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What Constitutes A "find"??


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On common benchmarks, apparently the finder must actually locate and read a disk or other marker to claim a find. What constitutes a find on benchmarks where access is prohibited? A couple of examples would be an airport beacon, or a church steeple, or a water tower, or a smoke stack? Would getting close to the object and snapping a pic with the GPSr be close enough for a find in these instances, or do I need to get my climbing gear out of the closet?


I would like to do some of the more unusual benchmarks like those mentioned above, but am not quite sure what I need to do to claim a legitimate find.

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I face this situation on a regular basis--a mark which is clearly visible from several hundred feet away, but which is not appropriate to approach. See Power Plant Stack as an example. This photo was shot through a chain link fence because the power plant grounds are off-limits to non-essential personnel.


I'm not into "counting" and "score keeping", so I can't address that aspect of the hobby. However, with the rapid decline in the number of fire towers and old water tanks, as well as broadcast towers which must be relocated to accommodate development, I believe there is value in verifying the status of tall objects annually.


Water tanks are especially important. When an old tank comes down, there generally is a newer tank nearby to replace it. (It is quite easy to confuse the new tank with the old.)


And catch the fire towers while you can! According to a recent article in American Profile magazine, lookout towers numbered about 8,200 in the 1940s and 1950s. By the 1970s, aerial surveillance and satellites began replacing the fire spotters, and the towers came tumbling down. Only 800 towers remain--300 of them active.


Others will weigh in with opinions, so keep watching the thread. Meanwhile, I vote to consider a tall object "recovered" if you were able to view it from several angles, photograph it, and have the confidence to say, "That was it!". As for the GPS reading, you might attempt standing directly east or west of the object to confirm the Latitude, and directly north or south of the object and confirm the Longitude.


Happy hunting!


Edited by PFF
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Beacons, Steeples, Tanks and Stacks were almost always unmarked, meaning there was no physical monument put on them. This is not always the case however, so a careful read of the description is always in order. These tall Landmarks were usually used as an intersected point, or in other words, targeted as a part of a solution to solve a triangulation by trigonometric means. Again, a close read of the narrative description will often explain what the intersected point was.


To recover these it is important to go to the location and see if it is there. If something is there, compare it to what was described, as something may be there that is not what was described. (you would be surprised how many people recover the something that was there, not what was described, all because of a careless reading of the datasheet) Sometimes old tanks have a new tank built right next to an existing one then the old one is torn down, hence the station is a tank, but not the tank that is there today. Sometimes Churches remodel or sell their buildings to different churches and either move their steeples to a new part of the roof or remove the original and take it with them to their new location. Sometimes a Church is torn down and a new one built. The important thing is that there may be something in place that we think is what we are recovering and it isn't. To a Geodetic Study, the math will no longer work and it really isn’t the exact thing we are looking for. So it is good practice to ask the locals, perhaps an old timer knows what is original or not. If it is not the original, then it isn’t the Bench Mark you are looking for. You want the one that was originally described. There is no need to climb up, just take a photo of it and a GPS fix as close as you can get to it, stating how close you approximately were to it. I would be cautious of super old Tanks, and Super old Transmission Towers, and for obvious reasons. The likelihood of them being the original is slim as there is an upper limit to the life span of things like these. They can be replaced with a newer model and never be caught. They can be moved to Facilitate other infrastructure as well, and the NGS never have an update.


If a building tenant will not allow you onto the roof to examine the smoke stack, but the top of the stack is the intersected point, then Photograph the stack and go on your way. If on that stack there was a Bench Mark Station Brass Disc mounted to it, and the tenant will not allow you on the roof, then you can log a not found, or you can just ignore having tried. But without a physical examination of the brass disc, it is a Not Found. If a building tenant does allow you on a roof, well, Ok but do the NGS a favor and report the findings to them. It is one thing to find these as part of a game on the ground, but when access to an area not publicly accessible is granted, A Geocacher is technically taking a game into a private property area. It would wear out the welcome fast to have a hoard of gamers trying to collect a treasure on your own roof eh? So if you do get there, Report what you find as an official recovery to the NGS, and be as professional as you can, so that when a Surveyor legitimately asks to use that Station, they are not meeting up with a worn out welcome.


There is a Building here locally to me in an area where I once needed some elevations for a Construction Contractor. I pulled the datasheet and read that the building tenant will allow people on the roof to access the station for a fee. Yup, charging for the use of the roof. That was the last entry in the station log and you can guess why.


In the final analysis, the most empirical recovery is a station disc. It will have a code on it and if it is where it was said to be, then you recovered it. Further, those brass discs are the most important to the NGS for recovery, and they are the most straight forward to recover. The Climbing gear is just fine in the closet. Save it for the Mountains!



Edited by evenfall
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Here are the standadrs I use to claim a find on an intersections station (church steeple, water tank, etc etc).


1. Does the station conform to the description? If the point intersected is described as the weather vane on top of the steeple, does this particular steeple have a weather vane on it? If it has a ball or cross, I'm inclined not to post it as a find unless I get several other pieces of good evidence. If the tower or water tank is described as having four legs, does it, in fact have four legs? If a water tank was first observed in 1934 but the location is currently occupied by a watersphere (late 1960's and later), then that is not the station. If the steeple is described as rising from the west face of the church but the steeple you're looking at rises from the south face, then that is probably not the station. So, the first standard is: "Does it look like that which is described?"


2. The second standard is location. Since most (all?) intersection stations have adjusted coordinates, your GPS GOTO should point directly at the station and display a reasonable distance from at least three different vantages. I often try to get GOTO fixes from all four sides if I'm not positive that I'm looking at the described station. So, the second standard is "Is the structure exactly where it is supposed to be?"


3. The third standard is also location. Does the structure stand in the spot relative to other structures, roads, etc etc, that the description says it does. If the rotating beacon is supposed to be northeast of the north end of the north-south runway, then any beacon-looking object that is not in that spot is not going to be a find. To satisfy this standard, you generally have to get out of the car and take as close a look around as possible. I've done the occasional drive-by recovery, but I feel much better about evaluating the structure and its environment without the distraction of having to drive safely at the same time. So, the third standard is "Is the structure in the same general spot where it is described to be?"


4. The fourth standard is this: is there evidence that suggests that the structure is NOT the station. If the church steeple was first observed in 1934 but the church's cornerstone says 1958, then you almost certainly don't have a find.


5. The fifth standard is "What do the locals say?" Whenever possible I ask around. Yesterday, I recovered a fire department siren tower in MD. Before I went poking around the fire station, I checked in with the desk officer who introduced me to the Chief. I asked the Chief if his siren tower was the original. He said that it's been there since he was a kid (I est about 40 years ago). As the tower was first observed in 1970, I took that as strong evidence that I had a find.


6. The sixth standard is documentation. Many structures have cornerstones, manufacturer's plaques, etc etc, that tell when the structure wa built. If you can get close enough, you can get some good evidence, either pro or con, for logging a find on the structure.


To log a find on an intersection, I must meet the first three standards and not violate the fourth, and I'm really happy when I meet either or both of the fifth and sixth standards.


Of course, these "standards" are what I impose on myself. Others may have other standards or practices. But I've come across at least 20 destroyed intersection stations that other benchmark hunters have logged as finds.



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Hi, SevenThings:


Excellent post! It brought to mind many of the situations I have encountered.


Your point about there being additional stations or a disk at an intersection is right on target. I recently documented the removal of a radio tower. However, checking for "nearby" stations, I discovered that there used to be a disk in a concrete slab at the tower site. (See the entry I made to explain where I am in the investigation process.)


And those pesky water tanks! We have one which keeps getting "recovered", even though it has been gone for several years. One individual finally posted a photo of what he was seeing. Sure enough, it was the new tank, a half-mile away.


A couple of years ago, a seeker in Durham (NC) recovered quite a few stations in a short time period. Each was accompanied by a photo. What a coincidence! Every station he found consisted of a triangle-shaped piece of aluminum on a telephone pole. Sometimes, he could see two at a time by standing in the right spot.


