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Uspsqd...what's Going On?


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Well to start, I had second thoughts about posting this but then after I researched a little further decided to go ahead. Basically some of them should get out of the survey mark business. Case in point...EZ0363, listed on Fayetteville NC quad by USGS. Description calls for it to be a chiseled cross on a bridge abutment at a bridge (of course) on US-301 east of Fayetteville and over the Cape Fear river. Now, the latest datasheet entry made this year by the USPSQD states that "bridge has been removed and is being replaced by new bridge". So you ask, Whats the problem? Well 1st, the Fay... quad does not cover the Cape Fear river for one. 2nd, the description calls for the bridge on US-301 which would be on the Vander NC quad and 3rd, the bridge that's being replaced is not on US-301 but is the Person Street bridge also on the Vander quad. Granted when I plotted the given adjusted coords. the position came up on the Fay quad but was so out of place I then used the description to fix the correct location, therefore the datasheet is kinda screwy. But to make a report without doing the homework and then if you did drive out and not realize um where you are that to me is well I won't go there. I have attempted to recover that mark and can say that since it was put in the bridge concerned has been replaced. My 2 cents on the USPSQD in the mark recovery business, at least around here.

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As with any field of endeavor, you cannot rely totally on anyone else. I've learnt that about the USPSQD.

Those of you who have followed my search for KV4106 Union City Public Sch 2 Spire will be happy to know that the directions were accurate, the coordinates were .40 mile off, it's in Weehawken, not Union City, the station was torn down decades ago. Yet the USPSQD 'found' it in 1989? I think not. Deb has marked the station as 'not found'.

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Ditto for a water tank in Cary, NC. It was dismantled in 1978, but year after year, the Power Squadron faithfully reports it as "found".


Meanwhile, I found and photographed FY4110 this afternoon. Sometime in the past, it was coded at NGS as "No Mark At Site".


I LOVE this hobby! :blink:



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Believe me, its widely known in amoung professionials to ignore USPSQD recovery notes, they are not reliable. Its a shame but like many things, a few people who are not well versed in what they are doing can make them all look bad.


Wish some of those guys were menbers here, maybe they could shame thier bros into doing a better job.


I enjoy proving them wrong and do on many occasions.


I don't know this for a fact but I was told that these USPSQD guys earn merits/brownie points etc from the USPS for thier recovery efforts, quanity apparently counts but not quality..

Edited by elcamino
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One of the functions of the program is for USPS members to locate the geodetic marks in each squadron’s designated area. Once the marks are located, their conditions are reported along with any changes in the description that is needed to locate them. Members are urged to use the descriptions provided in trying to locate each mark and update the description as necessary.


The theory about using USPSQD is sound. However, it appears that the instructions have been forgotten/abandoned by many squadrons in favor of simply "keeping the count high". Consequently, there is no real effort to compare the descriptions with current situations, or even to refer to the descriptions in finding the target.


Consequently, we see observation reports of missing water tanks, TV towers, Fire Lookout stations, and disks which were embedded in traffic islands (which have been removed to create turning lanes).


Furthermore, it appears to be standard practice simply to report a station's condition as "poor" with no explanation. Running up the count takes priority over making a meaningful recovery and report.


Yet, the sheer number of USPSQD participants, and the organization's willingness to perform "monument dusting" activities, makes USPSQD a valuable resource. Perhaps NGS could begin reviewing incoming reports, with feedback or questions being sent to the reporting squadron when inaccuracy is suspected. On a broader scale, NGS might consider sending USPSQD headquarters an update bulletin (for distribution to squadrons) explaining the desired level of information to be contained in recovery reports in order to make such reports valuable.


NGS's Casey recently observed that GEOCAC members post photographs of finds for peer review. While our numbers are not as large as USPSQD, we are recovering a substantial number of marks with a high degree of accuracy and honesty--especially when we are "not sure" we found a target. Asking USPSQD to conform to this standard of documentation might cut down on the errors in reports. But restating the mission would be equally valuable.


An Olympic coach once was asked what was left to teach athletes who have achieved a level of performance such that takes them to the four-year games. "Oh, I don't teach 'em much new stuff," replied the coach, "but I sure REMIND them of a lot of things!"


Let's face it.....We all need help "keeping our eye on the ball" from time to time!



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I know whereof elcamino speaks... Break given!


That Surveyor in the first article is likely a Power Squadron member... Got that nice boat and is wanting to impress... heheh, so take that with a grain of salt... or two or three, as you read it, since there is a copious amount of back scratching in it... Besides, we know the real score, so keep up the great work!


