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From The National Geodetic Survey


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I'm one of those who visits the forum about every other week, and post maybe once a month. This, obviously has been a hot topic, and wanted to put in a few personal points.


First, I am elated at the attempt for the NGS to reach out more to the GC community. It gives me, personally, a sense that my efforts to report on the NGS Mark Recovery Page, are more than appreciated.


Second, there are a few reasons why I decided to spend the extra hours to report to the NGS site: 1) because I am one of those people who like volunteering (just can't seem to help it); 2) submitting to NGS information that I already am collecting makes sense and gets used by multiple groups; 3) because there appears to be a need for a careful observer to record the present status of these marks. If stations were regularly visited - say every 5 to 10 years, I probably wouldn't bother to post. But, I have reported marks Found/Not Found/Poor that haven't been visited for decades (I think the record stands at about 70 years) and some not since they have been monumented. If you have been to the Boston-Cambridgee area, lately, you may have noticed the massive new construction that has happened even in the last 10 years. I have reported marks that have been destroyed within this time, and, if the NGS is still interested in knowing the status of church spires, chimney stacks, and the assortment of other landmarks as well as disks, then I'm glad to have contributed to their knowledge.


Third, as I alluded to in my opening sentence, I am not a frequent reader of forums, and even a less frequent poster. That being said, I might still see the NGS forum as a valuable tool for us 'more serious' benchmarkers. Another way would be to know that we can email our questions, directly, if we keep our emails to a 'managable level.' Now that I have finally caught up in my reporting (especially since I am not as actively looking for benchmarks - due to about 3 feet of snow on the ground), I am going to look back to the questionable ones I have encountered. Again, I could see either a forum or an email answering questions on whether 'such and such observed' was a benchmark. Also, a web page targeted to the volunteer benchmarker that explains the general concepts of benchmarking and provides a good tutorial on how to recover for the NGS would be very helpful. I know that there are pages out there, already, but they are often not for the gc group. A good example is how we should submit pictures - this generated a long thread on that subject. That was good, but it was hard to scan to find answer a specific question that I had. If the ideas generated in that thread and others were periodically updated to a set web page (hosted by either gc or NGS), then I think that could be a useful alternative to a pinned thread. Some other questions that I have that could be in this forum include - would the NGS be interested in landscape images from a particular benchmark (such as from a tower), showing other benchmarks visible? - are websites acceptible in recovery posts if they document a change in a benchmark (such as rennovations to change a church to a theater)? - Is it OK (or necessary) to refer to gc datasheet for additional information/photos?


Fourth, I am not opposed to a 'Volunteer' badge. I have been accosted by security once for benchmarking, and, though I have a couple reasons for why I do this, it might have helped to have some sort of identification related to NGS (All went well - I drew attention to myself when I the digital camera flash went off when I was taking pictures of a disk at twilight). But, like other 'quirky' hobbies, like trainspotting, we will have to accept the fact that we live in suspicious times, and may be asked to justify our interest in a particular place. It would help if we could at least point the security to someone at NGS that we were part of a 'Volunteer Corps' (again - I would propose this to be a volunteer effort that is not required to post recoveries to the NGS).


I've said far more than I planned, and yet could say more, but not now.


Hope this helps.

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