Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 2
Team Perrito Blanco

When You Find A Buried Benchmark..

Recommended Posts

.I replace them as I found them.

 

But it would also depend on what type of area it is in. In the middle of nowhere, I might stick a marking rod in the ground. When I hunt benchmarks I carry a few 18" Fiberglass rods with the tops painted orange. These are used by gardeners to keep their plants up, but find that they are great for temp marks as you measure out distances and probing the ground for those hard to find buried marks.

Share this post


Link to post

Perrito,

 

There are different philosophies on this.

 

Many people do replace them when they find them, Some feel that it calls attention to a survey marker that many would prefer to remain somewhat obscure. Vandalism to survey markers is a factor, The overall consensus is that they can be both a help and a hinderance all at once.

 

Professional practice in many areas of the country would prefer that people, including professionals, not pound in a witness post without knowing where underground utilities are located prior to doing so. Things change between the original time a marker was set and today. You can easily pound a metal witness post through a buried Power Gas or Comm line which has been direct buried very easily. Of course the obvious point is that you could be killed, even though it seems innocent enough. I am sure the chances are slim but are you sure? Without Locates, you cannot know where things are underground, yet to be sure there are a lot of buried utilities. The Law says that the person digging or otherwise putting something into the ground is accepting the liability for the action of doing so. The person who does damage to a buried utility is liable fore the costs of repair, period. I know a witness post is a nice gesture but the liability can exceed insurance coverage in many cases. I don't replace them, professionally or privately. I consider that someone will likely come along behind me and pull it out again, making the effort I went to, especially if I described it in a form of my recovery, rendered usless. I prefer to write a concise update to the description if necessary. I prefer reference points that are more permanent than a witness post anyway.

 

Use good judgment and common sense, there is probably no harm done in some areas, considering some places are very remote. Yet keep in mind, Your milage may vary. Feel free to do what you feel is best for you.

 

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Many people do replace them when they find them, Some feel that it calls attention to a survey marker that many would prefer to remain somewhat obscure. Vandalism to survey markers is a factor,

 

Hmmm. Good point. Perhaps NGS should make available (free or at a resonable cost) some of the triangle-shaped ref tags. We could mark a site, without calling laypeople's attention to the station.

 

-Paul-

Share this post


Link to post

These are all good points.

 

Would just putting a rock over it to make it easier to locate be OK? Or would this be bad due to the decreased likelyhood of a metal detector finding it again?

 

The more I think about it, the more I think it would be better to not mark it at all. With the coordinates, pictures and a metal detector, it should be a snap. <_<

Share this post


Link to post

If you mean 'buried' by debris and dirt, then you can leave it uncovered as long as there isn't a noticeable hole for someone to fall into. <_<

 

We have run onto benchmarks that are deliberately buried and must be reburied to insure the 'integrity' of the station. There is one near me that I have been going back to & trying to locate. I will eventually figure it out (I hope). ;)

 

Be cautious about driving stakes into the ground since there may be buried cables close by. I passed on 2 benchmarks because there was a notice about the buried optical cables right next to the witness posts. I just can't afford to get the fix on my budget at this time.

 

Have fun BM hunting,

 

John

 

edited for grammer

Edited by 2oldfarts (the rockhounders)

Share this post


Link to post

Perrito,

 

Again I come down on this differently that others will. I am in the surveying industry, and so that sort of colors my position on the matter. Many Surveyors in other areas will often have their views on this as well. There are other Surveyors who write in this forum who advocate replacing witness posts. I do not disagree with their reasons for doing so. I just go with what feels right for me. I have seen a lot of vandalism and I have had to re accomplish surveys due to the temporary nature of survey many times. I have never set Geodetic Markers in my Field but I do use them. I Often have to tie a survey into something such as the National Spatial Reference System. These particular stations, the NGS survey network is the National Spatial Reference System. It is the most accurate network established for use in Civil and other work in the United States, and I feel a little protective of it I suppose. When I recover a station I return it to the condition I found it. If it was buried and I dug it up, I re-bury it and I make note in my recovery how deep it was found buried. I do not intend to make them harder or easier to find per se, but I also do not attempt to make them more obscure any more than I try to call extra attention to them. I just let nature be nature and make notes of that. Nature will be nature after all.

