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Camper17

Benchmark "finds" Question

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I am new to GeoCaching and Benchmark hunting, so if this has been asked and answered please let me know and point me in the right direction.....

 

I have located 2 cast iron Benchmark covers in the sidewalks near my work. They are right where the webpages describe they should be. I have not lifted them to see if the benchmarks are actually there. Does this count as a find or do I actually have to remove the cover and take a picture of the BM?

 

Thanks

Camper17

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Well, it is a hobby and this site is informal, so if you feel you have found them feel free to log them.

 

Me? I would open the covers and verify that the marks were there.

 

Matt

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I'm just hesitant to open a cover on a main downtown thuroughfare in the middle of the day. I think I'll come downtown on a weekend and pop the covers.

 

Camper17

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My informal rule is, if the cover is screwed or bolted in place, then leave it alone. (In my area, that's usually the case.)

 

On the other hand is the modern type of benchmark in which a stainless steel rod is covered with a flip-top cast aluminum cover with the station designation stamped in the rim. In that case I go right ahead.

 

-ArtMan-

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The ones I'm looking at are from 1973 and have a small manhole cover with either a hole in the center or a notch on the edge. They look like they will take some effort to open and would draw attention since they are only 6 feet from the edge of the roadway.

 

Camper17

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Camper17,

 

Welcome to benchmarking!

 

It might help us to know the PID numbers of the benchmarks you are thinking about. We can then go to the benchmark page & get an idea of what kind you are talking about.

 

We need all of the info you can provide so we can actually visualize the area. This is interesting.

 

Thank you.

 

Shirley~

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Camper17,

 

Beings that you say these are in a Sidewalk as you say, near where you work, I see little harm in looking inside the monument cover if it is not bolted on. Please just keep an eye to your personal safety as you do this, and try not to do it alone. More eyes watching for traffic is best. A simple pry bar may be needed to gain access. That is up to you to assess.

 

Beyond that, Doing this in the street is not the safest idea. It is often safer to just pass on those.

 

We recently fleshed all this out earlier this month in this thread:

 

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=87875

 

I hope that helps and if nothing else, feel free to keep asking the questions. We will try to get you an answer.

 

Rob

Edited by evenfall

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Sorry... I mistyped they were put in in 1927 not 1973. They are DG0215 & DG0217

 

SET IN THE TOP OF A CONCRETE POST THAT IS UNDER A CAST IRON COVER AND 6 INCHES LOWER THAN THE SIDEWALK SURFACE.

 

Camper17

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Wow! Both are monumented in 1927. I definitely would see if you could open those covers & get a picture of each & the surrounding area. Those will look really good in the benchmark gallery.

 

Gallery - shoot - Post the pictures here, please?

 

Shirley~

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Gallery - shoot - Post the pictures here, please?

I know the tempation is great, but please understand that for people using dial-up connections, waiting for a large photo to download can be really annoying.

 

Please consider limiting the size of your photo to something reasonable (<50 K maybe) with a link to larger image if necessary, or better yet just a link.

 

Just my 2 centavos.

 

-ArtMan-

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I'll see what I can do tomorrow at lunch time. If I can get a picture, I may ask for advice on posting since I am so new to this Forum.

 

Camper17

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Artman,

 

I second your motion. I'll see your two cents and raise you one more, Now we have a Plug Nickel.

 

Yup All those Photos just BOG the Forum, I Like to see them too, but once I have seen them the first time, the load times become very long, and since the last one to load is the last one loaded, we wait and wait. I have observed 10 minute load times on some threads myself. It would be easier on a lot of forum users if the photos were uploaded to the gallery and a link be given here so people can go look at them as they wish, they open in a new window and it is a relatively quick load to see the ones we need that way.

 

If it is not too much to ask...

 

Rob

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One thing I've found over the years - you can get away with a LOT of stuff if you look the part. Pull up in a pickup, wearing boots, jeans, a carhart jacket with a "traffic vest" on, and grab your hardhat and aluminium clipboard when you leave the truck, and saunter on over, scratch a few times, open the cover, take your photo, close the cover, make some notes on the clipboard, saunter back to the truck, toss in the clipboard, hang the hardhat (or put on seat next to you) and drive away - dollars to doughnuts you could probably do this with people in plain view, and NO one will ask, because you LOOK like you belong. Heck, you can even put a flashing yellow light on the top of the truck

 

Just remember - cammoflage doesn't mean mottled green and brown - cammoflage means fitting in so people overlook you. Give'm what they EXPECT to see, and NO one will notice you (they will see you, but you won't really register)

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I have the clipboard. Guess I have some shopping to do for the other stuff though!

