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skintigh

Missing benchmark that may relate to the Kryptos mystery

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Partial solutions to the Kryptos cipher mention a buried item: "X DOES LANGLEY KNOW ABOUT THIS ? THEY SHOULD ITS BURIED OUT THERE SOMEWHERE X." The artist has also mentioned something being buried by the sculpture several times and said it is important. He recently described it as a "USGS marker."

 

The sculptures is in the center of CIA headquarters, and it appears there was once a benchmark near there as well. http://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=HV4826

 

Those coordinates show it in front of the building, is it possible those coordinates are inaccurate and it is really in the courtyard? Could it have been accidentally moved during construction? Is there a second marker I overlooked? Is there such a thing as a second marker being added to aid in construction? I don't know much about benchmarks...

 

Also, is there a way to determine how it looked and exactly what was written on that benchmark? I ask because it could be a key, and also because the way I interpret the info "LOOMIS PB AND PP 1930" means it's a Public Building Public Parks marker, which I think would have a circle on it. That doesn't seem to match the artist's description: "The thing that was buried is a bronze USGS marker. It was half buried. It had little cross hairs on the top of it."

 

I could be barking up the wrong tree and the Loomis marker may still be out front of the building, but I'm not sure how welcoming the CIA would be if I came by with a camera. But if I promise if I solve Kryptos and they let me visit I will take photos of any and all benchmarks on the property.

 

Thanks!

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The NGS data sheet captured a decade and a half ago by Groundspeak is here:

http://www.geocaching.com/mark/datasheet.aspx?PID=HV4826

and shows a GOOD recovery in 1956.

 

The present NGS data sheet, which you can find by searching by coordinates and choosing "Destroyed Marks" says it was reported in 1984 as destroyed

HV4826 STATION RECOVERY (1984)

HV4826'RECOVERY NOTE BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1984 (CLN)

HV4826'STATION BOWEN WAS ESTABLISHED TO REPLACE THIS STATION. THIS STATION

HV4826'WAS DESTROYED UPON COMPLETION OF POSITIONING OF STATION BOWEN.

 

Since this is 6 years before the dedication of the sculpture, it seems unlikely to be associated.

 

The station BOWEN didn't show up in a brief search of the database.

 

Those not familiar with Kryptos may wish to refer to the Wikipedia entry for a starting point.

Edited by Bill93

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Wow, am I glad I asked! How did you perform the search for destroyed marks? I can't seem to find that option. I even googled for the text you pasted but it only found this post.

 

Would this mean the artist's description of this being a USGS mark with cross-hairs is correct?

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I searched on the NGS site:

http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/datasheet.prl

 

If the person who described a USGS disk knew what they were talking about, they would distinguish between US Geological Survey (USGS), Coast and Geodetic Survey (US C&GS) which became National Geodetic Survey (NGS a few decades ago, the Public Buildings and Parks department, and other agencies.

 

Some people with a vague knowledge of such things might have heard of USGS disks and thought that described all marks set by the thousands of different federal, state, and local agencies, and even commercial operations.

 

There are many designs for the patterns on survey disks, and I've never seen a PB & PP disk to know what they used. A triangulation station set by most agencies would have had a small triangle with a dot in the center.

 

Elevation bench marks from various agencies often had a long line and a short cross line in the center, sort of a crosshair pattern, so PB & PP could have used that design for a local elevation mark, and later the C&GS found it useful to measure that point as a triangulation station (C&GS did not measure it as an elevation bench mark).

 

Not sure this is helpful, but that's about all I think I know that might be applicable.

Edited by Bill93

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The 1984 recovery for station LOOMIS (HV4826) was submitted as part of the now defunct NGS Mark Maintenance program - this is identified by the initials of the chief-of-party of the submission (CLN) - Mr. Charlie Novak. At the time the data for new station BOWEN was submitted to NGS headquarters the agency was in the final stages of building the initial automated control database (the first of it's kind anywhere in the world). The reason that this station does not now appear in the NGS database is probably one of two - either the procedures that the field person used did not specifically meet the newly implemented requirements for being loaded into the DB or it was just not automated. The field data for this station should still be in a folder in the NGS offices today. Anyone interested in more information on this marker should contact the NGS Information Center - ngs.infocenter@noaa.gov and specifically ask for these data by the name of the station and that it can probably be found in one of the Mark Maintenance folders for the state of Virginia in the NGS archives room on the 8th floor of their building. It should only take a few minutes for someone to find and review those folders to see what's there.

