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planetrobert

Benchmarking Not Catching On?

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i know there are a bunch of people searching the but in my area... I seem to be THE ONE... are most of us benchmarkers solo individuals or are there roving gangs of benchmark hunters in some areas?

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I'm pretty much it in my area. There are a few other cachers that have found a handful, but not many. I've placed a few caches in locations that are centered around benchmarks to show them to cache-only cachers particularly my 'Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.' cache. A few finders have logged the adjacent benchmarks, but no-one has been bitten by the benchmark bug yet.

Edited by Kewaneh & Shark

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There seems to have been a group of benchmark hunters in the Des Moines, Iowa area at one time. They even seem to have gotten together at one time for a "Benchmarking 101" kind of a hunt. However, nobody has logged anything in quite a while, and there are plenty of rural benchmarks around the area that are unexplored. Not that I'm doing an impressive job, mind you. I've found one disk so far. I have failed to find ten. These little buggers are tough. I've logged a few water towers, though.

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Just started geocaching/benchmark hunting in October.I kinda like the benchmark hunting,as there is no real pressure to find one.With caching,I sometimes get really frustrated if I can't find one.I've found about 40 benchmarks so far, my goal is at least 100 in my first year.Keep on keepin' on,Doc

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There are at least three of us very active in the DC area.

 

But I think special honors go to Zhanna and Rich in NEPA, who do an exceptional job (often together) in and around Scranton, PA.

 

-ArtMan-

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There are a handful of benchmark hunters in my area that have logged quite a few marks- most of them are not die-hard cachers though. Most of the prominent cachers here have no interest in benchmark hunting.

 

I think benchmark hunting appeals to a different crowd. Benchmark hunting is more technical and requires a little more knowledge to become proficient- it's more of a techno-nerd activity than geocaching. My kids love to go treasure hunting for McToys in drive up caches, but have little to no interest in taking pictures of radio towers and bronze disks in the ground.

 

I on the other hand am a techno-nerd and find radio towers and bronze disks interesting. I enjoy learning the technical aspects of the hobby, and the history behind certain benchmarks. I do think it is more thrilling to be a first to find a benchmark though, as knowing someone before me has found it already kills the challenge.

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I've logged a couple, I think. They were radio towers and church steeples. I know of two around here that aren't listed, but I'm not into it enough to go through the steps to get them logged or listed or whatever. I have looked for more of them, although most I've looked for I realized have been destroyed, and again, I'm not interested enough to do anything about it. There are still a bunch that I could log, mostly radio towers, water towers, and church steeples, but that's not enough of a challenge to go out of my way to do them, so I don't.

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I don't hear much about it...but then again I don't think Canada has official bronze disc benchmarks? I could be wrong?

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HEH Wait till it gets warmer . I'll be out in my area for sure. I've found alot of close by bebches in my area. Its funny I've always had come across these things but never knew why they were there till now.

 

:rolleyes:

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But I think special honors go to Zhanna and Rich in NEPA, who do an exceptional job (often together) in and around Scranton, PA.

 

Art, thank you so much for noticing! Only now I feel a little guilty that I've been slacking off since the holidays and sitting on at least 8 benchmark logs (with related photos) that Zhanna and I had successfully recovered during December. One of them was so far off from the NGS coordinates, and the historical description was so misleading that it took two trips involving a significant hike each time, along with a good bit of detective work to finally locate it. But it was totally worth it!!!

 

Cheers, and happy hunting ...

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Here in my immediate area (Long Beach-Seal Beach in California), I have seen a few logs by others but I seem to be the only one really into it.

 

My personal belief on the smaller number of BM Hunters vs. Geocachers is the payoff for finding a BM.

 

When I explain Geocaching to people the response is usually an interested "What do you find in the caches?"

 

When I explain BM Hunting, the repsonse is "What do you do when you find the disk? Nothing?!?!?" followed by a 'whatever floats your boat' look. The response is a little better if I mention that I am helping to maintain a national database for the marks. :rolleyes:

 

BM Hunting has a more mental payoff than a tangible one so is less appealing.