 

Actually, I think the minimum thing you would need is the NGS recovery sheet and a pen. Read it, open the cover, make a couple of marks on it, and go. There, you just did something "official".

And, oh yeah, don't forget to scratch a bit too (men only).

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One thing I've found over the years - you can get away with a LOT of stuff if you look the part.  Pull up in a pickup, wearing boots, jeans, a carhart jacket with a "traffic vest" on, and grab your hardhat and aluminium clipboard when you leave the truck, and saunter on over, scratch a few times, open the cover, take your photo, close the cover, make some notes on the clipboard, saunter back to the truck, toss in the clipboard, hang the hardhat (or put on seat next to you) and drive away - dollars to doughnuts you could probably do this with people in plain view, and NO one will ask, because you LOOK like you belong.  Heck, you can even put a flashing yellow light on the top of the truck

 

Just remember - cammoflage doesn't mean mottled green and brown - cammoflage means fitting in so people overlook you.  Give'm what they EXPECT to see, and NO one will notice you (they will see you, but you won't really register)

I've found that kc2ixe's suggestions work very well. Since I started wearing a safety vest and carrying a clipboard, no one questions me about what I am doing.

 

I also carry all of my hunting tools (brush for removing dust, rags, probe, water, stakes, hammer, tape measure, etc.) in a bright orange 5-gallon bucket.

 

As for wearing boots and construction type clothes, I don't know if that is a neccesity as I do most of my hunting before or after work thus I am dressed business casual (i.e. dockers, polo or button up shirt) and have had no problems.

 

The best camoflauge you can have is to look like you are doing something you are supposed to be doing. Be confident in what you are doing. If you look furtive, unsure or that you are trying to be sneaky that will draw peoples attention much more than if you did as kc2ixe suggested and boldly walk up and do your stuff.

 

As opposed to a geocache, we don't care if someone from the general public finds what we were looking for. There's very little chance that someone would be able to take off with a mark...

Edited by California Bear

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B) I opened one of them and sure enough it was there. The hard part was getting the cover off with the decades of dirt & road filth. I'll post pictures if I can figure it out.

 

DG0217

 

Log Entry

 

Camper17

Edited by Camper17

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Excellent! Keep up the good work. I was looking at marks near you and downtown Atlanta seems full of benchmarks. There are quite a few more in walking distance--not all are under cover either! Also, don't be afraid of the ones that were previously "not found". People make mistakes and all of us here have recovered previously not found marks, some of which were in plain view!

 

Good work!

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I have actually found a few others that were not listed in the database. Some were MARTA and other county BenchMarks. I think I will have to build my own database of what I have found.

 

Just looking out my office window I can see at least one covered and there are suppose to be several more within a block or two. I also came across the listing for DG0213 which is on the side of the old train terminal. That building hasn't been here for a very long time. It was replaced with the Richard B Russell Building. I'm not sure I want to go snooping around there a GPSr and a camera though. They take their security seriously.

 

Camper17

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Unless there is something left of the train terminal that mark is probably gone. You shouldn't need a GPS to find the location. If you click on Nearest Benchmarks on the benchmark site you will get a list of the ones closest to the current one. There are 18 within a half mile radius of DG0217.

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Since I work for a Railroad I was looking thru some of my safety gear and I already have the safety vest as well as safety helmets with various RR & Contactor logos. I don't actually work on or around the trains, but I've managed to collect a few souvenir items when I've had to vist yard to work on computers. I've tossed a couple of helvets and vests in the trunk of my to go with the pry bar, rags, etc.

 

Thanks for the suggestions.

 

Camper17

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I've located another 1927 BM (DG0215), but didn't have the tools to open the cover. But painted next to it was the designation "NELSON 1927". I din't mark it as a find, but I posted a note along with a couple of pictures.

 

Camper17

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Camper,

 

That is a cool find! I have never seen any CG&S Hand Hole Covers before. We don't have any I have ever come across in these parts.

 

When you do get the cover off, and a simple pry bar will do that, there is a station disc inside which is stamped NELSON 1927. It is an unusual Station as such:

 

DG0215 HORZ ORDER - FIRST

DG0215 VERT ORDER - FIRST CLASS II

 

It was made as such when monumented, this means this station is dual duty and high order quality all the way back to when it was set. There were not many instances where a station carries both types of control, and even fewer from back in that day. Today with GPS, This sort of Dual Control Station is much more common. Some of the old stations are selected to be updated in the quality and types of control.