 

The narrative portion of the description in the datasheet is the part that is provided to aid the person looking for the station to find it. Often it has been some time since this info was updated so we may choose to update it, but for the most part if this information was written well and items of relative permanence in the near vicinity were included in the description to help find it, then it that narrative should be able to serve as witness post enough. Here in the Northwest Washington State Area, I cannot say that the NGS never set witness posts, but I can say I have not personally been to a NGS station in this area that has had a standard witness post either physically there or referenced in the datasheet, yet I can still find the station with the datasheet. Who knows, I may yet come across an NGS witness post yet.

 

A form of caveat emptor is to replace the witness post in a place other than it's original position. If we are not clear in our description and overlook that the witness post had been previously used as a position to measure from to locate the station, we can make it more difficult to find the station at all. Our measurements lead us to nothing. People will use what is handiest, and so the witness post is pretty handy, but if it is not in the place it was described to be, it is of less help than if it were not there at all. If it is not there it can not be used to confuse the situation. Witness posts get moved all the time. Buyer Beware.

 

It is your call, do as you feel would be best, but I would not attempt to obscure it with a rock or use a rock to help others find it, as it could cause the station to become obscured more than necessary, and possibly cause others to attempt to obscure it further. This could cause a contractor or utility company to dig it up by virtue of not knowing it is there. Depending on the area, someone maintaining the area may not like having to deal with the rock later. I suspect a good many witness posts go missing for similar reasons. These things are no match when obscured to highway mowing operations, and how far will a witness post fly when hit by a big mower? Since the rock is such a temporary object, it really does not help in the form of a permanently describable item either. It always seems to me that in all the places I have worked with these stations, that nature will take it's course, unpreventably. I just try to describe the scene today as it has changed or evolved from the scene of the last recovery in the most permanent way I can, and go from there. The person with the updated datasheet next time is really the only person of concern to me. Who knows what they will find, maybe I will have helped.

 

Rob

Share this post


Link to post

evenfall,

 

I know what you mean. I'm in the civil engineering field so I really relate to your concerns. I was really thinking about remote and/or seemingly lost "benchmarks" that one may find. Certainly not any in more travelled areas.

 

My only reason for "marking" the location in some way would be so that they can be located easier by those who need them. People like yourself. But I can see how a colorful stick in the ground might attract unwanted attention. Maybe something as unobvious as a rock on either side of the reburied find?

 

Anyway, you get the picture. Thanks for your insights.

 

perrito_blanco

Share this post


Link to post
Perhaps NGS should make available (free or at a resonable cost) some of the triangle-shaped ref tags. We could mark a site, without calling laypeople's attention to the station.

 

I familiar with NGS policy on things like this and their reply is that they don't condone persons marking or placing witness posts at the marks nor will they supply any witness posts. Best to leave it like you find it.

 

There is just too much of a possibility of causing more harm than good, like if a property owner does not want it marked and an someone thinking they are doing a service only to cause ill-will. Then NGS gets a call from an irate land owner with no idea who placed the post etc. Also there is always the possibility of hitting underground utilities.

 

In just about all states you are required by law to notify Miss Dig before you dig or otherwise set something into the ground even if its on your property. Failure to notify them may result in you incurring all costs for any damage you do to a utility like gas line, power, telephone or cable to name a few.. That could run from 0 to in the millions of $$.

 

Also be careful marking tree's. A few years back we had a consultant doing a project for us and they blazed, painted and flagged witness trees at their mapping control points along a 15 mile stretch of road. You would not believe the complaints our dept received from the public on this eyesore and even one high level politician. btw-Its been 5 yrs and every-time I drive that stretch of road, I can still see the paint and scars on the trees.

Edited by elcamino

Share this post


Link to post

I tend to agree with the general consensus of the surveying-savvy folks in this thread, most notably elcamino and evenfall.

 

Probably the best way to help future hunters would be to post the coordinates on your NGS recovery to make a search for a scaled mark more accurate. Remeasure and redescribe the mark if landmarks have changed or disappeared.

