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How to report a destroyed Water Tower?

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Let my start by saying that I'm obviously new to BM hunting. icon_smile.gif


Recently, while looking through the list of Benchmarks in my area, I noticed that a water tower that was destroyed almost 5 years ago was still listed as a viable BM, and that someone had indeed gone looking for it last week (and not found it). This water tower was in a lot that I drive by every day on my way to work, and I am positive that it is gone. Heck, I even remember them taking it down. I want to log it as destroyed with the NGS, but have encountered some problems…


The NGS log site says I should email Deb Brown, with proof of the marks destruction (including a rubbing or photo). It also says to report a BM destroyed only if "you have found the actual marker separated from its setting". How can I do this with a water tower? I went to the site where the tower was, and looked for old pieces of the foundation, or some proof of the destroyed tower, and found none. The site has been effectively turned into a little league soccer field.


I guess I can take pictures of the empty field, along with pictures of my GPS screen showing the correct cords, but is this acceptable?


Any help would be appreciated!








1965 by CGS (GOOD)



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According to the datasheet the tank itself is the marker.





It is a HORZ marker, so the co-ords should get you right under the "ball".


There should be some signs of the destruction. A photo of that should make the NGS happy.


The last recovey was in '65 - so an update (given the time and the destruction) would probably be in order.

no tank .. no marker.

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Sorry to bring up an old post, but better than starting a new one I guess.


I am new at this, but today found my first benchmarks. Well, one was a disk on a concrete base of a water tower that is no longer there. I have no idea when it was taken down, I am new to this town, but the bases are all still there. I took photos of the disk, and logged it as found, but the tower is listed also seperately. The link above didn't work and I'm not sure how to log it or if I should do anything about it. Another watertower near me has already been logged by different people as both "found" and "destroyed" and its only concrete bases as well, so I'm not sure which to do!


Thanks for the help-look forward to finding more in my area, this seems a little more up my alley than caching(maybe!) :anibad:

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The accepted practice for logging a disk is to verify the stamping on it. A picture is nice but not needed.


For logging an "intersection station" you need to be able to see the top of the structure (usually there is a beacon or antenna there.) since these were used from a distance.


When in doubt post a note on the cache page and then come to the forums and ask a question about it. Please give us the coordinates, what is stamped on the disk, and/or "PID" number if you know them as it helps us to look it up on the website.


It is better to post a note that the station is gone, unless you know for a fact that the mark is destroyed.


Good luck,




Edit---Shirley says "welcome aboard" -- I just have poor manners---John :lol:

Edited by 2oldfarts (the rockhounders)
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Hey All,


I am going to try to answer this for you in terms of NGS recovery only, so please if you just want to game, please realize I will be speaking in terms that are stricter than the game. The Game rules are not as strict.


NGS Station Discs cannot be declared destroyed unless you can furnish unequivocal proof to the NGS. This means physical evidence, such as the station itself, or a series of photos that document the station as removed from it's physical setting. While back, elcamino had a great post of how he documented this with photos and I will see if I can find the link. If your photos show the area and the disc in a legible way as being physically removed the NGS may consider removing it from the database. if you send them the actual destroyed station or contact your states NGS Geodetic Advisor, (see the NGS site for links to that) then they will remove it from the database.


If this kind of proof, a burden of proof if you will, can not be provided to the NGS then they prefer to forever think of that station as not found. This policy is a good one as it prevents people from easily destroying a spatial reference system through vandalism, erroneous not finds, or without bothering to look for it.


On the subject of landmark stations like the Water tower, but also many other types of tall objects, the NGS is aware these "intersected points" are not owned survey markers, and things change. Some landmarks has monumented station discs but that is rare, and even then the station disc itself was not the intersected point. The datasheet will tell the tale in the recovery narratives. The NGS will consider destroying a Landmark if you document the situation well and submit it to Deb Brown. You can photograph the area documenting where the former landmark was, and try to photo the GPS showing the coordinates, preferably in NAD 83 Datum and your display set to ddd.mm.sss mode. This will match the NGS methods of using their data and save them from either not destroying the landmark based on your submitted work or having to take the time to convert it all to check your claim. The more we can do for them in order to make our case, the better.