And they accuse ME of going for the easy ones? [grin]



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Fudge factor.


Hehehe GPS is cool, but Scaled NAD 27's which have been adjusted to NAD 83 are well...


Not all that.


I just use the description. The Proof in the pudding is serious. The description is how we find these things. It is how I found them in the field, or didn't prior to GPS, and I have to say that it is a good test of a description to find what you are looking for with it. Finding it with ease is a verification of the description, Finding it without ease may call for an update of the description. If there are changes and there quite often can be, they will almost write a new description for you. Besides, it is considered helpful to state in the recovery that the description was still adequate or if it was not, that you updated it to aid the next user of the Station. e.g. help the next Surveyor out!


After I have the Station located. I will take GPS coordinates in NAD 83 Datum to add to my recovery notes. That will get anyone close to where you want to be forevermore. GPS for me is after the find.


I must say though that a GoTo on an unrecovered Station could bring more doubt to a recovery than it would confidence. But read the Datasheet. It May say GPS on it and that should be spot on.


To contrast my thoughts, and for a bit of silly comedy relief, I give you The Seattle Space Needle


I particularly like the recoveries of this item from the interstate a mile away, (read more of this person's recoveries if you cant get enough of drive by interstate recovery) and the one where the recoverer intends to fly to the city and recover it while there, A few days hence.


The sick thing is that I live here, I have eaten dinner inside the top of it on more than one occasion, and I can go downtown and not even remember looking at it while driving just blocks from it. I won't be recovering it though. :-)


Enjoy the Laughs...



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Hehehe GPS is cool, but Scaled NAD 27's which have been adjusted to NAD 83 are well...

This is slightly off topic, but very interesting. First, intersection stations are always adjusted, never scaled. But, I want to address the (apparently offhand) comment about NAD 27 being adjusted to NAD 83.


When I had the chance to talk with Dave Doyle and other surveyor professionals at the St. Charles, MO Lewis & Clark monument dedication, he told me an interesting story. When they converted from NAD 27 to NAD 83, they did not simply adjust all of the coordinates for existing stations. Instead, they went back to the original measurements for each and every mark they had at the time and re-computed coordinates using the complex mathematics that are necessary to do such a thing. As the story goes, one of the first Cray super computers was made available but it couldn't handle the volume of data and math, so they went back to "regular" computers, broke the problem into pieces and ran it that way. I know just enough mathematics to know that this was one humongous process that must have taken months to setup and run. Anyway, short story is that when you read an older marker that has the original NAD 27 coordinates in the superseded section, it was not a simple conversion that converted those coordinates to the current NAD 83 coordinates, it was a lot of complex higher-level math that took a lot of time and effort to setup and run. And that, in part, explains why a lot of paper work is necessary to get a marker into the NGS database.

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LOL. Loved the Space Needle recovery reports, and glad to know it's still there. The Coast and Geodetic Survey's "MEW" gets this week's Intestinal Fortitude Award. From the description:





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Hi Rog and all,


This post may be a little lengthy, so make your run to the fridge and bathroom and settle in for a bit! :-) Rog, you made a good point and were right, I was a bit off handed and a bit too generalizing in my post, so let me shore up my thoughts on this. I should have been clearer in my statement. I realize some people will know what I am explaining but I will be specific for those who may not. Allow me to explain myself a bit better and less generally here.


Landmark Stations, commonly Stacks, Steeples, Towers etc, which are unmarked, or rather do not have a Station Disc placed on them are used for Horizontal Control, Their locations are determined by Triangulations performed from other ground based Stations in the area and then become Stations from which Triangulations can be performed. These Triangulations determine Latitude and Longitude and are very commonly Third Order Horizontal Control. I have seen Lower order as well; Very rarely second order if ever, and I say if ever as I think they are meant to be Third by Standard but there may have been Typos. I think I remember seeing it but I cannot verify. I have never personally come across a First Order Landmark. They cannot be occupied for one thing and are rarely as stable as solid ground. Third Order is the Minimum Accuracy to meet national standards. They do not define Lower orders than Third order. If you come across one, it is below current National Accuracy Standards. You are also correct that great pains have been taken to adjust these stations, and all Horizontal Control (many not revisited since NAD 27 by NGS) to NAD 83 XXXX, which is what the current year updated datum correction may be, as not all Stations are adjusted in each adjustment. The Datum has an upcoming correction coming starting next year. By rights, a GPS should point at a Landmark, but sometimes will not. I will get into this further in a few moments or so.


Landmark Stations qualify the majority of the time as being used exclusively for lower order Triangulation, but are not usually Leveled. Leveling is the method of determining a Station’s elevation. Leveling is a different operation than Triangulation and quite often the Station types are kept separate at the highest orders of accuracy. This is no longer the case in the case of CORS Stations, where High order data is possible from one single Station. When a Landmark has had an elevation assigned it is most usually Scaled. Scaled is not a direct measurement but rather is taken off a topographic map.


Triangulation Disc Stations are also horizontal control, and can be as high as A Order Accurate, but most of the older control in the field are very commonly Second order. There are some that are also Third and Fourth order Stations determined by the stability of where the Station was set. In the days of Optical Surveying, the highest order was First. A and B order accuracy are possible today thanks to Electronics and GPS. Triangulation Stations sometimes have Scaled Elevations or can be both Triangulation and Bench Marked for Vertical Accuracy. But most commonly as I mentioned before, Horizontal Control was kept somewhat separate from Vertical control at the highest levels as these were meant to be the Standard for NAD 27 and NAD 83 in the later days. In other words, a high order Triangulation Station is primarily concerned with Latitude and Longitude, not vertical elevation.


Vertical Control in times prior to GPS is the domain of what was called a Bench Mark Station. It is common to call them all Bench Marks but truly, Bench Marks are Vertical Control. Unlike a Triangulation Station, this type was concerned with NGVD 29 Vertical Datum Control, which has been superceded and is currently NAVD 88 Vertical Datum. Again, there are orders to the level of accuracy associated to Vertical Control.


There is 2.0 mm or less accuracy possible in First Class 0 Vertical Control, there is 5.0 mm +/- 1: 10,000,000 relative to other A order stations possible in A order Horizontal Control. This is a place smaller than a cat eye marble. However when we start using accuracy at the SCALED, NADCON, VERTCON, POSTED and ADJUSTED Level, we are not this accurate. In some cases we might be but none of these levels of accuracy are empirically checked. Before we get tunnel vision from accuracy here I will say that with the exception of Posted and Scaled, we should be ok for most things that we need to do with this data. Though Landmarks are almost always adjusted, Bench Marks, meaning Vertical Control Stations can be SCALED Horizontally, and POSTED vertically. SCALED is something that can happen in both Horizontal Control and Vertical Control. POSTED means that the Vertical Station was not included in the NAVD 88 General Adjustment. ADJUSTED is A complex process this is true, but there were three processes used to Adjust, and that was decided by the Order of accuracy the station was assigned to begin with. Most of the time this is accurate enough for a lot of things, but be careful of Scaled anything because they can be wildly off.


In My professional experience I mentally filter when I see the words Posted or Scaled on a datasheet. I just don’t like to use them. To be honest, I want to see better than NAD 27 adjusted horizontal control a lot of the time, because in legal situations, it can matter. Adjusted NAD 83 1998 Control on a B order Station is a lot tighter than Adjusted NAD 83 1986 control on a Third order Station. That is a Sure Bet that it has not been physically visited since NAD 27 Datum Times. With DGPS it is easy enough for us to set up and verify either way, but that will not upgrade the accuracy on Paper. Things Surveyed under NAD 83 and NAVD 88 are safest bets. I am not correct to say that adjusted Coordinates are not good enough for a lot of things because depending on what you are doing, and which Station you are at it is fine. In most cases it is certainly good enough to make a go to point at it.


