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how do I start bench marking

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I just click on the "Find all nearby benchmarks" on the cache page. To start, I suggest looking for benchmarks that have already been found, particularly those where someone has posted the exact coordinates (so you know where to go) and pictures (so you know what to look for). You shouldn't need to dig when you're starting out. In fact, it's typically easier to find benchmarks in suburban areas where the benchmarks are embedded in curbs and sidewalks, so you might even want to start without the hiking part to get the hang of it. (Although in my opinion, finding benchmarks out on the trail is much more fun, so you can ignore that advice if it strikes you as a boring way to learn about benchmarking.)


You don't need any special equipment to start out, and you'll figure out what equipment you need as you go along. I find benchmarks when they fit into my geocaching, but I don't consider myself very serious about it, so I don't generally use any special equipment.

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Indeed. There are a TON of benchmarks out there. Some are set by local contractors, some by city governments, and some sources are so cryptic we never figure out WHO they belong to!

But the federal set is all documented, and there are plenty of those around to keep a person busy, especially given the lack of accuracy with which many of them were originally placed. Many of those have since been provided with corrected coordinates, and you'll sort out the nomenclature as you go. But DO be aware of those published with NAD27 coordinates. When searching for those, either use a NAD27 to WGS84 converter (you can find them online), or set your GPS up for NAD27 datum or you could be quite far off the mark in your search.

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