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Cairn Finds/photos


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Since you couldnt find the center pole, and the cairn has obviously seen better days, dont you think it should be a DNF, or even Mark Destroyed? If I hiked up there I would probably mark a find as well, but thinking through it, I might have changed my mind.


Would not the correct log be "Found" condition "Poor"? The cairn is there and the center could be determined. It may even qualify as "Good" If a new center rod is put in place by a qualified surveyor.



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It may even qualify as "Good" If a new center rod is put in place by a qualified surveyor.

I would agree with this statement if this happened, but as is, the closest thing I can equate it to is finding the place where the mark was, but not the mark itself. I would mark that as destroyed as well...do you agree? It is no longer a cairn, but a bunch or rocks. There is no longer a spike, so there is no longer a mark. The cairn serves no other purpose than protection, or possible a visible point of reference. As I stated before, (and as my wife tells me often)...I could be wrong. ;)

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John & Shirley,


Don't you get tired of hunting in gorgeous open country?  Wouldn't you like to trade me for some nice cold, snow and ice covered woodlands overgrown with burrs, thorns, and poison ivy?


Just offering...


Seems that is why we left Indiana..... :ph34r:


Just got tired of shoveling the snow.... :lol:


Instead of a trade we will be glad to play "guide" if you ever got out this way.


John & Shirley




PS: The guide offer goes for MOST of the people here on the forums. ;)

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BilboB -


You have an excellent point. I am usually very conservative about logging things as finds. I guess that finding a cairn is rather unusual to me and I don't know whether a survey cairn isn't a cairn anymore if the central pole is gone. I don't even know if the pole was originally part of the cairn or not. I found the cairn, but didn't find the pole, but the marker-type is cairn, not pole.


Any surveyors or NGS people have an opinion on this? I don't mind changing my log to Didn't Find It. I think Destroyed is going too far, but perhaps without a pole, it is destroyed. It is also possible that some remnant of a pole is in there! It's a 5 hour drive from here and one of those places that is inaccessible some winters so I can't check it just now.

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I took pictures of two cairn benchmarks on Mt. Katahdin in Maine last year plus one other cairn at the north end of the knife edge. The cairn bm on Baxter Peak is QG1450 and the cairn bm on South Peak is QG1447. Pamola is just a cairn at the other end of the knife edge. If I can't upload the pics here you'll have to check the pid's.

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Before anyone starts off, I just want everyone to know I absolutely love (and envy) all the pictures being uploaded and keep them coming. Not many cairns in Vermont. A search of GC with the keywork "CAIRN" brings up exactly 100 benchmarks, but unfortunately mostly out west.

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Before anyone starts off, I just want everyone to know I absolutely love (and envy) all the pictures being uploaded and keep them coming. Not many cairns in Vermont. A search of GC with the keywork "CAIRN" brings up exactly 100  benchmarks, but unfortunately mostly out west.


You could click 'filter' by state...this might pull up more for your area....


When we first started playing with the Designation we forgot to click that filter & got cairns in Hawaii & Alaska & everywhere but our area. ;)


Also, this is the picture for ddnutzy's QG1450...




& QG1447





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Black Dog,


The Cairn can be useful if it is needed but it is mostly a relic from methods of old. Back when big wooden or aluminum towers were used, even a small tower could be erected over a cairn if it was in a place which could be used for an instrument setup. We have not used Bilby towers in Survey work in a long time. Close to 20 years now. Most often the Cairns were often built in a high place, and the survey was treated similar to a landmark station. Angles were turned on them rather than from them. Sometimes they were good for the one time. The numbers were attained for geodesic calculations and not used again. Others had stations monumented near or next to them to accommodate further use with modern instrument set ups.


Today, If I needed to use a Cairn, I would turn angles on it first to see if it is accurate enough to trust at the accuracy is was said to have. In other words, I doubt it would be as accurate as it once was. Poles decay and other natural forces may have acted upon the Cairn since it was erected. The Pole held by the Cairn was what the angles were turned on. Some cairns do not have poles and some did but don't anymore and some conceal station discs and... The list goes on. A GPSr set to WGS 84 would never reveal any of the former accuracy though as you would actually be a meter off in the first place, as that Datum does not apply to Survey in N. America. I doubt any mark duster could certify the quality of the station beyond being still there. The Numbers we have in the datasheet were and are still important to geodesy and can be used in theoretical calculations, but the condition of the original accuracy any cairn could claim today would be relatively questionable in my thinking. I would look for something more stable. It's probably just fine for a find at geocaching though. I wouldn't big deal a cairn to the NGS. A station disc is more to a Surveyors liking.


Most of todays instruments, are very productive, along with the expectations of same from the crews. Unless the point was really needed, I doubt most of us surveyors would bother with them. We try to avoid turning angles on landmarks as much as we can. With a GPS Setup we can't turn angles at all. We have to be centered over the spot. So much of the work requires higher accuracy now.



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Here outside of Colorado Springs as you drive North upon Interstate 25 and come to the Greenland exit, if you look up and at the Northeast top of the mesa (Rattlesnake Butte?) you can see a cairn that must be about 8 feet tall. Unfortunately it is on private fenced property, as I would love to go up and take pictures of Douglas county open space from it. :o


A couple exist on top of here also-GCHTC0

Edited by Colorado Cacher
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