There is yet another situation for the Geocaching Bench Mark Hunter that can cause the GPS to lead you on a wild goose chase. It is inherent in the GC website. A Geocache is filed under, and to be searched for under the WGS 84 Datum. NGS Horizontal Data for Bench Mark Stations is NAD 83. When you compare the two Datum together, WGS 84 and NAD 83 are approximately 2 meters different. At Consumer accuracy you turn a 5-foot circle of accuracy under WAAS or DGPS into 10 by being in the wrong Datum. It is important to set the GPS to the Datum you need to use. It is similar to using WGS 84 Datum on the GPS with a NAD 27 Datum USGS Quad Map. You are not going to be where you think you are. If you have mapping capabilities on the GPS the map coordinates will not jibe with where you are.


Another way we can be lead astray is also part of the GPS default settings and the Geocaching website. It is not their fault. It is our own. It means we need to check and verify our equipment and ourselves. Many GPS Units will default to WGS 84, and if you fool with other settings they will default the Datum to WGS 84 because you changed a different parameter. You have to verify the datum on the last thing you do before you leave the units settings. You have to double check and know what you really have going. It can change though you did not realize this.


We can be on the Correct Datum but still be led astray. How do you handle your Data? Do you print out the NGS Datasheet from NGS or the one from the Geocaching website? Dou you just print the GC page for the PID with the Description and the Map? Do you download the actual data to your computer and handle it with one of many different programs that allow you to manipulate it or even load it to a PDA? A waypoint is a waypoint. If you load the waypoint for it to your GPS, seventhings is correct, it should get you there. The GPS will know where it is in relation to a waypoint. But is there a typo in the Data? From Geocaching? It is possible. From NGS we have found errors as well. We can find these typos and do. It is common for many to write Deb Brown to help them get corrected. It is reasonable to assume that GC.com could introduce more error. If we go directly to the Datasheet, we can eliminate GC as a possibility. Another common mistake is the setting we choose for displaying the Latitude and Longitude. Either way we choose is fine, but it should match the way the printed page we have in our hand is displaying the data or we will wind up a long way off.


For instance the GC website displays the position format for Latitude and longitude in hdddº mm.mmm’ format. NGS Datasheets are formatted in the hdddº mm’ss.sss” position format. Both numbers represent the same place on earth but part of the number changes, they do not look the same and are not comprised of the same numbers even though they are the very same place. They can be easily mistaken. Be sure if you are using the NGS Datasheet to use the same position format they do. If you use the GC Page, use theirs. If you are looking at the coordinates in an NGS datasheet and your GPS is set to the hdddº mm.mmm’ format that GC.com uses, you will not walk to where you want to, and you will think the Station is not where it is supposed to be. You will be many feet away. And you, not the Station will be wrong. The hdddº mm’ss.sss” position format NGS uses will likely be slightly truncated to hdddº mm’ss.s” on consumer grade equipment.


We can agree that a Non Bench Mark hunting Geocacher, and perhaps an uninformed Benchmark hunter could easily be led astray by WGS 84 Datum and Position Format errors. We all have to reformat to be on the right page. I still think Scaled anything is not all that, I will stand by what I did say, because a scaled something is likely in error, and when you adjust it in an update of Datums, it is still scaled in origin, and is still in error. Landmarks are not scaled in the first place and as it goes, not in error. I also have my concerns over adjusted older Stations. The Datasheet Can be Spot on, and really it is, but if the Station has not been checked physically in a long time, particularly on older lower order accuracy Stations, it is no guarantee the Station will physically match the datasheet. Lower order Stations are as such because the Setter had concerns about the stability of the location for any number of reasons.


Common Practice in Survey is hdddº mm’ss.sss” position format. I am not suggesting anyone change and use it, but I offer one thought. It does match the NGS Datasheet and that is the most original data form. Besides once you familiarize yourself with the Datasheet you will give yourself points for finding Stations based on their Vertical or Horizontal accuracy. Remember the higher order accuracy stations are rarer to find. GC did a conversion of position format for their website and that is an additional time a human manipulated the data. I cannot be as sure of this data, and I cannot certify NGS Data if I do not use it. That is why I don’t use the Station Coordinates on the GPS to find the Station. I could resort to GPS later if I am having no luck and I think it should be there. I try to use the description to certify it works. Besides, the GPS can be a bit too easy. Then when I find the Station and place my GPS on top of it, I can save a waypoint and can compare to the Datasheet and see how good my GPS is. In the case of a Scaled Horizontal Control, I can report my findings to the NGS in the Recovery form in NAD 83 and the correct format, and perhaps improve upon the Scaled location with a consumer grade GPS location.


In closing, I realize this post was lengthy and I apologize to those it may offend for being so. I feel as a whole, we as geocachers are at all kinds of different levels of understanding on what these things are for and what they represent. It is just my aim is to help if I can and bring understanding. If I am still on topic, I hope I helped people find the exact spot, as well as have a better understanding of what they found when they found it.


Thanks for listening!



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On the subject of lower accuracy stations.


I am going back almost 30 yrs and my memory is not that good on this old geodetic survey procedures but if I recall, 1st order stations required 16 sets of observations in direct and reverse circle where as lessor accuracy stations it was less, 12. Also the rejection limits between the observations was more. First order, any angle (of the 16) that differed from the mean by more the 4 seconds was rejected and had to be re-observed (REO). Also, the bearing determinations came into play, i.e. Polaris observations. So its not as simple as the stability which determined the order of the station. It was often determined ahead of time which stations were to be 1st order, 2nd order and 3rd order and the work was done following set guide lines for each.


I recall one time we had our Polaris observations rejected because our T2's did not have striding levels. Our dept went out and purchased a T3 just for Polaris observations.


Back in the 1970 and 1980 we ran a lot of 2 nd traverse and our dept worked with NGS of several projects, both leveling and triangulation in southern Michigan. I was not involved in any of the NGS tower work because I could take the heights.


Here is some of our work..


DATABASE = Sybase ,PROGRAM = datasheet, VERSION = 7.03

1 National Geodetic Survey, Retrieval Date = SEPTEMBER 20, 2004

QL0603 ***********************************************************************

QL0603 DESIGNATION - 75001

QL0603 PID - QL0603





QL0603 ___________________________________________________________________

QL0603* NAD 83(1994)- 45 57 04.36196(N) 086 15 13.42447(W) ADJUSTED

QL0603* NAVD 88 - 181.9 (meters) 597. (feet) VERTCON

QL0603 ___________________________________________________________________

QL0603 LAPLACE CORR- 0.90 (seconds) DEFLEC99

QL0603 GEOID HEIGHT- -35.38 (meters) GEOID03




QL0603.The horizontal coordinates were established by classical geodetic methods

QL0603.and adjusted by the National Geodetic Survey in February 1997.


QL0603.The NAVD 88 height was computed by applying the VERTCON shift value to

QL0603.the NGVD 29 height (displayed under SUPERSEDED SURVEY CONTROL.)


QL0603.The Laplace correction was computed from DEFLEC99 derived deflections.


QL0603.The geoid height was determined by GEOID03.


QL0603; North East Units Scale Factor Converg.

QL0603;SPC MI N - 130,075.210 8,057,853.902 MT 0.99991974 +0 32 21.8

QL0603;UTM 16 - 5,088,897.523 557,836.204 MT 0.99964112 +0 32 11.0


QL0603! - Elev Factor x Scale Factor = Combined Factor

QL0603!SPC MI N - 0.99997703 x 0.99991974 = 0.99989677

QL0603!UTM 16 - 0.99997703 x 0.99964112 = 0.99961816


QL0603: Primary Azimuth Mark Grid Az





QL0603| PID Reference Object Distance Geod. Az |

QL0603| dddmmss.s |

QL0603| QL0586 MANISTIQUE RADIO KQG 653 MAST APPROX. 1.8 KM 0315546.8 |


QL0603| CH1819 75001 RM 1 9.139 METERS 24101 |





QL0603 NAD 83(1986)- 45 57 04.35579(N) 086 15 13.42107(W) AD( ) 2

QL0603 NAD 27 - 45 57 04.46426(N) 086 15 12.90162(W) AD( ) 2

QL0603 NGVD 29 (07/19/86) 181.9 (m) 597. (f) VERT ANG


QL0603.Superseded values are not recommended for survey control.