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I actually emailed with them several times yesterday. At first they thought the company that did the work forgot to submit it to the database. Then they replied:

 

Seth

 

A co worker was able to find out that Station BOWEN/LOOMIS is on the CIA compound in McClean, VA.

 

You will need to contact the CIA for more information.

 

They have not replied to me since.

 

I checked out the CIA's web site. The CIA's search engine has been "temporarily" out of service since 2012. I tried to email them but their email form is broken and and when you try to send a message it claims it is blank. I guess I could call them, but I don't imagine that going well...

 

Update: I wondered if the CIA webmail page just gave the same error message for all errors, and maybe it didn't like carriage returns or the length or something. I resent a brief version and it worked. I'll keep you all updated if I learn anything.

Edited by skintigh

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Skintigh - I've been in contact with the NGS Information Center. After a bit of over the phone hand holding I was able to lead them to where the data for station BOWEN had been archived. It was where I had assumed it would be. If they have not already done so, they should be able to provide you with the description of the station and the position. As it is on the CIA campus that does mean that access to the mark is most likely highly restricted.

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Skintigh - I've been in contact with the NGS Information Center. After a bit of over the phone hand holding I was able to lead them to where the data for station BOWEN had been archived. It was where I had assumed it would be. If they have not already done so, they should be able to provide you with the description of the station and the position. As it is on the CIA campus that does mean that access to the mark is most likely highly restricted.

 

That's great news! Will they be adding it to their database or should I try to contact them directly again?

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It doesn't seem to be in the online DB yet but they emailed me this:

 

1 National Geodetic Survey, Retrieval Date = JANUARY 9, 2015

AJ3427 ***********************************************************************

AJ3427 DESIGNATION - BOWEN

AJ3427 PID - AJ3427

AJ3427 STATE/COUNTY- VA/FAIRFAX

AJ3427 COUNTRY - US

AJ3427 USGS QUAD - FALLS CHURCH (1994)

AJ3427

AJ3427 *CURRENT SURVEY CONTROL

AJ3427 ______________________________________________________________________

AJ3427* NAD 83(1986) POSITION- 38 57 18. (N) 077 08 55. (W) SCALED

AJ3427* NAVD 88 ORTHO HEIGHT - **(meters) **(feet)

AJ3427 ______________________________________________________________________

AJ3427 GEOID HEIGHT - -31.85 (meters) GEOID12A

AJ3427

AJ3427.The horizontal coordinates were scaled from a topographic map and have

AJ3427.an estimated accuracy of +/- 6 seconds.

AJ3427.

AJ3427; North East Units Estimated Accuracy

AJ3427;SPC VA N - 2,143,870. 3,617,130. MT (+/- 180 meters Scaled)

AJ3427

AJ3427 SUPERSEDED SURVEY CONTROL

AJ3427

AJ3427.No superseded survey control is available for this station.

AJ3427

AJ3427_U.S. NATIONAL GRID SPATIAL ADDRESS: 18SUJ138139(NAD 83)

AJ3427

AJ3427_MARKER: DB = BENCH MARK DISK

AJ3427_SETTING: 7 = SET IN TOP OF CONCRETE MONUMENT

AJ3427_STAMPING: BOWEN 1984

AJ3427_MARK LOGO: NGS

AJ3427_MAGNETIC: N = NO MAGNETIC MATERIAL

AJ3427_STABILITY: C = MAY HOLD, BUT OF TYPE COMMONLY SUBJECT TO

AJ3427+STABILITY: SURFACE MOTION

AJ3427

AJ3427 HISTORY - Date Condition Report By

AJ3427 HISTORY - 1984 MONUMENTED NGS

AJ3427

AJ3427 STATION DESCRIPTION

AJ3427

AJ3427'DESCRIBED BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1984

AJ3427'THIS STATION REPLACES STATION LOOMIS PB AND PP 1930. THE STATION IS

AJ3427'LOCATED ABOUT 6.4 KM (3.95 MI) EAST OF THE INTERSECTION OF INTERSTATE

AJ3427'495 AND CHAINBRIDGE ROAD, 0.8 KM (0.50 MI) NORTHEAST OF DOLLY MADISON

AJ3427'BLVD, ON PROPERTY OF US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IN MCCLEAN,

AJ3427'VIRGINIA. PERMISSION TO ESTABLISH THIS STATION WAS GIVEN BY P BOWEN,

AJ3427'6300 OLD GEORGETOWN PIKE, MCCLEAN, VIRGINIA 22101.

