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2oldfarts (the rockhounders)

A little Irony

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We went benchmarking on Saturday along Highway 64 that goes to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We recovered 6 benchmarks for the day. Of the 6, 2 had been found by another Geocacher, 1 was a first to recover, and 3 were finds of "Not Found logs".

 

Where does the Irony come in, you ask? Well 2 of the marks were logged as Not Found by the USGS. Nothing unusual there, but the means that we used to recover these marks is where the irony does comes in. We used USGS Quad Topo maps. Maps produced by the USGS from the benchmarks they set, then later could not find.

 

Ironically, if they had used their own maps they would have been able to locate and recover these benchmarks because the map shows a "BM X" where the benchmarks are located.

 

38232e68-0cab-47d5-999a-95e6d0981872.jpg

The "BM X" is for L 62.

 

Here are the links for L 62 and F 62. These are the marks Not Found by the USGS.

 

Just remember to use all the available tools when looking for those tough to find benchmarks.

 

John & Shirley

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We went benchmarking on Saturday along Highway 64 that goes to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We recovered 6 benchmarks for the day. Of the 6, 2 had been found by another Geocacher, 1 was a first to recover, and 3 were finds of "Not Found logs".

 

Where does the Irony come in, you ask? Well 2 of the marks were logged as Not Found by the USGS. Nothing unusual there, but the means that we used to recover these marks is where the irony does comes in. We used USGS Quad Topo maps. Maps produced by the USGS from the benchmarks they set, then later could not find.

 

Ironically, if they had used their own maps they would have been able to locate and recover these benchmarks because the map shows a "BM X" where the benchmarks are located.

 

38232e68-0cab-47d5-999a-95e6d0981872.jpg

The "BM X" is for L 62.

 

Here are the links for L 62 and F 62. These are the marks Not Found by the USGS.

 

Just remember to use all the available tools when looking for those tough to find benchmarks.

 

John & Shirley

The is one big difference between finding a marker today and finding it in 1959 - your GPS. The 1934 local ties (rock ledge, small canyon, etc.) are all fairly generic.

 

BTW: the marks was set in 1934 by CGS, not USGS.

 

I have also found markers that professionals missed years ago. I could not have found them without my GPS and metal detector. (GPS being by far the more important tool).

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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We went benchmarking on Saturday along Highway 64 that goes to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We recovered 6 benchmarks for the day. Of the 6, 2 had been found by another Geocacher, 1 was a first to recover, and 3 were finds of "Not Found logs".

 

Where does the Irony come in, you ask? Well 2 of the marks were logged as Not Found by the USGS. Nothing unusual there, but the means that we used to recover these marks is where the irony does comes in. We used USGS Quad Topo maps. Maps produced by the USGS from the benchmarks they set, then later could not find.

 

Ironically, if they had used their own maps they would have been able to locate and recover these benchmarks because the map shows a "BM X" where the benchmarks are located.

 

38232e68-0cab-47d5-999a-95e6d0981872.jpg

The "BM X" is for L 62.

 

Here are the links for L 62 and F 62. These are the marks Not Found by the USGS.

 

Just remember to use all the available tools when looking for those tough to find benchmarks.

 

John & Shirley

The is one big difference between finding a marker today and finding it in 1959 - your GPS. The 1934 local ties (rock ledge, small canyon, etc.) are all fairly generic.

 

BTW: the marks was set in 1934 by CGS, not USGS.

 

I have also found markers that professionals missed years ago. I could not have found them without my GPS and metal detector. (GPS being by far the more important tool).

 

You seemed to have missed the point. If you use the USGS topo maps, it sometimes shows an icon where the benchmark is located. (You need to check the map to see if it shows that a benchmark is there and verify that it is the mark you want to find.) If you compare the terrain on the map with the terrain when you are in the area, it becomes a lot easier to find the benchmark.

 

For example, with L 62 the map show the benchmark being west of the 'wash' and south of a slight curve in the road. We had tried for this mark before and we followed the description on the data sheet. We spent time on the wrong side of the wash due to the fact that there is a distinctive road cut and ledge to the east of the wash. This time we actually looked at the map and saw the icon being to the west of the wash and when we went there the data sheet description fit and we were able to walk right to the disk.

 

If those searching for the mark in 1959 had used the topo maps produced by the USGS then they would have narrowed the search area considerably and probably found what they were looking for.