On the second article, rest assured that the real field personnel are laughing at the engineer in the office who has perhaps never been in the field, (many haven't) yet is sweating over the temperature of his Invar Rod... What they are really trying, is to slice a gnat in to fifths and heheh, in the real world it isn't going to happen. Why? Because grains of sand are bigger than the particle they are worrying about and the earth has a lot of sand that isn't getting any smaller.


99% of the time we do not perform leveling to this degree of triple check procedure, and likely would only do this for establishing Geodetic data, period. I mean no disrespect to the science behind our work, but I just want it to be known from the outside looking in that this is not the daily life of a surveyor at all. What it all is on paper is not like the field at all. We have days like that but not every day :-) Usually it is a lot more hurry up and fun. It is often more like the day elcamino said one of his former colleagues pulled the electronic reader board through the drive up at Mc Donald's...


A few trips to the wilderness into precarious situations and playing Rodman in busy traffic will cure them of the invar rod fetish real quick!


Gotta love those technical articles though!!



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I think we have all been there at one time or another. Every serious benchmarker here has a story about USPSQD recoveries. Now I just take the Power Squadron Not Found recoveries as a simple challenge to find the mark and recover it. There are a couple of Power Squadron people in my area who have done a good job however. Still, I think I have recovered a couple they could not find.

In general, that sort of sloppy recovery makes me much more careful before I report a Not Found!



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The "Give me a break" comment was meant for the USPSQD article.


In 30 yrs working in which hardly a month did not go by that we were not running levels. Its seemed like we were always leveling and I hated it. The only time I ever saw a Invar rod was back in 1996 when NGS was leveling in our area, Invar rods are very very expensive.


We had a Topcon Digital level with fiberglass level rods. One of my rodman one day was playing around with his machette and sliced the f-glass rod. The PS was po'd, new rod was nearly $1000 (not Invar), photo below but it was not that guy. Its a bar coded rod



RyanWithRod.jpgSome survey crew photos

Edited by elcamino
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I think something is going on like this with CR1341. I went straight to the NGS search engine and found there were two records from the USPSQD in 2003 and 2004 of a water tower that no longer exists because it is described as a four legged water tower and the only one in this town has one pipe going up the center and a tank at the top.NGS PID search page. You will need to enter "CR1341" then hit submit. On the next page click on CR1341 then hit get datasheets.

Edited by TXcachehunter
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I don't think enough can be said about photographs. If you found the mark, you should post a photo of the mark. If you didn't find the mark, you should post coordinates of where you were and photos of the area (something I'm getting better about). If you said "I stood at coordinates xyz and took this photo of what I believe is the bridge that replaced the bridge described" it's a lot easier for someone to "desk check" the work. Do the coordinates match where the description takes you? Is there anything in the picture to suggest the old bridge might have been next to the new one, and part of it is still there?


About the only time I don't post a picture is when nothing matches. If it said go 6 miles down the road, find the house, oak tree, and gatepost and I go 6 miles down the road and find no house, no oak tree, no gatepost, but only cornfield as far as you can see I generally won't take a picture, but simply report what I didn't see.


I think the most infuriating thing to me is the simple "did not find" reports. That to me is the ultimate in cheezyness. Did you find anything? For instance, I logged a did not find for one here measured from the centerline of a road, the centerline of a drive, and a culvert. I mentioned I found all three references, measured from them, and still didn't find the mark. That tells the next person a very different story from another I logged which was off a rock chimney, a road, and a gravel lane where the rock chimney is gone with no remnants, there's no gravel lane to be seen, and the road has been realigned in that area.

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When a did not find is logged as such, it is supposed to mean that someone did try to find the station, using everything there was written about finding it on the datasheet and did not prevail. The reasons they did not find it may be many, but are not as important as the time saved by someone on the clock trying to look for something which will likely not be found.


Now we all know that the integrity of those who file these repots can vary and that this obviously affects the quality of the data, but it is also not useful to log any thoughts that we cannot confirm either. This is why the NGS set this up as empirically as they could. If you didn't find it, you didn't. Maybe someone else will see things differently that the last hunter did. Maybe they will find it, or not.


As a part of the NGS Methodology, when you find that the Station is truly gone missing and you can deduct that the station was utterly destroyed, the practice was also to call it not found because you cannot physically prove how and when it met it's demise. This is a compromise, true, but it prevents people from reporting any Station they would like to as a destroyed Station. A scenario far worse than a bunch of poorly searched for not founds.



