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Why is it a thing?

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I heard it became a thing when Geocaching was invented but there were not very many geocaches to find yet, so something similar was needed to fill the activity.

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harper_ finding_stuff


Exercise, adventure, history, and learn techniques (or at least have a appreciation of) of a very precise profession that was very important to the development of our great country. 


I can't think of any current activity that is not somewhat tied to large area maps or city block cadastral lines.


A few examples:

Exercise - scroll back through nearest and calculate time/distance from/to Hell Creek,  Fort Peak Reservoir (Read Ivan Doig's  Bucking the Sun about building the worlds largest (at the time) earth filled dam - amazing technique used to move material into place).





Adventure - a bit of exposure here - wishing the 'old fart' had me on a rope.





History:  One of several steam ships lost between St Louis and Fort Benton - the furthest port in the world - see page 168 Packets to Paradise, John G. Lepley.   Also do a google search and read about the tragedy evolving while a passenger on one of his steamers going down the Mississippi River.





Hopefully one of our professional surveyors will chime in with a Gee Whiz, Scratch your head boundary line story.


kayakbird  (MEL in the Data Sheets)





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I find benchmark hunting to be more interesting than finding an green match container in an evergreen tree or a plastic container every 0.1 mile.


I like measuring and figuring out what happened between the time a mark was placed along railroad and I get to the location 80+ years later to find a recreation trail or other changes. I like understanding what elevation marks are used for and how triangulation stations were measured.  And if you do a good job of accurately logging, it is useful to NGS and professional surveyors to know which marks are still around for use and how to find them quickly after decades of change around them.

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14 hours ago, harper_finding_stuff said:

So like, why does benchmarking exist? I really don't get it. I'm all about the bonus smileys but still. Why?


No "bonus smileys" with these.  :)   They're listed , but don't "count" as finds.

IIRC, benchmark data wasn't completed yet when the site loaded 'em. 

Benchmarks were a "fill in" if you will, until geocaches became more prevalent (something to find with a GPSr in the meantime). 

Today, stats and "find count" are what's hot for the caching end of the site, and with little incentive to add others later, benchmarks not listed on the site were directed to Waymarking.

I'm saving benchmarks for when I actually retire.   ;)


Edited by cerberus1

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I didn't start geocaching until 2010, so I had nothing to do with benchmarking being part of geocaching.com, so I don't really know why it exists, but my guess is that it was mainly because a significant fraction of the people that got interested in geocaching in the early days were already interesting in benchmarking, since it was a hobby before geocaching (as I understand it, anyway). Since benchmarks are all over the place, it was also an easy way to "populate" areas where there weren't any geocaches yet, so a way to bootstrap geocaching.


I go after benchmarks because they offer some unique challenges geocaches don't. I also enjoy discovering this secret infrastructure all around us that most people are blind to. But it's not a huge part of my geocaching efforts: I find about 1 benchmark for every 20 geocaches. And, no, it's not about "bonus points": I don't keep count, and very few other people notice them.

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