QL0603.NGS no longer adjusts projects to the NAD 27 or NGVD 29 datums.

QL0603.See file dsdata.txt to determine how the superseded data were derived.






QL0603 HISTORY - Date Condition Report By



































1 National Geodetic Survey, Retrieval Date = SEPTEMBER 20, 2004

Edited by elcamino
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Hi Mike!


Thanks for adding that information, I started a paragraph that started to say that a low order Station was a Minimum of 4 observations... Then I got to thinking I had a book going as it is, and I was worrying about getting too far afield with the point I tried to make... Too many points obscure the point.


Thanks however, for pointing out the predetermined manner which a Stations Order would be. I have found that many First Order Stations out here in the Pacific Northwest have commanding views. It is pretty hilly country out here. Most of which I know of, also have a view of Puget Sound. Coastline measurements, and many cross Sound as well as Island positionings must have been some of what these stations helped locate for the Sake of Coast Survey and established Geodetic Survey.


Going a bit off topic, The oldest Station out here in the Puget Sound Area, still extant, which I am aware of is BELLEVUE 1854 a Second order Station. I have not looked at everything, there may be others, but this one is a nice find. I hope to visit this Station someday. It is part of the intitial Survey of the Coast on the West Coast and in this area. I have investigated Datasheets for when the CG&S first came to Puget Sound but most Stations are lost. Interestingly this Station is from the same general time when the US Boundary in the Strait of Haro, Rosario Georgia and on through the San Juan Archipeligos was not yet decided between Washington and Canada. The Hudson Bay Company had a post on San Juan Island, and both US and British citizens were living there. in 1859 An American Farmer killed a Pig that was allowed to roam free range, and was foraging in the Farmer's fields... What is now known as the Pig War ensued. A war we Had but never fought with the British on the West Coast. A synopsis. Both the Americans and British had Camps set up on the Island and the Stand off continued for some years... During the Pig War the CG&S Coast Survey had dabblings in the negotiations of and ferrying important visitors to this stand off war... Delivering messages and what not. This can be read in the History of the CG&S in the NGS website. There was also a Young Captain in the Army Stationed at American Camp, who was credited with designing a Gun emplacement, also known as a redoubt. It remains as a grassy pile of dirt today. This Captain was a Civil Engineer who was later the Consulting Engineer of the Seawall at Galveston Texas. His name was Henry M. Robert. He went on to retire from the Army as a Brigadeer General after serving as chief of engineers, United States Army. He is the same man who is famous today for creating Roberts' Rules of Order.


Station Bellevue 1854 was monumented about half way between where the American and British Camps were later located, on the west end of San Juan Island, five years before this war...

In 1854 Davidson ( George Davidson ) wrote a very complete Coast Pilot of the Pacific coast waters of the United States. By 1854 fifty-five surveys, extending from San Diego to Rosario Straits were completed. Many of these sheets, which have been examined by the writer, exhibit a degree of craftsmanship which is unexcelled. Some have been of inestimable value to the Federal Government, a value arising solely from the fact that only one standard was accepted. Specific instances will be mentioned later.
Excerpted from http://www.history.noaa.gov/stories_tales/...fichistory.html


These Coast Surveys were part of what set the Border when the Kaiser and King of Germany, Wilhelm I, Decided in the favor of the Americans in October of 1872.


What Constitutes a Find? It depends on what you are open to looking for. :-)


Really, I was just geocaching.

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Rog & Rob -


Thanks, both, for the discussion of the (relative) validity of adjusted coordinates for intersection stations.


Rob, I don't think anybody has a problem with the length of your posts. If you're willing to take the time to write them, we (well, most of us, certainly) are willing to take the time to read them and avail ourselves of your knowledge and experience.


By way of expanding my comments on how I determine that I've found an intersection station:


1. As I've maintained in many ++ earlier posts, the datasheet description rules. GPS is good for telling you when it's time to start looking for a parking spot, recording the coordinates for a scaled mark that you have positively found, or confirming the identity of an intersection station when the description is inadequate or when there is a discrepancy between what the datasheet says and what you see. I seldom (1 in 100, maybe) use the GPS to find a mark, and only when the mark is not in plain sight and the tape measure and/or metal detector have not been fruitful.


2. I do load all the marks I plan to look for into my GPS using MapSource. And, having spent enough time wondering why the world seemed to be 90 degrees off from the datasheet (because I loaded the coordinates incorrectly), I double check that my MapSource waypoints = the published coords.


3. I do take care to work in NAD83. It's a pain to continually re-set the units, but, as I submit recoveries to NGS and submit coordinates to USGS/Map Corps, I might as well eliminate all the error I can. I also have an Excel sheet set up that translates the formats among the three users (GC, NGS and USGS).


4. I generally (90 in 100) read the NGS sheets & annotate my GC sheets with additional detail and/or updated (post 2000) recovery information. I generally don't use the NGS sheet coordinates unless I've encountered an unexplainable situation in the field (that may be rendered explainable by an error in the GC datasheet coordinates).


5. And, finally, I never (almost, 1 of 172) report an intersection recovery to NGS unless it's a slam-dunk destroyed. I've seen so many erroneous intersection station finds in GC.com that the possibility that I've erred is too great to risk contaminating the NGS database. As Black Dog Trackers said not to long ago (and, to paraphrase) "You have to be a historian to [validly] recover an intersection station." Well, I don't think you have to be a historian for GC hobbyist purposes, but you probably do have to be a historian (or professionally-equipped professional surveyor) to recover an intersection station for NGS purposes. (unless it's destroyed, in which case you only have to be able to tell the difference between a 150-foot tall water tank and an empty field.)


So, GrizzFlyer, please add this to what I said, above.


Edited by seventhings
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Ok, besides the fact that alot of folks made some pretty funny posts about the Space Needle - how would you counsel someone to log this?

If you are not going to log this one, then why log any intersection station? I can be just as sure of this one has not changed as I can be that another row of bricks has/has not been added to a smoke stack since 1932.


Are Intersection Stations the 'Virtual Caches' of benchmarking? The purists look down their noses at those who log them? Most of the hilarious logs of the space needle are made by the same people who cannot tell the difference between a triangulation station and a reference mark.


If someone thinks that the the Space Needle is no longer 'THE 606-FOOT HIGH STRUCTURE' shown on the datasheet then maybe it should be reported to NGS as 'Destroyed' :mad:


I hope my attempt humor comes through in this post. Just be glad that none of the logs ANYONE writes here at gc.com show up on the NGS database :mad:



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OK, maybe a little care is in order in logging recoveries of intersection stations to be sure what is being recovered is what was described in the Datasheet. The logs of the Space Needle may be a good place to start the discussion as it is a well known landmark. Perhaps the following should be considered before one claims to have found it:


The Space Needle recently underwent what the owners call a complete revitalization. Some of the work performed is described:


"The Space Needle, known worldwide as the symbol of Seattle, underwent a $20 million revitalization effort between Fall 1999 and Spring 2000. Phase II of that effort began in January 2001. Nearly every aspect of the 1962 World’s Fair centerpiece has been or is being updated, including the entry level, restaurant, and Observation Deck, all the way down to the grounds surrounding the attraction.




"The Space Needle’s Legacy Light was first illuminated on New Year’s Eve 1999/2000, and has been shown on major national holidays. A beam of light that shines skyward from the top of the Space Needle, the Legacy Light honors national holidays and commemorates special occasions in Seattle. The Legacy Light is based on the original concept of a beam of light shining atop the Space Needle, as depicted in the official 1962 World’s Fair poster."


Might the legacy light and the new construction have affected the height and position of the mark? In addition, the company lists the Space Needle as being 605 feet high, while NGS says 606 ft. So has it changed? Which is correct now? I might want to know these things if I were using it as a mark.


I emailed the Information Ministry at the Space Needle Corporation to ask them if any changes had been made in the height and position of the light that is the mark, but they have not answered yet.