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I've read the comments added here and will say again that I, in a moment of frustration with members of the local squadron were in fact, and again in my opinion not making a serious effort in their volunteer work. I have taken the time to review several areas along the coast of NC where the reporting by them is much better. I also must agree with NGS policy that stations that are truly looked for and not found are in fact not found and not destroyed. I have run into that and though sometimes it takes awhile to sink in, it was made clear to me by examples i filed that were classed as "in poor condition' when they were truly destroyed. As in monument found lying on the surface with mark still present is destroyed while monument found lying on the ground with stem still there but no mark is only "in poor condition", mutilitaed or in need of repair. The logic being that can you be sure that the monument is the one in question. Most of the time with the regulars here i would say yes, particularly when I know they most likely have done the research etc. and determined that it could'nt be any other one. Enough ramble...I steadily try to improve upon my methods and techniques and use the work of alot of the good people here as examples.

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Well our own examples here show us that just as in life, we can hope for the best, but likely only expect so much. We cannot legislate the integrity of other people. We here in the Geocaching side of Station Mark Recovery seem to hold doing a good job in high esteem. Not because anyone forces this, but rather through self or statistical competition, or the nature of personal best, and the dissatisfaction of seeing shoddy work half done. In other words, this hobby is not for everyone, and it is safe to say that many in the power squadron would rather be out enjoying their personal watercraft or boat, what have you. We, on the other hand may or may not own boats, but choose to hunt Benchmarks instead of being with a boat, and so our focus is much more clear.


As for a station still in position but having had its station disc pried off? Well If I come across this as a Professional, I test it like this: What kind of Data is ascribed to this and have I got the right one at the right place, If I get that, then if it is Horizontal Data, I can usually still use the center of the monument for positioning, though it is poor. It may be good enough for the need I have at the time. If I need it as a Bench Mark, well, I tend to avoid it as if it were destroyed because without the disc in place I have lost the reference point for which we check the elevation at. there is no way for me to replicate the elevation shown in the datasheet because the actual surface they used to do this has been altered beyond usability. I could get close with what remains I am sure , but close is not in the Job description. I can't certify anything if the reference is badly damaged or missing.


So you see, this is what the person in the Field will have to determine upon finding whatever they do find. In the end, when we do find nothing, then that is what we find and that is what we should report if we are sure there is no further need to keep hunting anyway.



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When a did not find is logged as such, it is supposed to mean that someone did try to find the station, using everything there was written about finding it on the datasheet and did not prevail. The reasons they did not find it may be many, but are not as important as the time saved by someone on the clock trying to look for something which will likely not be found.

I think we're talking past each other slightly.


I suspect most of the USPS and the Geocachers don't have tools like metal detectors, magentic locators, or hyper accurate GPS systems. Even if they have something like a consumer grade metal detector, that may not do the job. Professionals will have these tools.


I'll site two examples, first HV3483. A makr not found by the USGS, and the USPSQD. I visited because both entries just said "mark not found". Sadly, in this case my pictures didn't come out, but at the location we find a driveway to a farm, with a sign saying Glengyle farm. Just to the east we find a culvert under the road appearing to be made from really old concrete. We also have the highway itself. Now, in this case the post is supposed to protrude 2', so it seems really unlikely it's there, but that aside if this was a surface mark, knowing the driveway, culvert, and road were still there as references would let a professional know that with a good metal detector (equipment a geocacher or uspsqd member might not likely have) they might be able to find it.


Compare with HV3488, just to the SE. This references a rock chimney, a ROW fence, a small hill, and the centerline of the highway. Well, in this locatiion there is a small hill. However the road has been widened from 2 lanes to 4 lanes divided, so the centerline measurement isn't really useable. There was no chimney, or even pile of rubble as far as the eye could see in an open field. No ROW fence on either side of the highway at all.


Both went to the NGS as "Not Found" (the first I marked as destoryed on geocaching.com). The first with a note that all references were found, but the mark was still not located, the second with a note that none of the references could be found.


My guess is that a professional, if they had to pick between those two points, would rather pick the one where there are some references to measure from and increase the probability of a hit, rather than trying to find a mark literally in an open field.


I wish I had pictures to go with both. Normally I do, but our last outing was a bad camera day.


So, while "NOT FOUND" needs to mean you tried everything, tried everthing really does have different meanings. Indeed, mostly because the USPSQD doesn't log anything but "NOT FOUND" I ignore 100% of their not founds and go look for myself. I think by logging a bit more information, and a picture, it would make it clearer if its worth searching for or not.


When all users of the data were professionals who would spend a couple of hours with all the right tools searching before entering a "NOT FOUND" that might have been enough. Now that people like the USPSQD and GEOCAC and others are doing it I think a bit more detail can't hurt, and is often quite helpful.


However, this wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong. :ph34r:

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When a did not find is logged as such, it is supposed to mean that someone did try to find the station, using everything there was written about finding it on the datasheet and did not prevail. The reasons they did not find it may be many, but are not as important as the time saved by someone on the clock trying to look for something which will likely not be found.

It was my understanding (I believe via a post made by DaveD, which I am currently unable to find) that it can just as easily mean that "While this mark was in my work area and I'm required to submiit a report for it, I did not attempt to find it in any way".


