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Benchmark Hunting


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Geocaching.com is going to be introducing a new facet to geocaching.com called "Benchmark Hunting" - here is a description from the website:


What is a benchmark?

Benchmarks, also called Survey control markers or disks, are disks (and other various items) that are permanenty affixed at locations all over the United States to help land surveying. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) maintains a database of these locations, though much of the data is outdated.

Why search for benchmarks?

The interesting thing about benchmarks is that a majority of them are located on mountain peaks or in plain sight (though largely ignored by the general public). Searching out these locations and documenting them allow others to share pictures of the various areas where they are placed. There's a certain excitement to be the first to find and document a benchmark, as well as see where others have gone through photos on the web site. Some benchmarks haven't been documented found in some time, so you may also be rediscovering benchmarks as well!

What do I do when I find one?

If you have a digital camera, we ask that you take a picture of the disk, and several pictures of the area around the disk. You can even use a compass to mark your photo so people who see the benchmark can view the area from your point of view. Or just log your find for others to read.

Because the LINZ has NZ's Geodetic Database available for download, who would be interested if Jeremy could integrate NZ into the new site?

(And in case Jeremy or Elias is reading this, the data is available at http://gdb.linz.govt.nz/ and the database has the co-ords in NZGD2000 which agrees to WGS84 within 10cm)



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I grabbed the LINZ database soon after I purchased my eTrex last year. A severe shortage of geocachers in my neck of the woods meant I was desperate for anything to search for!


Although I haven't really checked out many except a handful quite near to home, many of those seemed to be just sitting beside the main road. Not sure if having all of those on www.geocaching.com would be really good or not.


However I did spend several hours bush crashing through parts of what used to be State Forest 42 trying to find a more challenging case! No luck even after several separate attempts. Heavy tree cover and my yellow eTrex just don't seem to agree...


I guess it won't do any harm so long as it can be integrated into the site in a way that doesn't clutter everything else up too much?


[This message was edited by evilC on May 17, 2002 at 04:56 AM.]

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Before I started at survey school I had a summer job with DOSLI, as it was called then doing exactly that, driving round all day looking for benchmarks that hadn't been used in a while and fixing them up.


Guess you guys would call it a dream job! Was quite good actually, no GPS though so it was a bit harder.





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I guess it won't do any harm so long as it can be integrated into the site in a way that doesn't clutter everything else up too much?

The other option I have discussed with Rediguana is that if geocaching.com is not keen, then we set up a NZ site ourselves, but we need to know that people are interested, so please vote above.



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Given the limited availability of caches up here, I think its a good idea to have an "NZ Only" page if anyone can set it in motion.


I have set up a benchmarking website at http://www.timwieldesigns.co.nz/benchmarking/


At the moment it is just available for testing - although all finds logged will remain in the database when the testing phase is over. I have only loaded benchmarks from the Christchurch and Otago localities - unfortunately more regions require more database space (which I currently can not afford) however I all 100,000 geodetic benchmarks from LINZ on my computer waiting for upload if and when I can afford it and interest in the site is a little more.


It seems that there was a interest in this a few years ago but never got off the ground. I decided to take it a step further and develop a website for it.


If there are any bugs or features that you would absolutely love to see fixed and/or added to the application then by all means let me know.


I hope you enjoy this new opportunity for GPS gaming in New Zealand.

Edited by timgrin
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