 

It is also a bit more uncertain as the benchmark may or may not be there. You can look on the geocaching site and see that someone found/didn't find the cache last week whereas with a BM, it may not have been logged in the past 30 years (or longer). Even the most recent loggings for a BM may be five years old. I don't think I have seen one that was logged with the NGS after 1998.

 

There is also a research element that may be involved if the area has changed. I personally enjoy researching what happened to a landmark described in a Station Description.

 

In summary, I think that most BM Hunters will remain lone wolves.

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I hunt benchmarks in five distinct areas:

 

ArtMan and Black Dog Trackers are also active in the DC metro area,

ArtMan is also active in the Hightstown/Cranbury area of NJ,

mr. magoo and several others are active in and around Perth Amboy, NJ,

ArtMan and MikeOtt are both active in the Newark, DE area,

but I seem to have the western boundary of DE (the Tangent Line) south of I-95 all to myself.

7

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ArtMan is also active in the Hightstown/Cranbury area of NJ, ...

 

ArtMan and MikeOtt are both active in the Newark, DE area ...

To be fair, I consider myself active in the DC area. I regularly travel to NJ along the I-95 corridor and have had occasion to stop at various points along the way from time-to-time to snare the odd benchmark, but I wouldn't consider myself particularly "active" in those areas.

 

-ArtMan-

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I had never even heard of benchmarking until I first visited Geocaching.com. I find the idea really appealing, in fact I can think of a couple of markers to go visit already! I remember seeing one alongside Front Street in Tyler where I live. It was a brass disk set into the concrete next to the sidewalk. It caught my attention, so I took a look at it. I knew what it was but couldn't decipher the numbers on it. Fortunately I remember exactly where it is. I also remember seeing a concrete post with a disk on it at Tyler State Park many years ago, but I don't know if it was a USGS marker or not (I guess there's only one way to find out)! :lol:

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They day they turned SA off, I went out and found the 2 closest benchmarks. I haven't found any since then.

 

Several times after logging a cache I will notice that there was a benchmark nearby, and I kick myself for not looking them up before the trip. But I still always forget.

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We're Finding them here in Charleston. It isn't huge. It helps that many of our marks have interesting historic connections. :)

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:ph34r: When your world is frozen and you don't want to get out in the frigid cold. Try bench marking. Gets you out and about and it is a good way to fight that cabin fever. Be cautious of course but be adventerous. No need to sit inside with nothing to do.

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Did a search for my area when this all started. Found one was on a railroad bridge for the main trans-con line of U.P. (Yeah, post 9/11, I want to be crawling around a railroad bridge with a GPS) and the other was on the interior post of an interstate overpass. Just couldn't see myself doing that one either.

 

I suppose if there were more like Point of Beginning (which is the mother of all benchmarks in the central US), I would be more interested.

Edited by bigredmed

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I seem to find that most people in my area only dabble in it when they are bored, and don't feel like driving to other caches.

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Although I have only logged in one benchmark since I just found this site, I have located several prior to discovering the site. When I first got my GPS I didn't know anything about GEOCACHING so I used it to find benchmarks instead. One of the beauties of benchmarks is that there are dozens & dozens within a ten or twenty mile radius of home whereas there are probably fewer than a dozen caches within the same radius. Of course one of the shortcomings is that often the benchmarks have been removed or destroyed due to new construction, demolition, etc. Now that I know of this site I plan to continue finding benchmarks, but now I'll log them and add photos.

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I did a few benchmarks in November before it started snowing. A traditional Geocache is easy to find in the snow if hidden by the typical tree, rock wall, or other typical hiding spots. A benchmark on the other hand is nearly impossible. That on top of the fact that many have been looted might be a reason for slow benchmarking in the winter. I for one will be back at it after the snow is gone! B)

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I found this site last week and despite the snow I insisted on trying to find some benchmarks in my area. My first trip was a failure, but on my second I dragged my poor 14 year old son along and we dug through the snow to successfully find 3 previously unlogged ones. I have been fascinated by benchmarks since I was young and looked for them based on USGS map 'X's, with no success. Hunting them is a lot different with the control sheets! It seems my area in Pennsylvania has a few hunters, including Airnut and Douger.

