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Black Dog Trackers

Mark Condition Reports

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This question applies to reporting the condition of survey marks on both the NGS site, and the Geocaching site.


What is the exact meaning of the two NGS condition choices?:

* Good

* Poor, disturbed, mutilated, requires maintenance


I looked at the NGS Mark Recovery Entery site and found no definitions of these.


Does the difference between Good and Poor refer to the general appearance of the survey marker, or to its worthiness for use?


There are 2 recent threads with pictures on the appearance of marks; this one, and this one.


Many disks have nicks and scars of various kinds on them, but it seems to me (I'm not a surveyor) that they are perfectly useful anyway if:

the central mark is still defined

the disk isn't out of position; tilted over, etc.

the disk is identifiable


This mark (pictured in the second thread listed above) has heavy scarring with two characteristics. It's central mark is still defined. It's designation is mostly unreadable, yet identifiable, especially by local surveyors. Should its condition be reported as Poor or Good?


I logged this tilted mark as destroyed. Is it Found - Condition: Poor, needs maintenance instead? It's a true benchmark, so its importance is its elevation (First Class I). How far off is it its elevation because of the tilting? Was it re-set by non-surveyors after being disturbed?


This whole question runs right into the much discussed Destroyed definition (or lack thereof). What is the exact difference between Poor and Destroyed? Is it different for location-adjusted marks and altitude-adjusted marks? There's a continuum from Good to Destroyed. What are the boundaries?


The NGS definition: "Poor, disturbed, mutilated, requires maintenance" makes me wonder - what kinds of maintenance are done on survey marks (or other kinds of marks)? What indicates the need for such maintenance?


Is this really insignificant, and we should just pick what we feel about the mark? The NGS has the choice of Condition and so I figured it must have some significance.

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Well I can jump in with my 2 cents and give you what we did at the DOT.


First of all, a survey mark is not only the survey disk but the whole monument.


Good - Means the mark in general is as it was set, its not moved or otherwise unusable for the position its has published. I would consider a marred disk as good if it was still usable but would describe its condition in the notes.


Poor - Means the mark has been hit or otherwise suspected of being disturbed and caution should be used in using the mark for precise work.


Mutilated means the survey disk is unreadable and further more, the point of reference is not able to be determined.


Maintenance is a term that is general, it could mean just setting a new witness post or could involve resetting the mark. Each circumstance may be different and suggests that a professional should do the work. BTW-NGS does not do this anymore, funding cutbacks have eliminated these jobs and its now up to the local people to protect these marks. When I worked for the DOT, I did this a lot and it was part of my job description. If the NGS advisor was contacted about a mark in our area, he let us know and we would go and check it out. Any mark in our right of way got a witness post and we educated all our maintenance people and construction inspectors about saving them.

Edited by elcamino

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I'll second ElCamino's response. It must be remembered that these are survey marks, set and described by and for surveyors. The terms 'Good', 'Poor', 'Mutilated', 'Destroyed', etc. are descriptions of the functionality of the mark, not the way it looks. The esthetics of the mark are mostly (but not entirely) irrelevant. (Looks come into play when the mark can no longer be identified - mutilated.)


The recent thread 'Can You Believe This?!, Terrible Benchmark Conditions' discussed this as well. Of the two pictures posted by Crafters (the thread starter), the top mark, while it looks pretty beat up, is probably still usable if its setting is still intact. The second image of a triangulation surface monument is unquestionably destroyed, although the underground monument (if there is one) may still be intact meaning that the benchmark as a whole is still good, but may (does) require maintenence. The picture of a scarred mark posted by FSU*Noles may also be usable as well.


Now, if I can add to ElCamino's definitions...


Good - Still usable for its intended purpose. The mark may be scarred, but it is still usable for surveying.


Poor - Not, or most likely not usable. The mark may be in pristine condition, but it's unusable if its setting has been compromised.

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Ref. ElCaminos reply about the education of the DOT folks in the marking and preservation of survey marks "thats great". I wish the NC/DOT folks did the same. They just rip em out and I've only noted in very few cases were those actions reported. I really believe that here in NC there is no cooperation between the various govt agencies at any level in regards to survey marks.

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a/r/sf/ret, Alot depends on what part of NC you are in. It seems like here in the mountains they try to prserve them, but at the same time the DOT is putting new ones down like crazy, and I guess if you destroy the old ones you can employ folks putting down new ones.


Some roads through here have witness posts for transverse stations every 1/3-1/2 mile, all fairly new, none in the database here.


I see you like to hunt BM's here in the hills, I have alot of old 1930's marks, many chiseled squares and crosses, that haven't been recovered since I plan to hunt down this summer. Where have you been hunting?

Edited by Clyde1140

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Hey, well i guess it does depend on which part of the state you're in for sure. I am in the sandhills area of NC near Fayetteville. I do travel to the high ground as often as I can and am heading up to Mt. Cammerer or Sharp Top in the Smokies around the 26th and then by Max Patch on my return. Future plans call for a return to the Black Mtns. to get those i didn't before I took BM hunting up. I did visit the mark in Morganton at the old courthouse but my pics were at nite and the flash killed them so will have to return for that one also. You around that area?

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Yup, Haywood county not far from Max Patch, not many in that end of the county compared to the southern end, there are a whole lot of old one in the Shining Rock and Middle Prong areas.


I'll be down at Bragg for a few weeks in June, any ones on post you know of I can grab?

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Clyde, ck profile and e-mail me. Glad to help out and wouldn't mind huntin a few that may take a couple of folks to find.

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(This thread got sidetracked for a bit, so I'd like to get it back on track. :rolleyes: )


I would like to get further toward completing working definitions of the condition choices - Good and Poor - within the dimension of: Good--> Poor--> Destroyed.


To assimilate from what elcamino and Kewaneh & Shark said,


Good - the station mark has not moved or tilted from its original setting, and in the case of a marked disk, the mark's point of reference (central point marker) is clearly identifiable and the disk's designation is sufficiently legible to identify it.


Poor - there is some evidence that the station mark has tilted or moved from its original setting, making the mark possibly unusable for precise surveying work. If the mark is a disk, its condition is also Poor if its point of reference marker is no longer clearly defined or the designation is not suffiently readable for identification.


Destroyed - the amount of movement of the mark from its original setting renders the mark unquestionably unsuitable for surveying. In the case of a disk, the disk is missing.


I'm still surprised that the NGS doesn't have definitions of Good and Poor on their website, and perhaps DaveD or someone can give the official definitions.


When reporting the condidtion of a mark to the NGS, we only have two choices - Good and Poor, whereas on Geocaching, we have Good, Poor, and Destroyed (or the usual, at least in my case so far; no condition report unless it's Destroyed).

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3.other. moved,disturbed,partial remains,ie disc gone but set in place,legs,and bases of water tanks and lookout towers,etc.


Did not find.

You found nothing.

Edited by GEO*Trailblazer 1

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