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GH and all,


For Survey Purposes, You can take the Space Needle's Elevation as a good EL. There was at one time a Bench Mark Disc in a Concrete Stairway, SY0362 Century 21, which is since gone, (not found) having been removed in a previous remodel. Station Century 21's Elevation was determined from a few other Bench Mark Stations near the Needle and was verified to Second Order Vertical accuracy. the overall length of the Needle was taken from the Architectural Plans From the Base Line and added to Station Century 21's elevation.


On the Architectural Plans there are often a number of lines, labeled such as the Base Line, A Line, B Line etc, which are locations where Scaled measurements (architect's scale) are to be taken from the plans and made in full scale on the building as things are being built, both from the Horizontal and Vertical. A number of these lines are on plans and they are located for the builders in the Building by Surveyors as the building is constructed so the building trades can use these locations to take and make measurements from. For instance a Wall, a drain pipe or an electrical conduit may be located a specific distance from the B Line or any number of these said hypothetical lines depending on where you are working in a building.


Anyhow, The base line was a Hypothetical place located on a plan but was then determined at what elevation it was actually built at. Things can be built both above and below this line. Then the plan height of the needle was added to this elevation and a direct measurement of the spire added to the top of the needle was calculated for the overall height of the Space Needle and added to that BM at the base of the needle. The Space Needles elevation is 744 feet VERTCON, Third Order Accurate Horizontally. This was determined during the 1963 monumentation of the Needle as a Bench Mark and Triangulated Landmark. The 1973 recovery does state an overall length of the needle in the recovery narrative, but it is not when the Elevation (above Mean Sea Level, as determined by Geoid Height) was determined and I would not concern myself with that number. That recoverer could be quoting marketing literature for all we know, and could be responsible for quoting it wrong. Though there have been remodeling and updates done to the Needle over the years, the appearance of the needle is very particular. The spire on there is the same spire. Nothing has changed up top other than the Paint Job. The Geodetic Elevation is good for NGS purposes no matter what the Space Needle marketing Department wants to print in it's literature. More Importantly, the Space needle has not moved laterally since it was built. I would use it for triangulation purposes and be fine in so doing even if the spire were a foot shorter even though it is not.


For the would be collectors of this Station as a notch in your belt, I would just ask that you physically go to the needle, stand under it and look up, Photograph it from very close up before you claim a find. Better yet, go to the top and Photograph that view, it is quite spectacular. On a sunny day, even better. It is a $12 ride to the top. Don't claim it because you are planning a trip or coming to Seattle, Don't claim it because you drove through Seattle on the Interstate, a mile east of the Needle. Just visit the Needle. Otherwise the recovery is worth no more than claiming all the NGS stations at any given Airport by default of having flown into there and never setting foot on the flight-line.



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Thanks evenfall,

I have been to the top before it was changed,and even got to tour (with a guard),places most will never go,does that count :P


Just kidding ;) about the logging it.


Alas I must say,I was a lass then not a geo*benchmarker,And only until I get to be there as a geocacher/geo*benchmarker will I claim it s find.Maybe??. :D

Just have to see when we go back.

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As I've written before, I think I'll stick to geocaches.  So long as I know my name's in the logbook, I can be fairly confident of not seeing my finds dissected in the forums.

I don't mind being critiqued so I can do a better job of finding and reporting. Sorry if it offends you. But you are probably right that many of us in this section take benchmark hunting fairly seriously. You'll find several pros in this forum including Dave Doyle and his staff who are with the NGS (US National Geodetic Survey).


If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Edited by Colorado Papa
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It is not that we seek to dissect a find, But Bench Mark hunting can be taken a step farther than simple gaming. The NGS will accept a recovery from a Geocacher. These Survey markers are very important items and they each are linked to data that surveyors and other agencies of all types. They are not Tupperware or a logbook, and I do not say that to belittle anything. It is a good thing to find them, but in finding them, sometimes problems are found along with them. Sometimes we as the finder can improve what we find. That is the hope the National Geodetic Survey hopes from our work as well. They are interested in our finds. We game, and at the same time we can update and improve a National Database. The important thing is that the benchmarks as geocaching refers to them were set by an agency of the US Government and they have a methodology for how they would like to treat them. In the same interest a Geocacher would want to play by the rules of a cache, many of us feel that the nature of the engineering and surveying fields should be honored and observed in respect to the recovery of these objects, as in their essence, they are the basis for all infrastructure and mapping in the US. These objects are the spatial references. They are why airplanes find airports in the dark and why we know where we are on a map, and they are so many other things as well.


All this can be very challenging. I suspect the people who are dedicated to hunting these like challenges like this. Different strokes for different folks. I sense most of us in this forum also see it as a great opportunity as well. But it is science, and we try to pay attention to what improves it. Carelessness in finding and reporting can only introduce error to a database and that would never be a desired effect.


To be honest I don't know if it would be fair to claim that I found a geocache without leaving my desk here, and I am not sure it would be fair for me to claim I recovered the Washington Monument just because I plan to fly to DC next week. (and I am not planning) Certainly shooting photos of the Space Needle in Seattle from a .7 of a mile east on I-5 counts as a find yes? Therefore since since I live in Seattle I can claim all geocaches within the city proper found by me simply because i live here. Or gosh I could have been meaning to go to Portland Oregon soon so what the heck, I claim some of Portland's Caches too. No, that is no way to play. I think we can and should take more care than that. and many of us do.


More than calling anyone out, we are a helpful bunch, we are willing to help anyone figure out a poser, and if you spend a little time reading here I am sure you will find a pretty cool and fair minded group who will roll up their sleeves and research hard to bring the facts out on anything. In my mind it makes for dadgum good reading too!


I would like to invite you to hunt a Bench Mark, if you have a problem, bring it on in and you might be surprised how much and how many you may have helping you and having fun. If it really isn't for you then that is fine too. There is no hunter in this forum that I have ever seen that is harder on anyone than they are on themselves. It is just the kind of integrity they have, and for my money, I enjoy that side of them a lot.

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Colorado Papa,


Thanks, I'll take your advice and stay out of the kitchen.




Thanks for the invitation to hunt a benchmark, but it wasn't really necessary. As noted in previous posts to this forum, I've found dozens of them since becoming a geocacher. (We're talking brass disks; not the Space Needle.) It is rather an inevitable byproduct of climbing up mountains and hills and going to other places in the outdoors where benchmarks are likely to be found. I've taken pictures of the disks and everything. Prior to geocaching I had seen dozens more during my hiking and paddling travels.


My reservations are not about going and looking for the benchmarks but rather in logging them online for later dissection. I am starting to gain an appreciation for geocachers who choose not to log their finds online -- perhaps due in part to preaching in the forums from avid geocachers like myself!


I find geocaches for fun. It's a hobby. If there is a benchmark nearby I might like to find that, too, again just for fun, and not with the goal of reporting it to the official database. I've had fun finding the ones I think I found. But the more I read in here, the more it seems like I need a surveyor's license to log those finds online with confidence. I'm sorry, but it is more information than I care to digest. But if others are having fun with it, that is cool by me.

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If you can see an intersection mark and are sure of what you are looking at, then log it. I logged "Mollies Nipple" from several miles away. I'm sure this mark has not been moved since it was created. I don't see any great need to get as close as possible, all the time.


Most Benchies who have logged very many BMs don't try for intersection stations as often as they used to. Instead they start going for the older marks that have not been found (recovered) since they were monumented. Or they go for those that others have NOT been able to locate and have logged a 'Did not Find' for the mark.


Personally, we (the oldfarts) like to find the pre-1900 marks. There's not that many of them and following the descriptions can be interesting. We don't log with the NGS or any other official agency because we are in it for the fun of finding the marks and sharing our finds with other Benchies and Cachers.