 

It all boils down to using whatever tools are available at the time. If they followed the description on the datasheet and did not look at the topo map they missed out on an important piece of information. Ironically, they didn't realize that they had available that One tool produced by their own agency that would have helped so much.

 

John

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I have also found markers that professionals missed years ago.

 

Not to shot a hole in your sails but often times its not professionals looking for them. It may say USGS, NGS but often times its the new guy who gets to do this kind of work. Our boss would always tell us to let the seasonal/temp workers do those jobs, we need you to do the more important work and not ride around all day looking for BM's etc. Granted even though these guys were student engineers and student surveyors they sometimes could not tell their rear end from a hole in the ground. All college and no knowledge = a supervisor.

Edited by Z15

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...

 

You seemed to have missed the point. If you use the USGS topo maps, it sometimes shows an icon where the benchmark is located. (You need to check the map to see if it shows that a benchmark is there and verify that it is the mark you want to find.) If you compare the terrain on the map with the terrain when you are in the area, it becomes a lot easier to find the benchmark.

 

For example, with L 62 the map show the benchmark being west of the 'wash' and south of a slight curve in the road. We had tried for this mark before and we followed the description on the data sheet. We spent time on the wrong side of the wash due to the fact that there is a distinctive road cut and ledge to the east of the wash. This time we actually looked at the map and saw the icon being to the west of the wash and when we went there the data sheet description fit and we were able to walk right to the disk.

 

If those searching for the mark in 1959 had used the topo maps produced by the USGS then they would have narrowed the search area considerably and probably found what they were looking for.

 

It all boils down to using whatever tools are available at the time. If they followed the description on the datasheet and did not look at the topo map they missed out on an important piece of information. Ironically, they didn't realize that they had available that One tool produced by their own agency that would have helped so much.

 

John

 

Sorry John, but I don't agree, because the map you are looking at was produced in the 1980s or 1990s on NAD83. In 1959 they used 15" series maps (or in Az maybe 15" x 30") built on NAD27. I've looked at many of them (historic maps of New England) and they are 1) 1:62,500 scale (vs. 1:24,000 scale) and most that I've seen don't have many of the benchmarks on them.

 

To make your point I'd like to see the 1959 version of the map of the area. The closest you could come is by zooming out on MyTopo, and you'll see that when the map switches to the higher scale, the benchmark does not appear on the map.

 

Note also from the 1934 description "NOTE-- DISTANCES IN DESCRIPTION DID

NOT SEEM TO FIT WELL WITH TOPOGRAPHY AND OTHER PORTIONS OF

DESCRIPTION. B.M. IS PROBABLY STILL IN PLACE."

 

This tells me the original description on file was probably messed up. This is likely what the USGS had to look at (not on-line data sheets as we have today).

 

Since the mark is scaled, it was put on the map from the description when the map was produced in the 1980s. Looks like they were lucky to use the part of the description that fit, not the part that didn't.

 

So I would say for me "missing the point", that the jury is still out.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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I have also found markers that professionals missed years ago.

Aye, same here - the one I found was last not recovered by the DOD. .. Right outside an army base. I was pleased about that one. :)

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I have also found markers that professionals missed years ago.

 

Not to shot a hole in your sails but often times its not professionals looking for them. It may say USGS, NGS but often times its the new guy who gets to do this kind of work. Our boss would always tell us to let the seasonal/temp workers do those jobs, we need you to do the more important work and not ride around all day looking for BM's etc. Granted even though these guys were student engineers and student surveyors they sometimes could not tell their rear end from a hole in the ground. All college and no knowledge = a supervisor.

What you say is undoubtedly true today. But the one I was thinking of was this 1916 station in Vermont: QH0564

 

The "Not Found" was by the International Boundary Commission (which maintains US-Canada boundary) in 1971 (55 years later). There were good reasons they couldn't find it (read the report and you'll see) and I highly doubt they used summer interns given their perennial low budget which has to be approved by both countries.

 

Now-a-days they would probably hire an outside contractor (or more likely simple not bother looking for such marks) and your observation would probably be correct.

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Sorry John, but I don't agree, because the map you are looking at was produced in the 1980s or 1990s on NAD83. In 1959 they used 15" series maps (or in Az maybe 15" x 30") built on NAD27. I've looked at many of them (historic maps of New England) and they are 1) 1:62,500 scale (vs. 1:24,000 scale) and most that I've seen don't have many of the benchmarks on them.