AJ3427'

AJ3427'TO REACH THE STATION FROM THE INTERSECTION OF INTERSTATE 495 AND CHAIN

AJ3427'BRIDGE ROAD, STATE HIGHWAY 123 AT EXIT 11, GO EAST ON STATE 123, DOLLY

AJ3427'MADISON BLVD FOR 6.88 KM (4.25 MI) TO A SIGN CIA AND STATE ROUTE 193,

AJ3427'TURN LEFT ACROSS MEDIAN, THENCE LEFT AGAIN ON STATE 123 SOUTH AND 193

AJ3427'WEST FOR 0.16 KM (0.10 MI) . TURN RIGHT ON STATE 193 FOR 0.32 KM

AJ3427'(0.20 MI) TO A SIDE ROAD RIGHT. TURN RIGHT, EASTERLY ON PAVED ROAD

AJ3427'FOR 0.56 KM (0.35 MI) TO BACKGATE OF CIA COMPOUND, CONTINUE NORTH ON

AJ3427'PAVED ROAD FOR 0.56 KM (0.35 MI) TO ENTRANCE GATE TO US PUBLIC ROAD

AJ3427'ADMIN. CONTINUE NORTH FOR 0.16 KM (0.10 MI) TO A THREEWAY FORK, KEEP

AJ3427'THE EXTREME RIGHT FORK FOR 0.16 KM (0.10 MI) TO THE STATION ON THE

AJ3427'LEFT NEAR THE EAST END OF ADMINISTRATION BUILDING.

AJ3427'

AJ3427'THE STATION IS A STANDARD NGS DISK STAMPED--BOWEN 1984--, SET INTO THE

AJ3427'TOP OF A ROUND CONCRETE MONUMENT 32 CM IN DIAMETER, FLUSH WITH GROUND.

AJ3427'LOCATED 29.53 FT (9.00 M) SE FROM A 18 INCH PINE, 58.1 FT (17.7 M) SSE

AJ3427'FROM SOUTHEAST END ROCK WALL, 77.1 FT (23.5 M) S FROM SOUTH CORNER

AJ3427'BUILDING, 60.7 FT (18.5 M) ESE FROM ROLL CURB OF PARKING LOT, AND 94.2

AJ3427'FT (28.7 M) E FROM FIRE HYDRANT. THE UNDERGROUND MARK IS A STANDARD

AJ3427'NGS DISK STAMPED--BOWEN 1984--, SET INTO AN IRREGULAR MASS OF CONCRETE

AJ3427'1.1 M (3.6 FT) BELOW THE SURFACE.

AJ3427'

AJ3427'REFERENCE MARK NO 1 IS A STANDARD NGS DISK STAMPED--BOWEN NO 1 1984--,

AJ3427'SET INTO THE TOP OF A ROUND CONCRETE MONUMENT 32 CM IN DIAMETER, FLUSH

AJ3427'WITH GROUND. LOCATED 74.0 FT (22.6 M) SSW FROM THE SOUTHWEST END OF

AJ3427'ROCKWALL, 47.6 FT (14.5 M) SSW FROM THE 18 INCH PINE TREE, 41.7 FT

AJ3427'(12.7 M) E FROM A FIRE HYDRANT, AND 0.3 M (1.0 FT) HIGHER THAN THE

AJ3427'STATION.

AJ3427'

AJ3427'REFERENCE MARK NO 2 IS A STANDARD NGS DISK STAMPED--BOWEN NO 2 1984--,

AJ3427'SET INTO THE TOP OF A ROUND CONCRETE MONUMENT 32 CM IN DIAMETER, FLUSH

AJ3427'WITH GROUND. LOCATED 7.9 FT (2.4 M) S FROM THE SOUTHWEST END OF

AJ3427'ROCKWALL -SOUTH CORNER-, 35.1 FT (10.7 M) SSW FROM THE SOUTH CORNER OF

AJ3427'BUILDING, 25.1 FT (7.7 M) N FROM THE 18 INCH PINE TREE, AND 0.3 M (1.0

AJ3427'FT) HIGHER THAN THE STATION.