Which ever way you go, be sure to have fun doing it. Don't forget - with benchmarks - the numbers DO count! :P


John & Shirley

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Over time I have seen you post in here with the premise of reminding us that you feel anyone who would subject themselves to scrutiny or such rules must be nuts... Well, To each their own, I guess all I can say to you is that I have taken note of your feelings. Message recieved, but it isn't how I feel. It does not persuade me to change my feelings towards the way I follow my hobbies. There are people in the world who are Super Nascar Fans, Super Football Fans, Super Baseball Fans. People who can't stop riding their bicycle, or shopping, or collecting. Folks who have collected every beanie baby or barbie known to civilization. There are people out there who have to have TV shows come reorganize their lives and homes. Then there are those who take a more relaxed approach as well. Even here in the benchmark forum there are people who use the latitude they have to follow the hobby in the way that makes them happiest. I think that is great. I think everyone follows the path they like the best and that is how it works best. Some like competition, some like hunting, some like that they can publicly volunteer to contribute to a civic purpose while they find these and report their current status to the government. I know of several people here in this forum who work in the Survey field who hunt them, and I also know of Surveyors who strictly Geocache and never recover one Bench Mark. Different strokes, and it is all fine.


That said, Happy Benchmarking, if you like, that is. I will still be happy to talk technical with anyone who has a question and wants to follow this craft to the level of recovering stations as accurately as the NGS standards are for so doing. But hey, if you just want to find a few and not log them that's all good too. I certainly would never advocate that anyone do anything they wouldn't enjoy doing. The deal really comes down to having fun at whatever level and I sense that most people are. Thats all :-) Happy geocaching!



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Slow this train down a little boys and girls until TPTB change the guidelines for logging a benchmark :


How do I log a benchmark?

On the benchmark's page, click on "Log this benchmark" at the top right corner of its page to log your find. If you have a digital camera, we ask that you take a picture of the mark, and one or two pictures of the area around the mark. Even if you don't have a digital camera, just log your find for others to read. After you have successfully logged your find, you can click on "[upload images]" to upload your pictures. When uploading images, you can put the station's Designation (name, not PID) as well as its State and location in the "Name:" field - it makes the benchmark gallery more interesting.


I have found a few benchmarks and take pictures on most but never of radio towers anymore they all look the same, but never do it all the time, take a picture that is.


I have never reported a single one to the NGS or anyone else, does this make my finds ( NO FINDS ) I don’t think so, we do this because its fun and that’s the only reason I do it. I have just finish my first quad for the Map corp. and yes I am reporting that because its there guidelines say to do so.


Lets face it we are the red head step child as far as GC.com is concerned and if to many good folks are put off from having fun ( can we say Locationless ) , I don’t even want to think about.


So lets all lighten up a little and have some fun……………… JOE

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Good reply Evenfall.

I guess that this is like everything I do--once I start it I get a little obsessed about it, and want to do it the "right way"--that is, the way "I" feel is the best way to go about it. In the case of benchmarking, it means I want to feel I have completed the task, and to do that I need to report the find here and on the NGS site so my recovery is of value to someone.

If someone else doesn't feel comfortable doing that, so be it. They should do what they feel is comfortable. But at the same time, I don't feel it is too difficult to impose a few rules on the hobby. There should be SOME standards. How would the cachers feel if I didn't follow their rules and blatantly opened a cache in full view, or didn't replace a removed item, or left the cache in the open?


I don't fully agree with some of the discussion points raised in this forum, for example the need to go up in the Space Needle in order to claim it as a find (I was indeed in the Needle, but that didn't help me discover the light at the top). However, a lot of the discussion about recovering intersection points raised my awareness, and, after taking the time to drive to the top of a mountain to claim a TV tower and discovering that the tower was NOT the original one described, I am much more careful in my recoveries of such items (I admit that the only reason I went to the top was a USGS mark at the tower, but visiting the base of the tower was an eye-opener). That made me realize that it is important to determine if the structure I am trying to recover IS the structure described. Did I make a few blunders? Sure did! Will I make more? Probably, but fewer and fewer I hope. Do I feel chastised because some of the people here are sticklers for accuracy? Nope. I feel informed! It is up to me to decide if I want to adhere to your level of accuracy or stick to a lower one.


My greatest award in this hobby would be to have someone use my recovery to find and use a benchmark for a survey of some sort. I doubt I will ever hear that my work has directly helped someone, but I like to think it has, or will. In the meantime, I will do "hobby" things with benchhmarking too, such as being FTF, finding old marks, marks in different counties and states, and different types of benchmarks, as well as the "numbers game" of how many I have found. That is part of the fun. But once I find them I will report their status to the best of my ability too!

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The GC.com site has standards, if anyone wants to raise the bar start a new thread and ask TPTB to change them and enforce the new ones but right now we have what we have and whether we like them or not they are standards of this site and I am starting to see where Lep and others could be intimidated by this forum, sure we are nice to folks, but gee wizzzz


Lets play by this sites standards not someone else’s standards. ( touch football, pro football )


Does anyone else have a web site where this much good has been done for the NSG, I don’t think so, and it looks like we are doing OK has the NGS beat us up or anything about the way we play this game, and on this site its just a game remember that.


It someone wants to start a professional site to help out the NGS, that would be way to cool.


I personally don’t want any more rules and enforcement, this is a hobby not a job……..JOE


Sorry for the rant

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It someone wants to start a professional site to help out the NGS, that would be way to cool.

You maybe onto something. I would not call it a professional site, but those of us who are really serious about this and want our own forum could probably do it for $10/year providing we could get at least ten parties involved. If we had twenty, the cost could come down to maybe $5.00.


Anyone else have thoughts about it?

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If you guys want a separate more "professional" forum and website for benchamark hunting I will donate the web space and setup the forums. I have a dedicated server with 120gb of space and enough bandwidth to choke a pig. I am by no means a web designer though, so someone else would have to actually design the page.

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IT Tis quite hmmm well

I am not a web designer either but this one has been working just fine for me.


Now an Enumerated Domain for a data collection center for all benchmarks would be a nice thing to have.


In my opinion there needs to be one place to store this type data for recovery and processing by those whom might need or want it.

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Things are really fine here, really they are. Forums are for discussing things and this is what we use it for. There are many topics here, some light and fun, some competitive, some technical, some are dedicated to crowing. Just like the several forums dedicated to Geocaching. I said it so clearly a few posts back, it is serving us all quite well on all levels.


I would like to remind those who may not be aware, many are aware as well as many are not, The National Geodetic Survey has created a special filing for Geocachers who wish to recover benchmarks to them. It is GEOCAC. Yup, you can take credit at the NGS if you like. Your initials will be on record forever. Any geocacher can report recoveries. At the top of the Bench Mark Forum there are several pinned topics that highlight this. The NGS is happy to have the help. These monuments are not toys. They measure the shape of the US, it is important that we realize that if we go this route, we should try to maintain their integrity as we seek to recover them, if we choose to report to the NGS. It would seem a shame to make work for our friends at the NGS cleaning up messes that happen, where is the help to them in that? So in discussing and figuring it out here in the forum is a good thing. We have found errors and collectively helped to sort them out and solve them. It is a very high use of the Forum here. And there is plenty room here for more topics. No Harm, No Foul. If we move this resource of people off to a corner where pros can be pros, then how would that serve the forum? How would that serve the people who have questions? Further, the same pros or accomplished Bench Mark Hunters like hunting in the dark and coming up with song titles for bench mark names they recover. How cool is that? :-) There are no elitists here.


Let me make this distinction. On GC this _is_ a game. If you take it to the next level you can treat it as a game or hobby but the recoveries to the NGS are to their requirements and they do have a different way of seeing "finds" than GC does. This is why some of us here in the forum have volunteered to discuss this and be helpful. It isn't so much about rules and enforcement as it is how to do it properly and how to differentiate between the different systems of recovery. I think most would agree that driving past the Space Needle on an interstate 3/4ths of a mile away is not an appropriate use of the game, let alone taking that any further. I mean if a cacher has to find a cache to sign the log then it seems appropriate to stand on the grounds of Seattle Center and near the needle to recover it. You will read a recovery at the Needles PID here on GC.com that shows some outrageously silly recoveries. Here in the Forum there are Hunters who do not report any recoveries to the NGS and they are still a huge help to all and eager to help any way they can. There is no training officially laying around out there for the Layman to know all this but there are helpful people volunteering. Sometimes we even see several of us who come from Survey backgrounds having different things we add. We all share and learn. What better use of a Forum? A public meeting place for discussion. I see that as something that does not need fixed or changed. There have been some wonderful discussions here on technicality and history, sometimes both. I look forward to reading about Railroads, Airline Towers, State Lines, Radio towers that move and change and Alaskan Highways. we are exposed to things that we get to learn more about and it is a good time. I have a sense others enjoy it too. Those who participated made them great; those who refrained can claim no credit. And if nothing else there are other topics to click on.


