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Lost on the benchmark waymark...

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Some people that do the benchmark category on Waymarking do go to the gc.com database and log them there, but not all people do. Some people use the original benchmark listings as their guide. So to answer your question, all people play differently and not every plays the other "games" like benchmarking, but do it for Waymarking site.

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Because I started out doing all of the waymarks around where I live, regardless of category, I was trying to locate the benchmark or survey marker or azimuth markers, or whatever, around me. If there was ever a category (or set of categories) that made me wish the Waymarking had a "Did Not Find" log entry like geocaching has, they were it. I usually found only about 2 out of 3, or maybe as high as 3 out of 4, markers that I went looking for. I eventually decided to Ignore those Categories and delete any of the waypoints that I had downloaded into BaseCamp but hadn't found yet.


The reason is that many of them are buried -- which, although against the rules to bury a geocache, there's nothing in the rules that say that the various organizations that plant survey markers aren't suppose to bury them! Some of them that I looked for and couldn't find, I eventually re-read the write up by the waymark owner and found that even they had not found the survey marker! It was just in a database, so it was made into a Waymark. I guess it's not against the rules to make a Waymark for something that you cannot even find, as long as it is supposed to be there!


And some of the write ups even tell how far down to dig. Some of them show the poster's GPSr and the shovel they used!


If you go hunting them up, I sure hope that whoever placed them in your area didn't hide them like they did here in the Ozarks. There have been times when I found 3 witness posts for a survey marker, but no sign of the survey marker anywhere. I'd have had to brought a metal detector and a shovel. In some cases, near Eagle Rock, MO, the survey markers (if they even exist any more) are on private property protected by fences and mad dogs. No fun!


But like I say, your area may be different. In fact, if you go that route, I would definitely be glad to hear what your experiences were, since I had mostly negative experiences in my area. It really could be a regional thing.

Edited by MountainWoods
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I'm out on the west coast and I seem to find them a little easier. I think cuz of the area.


What I don't understand is people putting up waymarks that they've never been to??


HUH....How do they put up a picture?? WHat do they do..log a visit.


I though you had to visit a waymark and then write it up.


The only reason I hunt waymarks is to get out and hike. See new stuff off the trail.....


I'm a little foreign on all the different types so I'll have to read about that.


Thanks a ton for the help,


The Yote

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we have so many categories, there's no point in caring about the ones that don't exist on the continent I live. So I have no idea about the Benchmarks and there are no plans to change this.


Generally speaking you have to have visited a place to post it and you have to take the pictures yourself. I think I have seen a category description where armchair postings were explicitly allowed, because the founder was more interested in filling the database, but I don't recall what it was. So there might be some exceptions. Always check the expanded descriptions of a category!


Even if it would be allowed, this does not mean you HAVE to do it. It's not forbidden to set your personal limits higher.


Of course, there are people who try to cheat, and there are lazy officers who don't even read the posts they approve. But these are a neglectable minority, mistakes happen everywhere and I don't see this as a major problem.

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I think that the benchmark Waymarks that I've seen posted (and I don't mean logged, I mean posted or listed) as NOT FOUND used historical photos of the (now gone?) waymark.


In one case I found the concrete block that the benchmark had been attached to, and even the indentation where it had been; but the disk (and rod that comes out of the back side of it) had been stolen. Since I have Liked the USGS in Facebook, I asked them how to report it and they gave me the name and phone number of someone to contact. I talked to that person over the phone and learned a lot.


  • He showed me how to surf the web for the Data Sheets for the various markers.
  • We did this together over the phone and he showed me that the marker was listed as destroyed, which means that someone else had noticed it and contacted them. In this particular case it was destroyed after it had been made a Waymark, so the poster hadn't "cheated." But some of the others I've looked for....
  • He also told me that the USGS has no funds or organization to maintain survey markers, so that any that are destroyed will not be replaced by the USGS. Note, however, that not all survey markers are from the USGS. In our area, our state DNR has some markers. Our state highway department also has some survey markers, aside from the Right Of Way markers, which are a different thing (but look similar).
  • I also learned that Groundspeak is using the wrong term for these. A benchmark is a specific type of survey marker (which is the correct general term) that indicates the elevation at that point according to a certain standard, usually above sea level. Someone started using "benchmark" for all of the markers and it stuck. But they are really survey markers some of which are benchmarks.