If my memory on this is correct, I think the fact that we don't know what is really meant by these reports only adds to the confusion on a given mark.

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It was my understanding ... that [a 'did not find' log] can just as easily mean that "While this mark was in my work area and I'm required to submiit a report for it, I did not attempt to find it in any way".

But certainly if one is required for some reason to file an NGS report in such a case, there would be nothing to prevent adding a brief text to the effect that "did not diligently search for mark" or some similar language to avoid misleading those who follow.



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But certainly if one is required for some reason to file an NGS report in such a case, there would be nothing to prevent adding a brief text to the effect that "did not diligently search for mark" or some similar language to avoid misleading those who follow.

I absolutely agree.

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Well, this thread has sort of become one for the NGS forum, but since it is here I am mindful to the Game players that we may have become a bit over technical, But please forgive.


I am a Pro and I can speak intelligently to what other Pros will be likely to do. On the clock I am not going to waste time with a not found. it is not in the Budget. Many of these Stations are in a Surveyor's work area and we are not required to submit an update for them, and we often do not. This is something I really want everyone to get. We do have a bunch we personally know of and we use with regularity But sometimes we are not near to one of those so we must look for an easy one to use. If I look at Datasheets and I find one that seems to meet my criteria, I read on. If it is a not found, especially with a scaled position, I am definitely not going there, nor are many other Surveyors as it is a fact finding mission we simply do not have time to perform.


Telling a Surveyor not to waste time hunting something is a great service to the Surveyor.


I want you to know that we do care that you did or didn't find it as this makes us more efficient, and we really appreciate that more than you might know. If it is something we can use, perfect, if someone reliable didn't find it recently, it might be good for us to move to another close by which is found. If you are hunting one and think it is there but you have a lot more hunting to do in order to find it, Fine, Don't file yet, but eventually you will decide if it is there or not, and I as a pro will be fine with that. It is not uncommon for these things to take more work than you think.


In the most basic sense I can impart to you, Unless the Surveyor is doing Geodetic work and has to find these Stations to do the work, the rest of the Surveyors in the field will only want the ones that have a very high probability of being found by them, and they know there is a chance if it has been recently found, by maybe, you.


If you looked for it and you feel it could be there but feel like giving up on it, Fine. Please feel free to file a not found if you enjoy NGS style recovery. if you decide to look again, you later find it, Please feel free to update the position. if you are Gaming, then do what you like. It is just a game.


In my Spare time I hunt these with consumer Gear, and to tell you the truth, the first thing I try using is the Narrative description on the Datasheet. The real one from the NGS site. I like a tape measure and a Compass too. NOT my GPS. It is old school way of going about it, but in the day before GPS that was all there was. I enjoy testing the descriptions and recoveries. I also like swinging long tapes from chaining pins and using a metal probe. I do not use a Metal Detector as part of the hobby. Will I? Maybe someday. For now I don't. Besides, My spare money has to support more than one Hobby you know! :-) My experience in hunting has been that most of my not found filings are not because I could not find, but because they really are gone, but the NGS rules require a not found filing barring the right kinds of proof. Destroying these disc monuments officially is just not going to happen in most cases even when we know it is truly gone. I have had a few that stumped me, and a metal detector might have helped but oh well. One I would have had to taken time to pull a long slope for the correct horizontal measurements, and after looking at years of overgrowth I decided it would not be as doable as I'd like. I mean it is not really cool to perform clearing in a public area for a non survey. I can tell you that a great many Hunters in the Geocaching realm are outfitted quite well and many do have and use Detectors. I have been thinking of stopping by my local Staples office supply store for one of their "Easy Buttons".


Do I use my GPS? Yes, I make waypoints of scaled locations, and when triangulated mark descriptions are just too weird, like for instance in your examples Bicknell, I go to the GPS to help sort it out. I am really old school and low tech about my hunting and I enjoy it this way. The difficulty and the challenge , the problem solving is the fun in this for me. I like the 5 hour hunt for a hard one better than a day where I find a bunch...


In my Job, Sure I have all that gear and I have to use it, but even then, I wont be mine sweeping a field for a Bench Mark for very long. I simply need to be on the move, and that isn't moving in the direction the client will want to be billed for.


In any case I am just sharing how it is for a Surveyor, Just as I explained how we use damaged Stations when we do and if we do. It is your option to believe me or not. I am also telling you how we Surveyors see it for the Power Squadron Hunter. We think it means more to you than it does for them and that is why the Geocacher is doing a better job.


The important thing is that if you didn't find it and you file, then you have a brainstorm that leads you to finding it, you can always update the filing. No Harm, No Foul. All we can do is the best we can do.



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