In the case of a water tank that was a NGS landmark which has been destroyed but the foundation is still there and there are NGS station markers in the foundation, you can follow the path I outlined. Submit the proof that the tank is gone on the PID that describes the tank itself but that the footings are still there and the survey markers are too. The Survey markers in the footing will have a different PID (point ID) than the tank. I would submit a recovery with photos of the brass disc station markers to the NGS. This updates the database and adds pictured of the brass disc station. Again, regarding the tank itself, email the photos to deb brown, after you read the deb brown pinned link to see how, then document the missing water tank with PID and all. In the email, make your case along with the photo evidence. The NGS will look it over and decide. Geocachers have done a lot of this sort of work and it helps purge a lot of no longer useful data from the database.


Good luck and if you have any more questions please feel free to ask. There are lots of people here in the forum who love to help.


P.S. for the game of Geocaching Benchmarks, you can list the tank as destroyed and the brass discs on the footing as a find. :-)



Edited by evenfall
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Ok, went looking for a couple of Mike's great photos...


Here is a good look at some landmarks that NGS used as intersected points. Just a page out of a Guide and that also has a Link to Zhanna's site where there is more like it.


Here is a good example of how to go about photo documenting a destroyed Station Mark.


Thanks in advance to elcamino for the reuse of his posts. He has another example of a destryed station somewhere but I was unable to locate it.


I hope these examples help those who may have been curious.



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I have found a few destroyed marks. Here is Ridgeview which was dug up and rolled away from its location. One RM was also dealt with this way. The other RM couldn't be found.

Here is a Fire Tower that was removed (recently, since there is a previous post of a find).

And finally, here is a disk that (if I recall correctly) Deb accepted as destroyed because it was on a water tower and the tower was gone. I submitted photos of the tower site.

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If you can prove the structure that was an intersection station, or had a disk on it, is gone, to the satisfaction of the NGS (probably not Deb now) then they will classify it as destroyed.


But you better be SURE.


I narrowly avoided making the mistake of submitting NJ0584 to NGS as destroyed because the bridge couldn't possibly be there. Then I double-checked and found the disk--the old bridge was what I had mistaken for a newer culvert about 5 or 6 feet lower than the modern road surface.


A similar one that was an easy find so that I had no chance to err was LE0221. Maybe that experience was part of why I double checked NJ0584.


Another kind of mistake is to misinterpret a vague description or one where most of the old ties are gone and end up where a structure but not the right one has indeed been removed.


The possibility of these and other mistakes are why the standards for proving destruction are pretty high. I'd recommend that nobody submit a destroyed report to NGS until they have found a couple dozen marks to get a better feel for what you typically encounter.

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Here is a situation I came across a while back which bares out how carefully you have observe these intersection stations.




From a distance it appeared as if we had found the water tower we were looking for.

Reading the datasheet suggested otherwise so I marked this as "destroyed" on the geocaching datapage. That way other geocacher-benchmark hunters won't waste time searching for it. And since the geocaching.com has no interface with the NGS, I'll leave submitting the paperwork to NGS regarding this tower to the pros who actually use these things in their line of work.



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mloser I don't understand your disk at KW0786. I read the description to say the disk was in a concrete post nearly flush with the ground and the standpipe 64 feet away was just used as a tie to help find it. If that interpretation is right, the disk could still be sitting just underground waiting for you to find it.

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Whew. I appreciate all the replies, but boy is this gonna take reading and re-reading a few times to really understand! I think I should go back and find a FAQs or something and learn the lingo and protocol cos I am kinda confused. :lol:


I think I will log it as destroyed, cos the bases are still there, and it definitely isn't somewhere else nearby(it was beside a cemetery I visit often, across from our library and is marked on the USGS map). I photographed all the bases, but I guess I should go back and document it more somehow. :lol:


Thanks for everyone's help!

