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New to this - tips and tricks?


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So I learned about "benchmarking" or whatever we're going to call it when I did a cleverly done traditional geocache that taught about it and even referred to some nearby ones to go find.

I wrote down the GPS coordinates and went for it yesterday with my father-in-law, who is a retired surveyer. Good thing I brought him along because his "geosense" for benchmarking was very high, whereas mine was not. The ones I was looking for had "scaled" coordinates so my first lesson was, yeah, the mark is "somewhere around here". My father-in-law was usually able to instantly identify the likely spot from a distance and walk right up to it. One of them was about a foot underground! The others we found were incorporated into concrete structures to control irrigation flow, so by the end of our trek (found 4 out of 5) I had gotten the hang of it, but I imagine each area will have its own quirks.

So yeah, geocaching this is not.

My first tips/tricks that I learned were


1. Be aware of scaled vs adjusted coordinates

2. Do some research before trying to find - read other logs - sometimes people will put their own GPS coordinates in the log


Another "this is not geocaching" issue I noticed: some of these are on private property... How do you guys deal with that?


Final question: I'd be interested in finding a few of these that haven't been logged by geocachers before. What tips/tricks do you have to identify likely benchmarks that could be found? Any low-hanging fruit?

Edited by Korichnovui
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The pink box just above logging reads, "Benchmarks may be on private property or in dangerous locations. Obey local laws." and that you abide by the Terms of Use.

I don't trespass on another's property for any reason but a missing person.  You can ask I guess, but I feel it's not worth it to get a stranger involved (not knowing the outcome), just as in geocaching.

Tip n tricks?  Most benchmarks I've found (over 100) aren't even in the site's listings.  A full list was never placed by the site, as this side-hobby was a short-term thing for them.

 Haven't looked for them in some time, just bump into 'em.   Maybe when I'm retired ...

I bushwhack a lot, and figure that may be why I've found so many not listed.  Old property/township lines, long-forgotten/abandoned roads and rail lines ... that sorta thing maybe.


If you look at "Documented History" (by the NGS) at the end of logs, it might tell you what it is now, as in one of your concrete structures called  "  A STANDARD DISK SET IN TOP OF CONCRETE HEADWALL " and your "private property" one, " A STANDARD USAE DISK SET IN CONCRETE POST 0.1 FT. BELOW GROUND.".

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Much of the generally useful advice can be found in the pinned threads at the top of the forum page and the FAQ at



The To-Reach description on each data sheet is very important for those marks having scaled coordinates.  The challenge is to translate what might have been written in 1935 into today's world, and the research is sometimes interesting.


The listing on this site is a snapshot of the National Geodetic Survey database as of 2000 or 2001, and does not get updated, so some newer marks and all more recent recovery  reports to that agency are missing from this site.  To see the latest, go to www.ngs.noaa.gov and pick Bench Marks.  There are additional tools discussed in other threads on this forum that you can use to see them mapped.


If you gain enough experience that you feel you can contribute useful information in a straightforward and businesslike manner, then you can submit recovery reports to NGS and they will appear on the data sheets.


The NGS list has the most important ones for geodetic control, but as others have noted, there are many times that many marks out there set by hundreds of other agencies and companies.

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A quick way to see un-claimed marks in your area is to click on the
 'nearest benchmarks' feature on the Geocaching log page and scroll
 down the "Last Log" column. Would recommend using the below link to
 get an updated Datasheet.

These PID's caught my eye, even though they were logged within 
the last ten years, because one is part of the rectangular survey (PLSS)
used out here in the west and the other was set by the Army Corps of Engineers.



Enjoy the sometimes intricate reading of the datasheet 'calls'.




Edited by kayakbird
to manually wrap lines of text.
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