Edited by mloser

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I seem to be the only one really looking much in El Paso.

 

Every now and then some traveller (like #1 Geo-trailblazer) passes through and cherry-picks the easy ones. Other than that, the locals do a few and quit.

 

Soon as my jeep is back on the road I will be at it again.

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I have run out of geocaches I think interesting enough up here in maine while on vacation. Noticed benchmark forum page and said I have see alot while hiking Acadia National Park so I have been recovering BM's for the last week or so. It is very enjoyable and a little more challanging. As a newbie I have posted a number of questions and gotten good solid answers sofar. I some one has the time could you look at my posting for PE1836. Comments reccomendations and critques very welcome. Sent Deb an email and she has told me to log it.

 

Notice 1902 which I found vs 1934 discription which I am going back for tomorrow

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Well, I haven't found any yet, but of the whole "geo-game" realm (My term, I think, to include geocaching, letterboxing, bm, etc.) It is the niche that intrigues me most.

 

I happen to be stationed on a military installation so I don't think caching is goin to be too realistic here. However, trying to find BM is a possibility.

 

I agree with the above post about the whole "techo-nerd" thing. That's me. My wife thinks letterboxing sounds interesting, so this may be a hobby we can converge on. We can try to find multiple "targets" in an area I hope.

 

-WS

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That's funny because I really don't care about the techno part. I enjoy finding any benchmark, but I really get into the historical aspects, especially when researching a destroyed building or water tower, etc. I'll dig through county archives, talk to mayors, and land owners to find old train trestles on their farms. I guess the average cacher doesn’t get into that or determining the offset. (It’s also why I laugh whenever someone tries to say virtuals and benchmarks are the same thing. If they ever have a forum dedicated to virtuals, then I might agree.)

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Well I went back to day and found the other marker west of the rod. Then decided to follow old trail leading out on W direction. Trail disappeared in huge windfall of Pines. So what did I do kept heading west over under around etc. wanted to find trail again and possible Orange Blaze. Did not find trail but When I poped my head out onto the road I noticed an orange ribbon attached to steel post coverd over by saplings. AND they say this isn't fun. :D

 

updates toPE1836

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hm... i really dont know if people are doing benchmark hunting in my area... in fact, i didnt even know about it until someone pointed out one at a cache site he was helping me plant... and i still dont quite get it.

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I am a geocacher with one benchmark find but this thread has made me decide to dedicate tomorrow to snag the benchmarks in my area if I can.

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Well I say a cherry picker eh DW...LOL hehehehhehe.

Now they are getting farther back on the limb,you ought to get the 2 easy ones the Hawksnest water tanks.They are still there,didn't get all the easy cherries I saved you a few.

When you only have limited time you just have to do what you can and move on to the next.

Being my Hometown I tend to get back there once and a while and know the area very well.been all over that whole SW,Texas,NewMexico and Arizona area.

 

Sorry again I missed you last weekend while we were there.

I promise one of these days we will get some time to Hunt a BM or 2.

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In my area, there are a few teams who look for benchmarks. Most dont seem to like them....reasons include a numbers game with geocaches, a lack of success rate with benchmarks (at best 1/4 are found), lack of excitement with most benchmarks (for them).

 

I like them. I wish we had 4 wheel drive to get to some of the older cool benchmarks. I enjoy researching one series of benchmarks weve found. The benchmarks have given me a sense of history to my state. And sometimes it is nice to have something that is a bit more in keeping with my old archaeology days: record keeping and relocating old things.

 

Sigh, I am such a geek.

 

My next thing is to try and look up the historical markers in my state. There was an archaeological project to try and find them all, but it was canceled for unknown reasons. That should keep me out of trouble for awhile lol. Ive got a gps unit, what more do I need?