 

I rarely count on the witness post being in place, even it if is described as such (in fact, this has been to my embarrassment as I started searching based on landmarks and only after standing there measuring distances discovered the quite obvious witness post staring at me, right were it belonged, and quite visible if I had just stood back to take in the "big picture" first. But more often than not, there is no post there).

 

One thing I HAVE done is to REMOVE a witness post, on two occasions, when I found the mark destroyed (yes, truly destroyed and reported as such). Both marks were along a stretch of road and were 8 x 8 precast posts that probably been hit by cars or heavy equipment because they stood 18 inches out of the ground. Anyone want a witness post? I didn't know what to do with them, as throwing them in the woods didn't seem environmentally sound, so I stuck them in my car trunk. Now they sit in my basement.

Share this post


Link to post

i would look for the marker, now if it's buried under something hazardous, like take for example, the marker is on a landfaill, i wouldn't go near it, but if it's dirt, i'd keep a shovel handy to dig the marker up. with that i would also use a broom stick or a post to note where the mark is.

Share this post


Link to post

One of the dilemmas facing all surveyors is how to preserve the actual location that the survey was performed. As a construction surveyor, I set a lot of temporary stations. We realize we will lose a lot of the survey as we do the developing work, but the stations served it's purpose and that was all that was necessary. I can tell you story after story about how many times kids out having fun after quitting time will pull up every Lath you set on all the stations, and use them to have sword fights amongst themselves clear across the job site, dropping them no where near the corresponding location they actually belong. All before the desired purpose had been fulfilled. You can well imagine that we have to go over our notes and figure where the stick belonged, or make new ones, making sure that the information on that stick matches the location that the specific work is to be done. In fact, I was having fun just like this the other day! :-)

 

Other times it is ornery neighbors who as a form of passive resistance are opposed to the development happening near their back yard, and so they will go pull up the survey. I have seen it go to a point on a few occasions where it became cheaper to have a night watchman to prevent the various kinds of vandalism than to re-accomplish the work so often. If not cheaper, at least it was more productive.

 

Another time I came home to a home I was renting to find that a neighbor had hired a survey done on one property line to update a fence and there was a new corner set. My landlord was going to be losing a lot of land if this was left to stand. That was not really what they wanted to have happen. Fortunately I was able to help sort it out. The neighbors property corner was mid way across my landlords yard. It was not a property corner for my landlord. I surveyed my landlords yard and found the back line was where it should be based on the platt my yard was in. That would reinforce an adverse possession situation if necessary, since there were existing fences. The discrepancy was found when I learned that my neighbors surveyor did not use the property description for the platt my neighbor lived in for the actual yard, but rather used the description for the field that was bordering both our yards.

 

The old farm field had been part of a divided up old government lot. A government lot is basically defined as a quarter section of a quarter section that is more or less than 40 acres. PLSS Township wise, that means a section, which is a square mile, is divided into quarters, and so a quarter section is a square 1/4 mile. This means a quarter-quarter is a 1/8th square mile and that is considered to be a 40 acre plot. On paper you have 640 acres in a square mile so 640/4=160 for a quarter, and 160/4=40 for a quarter-quarter. If a parcel of land is measured up to be smaller or larger than a quarter-quarter it is considered a government lot.

 

Most of this is sort of thing is century old survey in most cases, and the corner of that old field did not fall in the same place the plats did. When all of the information was looked at together, the plats were in sync, as the plats had the same POB or point of beginning. A different POB had been used years before for the old field. and there had been a change filed on one of the plats after the initial filing that further defined the situation. The survey's and complete research proved that the corner, should remain in it's original location. It was in the right place to begin with. We caught perhaps an old chaining error or something, and a Surveyor who could have done a more thorough job.

 

The highlight here is this. Survey is something that can be alarming to people. It can be something that evokes a negative emotional response. It can signify change, and unlike us in here in this forum, many people do not relate to the different things Survey markers can mean. elcamino made a great point. We do not know who may take offense to a survey marker. It is something well worth thinking about or keeping in mind when we find them laying on the ground. The marker is a really temporary item, but an accurate description in the database can last for years and years. You are welcome to buy the materials to make a marker if you like, but you could put that money in the kitty for a better GPS, mapping software or a metal detector... Food for thought!

