchmarks can save time for those surveyors and others who are planning on using benchmarks in their area for surveying and mapping projects. This can also be an excellent opportunity to acquaint more of our citizens about the importance of accurate and consistent coordinates. It is a information partnership, built on fun, that can potentially provide significant public value.


Thank you for reminding me of the Geocaching program. I will take this opportunity to share your message with other NOAA managers so that they too can appreciate the enthusiasm and value of this program.


Charlie Challstrom

Director, National Geodetic Survey

NOAA's Ocean Service

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Originally posted by jshort:

I am in the process of entering in a Found BM repot to the NGS. On a hunch/guess/wonder, I checked the http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/get_contrib2.prl to see if Geocaching was listed.


And lo and behold - we are ! Designation code - GEOCAC




That brought a glow to my heart...one that wasn't diminished too much when I saw how freakin' long the list was. icon_eek.gif

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When reporting a recovery (or non-recovery) to NGS using our new GEOCAC designation, it is more important than ever to be accurate, reliable and professional.


In particular, be very cautions about reporting a mark as destroyed. When doing so, you should have firm evidence of it. For example, when a mark is atop a structure and the structure has been demolished. If you simply can't find the mark, report it as 'not found' and, for added credibility, explain briefly your effort to find the mark, e.g. 'unable to find station after 30 minutes of careful searching of area, which has been substantially developed since last reported recovery in 1962.'


Maybe because I'm an editor in my day job, I find many of the published descriptions difficult to understand. Don't be afraid of using plain English (which even lawyers and insurance companies use these days). Even if you have to include approximate distances to landmarks in the area, it might be more helpful than precise measurements that may be confusing or obsolete.


In urban or suburban areas, feel free to use street addresses. Utility poles are also good landmarks, and they are usually numbered (though they can be re-numbered, so be sure to note any changes in your NGS report). Sometimes earlier reports have errors; sometimes they are confusing or vague.


Don't hesitate to note that your report corrects a prior report - but be really sure! - e.g., 'station is 30 feet north (not south, as stated in 1993 recovery note) of ...'. And clarifications will, I am certain, be appreciated by surveyors, e.g. 'station is in grassy median strip of highway, clarifying description in 1984 recovery note.

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I would think at this point it would behoove Jeremy to post a standards FAQ, something along the lines of Artman's comments, and the NGS info,etc. on the expectations of reporting quality when anyone wants to use the GEOCAC group designation. Just to keep everyone on the same page. Just because a person may hunt geocaches, does not mean they may be up to speed yet on BM hunting. I know I have to go back and reread the NGS stuff myself.



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I agree with Centaur's concerns that some guidelines need to be posted on, or linked from, the main benchmark page. I find the NGS site's information about how to report benchmark finds a bit limited when attempting to apply it to real instances, and would like to see us expand upon it a bit, hopefully with NGS approval.


I have tried to start this sort of thing with the 'definitions of destroyed' thread.

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Does anyone have a benchmark PID that has, on the NGS site, an updated location description or something that references GEOCAC? Plenty reference the Power Squadron (another registered contributor), but I'd just like to see an example of one that says GEOCAC or geocaching.


By the way, the geocaching.com webpage about benchmark hunting still says to use INDIV when reporting to the NGS.

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I did find a couple of them using this site at NGS. Enter dates (I used all of January or all of December, etc.). Check the box that says "Include marks whose Recovery Note changed" and un-check the boxes about changed coordinates. Select some or all PIDs by marking a PID, and go down several lines and click another while holding the shift key. When the datasheets come in, Edit-search in the page for "STATION RECOVERY (2002)" (also try 2003).


It is educational to see what is being entered these days into the database and which contributors are doing it.


The entries from a geocacher using GEOCAC say "RECOVERY NOTE BY GEOCACHING".

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Who here is reporting finds (or not finds) to the NGS?


I wanted to see that they were actually going to use find information. I have found a number of benchmarks that haven't been reported since the 1940's, so the elapsed time seems enough to report...


but do they really care about these? And what would it take for them to take notice of them?


(I also have a number of benchmarks that I am sure are destroyed [description was "mounted in railing of bridge", bridge was demolished (except for support pillars) and reconstructed several years ago] ... but again, do they care to hear from us on that?

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Anyone is welcome to submit updated description data, but only professionals may update coordinates due to the rigorous precision restrictions which are in place to maintain the integrity of the data. One may express one's opinion about the status of a marker that one did not find, but should refrain from jumping to conclusions and pronouncing it destroyed without positive proof. Likewise, positive identification of the marker, usually by matching the stamping exactly with the deignation given on the datasheet, is needed to pronounce a marker found. The older markers are just as important and valuable as the newer ones, and while the NGS is not vitally interested in recording them anymore, this should not be misunderstood to indicate that they are no longer important.