 

It took a good bit of surveying to develop the control for this station.

 

Thanks for the look at it.

 

Rob

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I'm just hesitant to open a cover on a main downtown thuroughfare in the middle of the day. I think I'll come downtown on a weekend and pop the covers.

 

Camper17

I would leave it alone, ignore it. I worked for the DOT and we had lots of problems with people working in roadways etc. Everytime something went wrong, we were liable for not protecting the public. If we were to observe you doing this without the proper permits, training and safey equipment (e.g. traffic warning signs, OSHA approved safety gear etc), the state police would be there to remove you from the roadway and take appropriate action to include arrest. We would ne negligent if we did not do this and beieve it or not, if you were hurt you would likely sue for them not stopping you from doing this. STAY OUT OF THE ROADWAY...BE SAFE to hunt annother day.........

 

I can tell you a little story about someone opening up one of these monument box's along US-2 in Michigan around 1999. The box was cast iron with a heavy (10 Lbs) cast iron cover. It was on the C/L of US-2. A local surveyor (it would seem) removed the cover to use the mark, and did not seal (tar) the cover back down when done. Along comes traffic and dislodges the cover, a tourist driving thru hit the cover with his tire, cover flew accross traffic some 50-100 ft (per accident report) and hit another car inflicting serious damage to that car to the tune of several $1000, and also scared the heck out of the driver. It cost the state of Michigan tax dolllars to settle the claim for damages...

Edited by elcamino

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California Bear said: [As for wearing boots and construction type clothes, I don't know if that is a neccesity as I do most of my hunting before or after work thus I am dressed business casual (i.e. dockers, polo or button up shirt) and have had no problems.

]

It all depends, do you want them to think you're a surveyor or an engineer?

 

 

:unsure: "If it was easy it would be called some kind of engineering"

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I don't think most of the general public would know the difference. As I ususally don't have any obvious surveying equipment (beyond a 200' tape measure), I think that having someone think I am an engineer is fine as well. :unsure: As long as they know that I am doing something I am supposed to tbe doing, everything is good in my book!

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The most dangerous stations I go for are ones in the 3 foot wide medians of normal city streets, where they're sticking up above ground, half the time with witness poles. That's about as exciting as I want, crossing when the pedestrian crossing sign shows green, stopping halfway and walking up/down the median for a bit.

 

As a note, I like the ones in the medians because you sometimes don't have to get out of the car...hold the GPS unit out the window, over the mark in plain view, get the coordinates, hang the digital camera over the mark, take a snap, and drive when the light turns green. Very quick.

 

I'm planning to go for 100 PIDs in one day this weekend, with the objective to get 60 or so. 15 have already been found, but...should be a challenge.

Edited by BuckBrooke

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I haven't logged my benchmark finds, but I have found several. My technique for stealth was to attend a two year college, apprentice for four years, pass a series of exams then incorporate. Nobody usually questions the surveyor. :unsure:

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I'm planning to go for 100 PIDs in one day this weekend, with the objective to get 60 or so. 15 have already been found, but...should be a challenge.

100 in a day! Yikes. I've probably visited as many as 30, maybe 35, in a very long day. I hope you succeed, and if you do please furnish us with a tick-tock (minute-by-minute chronology)!

 

Thanks and regards,

-ArtMan-

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Elcamino

...

I would leave it alone, ignore it.  I worked for the DOT and we had lots of problems with people working in roadways etc.  .....STAY OUT OF THE ROADWAY...BE SAFE to hunt annother day.........

 

This one is actually about 6 feet OFFof the road on the sidewalk. I've opened another similarly covered and on the sidewalk, I just didn't have the gear with me at the time.... I'm not going to try to uncover anything in the street. I like this hobby, but it's not worth my life!

 

Camper

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Nice article. That points up exactly what I have been doing. For some reason, wearing a bright vest just screams "I'm doing what I am supposed to be doing. Please ignore anything that may look unusual." The only times I have had people question me was before I started wearing the vest.

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BuckBrooke -

 

100 searches in a day!! Wow!! The most I've ever searched for in one day is about 35 - all previously un-searched for by benchmark hunters and all in rural areas spanning two quads. I did that two or three times and they were loooong days.

 

If you search for 100 and get 50+, that will be an outstanding accomplishment, especially if the majority are previously un-searched for marks. Good luck.