 

*** retrieval complete.

Elapsed Time = 00:00:08

 

Which puts it here: https://www.google.com/maps/place/38%C2%B057'18.0%22N+77%C2%B008'55.0%22W/@38.9538191,-77.1447401,1126m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0

 

Sadly that is not in the courtyard or next to the Kryptos sculpture. The search continues...

 

Edit:

For reference, the expected coordinates are here: https://www.google.com/maps/place/38%C2%B057'06.5%22N+77%C2%B008'44.0%22W/@38.9518056,-77.1455556,769m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0

Edited by skintigh

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I doubt that this station will be added to the active database. NGS does not just publish descriptions of stations, they must have a well determined horizontal position and/or a well determined orthometric height. While the field observations that were performed to set this station were more than acceptable 30 years ago in all likelihood they don not meet the contemporary requirements. The horizontal position would have been determined by the standard process of performing a traverse not using GPS. NGS stopped including non-GPS derived horizontal positions in the mid-90s. Since there were probably no high accuracy leveling observations performed the station would also not have a well determined height.

Unless someone can perform some GPS observations on the station and submit them to NGS this mark will likely remain an orphan.

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Note that the BOWEN data sheet has truncated the lat-lon values to whole seconds, in keeping with long-standing practice for SCALED locations. That means the actual coordinates are somewhere between there and 100 ft north, and there to 75 ft west.

 

What do you mean by "expected coordinates" ? Is that where the sculpture is? Your numbers are a fraction of a mile from the BOWEN data sheet values, and maybe a hundred yards mostly west from LOOMIS.

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David, the NGS also shared with me the original BOWEN paperwork which mentions 2 BOWEN reference marks about 50 feet away, as well as 2 CIA TANK marks 0.5 km away. I can't find any of them in the database (there is another CIA TANK though). Do you think they are orphans as well? Or were they temporary to begin with?

 

Bill, part 2 of Kryptos mentions those "expected" coordinates:

 

IT WAS TOTALLY INVISIBLE HOWS THAT POSSIBLE ? THEY USED THE EARTHS MAGNETIC FIELD X THE INFORMATION WAS GATHERED AND TRANSMITTED UNDERGRUUND TO AN UNKNOWN LOCATION X DOES LANGLEY KNOW ABOUT THIS ? THEY SHOULD ITS BURIED OUT THERE SOMEWHERE X WHO KNOWS THE EXACT LOCATION ? ONLY WW THIS WAS HIS LAST MESSAGE X THIRTY EIGHT DEGREES FIFTY SEVEN MINUTES SIX POINT FIVE SECONDS NORTH SEVENTY SEVEN DEGREES EIGHT MINUTES FORTY FOUR SECONDS WEST X LAYER TWO

 

The assumption is that those coordinates were taken from the benchmark the artist described. Further assumption is that it is somehow a clue to solving part 4.

 

Klauss: Was something placed by Kryptos that we need access to to solve Kryptos?

Jim: Yes, there is something buried adjacent to Kryptos. Jae and I went back to visit a couple of years ago, and they had removed it, but it is important.

Donna: Well, since it is not there anymore, can you tell us what it was or do you want to wait for that?

Jim: The thing that was buried is a bronze USGS marker. It was half buried. It had little cross hairs on the top of it.

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David, the NGS also shared with me the original BOWEN paperwork which mentions 2 BOWEN reference marks about 50 feet away, as well as 2 CIA TANK marks 0.5 km away. I can't find any of them in the database (there is another CIA TANK though). Do you think they are orphans as well? Or were they temporary to begin with?