 

To make your point I'd like to see the 1959 version of the map of the area. The closest you could come is by zooming out on MyTopo, and you'll see that when the map switches to the higher scale, the benchmark does not appear on the map.

 

Note also from the 1934 description "NOTE-- DISTANCES IN DESCRIPTION DID

NOT SEEM TO FIT WELL WITH TOPOGRAPHY AND OTHER PORTIONS OF

DESCRIPTION. B.M. IS PROBABLY STILL IN PLACE."

 

This tells me the original description on file was probably messed up. This is likely what the USGS had to look at (not on-line data sheets as we have today).

 

Since the mark is scaled, it was put on the map from the description when the map was produced in the 1980s. Looks like they were lucky to use the part of the description that fit, not the part that didn't.

 

So I would say for me "missing the point", that the jury is still out.

 

We had some topos from 1953 that have since been given to other map enthusiast and they showed benchmark icons on them. The best I can do now is to post a link to a Topo from 1962 of the Grand Canyon. Click here and then look at the "Detail" shot. You will see the "BM X" icon in the upper left quadrant indicating that they did indeed include benchmarks on the maps.

 

Sorry, I didn't mean to ruffle your feathers by saying how ironic it is that the USGS produces the topo quad maps that have quite a few BM X icons and that the USGS people failed to fully utilize their own maps when searching for benchmarks that had been in place a quarter of a century before they tried to find them.

 

The USGS had the information and didn't realize it was there.

 

John

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I think everyone here has valid points!

 

I have used topo maps to help my search for difficult marks for a long time. The little "X" can often do a lot to help point me to a mark.

 

As Papa points out many newer maps don't have the BM Xs, especially if they were reported Not Found prior to the 1970s, which is a shame.

 

Z15 makes a valid point about temp or intern help. I know of one situation where a mark was along a "woods road" and the most recent Not Found recovery said that no road named Wood Rd could be found. This was obviously not a long time surveyor! Also, I have offered to look for county marks and in my conversations with the county engineer I learned that he typically sends the summer interns out for benchmark recoveries, and gets what he expects--lackluster hunts. I have recovered about 1/4 of the ones they could not find by sheer dogged determination--in this case I have no tools that they don't. I know they have GPS and metal detectors. They also go in teams, so when they measure from a reference point they have a much easier time of it!

 

Papa also points out a very valid point that teams in the 50s (and 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s!) didn't have the tools we now consider vital--the GPSr and metal detector. I don't usually get too full of myself when I find a mark that was previously not found by sweeping an area with a metal detector. That simple bit of technology increases my chances of locating a buried mark a thousandfold.

 

All of this means that we need to use whatever tools we have at hand. Before hunting for a difficult mark I almost always check Google Earth and look as closely at the area as I can--has the road changed paths, are there houses where there used to be fields, etc? I also use the topo overlay in the hopes of seeing the little "X" as more of a guide. Then when I get in the field I use my GPSr, metal detector and even my low-tech metal rod probe and cheap tape measure to hopefully locate the mark.

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For what it's worth I, too, have used the USGS maps (via the ExpertGPS program) as an aid. I plot a waypoint over an "X" on the map that I suspect would be the mark I am looking for, and then load it into the GPS. I still refer to the data sheets as needed, though. Either way, using those USGS maps and my own waypoint plots has made things easier in the field on numerous hunts for USGS and NGS marks.

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Anyone have a guess when metal detectors may have been common for someone to use looking for marks? When I see "Not Founds" from the 60's and 70's I wonder if they had access to metal detectors. As yet, I haven't tried for any of these.

 

Thnx

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I have not kept track, but I think that something around 5% of my recoveries have been previous NOT FOUND,

and maybe half of those have to fall into the DID NOT BOTHER TO LOOK category.

A couple of examples from a recent six day, 120 mark road trip in eastern Montana and western Dakotas:

e2ac1365-93c7-42e6-8d8e-627a94ad7a3d.jpg

RU0208

 

be1a174d-552e-4b98-87eb-be4c2279259d.jpg

 

RT0255

 

The only time I pay much attention to NOT FOUND history is when it is obvious that there has been extreme road ROW widening.

However, strictly following that rule-of-thumb would have missed this one:

 

74cdb7b0-f187-4f49-a44b-1e2606cbca21.jpg

 

RV0034

 

I do not use a metal detector. MEL

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