That's a lot of information for a category (actually several) that I eventually gave up on!

Edited by MountainWoods
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Yep. Remember what I said in the earlier post? In my area they are not out in the open. Only a few are. Most them are buried anywhere from an inch to 6 inches down. Many are gone. Many are on "shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later" private property.

Although I have a metal detector, I don't feel like using it, and a bullet-proof vest, to look for Waymarks! There are a lot more interesting waymarks around here, for sure.

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[*]I also learned that Groundspeak is using the wrong term for these. A benchmark is a specific type of survey marker (which is the correct general term) that indicates the elevation at that point according to a certain standard, usually above sea level. Someone started using "benchmark" for all of the markers and it stuck. But they are really survey markers some of which are benchmarks.


This isn't a "Groundspeak" specific point....most people, including surveyors, use the term benchmark generically.


It wasn't uncommon for 'triangulation stations' to be buried, with a associated set of reference marks on the surface, in order to protect them from theft or damage. Often when they were on the surface they had a 'underground mark' that was the 'real' reference point. In some other cases the surface mark was a pipe cap that would need to be removed to access the 'real' mark that was several feet down. Personally, I'd call it 'cheating' to claim an underground mark unless you were able to verify the exact location by either digging it up, probing for the monument, or duplicating measurements from existing surface reference points....the 'scaled' coordinates listed for many old marks in the NGS database have a cited accuracy of 6 arcseconds, and I've seen some that were well over a thousand feet off.


What's nice is a case like my still unsubmitted (but claimed on gc.com and with a recovery submitted to NGS) waymark for BL2123, where both reference marks and the azimuth mark had been destroyed, but some local surveyors had already dug the hole. :)



Edited by revent
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Just as an additional comment, if you are still interested but unwilling to be that 'hardcore', there are many 'real' benchmarks (i.e. "Vertical Control Points") that are not at all hard to find. Use the NGS data explorer here http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/NGSDataExplorer/ to see them on a map, and browse the notes in the data sheets. A lot of communities have benchmarks that are attached to the wall of old buildings, and easily visible...


EC0708 http://imgcdn.geocaching.com/benchmark/06cbb4b0-5207-4ab4-ae58-c5b06d12b791.jpg (Old post office in Columbia SC, the object next to it is a NRHP marker)

EC0706 http://imgcdn.geocaching.com/benchmark/691c7cdc-e48d-4898-9a45-554bd165ec96.jpg (Historic train station, also in Columbia)

BL0362 http://imgcdn.geocaching.com/benchmark/43a58675-fb04-4e18-804d-0bdbe27ece2e.jpg (1918 mark on a historic doctor's office in Dayton, TX)

BL0361 http://imgcdn.geocaching.com/benchmark/8c0b0da7-65c7-4049-b1e9-0c3bd6a969b6.jpg (another 1918 mark on the other side of the same city block)


There are also more recent ones that are easy to locate...


AC5592 http://imgcdn.geocaching.com/benchmark/030e5e63-b49d-4c92-b8d5-6b0a1c7f6a8a.jpg (This is a 1996 mark in the middle of the Chattooga River at the SC-NC-GA tripoint)


'Lines' of vertical control points were also often laid out along highways, attached to culverts, bridges, and other large structures....


BL1826 http://imgcdn.geocaching.com/benchmark/2a566ca8-8a74-4908-a149-1b1632f0ae95.jpg (The mark is just this side of the Carsonite reflector post)


It's just a matter of what you choose to look for, and realizing that the gc.com copy of the NGS database is about the worst possible way to look them up.

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