 

Bill, part 2 of Kryptos mentions those "expected" coordinates:

 

IT WAS TOTALLY INVISIBLE HOWS THAT POSSIBLE ? THEY USED THE EARTHS MAGNETIC FIELD X THE INFORMATION WAS GATHERED AND TRANSMITTED UNDERGRUUND TO AN UNKNOWN LOCATION X DOES LANGLEY KNOW ABOUT THIS ? THEY SHOULD ITS BURIED OUT THERE SOMEWHERE X WHO KNOWS THE EXACT LOCATION ? ONLY WW THIS WAS HIS LAST MESSAGE X THIRTY EIGHT DEGREES FIFTY SEVEN MINUTES SIX POINT FIVE SECONDS NORTH SEVENTY SEVEN DEGREES EIGHT MINUTES FORTY FOUR SECONDS WEST X LAYER TWO

 

The assumption is that those coordinates were taken from the benchmark the artist described. Further assumption is that it is somehow a clue to solving part 4.

 

Klauss: Was something placed by Kryptos that we need access to to solve Kryptos?

Jim: Yes, there is something buried adjacent to Kryptos. Jae and I went back to visit a couple of years ago, and they had removed it, but it is important.

Donna: Well, since it is not there anymore, can you tell us what it was or do you want to wait for that?

Jim: The thing that was buried is a bronze USGS marker. It was half buried. It had little cross hairs on the top of it.

 

May I ask you, what is this, a geocache? Or something that is totally a fictional story? Either way, you would not be able to get in that area to see anything, let alone dig for something. It would be totally off-limits to any non-CIA or official government type person. Or is this just an exercise in Google earth. I see by your profile, you have no finds at all, in either caches nor benchmarks. It is curious to me, that you want all this info.

 

Shirley~

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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When did that conversation take place? If the timing was right, then perhaps it did refer to LOOMIS, and these people fall into the category I mentioned above who think all bronze disks were set by USGS. That would seem to imply that BOWEN is irrelevant, and only something about LOOMIS would be the clue.

 

I would, however, point out that LOOMIS was about 100 meters, or 328 feet from your "expected" coordinates. I haven't studied the puzzle enough to know if this is problematic.

 

If I were attacking the cryptogram, I certainly would be trying LOOMIS as a possible key, as well as LOOMISPBPP, LOOMISPBANDPP1930 and other variations.

 

Edit: DUH! They probably scaled coordinates off the USGS topo, if that map indicated BM at that location. Those would be NAD27, not the modern NAD83, and possibly nobody had actually found NAD83 coordinates at the time the cryptogram was made up. However, that's no help since it increases the distance discrepancy to 127.4 meters.

HV4826 NAD 27 38 57 05.82000(N) 077 08 49.22200(W)

 

Shirley, see the Wikipedia link in post #2 above.

Edited by Bill93

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[quote name='2oldfarts (the rockhounders)' timestamp='1420845155' post='5462380'

May I ask you, what is this, a geocache? Or something that is totally a fictional story? Either way, you would not be able to get in that area to see anything, let alone dig for something. It would be totally off-limits to any non-CIA or official government type person. Or is this just an exercise in Google earth. I see by your profile, you have no finds at all, in either caches nor benchmarks. It is curious to me, that you want all this info.

 

Neither, see the wiki above for details. And it's not completely off limits, in the past the CIA has invited a least one woman working on Kryptos to visit and even allowed photos (not sure about digging). I suspect they will do that again, they could use some positive publicity. I have also heard they have "family days" where family members are allowed in, though I may be too old for adoption. As for me not logging any of my caches or benchmarks, I didn't realize I'd be judged on that. I've located all sorts of marks that date back hundreds of years, some just drill holes or granite posts buried underground, but those aren't in the database and I don't know if they can be added. Lastly, this is one of the more famous mysteries in the world with people working on it around the world, even more so since Dan Brown started mentioning it it novels and the latest hints were released. I want to solve it.

 

Bill, that conversation occurred in October 2013. LOOMIS was destroyed in 1984, and the sculpture wasn't commissioned until 1988 so I don't believe LOOMIS is the one he saw. The sculpture is in the courtyard, so the marker must have been as well.

 

The assumption the coordinates are from the marker could be wrong, and perhaps he calculated them himself from maps, maps that probably weren't very accurate. However, in 2003: "He said that the coordinates of part 2 could actually be one of two different locations, either Xenon's spot [i believe that means the courtyard], or one near the front entrance area." The latter sounded like LOOMIS, which is what started this thread. How coordinates could point to two places is beyond me, but almost everything he says is contradictory.