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I would only make a submission if it’s been a while since the last report, and I would never submit “destroyed” unless I had REALLY good evidence – like the broken mark in my hand. I recently made a submission for DX4320 with a slight update in the directions that is now on-line – cool! icon_biggrin.gif








These are my opinions and only my opinions, unless you share them as well, which would make them our opinions, but I am not of the opinion that I can express your opinion as my opinion without your prior expression of said opinion, and then my re-utterance of that opinion would, in my opinion, be foolish unless I were expressing agreement to your opinion, and then it wouldn't be my opinion but your opinion to which I only agree.

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I recently sent an email to Deb Brown asking about picture submission with mark updates.


Here is the respnse:

"Thank you for your inquiry and your interest in providing updated

information on our control stations.


At present there is no way to submit photos via the web recovery form.

If you have photos that meet the requirements for inclusion in our

database then please send them to Sharon.Faber@noaa.gov


If however you are reporting a destroyed station, then please send me an

email stating as much with the PID and designation of the station along

with a photo in JPEG format of the station or its remains.


Thank you,


Deb Brown"


So, it looks like we can send in pics of our recovered BM's.

HOWEVER!!....I would suggest you only submit photos AFTER you have already submitted changes to several BM's, and get a feel for a proper submission to NGS. (You can always go back later and submit the photos to your submitted BM's). icon_biggrin.gif


I also would STRONGLY URGE anyone wishing to submit photos should read the NGS requirements for photo submission,








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Originally posted by beejay&esskay:

Did you submit it with the GEOCAC code?


No, I didn't know about the Geocaching code till I read this thread, I will on the next benchmark I find and log with the NGS! There are a bunch near me that haven't had entries in 25-35 years, I tried to find a couple this weekend, but had difficulty finding access - most would either require access to private property, or are up a hill with no fire road/trail access - too much bushwacking for me.




These are my opinions and only my opinions, unless you share them as well, which would make them our opinions, but I am not of the opinion that I can express your opinion as my opinion without your prior expression of said opinion, and then my re-utterance of that opinion would, in my opinion, be foolish unless I were expressing agreement to your opinion, and then it wouldn't be my opinion but your opinion to which I only agree.

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(I also have a number of benchmarks that I am sure are destroyed [description was "mounted in railing of bridge", bridge was demolished (except for support pillars) and reconstructed several years ago] ... but again, do they care to hear from us on that?


Yes, but be sure to pull up the report for the benchmark from the NGS and make sure that it's not already listed as destroyed. (The GeoCache Benchmark FAQ mentions this already.) Also note that in most cases you likely shouldn't list a station as destroyed without photos or other suitable evidence to submit:


2) If you did not find the actual marker, then you should enter notes concerning evidence of its possible destruction as text records and select "Not recovered, not found" as the condition of mark.


(And read the rather well written document on digital photo requirements before sending Deb Brown your pictures!)


The only benchmark I've reported so far was quite clearly not there anymore. We found the location easily enough, yet the described 140 FT tall water tank was no where to be seen. We did, however, find a 15' diameter concrete ring exactly where the tower was supposed to be.


"Gee, I think we done found it, Maw!" icon_biggrin.gif


Still, since I lacked photos that conformed to their standards, I submitted the station as "Not recovered, not found" with a description of what I found. Sooner or later, I may return to the site and take suitable photos. At that point, I may submit them and update my report to destroyed.


Barbarian - Founder of the Barbarian Illuminati

Don't make me use the mind control laser on you!

SJ Games - http://www.sjgames.com

GURPS, Ogre, INWO, Munchkin and more. Fnord

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I reported JZ1387 found on 1/31/03. Four weeks later GEOCAC is listed in the NGS database as having found this benchmark. ("Recovered in good condition"...their words from my simple report.)


Nothing remarkable about this find. I reported it because no one had verified the existence of this benchmark since it was first created in 1947.


(So now that I know they are listening, I'll report the others...)


One unexpected question when reporting a find.: "Is it suitable for satellite observation?" They want to know if there is a clear view of the sky above 15 degrees at the benchmark. (Yes/no/uncertain are the allowed answers.)

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Originally posted by Juanbob:

How do I change my two 1942 recovered In 2002 by INDIV to Groundspeak or whatever? That is too cool we are not just total flunkie losers anymore!


Juanbob icon_eek.gif


I would just leave them as is. Its just to much of a hassel to bother them with a change like this. As long as the recovery is noted, thats the important thing.

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And a reminder to LOG THOSE BENCHMARKS with NGS. As cool as it is to me to get the FTF on Geocaching, it feels much better to be the first to log with NGS since 1936 or 1942 (or whatever), because by doing that I stand a chance of helping someone else find the mark for a useful purpose. It is even better if I can change a "not found" to "found" or if I can change the description to help the next person find the benchmark.

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Tried to log a benchmark today using GOECAC and got the "Cannot create recovery file: Permission denied" This one was last found in 1984, and is really close to a rails to trails trail so it is probably known to some Civil Engineer, but what the heck. I will try again later.

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