 

Will

 

p.s. The most I ever found in one day is 25, and, as I recall, all but one or two were first time finds.

 

p.p.s. I have scoped-out an area in the northeast for a Spring benchmark hunting trip that may afford me the opportunity for 100 searches in one day. Needless to say, if I do approach 100, I will brag shamelessly.

 

p.p.p.s. Re hunts/finds in "one day" - is that sunrise to sunset, or is that any 24-hour period (say Noon to Noon, etc.)?

 

w

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I would say that sunrise-to-sunset should be the way to go.

 

• First off, it's more of a challenge that way -- less time to work with, greater difficulty, more fun since it is tougher and you feel better when you find a bunch or marks.

 

• Second, it is also a lot safer to hunt during the daylight hours as far as traffic and property owners go. You are easily visible to motorists, not to mention the people who live near the marks you are looking for may get worried and call the police, or worse, think you are a threat and come after you with their shotgun.

 

• Fatigue is another factor. I know if I was up that long and focused on finding survey markers for nearly 24 straight hours, I might be too tired to safely operate a motor vehicle or if worse comes to worse, dillusional.

 

• Finally, it is a lot easier to see the marks during the day. For a quality recovery, you need to be sure the disk is the one in the description. People too often mistake a reference mark or azimuth mark for a triangulation station mark. Reference ties such as fences or culverts in the description are also more evident during the day. While some marks can be easily found by a handheld GPS unit, others are not as easily found in this fashion. If it is dark out you may become lost or disoriented and not find the mark you are looking for. Besides, if you need help with directions or would like to talk to a property owner for some assistance, 3:00 AM would NOT be the best time to do that.

 

NMC

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Btw, I was more tired than I expected, had work to do at home, and only went after 22. 11 FTF, 3 more found, 1 FTF destroyed, 7 not found. This put me over 100 total finds, a good start. The wife is gone next Saturday, so I'll be going after the next hundred.

 

Echoing BigDillo's comments, and after reading through the benchmark photo "contest" that was recently resurrected, I would like to start to codify the rules on "The Most Benchmarks in a Day" contest.

 

1) Benchmarks can only be searched for from dawn to dusk. While this may seem an unfair benefit to those in the Arctic circle, there's a corresponding lack of marks there. And, all the safety issues raised.

 

2) Multiple people can act as a group to search for the marks. However, to claim credit for the marks each member of the group has to see the mark.

 

3) Photos have to be taken of each benchmark for the geocaching log, in order to count. The GPS unit must be in the picture, with the date/time showing on its display. Simple enough. I know this acts against those who don't have a GPS unit, but this acts as the log in geocaching, to timestamp each recovery.

 

4) Is it too much to require that the benchmarks be logged into NGS? This raises the whole hardcore/gaming discussion held every so often.

 

I thought about creating some sort of scoring system, with more points for FTF, less for church spires, more for older benchmarks, counting reference marks, and so forth, but it might be better to leave this sort of thing vague so it doesn't turn into a vicious, hair-pulling contest.

 

Also, we don't want to discourage good stories. These sometimes count more than a large number of bechmarks, like the fellow a couple of weeks ago who got the 1832 and 1837 marks on the same day.

 

Thoughts?

Edited by BuckBrooke

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3) Photos have to be taken of each benchmark for the geocaching log, in order to count.  The GPS unit must be in the picture, with the date/time showing on its display. 

 

... Thoughts?

It's your contest, and I don't think I'll be competing, but I've always thought that including the GPSr in a photo was pretty low-rent. The disk closeup or landmark photo should be pretty good evidence that you were there. Leave the photos with GPSr (or troll or other trinkets) for the caching side. My two dinars' worth.

 

-ArtMan-

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I would nix rule #4 if I were you. I feel that the only time the NGS should be notified is if the approach to the mark has changed in some way (street names or access has changed, reference ties removed, etc.), the mark hasn't been visited in many years (I usually stick to +/- 50 years as a rule of thumb), or it is evident the mark has been disturbed in some fashion (mark has been dug up and placed aside, concrete post is pushed over, disk is missing from post, water tower or lookout tower has been removed etc. -- using good judgment, of course).

 

I second ArtMan's comment on #3: Close-up pictures of the mark, yes...GPS, no. I have one but don't really use it when hunting as I'm more of a descriptions first, GPS second kind of guy.

 

Just my thoughts.