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graveyard mom -


Your log of FD0508 is fine.


The only thing I'd consider adding to the log is your GPS coordinates for the disk. For disks that are "location is SCALED", it is good (and fun) to add the coordinates you read at the disk in the log, since your GPS reading will be much more accurate than the original map scaling, and would help others find the disk.


I think you should log the nearby FD1473 as destroyed. Add to that log your picture of the base of the tower with the other disk on it.


Don't forget to consider trying for the nearby bolt! (FD0509) It probably isn't marked, but if you're lucky, it will be obvious which bolt is the right one.

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Graveyard Mom,


Here is the most important thing you might like to know.


There are 2 different kinds of discussion happening in here. One is the game of hunting the benchmark and listing it in the geocaching website as a find for yourself. The other thing is that some of us choose to optionally report the survey marker finds to the agency that owns them. The National Geodetic Survey (NGS).


The criteria for doing one as opposed to the other is a bit different and when taken all at once, and can be just plain confusing to the casual observer. To add it can be difficult to differentiate between who is talking about which aspect of the game, sometimes we kinda do it both at once.


I want to just say to try and hang in here with us, at the root of all this stuff we discuss we are having fun. If you just want to play and log your finds at geocaching that is great! You are not under any obligation to log your finds with the NGS. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, that is fine and actually understandable. As a community online, we are a group that finds all this fun challenging, perplexing, historical, educational, competitive, and I am sure I am leaving lots out. Just wade in to the level YOU like. Most importantly, just have fun! If you have any more questions please ask away. As you can see, we just love questions in here!



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Thanks guys! I feel a bit better now. :)


Black God Trackers, thank you, I did log FD1473 as destroyed. I didn't even think about marking the waypoints while I was there, but that is something I can easily go back and do, and will remember to do next time! I'm not sure about that bolt though, the map shows it in that same area, but the descriptions put it way off over by the railroad tracks. Odd, but I am curious now and that's enough to make me want to check on it!!


evenfall, thank you also, I was kind of confused by the "reporting emails" info. It seems kind of "official" and I'm not exactly sure what I am doing right now so I don't know about that! :D Hopefully, and I am sure, I will get the hang of this over time and once I learn all the lingo and the history of these things and places(I'd never even heard of them before I saw them on this website last week!), it will be something I'd be more comfortable doing. I will go through and read many of the old postings here, and if I have any questions I will not hesitate to ask!! B)


thanks again to everyone! B)

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graveyard mom -


With "location is SCALED" marks like FD0509, you must resist temptation to use the map and even your GPS.


With SCALED marks, use only the verbal 'to-reach' directions, since the coordinates listed could be off by hundreds of feet. This is why it's a good thing to add GPS coordinates to a log of a SCALED mark.


For "location is ADJUSTED" marks, don't bother adding your GPS measurements since the ADJUSTED coordinates already listed will be far more accurate (within an inch).


The only way that a GPS can help you find a SCALED mark is to show you where to park your car. :) After that, use only the verbal narrative and its landmarks (if any are left).

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The only way that a GPS can help you find a SCALED mark is to show you where to park your car.  :)

Aint' that the truth!


Sometimes, the "scaled" coordinates can be miles and miles off. There is one here that the description puts it in one town, and the coordinates put it in another. Probably someone fat-fingering the entry into the computer.


I think I'll go hunt that one this weekend...


There is also a benchmark on the building I work in, and a benchmark in another building about 1/4 mile away. If you swap the published coordinates between the two, they are pretty accurate. I figure it was just someone scaling the coordinates off their map and mistakenly switching the two when they wrote it down.

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There is also a benchmark on the building I work in, and a benchmark in another building about 1/4 mile away.  If you swap the published coordinates between the two, they are pretty accurate.  I figure it was just someone scaling the coordinates off their map and mistakenly switching the two when they wrote it down.