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I like them. I wish we had 4 wheel drive to get to some of the older cool benchmarks. I enjoy researching one series of benchmarks weve found. The benchmarks have given me a sense of history to my state. And sometimes it is nice to have something that is a bit more in keeping with my old archaeology days: record keeping and relocating old things.

 

One or two other folks are doing benchmarks, which, as has been mentioned, takes some of the fun out of it. Finding one that someone got to last week is not the same as finding one that has not been reported in 50 or more years.

 

I reported a changed circumstance to the NGS folks and they updated the data on it, although it looks like the Geocache folks do not bother to update their own info.

 

See following copy of the updated datasheet:

 

DATABASE = Sybase ,PROGRAM = datasheet, VERSION = 7.04

1 National Geodetic Survey, Retrieval Date = AUGUST 9, 2004

MZ1701 ***********************************************************************

MZ1701 DESIGNATION - CONWAY TOWNSHIP SE CORNER

MZ1701 PID - MZ1701

MZ1701 STATE/COUNTY- MA/FRANKLIN

MZ1701 USGS QUAD -

MZ1701

MZ1701 *CURRENT SURVEY CONTROL

MZ1701 ___________________________________________________________________

MZ1701* NAD 83(1996) 42 27 30.08731(N) 072 39 26.72448(W) ADJUSTED

MZ1701* NAVD 88 238. (meters) 781. (feet) SCALED

MZ1701 ___________________________________________________________________

MZ1701 LAPLACE CORR- -3.04 (seconds) DEFLEC99

MZ1701 GEOID HEIGHT- -28.41 (meters) GEOID03

MZ1701

MZ1701 HORZ ORDER - THIRD

MZ1701

MZ1701.The horizontal coordinates were established by classical geodetic methods

MZ1701.and adjusted by the National Geodetic Survey in June 1998.

MZ1701

MZ1701.The orthometric height was scaled from a topographic map.

MZ1701

MZ1701.The Laplace correction was computed from DEFLEC99 derived deflections.

MZ1701

MZ1701.The geoid height was determined by GEOID03.

MZ1701

MZ1701; North East Units Scale Factor Converg.

MZ1701;SPC MA M - 912,626.839 104,803.165 MT 0.99997464 -0 46 38.9

MZ1701;SPC MA M - 2,994,176.55 343,841.72 sFT 0.99997464 -0 46 38.9

MZ1701;UTM 18 - 4,703,328.025 692,612.973 MT 1.00005648 +1 34 54.7

MZ1701

MZ1701! - Elev Factor x Scale Factor = Combined Factor

MZ1701!SPC MA M - 0.99996716 x 0.99997464 = 0.99994180

MZ1701!UTM 18 - 0.99996716 x 1.00005648 = 1.00002364

MZ1701

MZ1701: Primary Azimuth Mark Grid Az

MZ1701:SPC MA M - NORTH WARNER 140 45 49.0

MZ1701:UTM 18 - NORTH WARNER 138 24 15.4

MZ1701

MZ1701|---------------------------------------------------------------------|

MZ1701| PID Reference Object Distance Geod. Az |

MZ1701| dddmmss.s |

MZ1701| MZ1647 NORTH WARNER APPROX.11.0 KM 1395910.1 |

MZ1701|---------------------------------------------------------------------|

MZ1701

MZ1701 SUPERSEDED SURVEY CONTROL

MZ1701

MZ1701 NAD 83(1996) 42 27 30.08688(N) 072 39 26.72475(W) AD( ) 3

MZ1701 NAD 83(1992) 42 27 30.08663(N) 072 39 26.72378(W) AD( ) 3

MZ1701 NAD 83(1992) 42 27 30.08714(N) 072 39 26.72323(W) AD( ) 3

MZ1701 NAD 83(1986) 42 27 30.08822(N) 072 39 26.72276(W) AD( ) 3

MZ1701 NAD 27 42 27 29.76000(N) 072 39 28.40000(W) AD( ) 3

MZ1701

MZ1701.Superseded values are not recommended for survey control.