 

Rob

Share this post


Link to post

Geez that was funny!

 

I was just thinking of all the pieces of broomstick you will buy! Hehehe There are thousands of NGS markers you know!! :-D Soon you will be carrying more lumber around than I do! Besides Sword fights are nothing!

 

Trust me, when you are a surveyor you have to learn to laugh at a lot of stuff that happens... Things seem to go wrong for other people right before our eyes as well...

 

Did I tell you about the time an Asphalt Tack Distributor Truck stopped to ask directions of us while we were surveying along a right of way? The guy somehow flipped the PTO and distributor spray bar switches on while he was sitting there at an idle... The spray bar was in the folded up position just drizzling... I think it must have happened when he reached across to open the door on the passenger side to ask us... We had no idea at the time but he left a puddle where we were. As he drove away he began majorly hosing down every passing car that went by him as he went up the road... I have no idea when he shut off the spray... We were laughing so hard that we lost count at ten cars... When we regained enough composure we called 911 so the State could begin to clean up the spill... It was a mess... Conceptually funny to us at the time... Not fun for the asphalt company or the car owners.

 

Anyhow, glad you are having fun,

 

Rob

Share this post


Link to post

Yes, anything that looks like surveying can really set people off. I had a rather tense moment trying to find a geocache before I got a GPS. The friend who introduced me to GC told me about the cache he had placed that needed a crossed lines solution . I thought it was neat challenge, so I got out my topo maps and worked the problem, and went out to the wooded park to see if I could find the spot. In the end I was on the wrong side of a brush pile didn't find it until much later. I was pacing distances from the park boundaries when a neighbor came out to see what was going on. He cornered me and got VERY tense when I tried to brush him off. He was afraid I was going to put a road through "his" park. I didn't have any equipment at all--just walking around. Heaven help me if I'd had orange stakes! I finally talked my way out of it.

Share this post


Link to post

You are correct on the calculator Ted, I have been quizzed on that before. Thanks for noticing that! :-) But the 16th is only the quantity that 40 acres is of a square mile. In PLSS terminology, something they started waaaay before I came along, a Quarter-Quarter is 40 acres... They mean it as a quarter of a quarter section.

 

A Township is six miles by six miles square, there are 36 sections in a Township, each of which is one square mile. A section = 1 square mile= 640 acres. A quarter of a section is of course a quarter section, 1/2 x 1/2 mile square containing 160 acres... A quarter-quarter is 1/4th of a quarter section 1/4 x 1/4 mile in size or 160/4=40 acres. (I was in error when I mislabeled it 1/8th in my earlier post, thanks for the proofread!) Back then, that was thought to be the right size parcel for a homestead. If a parcel of land was smaller or larger than 40 acres it was called a Government Lot.

 

Confused? Ok draw a box on a sheet of paper, That box is representing a square mile, aka, a section. Ok, divide that box into 4 square equal sized boxes. Two boxes on the top half and two on the bottom half. Each of those is a Quarter Section. Divide one of the quarter section boxes into quarters the same way we did the big box. each of those small boxes represent a quarter-quarter. Not everything was always perfect sized, so hence the need fulfilled by the Government Lot.

 

If you still feel confused, watching the Coyote chase the Road Runner helps me :-) Other times I just go lay down until it passes! :-D If nothing else you can riddle people; when is 1/16th of a mile not a sixteenth of a mile? Your answer will be when the mile is square not linear. It ought to be worth a little free beer at the local watering hole.

 

About a week back someone asked where he could get maps showing Township and Range detail. I suggested going to the court house and seeing the treasurer and or the civil engineers offices. They often have maps that show how all the land is actually sub-divided and on the bigger parcels they may list the names of the owners. They may also have older versions of that map too. It is interesting to see how it is all divvied up. If they cannot supply, they can often tell you how to get one. Many counties, or a local Cartographer will offer these and other types of maps for sale for a fee.

 

Rob

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 2

×
×
  • Create New...