Like I said before there are many levels within any hobby, you can have the toy train or a scale model scenic railroad, and all in one hobby. This is no different here. Further I have not read where the Bench Mark hobbyists are over in the geocaching forum posting messages that seem to say that they take their hobby a bit too seriously. :-) Of course I am sure all is harmony there like here. Forums are like TV programming; we don't have to subscribe if we don't like the topic.


Bottom line, I see a ton of helpful people having a great time. This forum actually works better and smoother than most I have ever seen. There are some really great folks here. I think nothing is broken. No need to move or modify a thing. One Forum, Many Topics. Let's not fix it shall we? I would not change a thing. I am with GEO, This one is working fine for me. :-)



Edited by evenfall
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I think most would agree that driving past the Space Needle on an interstate 3/4ths of a mile away is not an appropriate use of the game, let alone taking that any further.


How close does a surveyor have to be to use an intersection station?


How about a benchmark disk?


If you can see an intersection station from 5 miles away and recognize it there is no problem logging a find! Like the surveyor, with a disk, you need to be close enough to "ID" the mark to claim a find.


Why does it matter so much if the "recovery log" is only on Grounspeak? Is it really necessary to tell every Newbie that they should log with the NGS when they have made a great find?


Logging with the NGS sounds like it is something special we should do. But just remember this, We have found benchmarks that were log (on the NGS) as Not found & Destroyed and they showed signs of recent use! It appears as though local surveyors knew where these marks were without using the NGS database. Logging with the NGS seems to lose some of it importance at that point.


If you want to log with the NGS please do so, just don't expect everyone else to get excited over all that extra paper-pushing. We're here on Geocaching to get out and "find" things, be it caches or benchmarks and have fun in the process. It really doesn't matter to me if someone else logs a benchmark incorrectly here on Geocaching.


If you could get 75% of the benchies to log with the NGS, considering all the "mislogged" marks on Geocaching, would Geocaching become another "Power Squadron"?



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Rob, well said. My suggestion was a tongue-in-cheek remark. I enjoy seeing "new" people coming to this forum asking questions, and even picking up some who do find BMing more enjoyable than caching.


However, there are a few minor things "broke" in the benchmark section that have been listed in the pinned string. Perhaps someday Jeremy will get back to this section to do an overhaul.


Now how many here know about being able to "forum" message directly to another person on here? I just found out about it last week from John (2oldfarts), and I've been on here for three years! Amazing what these little icons do. In case you don't know what I'm refering to, try the PM icon under each post. Too bad the profile icon doesn't work. I'd like to see more detail about my fellow benchers.


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2oldfarts (the rockhounders)

How close does a surveyor have to be to use an intersection station?


How about a benchmark disk?


If you can see an intersection station from 5 miles away and recognize it there is no problem logging a find! Like the surveyor, with a disk, you need to be close enough to "ID" the mark to claim a find.


so...how bout that "ADAIR" station?


there are some marks i simply can't get to.

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Too bad the profile icon doesn't work.  I'd like to see more detail about my fellow benchers.


Well, if you click on the persons name on the left side it brings up the profile. What bums me out is that the photos linked to BMs don't show up in the "photo gallery" in the profiles.

Hi, everyone


I just dropped by into these forums to kill some time while recuperating from dental surgery and stumbled onto this thread. In the process, I noticed the comment about wishing BM photos were shown in the gallery.


You may already know this, but once you have the profile for a player open per Muzikman's input, you can click on the Benchmark icon at the left hand side of the profile listing. That will produce a summary listing of all the benchmarks they've listed, from there you can click on the log for whatever benchmark you're interested in and at that point you can view any photos they posted with that log.


For example, here's our log from NE0956 from earlier this fall:



Here's another that we found a couple of weeks ago that hadn't been reported since 1978 - QL0044.




It's a bit convoluted, but actually might be more direct than trying to sort out a specific photo from a gallery of multiple pages.


All the icons on the profile page work this way, you can click on them and see a list of the associated logs for the person whose profile you're viewing.


In regards to the remark by Colorado Papa about "forum messaging" I didn't know that worked on this site, although I've seen the icon for it. On the MiGO site, it's known as "personal messaging" which explains the PM designation. I'm glad they've got it working here, I might actually use it sometime if I ever get back to spending more time in the GC.com forums.


In regards to earlier comments by Evenfall about the length and detail in his posts, I find them both fascinating and educational and I've read every word of the posts in this thread as well as the clarifications and additional explanations by others. Like Leprechauns, I would never dream of reporting my finds directly to the NGS, but unlike them, I'm not too concerned about posting them here as long as I feel certain that I've found the mark in question. Posting photos with the log is a good way to ensure that as well as comparing the data sheet descriptions as suggested earlier in this thread. I'm a detail oriented person and feel competent to determine whether or not a benchmark that I've found is the one I'm looking for. I'll stick to disks however, and not get involved in some of the more esoteric types such as the intersection points.


Regarding QL0044, one of you more knowledgeable benchmark hunters might have reported this directly to NGS as well, but that's where my lack of procedural information falls short, so I just tried to abide by the standards of GC.com as someone suggested earlier in the thread and posted it here with sufficient photographic detail to confirm the find. Like others, any attempt I might make to provide data to NGS might actually harm rather than help their database so I'd rather stay away from that aspect of the situation.


If I'm unsure of something, or have a question, I won't be too hesitant to post a query after the cordial, informative and helpful responses I got when I did so a couple of weeks ago regarding a benchmark I had found that was not in the gc.com database. You were all very helpful with that one and no one seemed inclined to flame me for ignorance.


I've always been fascinated with maps and the history of mapping the world and North America but never got into enough detail to feel I could hold my own in a discussion with a surveyor. As such, all the details I can read which clarify and improve my understanding of the subject are of great interest to me, and I glad to find people willing to take the time to explain in such detail, even if I don't fully understand every reference.


(Hope this isn't too rambling, I'm on some medicine containing codeine and my thoughts are a little fuzzy at times. B) )

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2oldfarts (the rockhounders)

How close does a surveyor have to be to use an intersection station?


How about a benchmark disk?


If you can see an intersection station from 5 miles away and recognize it there is no problem logging a find! Like the surveyor, with a disk, you need to be close enough to "ID" the mark to claim a find.


so...how bout that "ADAIR" station?


there are some marks i simply can't get to.


The story behind Adair is short and simple. We thought there might be someone checking on all our benchmark logs, so we went and took a picture of the butte where this one is located. Since it is impossible to actually climb to the mark due to the type of rock and soil we decided to post a ridiculous post and see if someone would start a thread about the log or bring it up in an existing thread. Since the log is so far fetched we decided to leave it and see what happens. Until now - nothing.


The only comment we got was an e-mail asking us to save a few of the benchmark in the area so they could log them.


I think we have posted a picture for just about all our finds if anyone would care to verify them. :lol:


Everyone should feel free to annotate our log for Adair if so desired. B)



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Oldfarts, John,


I think you are missing my message, so let me help you understand me better.


I know you and Shirley Like to Crow, show pictures of your finds, that you are accumulating finds, that you enjoy to see this as a somewhat competitive hobby and you love to have fun. I have thought that the way you approach this hobby is wonderful use of the hobby. I share your excitement and enjoy the posts you make. I don't think you should recover any to the NGS if you don't want to. Your choice of use is fine with me. I am also impressed that you want to help others learn how. That is cool. But I see others here who want to take advantage of the alternative ways of finding Benchmarks too. Some are learning about the Colorado State Line, some are discovering the existence of NGS settings deep in Canadian Territory. They do this differently than the way you choose to but that is all good, as there is plenty of room for all the aspects of this hobby here.