In the area I've been looking, there are a number of scaled locations listed along railroads (now abandoned). I've found that the ones near road intersections are pretty accurate, but the further away from a road they are, the less accurate they are. It's a problem when all the landmark towers, standpipes, signals, rails, and fences are gone.


One I found this weekend was off by about .2 mile. It was described at a bridge location about 1/2 mile from the nearest road, and on the USGS topo quad you can see that the scaled location is at the intersection of the RR right of way and the stream on the map, but the problem is that the stream is mapped in the wrong location. <_< I assume that someone used the map to determine the scaled position, but the map was incorrect so the scaled position was incorrect. It was easy enough to find once I kept walking far enough to find the stream and bridge, but not all RR landmarks are as durable!


(I convert the NAD27 coordinates from the map to the NAD83 coordinates. Most of the stations I've found are smack at the BM X on the map.)

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I had wondered about reporting destroyed benchmarks. Most that I have not found might be hiding somewhere, but some are quite obviously destroyed. 871f7c7f-0eb6-44d7-afc6-acede012c9a1.jpg


Don't know if the photo will come out, but I went looking for KV4066. It is described as an 810 foot TV tower belonging to WOR, located between 72nd and 73rd Streets, and Bergenline and Palisades Avenues in North Bergen, NJ. From my photo of Palisades Avenue and 72nd Street, it is quite obvious that there is no 810' TV tower here, and one has not been here for many, many years.



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A Landmark Station is the only kind that the NGS will consider removing from the database as destroyed.


The Onus is on you to unequivocally prove it. A Photo that shows the NGS the direction you are facing with the street sign in the intersection will help. They should be able to read the street sign in question in one of the photos. It may take a series of photos to accomplish this. then write the email making your case. There are also websites that offer satellite photography. It is safe to say that if you offered proof from a source like that, showing the coordinates and cross street showing no antenna, then offered the URL to the site so they can see for themselves, that would help too. It makes a strong case. Getting back to the Onus, They will want to check the proof you offer so using things that they can easily check are helpful to them. Once you feel you have a good case, Resize the photos to less than 100 k in size, 4x6 at 72- 100dpi is a nice size, email it to deb.brown@noaa.gov She will look it all over with others in the office Maybe they have enough info to decide, and you see it disappear from the database.



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Ditto for what Rob says. The TV tower probably got in the way of development, as were the water tanks referenced in KV-4065, which was just down the street on the roof of Loew's Theater.


I've seen numerous cases where 1950's-era TV and radio towers were moved because the real estate became too valuable. In the case of WOR-TV, another factor probably was that as television came into widespread use among the public, a taller tower was needed to expand the viewing area.


The FCC allows stations to broadcast to a Statistical Marketing Area. By going to a taller tower, WOR could take advantage of the opportunity before someone else grabbed the rights.



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I hadn't really considered reporting it as missing, though it might be an interesting project. :(

I'm working my way through the ones in north Hudson County. From looking at the list, I suspect that most of them were destroyed years ago.

I'd say that it's quite obvious that KV4077 was destroyed during the building of the Galaxy, but I'm not sure I could prove that one. Might just be buried under several feet of concrete.

I see six or seven chimneys, a grain elevator, and a raised tank that are probably not there anymore, though I haven't looked for them yet.

WOR TV obviously moved its transmitter to the World Trade Cener, and sold the land for development.

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Since August, I've documented several dismantled radio/tv towers, water tanks, and even an Army radar station. NGS agreed and marked each of them as DESTROYED.


While this "cleans up" the data base, it results in a loss of the historical documentation--which I find interesting to read. So, when I found another dismantled water tank yesterday, I simply reported it as NOT FOUND to NGS, with this description:




Photo at EZ-3019, if anyone is interested. (Wonder how old that fire truck in the background is?)



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That looks a lot like an early 60's era Dodge... Me thinks. D5-700 series, from maybe between 62-65 timeframe. Dad worked for an outfit back in that day that only bought Dodge Trucks of all types and sizes. I got to see a lot of them. Feel free to compare pictures and data Here.



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