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Benchmark hunting is harder than I thought!


juanbob
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I am a newbie...let's get that out of the way first. But I seriously thought benchmarks would be accessable - if not for me, for a survey crew. What a mistake. Tapemeasures, compas, GPS, poker stick...I find 1 out of 6 I set out to get so far. I really love the challenge. Perhaps as I get better I will find more. Any suggestions to finding more benchmarks besides digging up the private property lawn where the mark is burried??

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Hey Juanbob,

 

Welcome to a geeky pursuit! Don't get frustrated. Some days it's disgustingly easy (yesterday I snagged 7, driving around suburban subdivisons for a couple of hours; I would have had 8 except I didn't feel like explaining everything to the older resident working in the garden a few yards from where I think the disk was), and some days it will drive you mad (don't ask).

 

Generally, I've found that a GPS receiver is good for finding the general area, but not particularly useful for finding the disk (or whatever) itself. Mostly, once I'm in the neighborhood, I rely on the description. That's where the tape measure and compass come in, since that's the language of discription, e.g. 17.5 feet northeast of a fire hydrant. A compass I find indispensible, but you can leave the tape measure at home and pace off the distance and come to within stalking distance most of the time. Of course, sometimes the survey mark simply isn't there to be found. Other times the landmarks are defunct or obscure or ambiguous. Roads get raligned. Signs get moved or removed. Construction happens.

 

If you're having a bum day, go have a coffee or something. (One day out in the exurbs and not doing very well at all, I stopped in for a tea at a brand new grocery/deli/coffee bar. The barrista was a young woman from Hungary and since I once lived in Prague, we talked about Central Europe for a bit. Unfortunately, you can't log that sort of thing ;-) Then you can go to a different area where the setting might be different and so might your luck.

 

Anyway, I see on your profile page you've bagged 10 benchmarks, and that's a good start. Keep at it!

 

Remember, it's only a game ... or sport, pursuit, activity. Hey, what is this thing anyway?

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Hard? Don't you know it.

Yesterday at lunch time I found two benchmarks, or what I believe is two benchmarks. I can't tell for sure because they are located in the middle of a very busy street. The the traffic light is a little too short to dash out there, pop open the cover, wipe the mark off , record the information, put the cover back on and dash to safety before the light changes and I risk becoming flatter than day-old beer.

My plan is to get up very early Sunday, put on my coveralls and a hard hat, put out a few cones and block the lane with my big 'ol SUV while I take a look. A clipboard will add to the deception.

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Keep in mind that lane closures must be done properly in order to insure traffic safety. In many jusisdictions a permit is required and safety training is a prerequisite to getting a permit. Redirecting traffic even briefly can have unintended consequences. Although orange safety cones are available to the public, they are intended only for emergency use. Anyone placing cones in a pulic thoroughfare without just cause may be subject to citation.

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quote:
Originally posted by N8RZI:

Where does one *legally* obtain traffic cones anyhow? These would come in handy.


There's no restriction on buying them, just using them in the public right-of-way. You'll usually get away with marking a parked vehicle for a short time, and I've gone so far as to temporarily close a lane when I needed to set up a photo for work. Of course, you do this at your own risk. Good sources for cones are Ben Meadows, Emedco, and The Traffic Safety Store.

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quote:
Originally posted by survey tech:

Keep in mind that lane closures must be done properly in order to insure traffic safety. In many jusisdictions a permit is required and safety training is a prerequisite to getting a permit. Redirecting traffic even briefly can have unintended consequences. Although orange safety cones are available to the public, they are intended only for emergency use. Anyone placing cones in a pulic thoroughfare without just cause may be subject to citation.


 

That's why it's going to be very early on a Sunday morning. This street is in a business park so it'll be pretty dead then. This little maneuver should only take a minute. I can see the covers, I just can't get to them.

Buy cones? Those things grow wild alongside roads. I've found a few lonely strays around while riding my bicycle. I use them to block off my cul-de-sac when the neighborhood kids are playing on their bikes and skates. If the telephone company, city, water department and CalTrans want them back, they're welcome to them.

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To me, the best thing about benchmark hunting is that it provides lots of new opportunities to go "hunting" close to home (for most folks here in the U.S.) Where I live, there are maybe 5 geocaches within 30 miles or so. But the list of benchmarks is way, way greater in number. True, you don't experience the thrill of finding hidden treasures, but there's nothing to say you can't look into hiding a new cache nearby, giving others a chance for a double adventure, right?

 

Gadjet & Crew

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