>How close does a surveyor have to be to use an intersection station?


As a Surveyor I have to be able to see the Station with my instrument. I as a Surveyor am charged by law to be as accurate as I can be. Do I give close up eyeballs to stations I intend to turn angles on as landmarks before I use them? You bet I do, and then I take my shots and compare my data, It had better match the datasheet. If not, I may have to choose something else or use it and adjust it..


>How about a benchmark disk?


Same deal, I described this to you when we discussed the one you found under a pile of rocks. For the most part, I need an instrument set up over the station, the instrument needs to be able to "see the Station", a stable, safe setup preferably, but we don't always get this, and it needs to be able to be seen from all the angles I need to record.


>If you can see an intersection station from 5 miles away and recognize it there is no problem logging a find! Like the surveyor, with a disk, you need to be close enough to "ID" the mark to claim a find.


I suppose if someone wants to play that way for the game, then that is up to them. I am not policing anyone, but I have already stated how I feel about it. I believe Seventhings did a great job of describing a thorough method for recovering a Landmark earlier in this thread. If we can use any method however, I hereby claim all geocaches in the State of Washington, by virtue of residency here! It doesn't seem like I should be able to do this but since I am able to play by my own rules then what the heck right? I can be like a politician, I can state whatever I want to be true for me and leave it to the rest of the world to spend all their time proving otherwise. To be fair, Just as I would have to recover and find the Disk, I should also recover the landmark. As an NGS recovery there is no way I could recover anything from 5 miles off and make an adequate recovery, and to be honest, I feel that method would lack integrity in gaming too. If all the integrity goes out the window, then eventually there is no game.


>Why does it matter so much if the "recovery log" is only on Grounspeak? Is it really necessary to tell every Newbie that they should log with the NGS when they have made a great find?


If someone wants to just game with this, no problem, I have never ever told anyone that they _should_ log a find with the NGS ever. That is up to them. I am very happy to help them understand how to do this should they want to. Even the NGS likes having these Markers recovered. It is helpful to them and perhaps some recoveries can improve the database. They think it is helpful to them. I advocate that it is great if you want to, but it makes no difference to me if you choose not to. I don't think anyone should make work out of fun if they think that is what it would be. I also think that those who would be opposed, and feel it is work are in error to think that other people may want to and think of it as fun. To each their own. We can walk down both roads here and both roads can lead us home. All good.


>Logging with the NGS sounds like it is something special we should do. But just remember this, We have found benchmarks that were log (on the NGS) as Not found & Destroyed and they showed signs of recent use! It appears as though local surveyors knew where these marks were without using the NGS database. Logging with the NGS seems to lose some of it importance at that point.


That may seem so, but there is more to it than you think. As I said, what you should do is not up to me. There are a lot of bad recoveries in the Database. The USPSQD, Power Squadron visit their website, is just a Volunteer organization that primarily teaches Boating Safety. They recover NGS stations as a public service just as Geocachers can. They are just folks, not pros, and they are obviously not perfect. But make no mistake, you are not dealing with professional anybody when you see their recoveries, they are just volunteers like we are. There is a great reason why you have a lot of not founds and destroyeds, I feel that should be a sufficient reason to do better when I can. As a Surveyor, Yes I know where a number of these are and no I have not recovered them. Many have not needed a recovery, the description and data I have on file for them is still adequate. I have plenty to do in my day, but when I find them to not be adequate or changed, you bet I report them. I also use a number of stations that were set be State DOT, Counties and Cities. I do not use Geodetic markers unless the one I am using is the handiest one to use. I even have used NGS stations and City Stations all in one Survey. They are a resource. They are all important to us, and we do verify that the data is current. On the NGS I get free Data just like you, Updated to NAD 83 or NAVD 88, to the order of accuracy the station has, I use it, you bet. It is cool that a monument that was put in in 1907 can have Data assigned to it that can be that up to date. If a Surveyor is not recovering them, well they may not need a recovery, or may be beyond the scope of the billable work at hand. Sometimes I am the Surveyor using a Station recovered by a Geocacher. One that was once lost too. To those folks who helped make my Job easier, Thanks. To those who just want to play, I think that is great. I play too.


>If you want to log with the NGS please do so, just don't expect everyone else to get excited over all that extra paper-pushing. We're here on Geocaching to get out and "find" things, be it caches or benchmarks and have fun in the process. It really doesn't matter to me if someone else logs a benchmark incorrectly here on Geocaching.


As I said John, You have your way of playing the game, I think that is great the way you choose to, but others play differently than you. That is also a good use of the game. I think it serves everyone well to talk about it all. All the different ways we each choose to Play. I want to make it very clear to you that I have not advocated that anyone should do this my way. I have never really stated My way. I just contribute to the forums as anyone else, I try to help out. I have made comments that will lead some to believe that I feel some methods of recovery lack integrity, and that was what I wanted readers to think. I was hoping to persuade some readers to feel that integrity is important to the game. Just my opinion. I made sure it was an opinion, not a rule or fact. I am quite careful to cite my facts. I think we all have something to add and it is all lifted up and made better through the community in all levels. We all come away as better players on every level. As I said, I do not and never have thought that anyone _should_ push extra paper. I have no expectation and never have, nor should I expect that everyone wants to play the Benchmark game the way you feel is best. But I am more than happy to help when someone wants to take the game to that or any level. _Their Choice_ There are no expectations here beyond what people place upon themselves. I personally choose to try to maintain the NGS data and I try to keep the integrity of their data as high as I can. I feel If I can improve on it, then all the better, but that is just my choice. If others like the same idea as the one I use to guide my actions then they are welcome to use them as they wish. If it does not matter to you, great, then you will not be offended when others do want to carry the recovery further than you personally feel is best for you.


>If you could get 75% of the benchies to log with the NGS, considering all the "mislogged" marks on Geocaching, would Geocaching become another "Power Squadron"?


If 75% would, fine, but it is not realistic to even think it. Even if they did The NGS has Rules for Station Mark recovery. It is incumbent upon all recoveries to NGS to follow their rules. All they ask is for one recovery per station per year. If all you feel you can say is "recovered", then that is considered a competent filing. At least we would know it has or has not been seen lately. If we here in the forum can help the people who care, then those who volunteer to do so will, those who choose not to, wont. Those who don't want to recover anything to the NGS are free to Crow about FTF's and quantities, or the scenic beauty of some of the places this game took them to, and that is great too. What is to say that some of the Geocaching recoveries are no better than those of the Power Squadron? We all get the right and wrong. All I can do is the best I can do, and hope others will too.


I still contend all is well and working just fine. It isn't broken, doesn't need fixed and we are all being served well. There are no Bench Mark Police on GC.com, but there are guidelines. Thanks for raising those points John, you made some good ones.



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If all you feel you can say is "recovered", then that is considered a competent filing.  At least we would know it has or has not been seen lately.


Is this an example of one of the simpliest and satisfactory recovery submissions?




GM0500'W105 57 21.9.

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That is a great example Ted. This Station is a Bench Mark. We can see this from the Datasheet that it is highly accurate Vertically, and it is Scaled Horizontally. Your GPSr fix will be helpful to those in the future seeing to locate this Station. If the Horizontal component is not scaled then the GPSr fix would not be necessary. Your recovery actually improves the description for this Station. It really is that simple.


Thanks Ted. Your recovery shows how easy a recovery can be, and yet if it seems too difficult sometimes on a case by case basis, there is no obligation to submit any recovery at all. In fact one could just claim a find on GC.com if that was all they wanted to do. Plus if they wanted to, they could bring the challenging recovery into the forum and we could all try to help sort it out as we have in the past. There seem to be a lot of people here who would be more than happy to give it a try.



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