MZ1701.NGS no longer adjusts projects to the NAD 27 or NGVD 29 datums.

MZ1701.See file dsdata.txt to determine how the superseded data were derived.

MZ1701

MZ1701_U.S. NATIONAL GRID SPATIAL ADDRESS: 18TXN9261303328(NAD 83)

MZ1701

MZ1701 HISTORY - Date Condition Report By

MZ1701 HISTORY - 1885 MONUMENTED CGS

MZ1701 HISTORY - 1934 SEE DESCRIPTION MAGS

MZ1701 HISTORY - 20030510 GOOD GEOCAC

MZ1701

MZ1701 STATION DESCRIPTION

MZ1701

MZ1701'DESCRIBED BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1885 (FWP)

MZ1701'STATION IS IN THE PASTURE LAND ON THE RIGHT OF THE ROAD FROM

MZ1701'WHATELY TO CONWAY, NEAR THE TOP OF THE HILL. THE STATION IS MARKED

MZ1701'BY A ROUGH PIECE OF SLATE 2 FEET WIDE, 4-1/2 FEET HIGH, INCLINED

MZ1701'SLIGHTLY TO THE NW.

MZ1701

MZ1701 STATION RECOVERY (1934)

MZ1701

MZ1701'RECOVERY NOTE BY MASSACHUSETTS GEODETIC SURVEY 1934

MZ1701'THE STATION WAS FOUND IN GOOD CONDITION AS DESCRIBED WITH THE

MZ1701'FOLLOWING ADDITIONS--(1) THE ROAD FROM WHATELY TO CONWAY

MZ1701'MENTIONED IN THE OLD DESCRIPTION IS NOW ALMOST IMPASSABLE, BEING

MZ1701'USED ONLY FOR TEAMS AND LIKE TRAFFIC. (2) THE STATION IS

MZ1701'LOCATED ABOUT 1-1/2 MILES NW OF WHATELY AT THE N END OF A STONE

MZ1701'WALL FENCE RUNNING N AND S WHICH MARKS THE E BOUNDARY OF A LOT

MZ1701'OWNED BY WILL DICKINSON. (3) ALTHOUGH STILL USED AS PASTURE

MZ1701'LAND, THE HILL IS COVERED WITH BRUSH AND YOUNG TREES. (4) THE

MZ1701'STATION IS A BOUNDARY MARKER BETWEEN CONWAY AND WHATELY, THE

MZ1701'LETTERS C AND W BEING CHISELED ON THE SIDES OF THE INCLINED

MZ1701'SLATE.

MZ1701

MZ1701 STATION RECOVERY (2003)

MZ1701

MZ1701'RECOVERY NOTE BY GEOCACHING 2003 (NGX)

MZ1701'NO EVIDENCE REMAINING OF ROAD FROM WHATELY TO CONWAY. NO EVIDENCE OF

MZ1701'STONE WALL FENCE. AREA OVERGROWN WITH TREES AND BRUSH.

 

*** retrieval complete.

Elapsed Time = 00:00:00

 

 

I logged it on my Geocache page and pictures are posted. I hope to look again for nearby MS 1700. I do not see how the marker could have disappeared.

 

KeepOnTruckin

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KeepOn,

You are right, a number of the Geocache folks either don't bother or are wary of updating the NGS records. I did so at first only when I found a discrepency in the description, but now take the time to update all but the benchmarks recently updated. I update just about anything pre-1999. To me that is the end result of all my effort in locating or not locating a mark--to report it so that those who might use them will be better served. So if I can change a description, or show a mark last updated in 1934 still exists, or even that a mark no longer exists, I am helping someone when they go to use a benchmark. Otherwise it is just a hobby. This lets me, with small effort, take my hobby and make it useful. Very often I have been the second, or third, to a benchmark on Geocaching.com but the first to report it at NGS.

 

Matt

 

Edited because I hit enter too soon!

Edited by mloser

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