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It was not unusual for NGS field teams to observe intersection stations (towers, tanks, church steeples etc.) even if they didn't have their own position. Remember this is before GPS and one of the functions of these marks was to provide position and orientation for surveyors to begin or end other surveys. The tanks could have been used for orientation. Without seeing the field work I can only guess at what he did there.

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If the coordinates from the sculpture were derived as NAD27, the conversion, to an accuracy suitable for recreational GPS, would be

NAD27 N38 57 06.5 W077 08 44.0

equals

NAD83 N38 57 06.9 W077 08 42.9

 

What is at that location, and at the first location interpreted as NAD83?

 

And is there something at either location that could have a "Layer 2" ?

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Thanks for sending the info to me also.

 

As near as I can figure out from that data, it contains no geodetic data for BOWEN, just angles from LOOMIS and the BOWEN reference marks and distance ties to nearby items.

 

I've made a Google Earth file that shows my current best estimates of the locations involved. I welcome corrections.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/25124076/KryptosLocations.kml

 

I used the BOWEN data sheet coordinates to pick the building. Then I held the coordinates of LOOMIS and the corner of the building as known points and fitted all available distances and angles to those. I can't see any of the BOWEN disks on Google Earth, but Hydrant does fall right on some object. The distance to the edge of the parking lot matches well enough to the curb. If you go back to the oldest (1988) image in GE, Pine falls in the middle of a dark shape, which seems to be different on later photos.

 

Some directions, like BOWEN to Hydrant seem a bit off from the nominal octants given in the description. There is a minor discrepancy in that the distance from BOWEN to RM1 plus RM1 to Hydrant is LESS than BOWEN to Hydrant by 4 inches, which cannot be. I've chosen to put the error into the distance from RM1 to Hydrant.

 

If you heavily weight the distances between BOWEN, RM1, and RM2, then the distances from each to the Pine cannot fit because they are around a foot (split among them) too long.

 

I did the fitting in UTM meters, and figured grid versus ground was not significant. One frustration is that if you enter UTM into GE, it only uses whole number meters. I was too lazy to use another tool to convert UTM to lat-lon.

 

The resulting coordinates for BOWEN are a little further than expected north of the data sheet scaled values.

38°57'19.05"N 77° 08'55.65"W

 

After doing this, I turned on terrain in GE and am worried about a gray spot between my positions for BOWEN and RM1 that looks like the perfect place on the top of the knoll for a mark.

Edited by Bill93

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Excellent job BILL93. I have received the observational data from LOOMIS to BOWEN from NGS and computed the position to be

38-57-19.0546, 77-08-55.7080

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Glad I didn't blow it. I was restricted by whatever registration accuracy and distortion Google Earth has, and am really surprised it came out that close. I estimate that area of the 2012 GE photo was about a meter off of NAD83, give or take my error in locating the corner of the building.

 

What additional data, besides the angles at BOWEN did you have?

-------

Some wild speculation on the Kryptos mystery. Perhaps the survey markers aren't involved. Maybe he just used coordinates that fell within CIA headquarters as a cute way to provide numbers that would be used to pick out letters in one of the earlier ciphertexts or plaintexts in order to get another clue? What do you get if you take the 38th letter, the 57th letter, etc. to spell out something, thus reading "layer two" of the palimpsest as suggested by the earlier keyword? Or the 38th word, etc.

Edited by Bill93

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The data I was provided were the observed performed at station LOOMIS before it was destroyed. These included what's called the abstract of directions which allowed me to compute the orientation or azimuth of the line from LOOMIS to BOWEN, and the electronic distance measurement between the stations. That is sufficient detail to compute the position for BOWEN.

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Some wild speculation on the Kryptos mystery. Perhaps the survey markers aren't involved. Maybe he just used coordinates that fell within CIA headquarters as a cute way to provide numbers that would be used to pick out letters in one of the earlier ciphertexts or plaintexts in order to get another clue? What do you get if you take the 38th letter, the 57th letter, etc. to spell out something, thus reading "layer two" of the palimpsest as suggested by the earlier keyword? Or the 38th word, etc.

 

I'm trying to avoid going down the Kryptos rabbit hole in this forum and instead stick to benchmark-related subjects, but I'm sure at least one step of the final answer will be something absurdly complicated like that.