 

NMC

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I am going to get into the "reporting to NGS" fray and say that, although every mark need not be reported, you should consider any with a change in description, no matter how minor. I also report any recovered in about the last 5 years. Just having the fairly recent recovery date, even if it is just as a "found" should be reassuring to a surveyor that the mark stands a good chance of existing. I have searched for and not found too many marks with recovery dates are recent as 10 years, or less, so just the note that the mark was found in the last couple of years may mean the difference between looking for it and not to a surveyor.

Try to think of it from a surveyor's point of view--when looking at NGS sheets and there is one that says the mark was set in 1969 but never recovered, yet there is one nearby that was recovered multiple times in the same period. Which would YOU be more confident of finding?

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Wow!, this thread has taken some interesting turns.

 

My additional thoughts and comments:

1. "one day" = sunrise to sunset. Yeah, that sounds OK to me although I would vote for civil twilight to civil twilight (roughly 30 min before sunrise to 30 min after sunset).

 

2. GPSr in the photo? I echo Art w/ "no" - the photo proves you found the mark, your honor established the day you were there.

 

3. Report recoveries to NGS? While I am fairly NGS-centric, I would vote to keep gaming and public service activities separate. Haste may degrade quality and all that.

 

4. Scoring system - can't find it now, but I think Black Dog Trackers had an excellent thread on a hypothetical scoring system some months back.

 

Other comment - many of the recent posts are by relative newbies to the benchmark hunting community. And the discussion has been excellent - just the kind of thing that gives rise to the broadening of understanding and sharing of experience. In the past, however, nothing has raised hackles (whatever they are) like discussions of additional "rules" and/or mixing game stuff with NGS stuff. I'm surprised that that hasn't happened here. Yet.

 

Additional comment - before anybody goes any further about how many or how many in a day, look at the cache page for Me&Bucky (via GN0330, for example). I suspect that he holds the record for most hunted/found in a day, week, month, year, etc etc etc

 

Will

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Unless it has been done in the past year, I report all my finds to the NGS for the following reasons:

 

1) I submit handheld coords with my finds

2) I send digital pics to Deb of the station and location.

 

Both of these items are new to the NGS Datasheet so even if a station has been found in the past couple of years previous recoveries are unlikely to have either of these.

 

As for the 100 benchmarks attempt, I don't think recovering them with the NGS should be included as a requirement.

 

I feel that recovery for the NGS requires a level of care (e.g. confirming measurements to referece marks and witness posts, recording changes to description etc.) that can't be taken if the goal is speed.

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Try to think of it from a surveyor's point of view--when looking at NGS sheets and there is one that says the mark was set in 1969 but never recovered, yet there is one nearby that was recovered multiple times in the same period. Which would YOU be more confident of finding?

Not to get too technical on you, but working 2 summer breaks and 3 Christmas breaks with a survey crew as well as instructing a surveying lab at college has taught me that there are different survey marks for different purposes (typically benchmarks go with elevations and marks like triangulation stations go with longitude and latitude, and so on). So if a surveyor is working in a postition where vertical control (elevation) is key, that person will probably try to find the nearest benchmark or other mark that isn't scaled vertically. Likewise, the surveyor will more than likely try to find the nearest horizontal control mark if they are working in a situation where longitude and latitude is important. A lot of times MoDOT (with whom I worked my breaks) would use a combination of horizontal and vertical control to tie a job to points of known location. Thus, it isn't always the nearest point that is most recently recovered that will be used or even needed for a job. Nonetheless, it is important to alert the surveyor of changes in the description to find a mark.

 

NMC

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<_< Okay everybody, I've stumbled onto benchmarking and can use some information. I have been caching a lot in my first year, byt want to branch out to benchmarks as well. I have information on 4 that are out in Utah's west desert, on a road I travel with work. They are BLM survey markers.

 

Question 1) How do I log finds (photos required?)

Question 2) How do I report markers found that are not in listing?

Question 3) Is is just traditional benchmarks, or do BLM survey markers count in the hunt too?

 

Any information I can get very helpful, and will be used with much gratitude.

 

Thanks

Dave aka lyonden_ut

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Photos are nice but not required.

 

You can only log it for the game score if it is already in the Groundspeak data base. You can look for it by approximate coordinates or the designation stamped on it using the benchmark search window.

 

Some people also log worthwhile information to the NGS as a public service (no scoring). If you get interested in that after you have found a dozen or so, read up on the threads here that relate to it to learn about their criteria and practices.

 

There are thousands of marks set by various agencies that are not in that data base, nor in many cases in any data base available on-line.

 

Read the FAQ at http://www.geocaching.com/mark for more details.

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