 

It's possible the coordinates in the sculpture are from something else, but the artist seemed adamant that there was a "USGS" benchmark in the CIA courtyard, and he has repeatedly said it is "important." Is there any other way I can search for benchmarks in this area? The NGS folks either don't have any more info or they are sick of my emails. It would just be amazing to have a new, tangible clue in this mystery. There must be some other database or filing cabinet I can search, right?

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It's possible the coordinates in the sculpture are from something else, but the artist seemed adamant that there was a "USGS" benchmark in the CIA courtyard, and he has repeatedly said it is "important." Is there any other way I can search for benchmarks in this area?

 

..Contact USGS?

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There are three likely reasons that the artist identified a mark as being from the U.S. Geological Survey

 

1) Some people think that all marks were set by USGS

 

2) Most likely in my mind - USGS had set a witness post near station LOOMIS. Just like USC&GS/NGS, it was not at all uncommon for their field teams to set a witness post near an existing mark that they had used if one did not have one - also like the USC&GS/NGS metal witness posts of that theirs specifically said to contact USGS for information. The artist could easily have mistakenly said it was a USGS mark because of a sign.

 

3) USGS may have set another mark in the area. Less likely I think. You would need to contact their office in Rolla, MO to try and find any data. Unfortunately USGS doesn't provide much in the way of resources to support their old control information so it may be a bit of a chore.

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As a minor update, someone just posted his notes from when the artists spoke of the marker:

 

"Jim said that the thing that was buried out there was the USGA marker. He also noted he was out there recently and it's gone now. He said that marker is how he paced off the location of the coordinates."

 

If accurate, that detail would explain why none of our numbers have lined up with the coordinates on the sculpture -- the artist, a man who said he doesn't like math, paced them off starting from the mystery marker.

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A bit more uncertainty:

 

"From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Pace (length))

"Paces" redirects here. This article is about units of length related to human walking.

For other uses, see Pace (disambiguation).

 

Pace is a name applied to various units of length relating to natural units of human walking. The chief ambiguity in the definition of a pace is whether the description concerns a single step, from one foot to the opposite foot (typically amounting to around 750 mm), or a double step, starting on one foot and finishing when the same foot falls again, including the intermediate fall of the opposite foot (typically amounting to around 1.5 m.) Like other traditional measurements paces have usually started as informal units but have often subsequently been standardized, often with the specific length set according to a typical brisk or military marching stride.

 

In the US it is an uncommon customary unit of length denoting a brisk single step and equal to 2½ feet or 30 inches (75.2 cm).[1][2]

 

The term "pace" is also used to translate similar formal units in other systems of measurement. Pacing is also used as an informal measure in surveying, with the "pace" equal to two of the surveyor's steps reckoned through comparison with a standard rod or chain."

 

Quite a number off years ago, after my first and only year as a forestry student, I was working on a trail building crew for the Custer National Forest and during fire fighting training we were taught the 'two step = 1 pace' method; along with using a 'pace' stick to tap off our personal distance going uphill or downhill. Didn't know until I became a member here that my pace equals one Smoot.

 

Take your pick! kayakbird

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Skintigh, the other folks on this forum have done a terrific job of helping you with the complexities of figuring out which benchmark might be relevant to Kryptos, and why the coordinates in NGS's records are probably not accurate enough for your needs. So I'll just say that I had no idea that segments of the Kryptos text had been decoded, so that's very interesting. Of course, as you have discovered, getting pieces of plain English is only the beginning! Best of luck with your quest!

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Another new update from the October 2015 dinner:

 

When asked about the topography change at Langley, Jim said that the

USGS benchmark is gone, saying that there had been one up against the

front of the new building (NE of the slabs), which isn't there anymore.

He said he'd thought that those things were permanent. I showed him a

satellite image on my phone so he could show me where the benchmark was,

and he pointed to the approximate location of N38 57 7.5, W 77 8 47.8

(N 38.952104, W -77.146586). Note these are NOT exact coordinates, just

my best guess of where he was pointing. It was roughly the location of

what would be the fourth corner of a rectangle where the other three

corners are Kryptos, the K3 coordinates, and the unmarked "Triangle" slab.

 

That's about 10 meters from LOOMIS, which seems way to close for coincidence. Yet LOOMIS was destroyed in 1984 and the sculpture commissioned in 1988. Is it possible this was a reference mark that escaped destruction? Or LOOMIS wasn't really destroyed in 1984?

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