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Do you look for benchmarks? I have looked for six or seven of them and found two. The coords. must be way off of I am just no good at looking for them. I personally don't like looking for them, there are not much fun.

But since all the caches near me I have found, and sometimes I only have an hour or so I go looking for them. If you think these are fun let me know why maybe I'm missing it.

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I think it takes a "special" kind of person to like benchmarking, just like it takes a "special" kind of person to like caching.


I know two people who are very into benchmarking. Sometimes I find it fun, but most of the time it doesn't interest me much - I couldn't even begin to explain/understand what makes benchmarking different in my mind. I do, however, get excited when we uncover a hard to find one, or a very old one. And sometimes the placement is cool - always neat to come across one in the woods.


Keep in mind that the coords listed for benchmarks are rarely accurate. You have a much better chance of finding them using the description, not the coords. A metal detector and a digging tool is often useful/necessary.


Have fun!

Edited by Cool Librarian
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The coords. must be way off of I am just no good at looking for them.


I personally don't like looking for them, there are not much fun.

Most likely it is NOT the coordinates of the benchmark are off it is you do not understand the differant types of datum used. A lot of benchmarks use NAD27 on the cocordiantes and if you GPSr is set to WSG84 then your be off from a few meters to 60 or more in the U.S. So check the datum the benchmark uses and then make sure your GPSr is set for the same. Also may benchmarks are old so they maybe buried etc... so it is harder to find them.


Secondly why do people have to give such a NEGATIVE conitation to things? Your OP sounds really negative like some people refer to virturals. If you don't like them then DON'T do them. Benchmark hunting does just as geocaching does it gets you out doors. Ir is funny on the benchmark forum but they look down on geocachers, LOL.


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The few I've found have been pretty cool.


In fact several of them have been just pure dumb luck, when I found them.


One of them in particular, I was out taking pictures of a landmark here in town one night, when I snapped a picture of a really cool looking spire on the top of the old court house, that was lit up by spotlights from the ground.


A few days later I happen to see that the landmark that I was taking pictures of that night was not only the site of a hide, but also a benchmark.


Since I am in that area at least on a weekly basis, I decided to see what others were in the area.


When what should pop up but the courthouse spire!!


Cool !!

Two finds and I didn't even look for them!! ;):D


D-man :unsure:

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I enjoy looking for benchmarks when I don't have anything better to do. I have had somewhat good success on the ones I went looking for. I just found one the other day that was placed in 1899 - MA1512. I took the kids and the metal detector, had to do some digging but that is what the kids are for. I have a route setup that will take me on a 10 mile hike and log 10 benchmarks that I plan to try soon. I am really surprised, a majority of the cachers in my area do not search for benchmarks. Some can be really easy to find just read the listing and take a measuring tape or walk it off, it will get you really close if all the landmarks are still standing.

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Geocaching is my priority. But I'm also an avid benchmarker. Same principle: it's the hunt. Benchmarks are more likely to be missing, to be sure. I've got 86 finds on geocaching, and 21 logged with the NGS (plus two listed as destroyed, and another 'not found'). If there's a benchmark near a cache, I'll go looking. Or if I'm in an area where I have some spare time, I'll go benchmarking. It's all about the hunt!

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Several people have pointed out a couple of the key ingredients to successful and more fun benchmarking:


1) Bringing some extra equipment is often needed.


2) Sometimes the coordinates are way off what's listed. These benchmarks have their coordinates listed as SCALED, which is usually within 500 feet or so. Go by the description.

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Nope, They are no fun at all. None! Benchmark hunters are all curmudgeons who hate to have fun and look down on Geocachers! And them Bench markers, well, they are "Special"




This thread is killing me! What a riot! I love this! You can't write this stuff, really! You'd never think it up in a hundred years! Some pretty interesting perspectives there eh?


Proving that the truth in reality is stranger than fiction! It would have been nice to leave the thread where it was just to see where it really would have gone...


We could have secretly spied on it from a safe position so as to not infect it with "special" germs...


Too bad it has been transferred here to the land of the "special ones". It was great fun to read how some people see this!


I am going for some NAD27 benchmarks, I want to be FTF on that action!





Edited by evenfall
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Moving thread to the proper forum.

That explains why I didn't recognize any of the posters.


Benchmarking can be fun and there are lots of people who enjoy it. Some poeple don't even llok for caches, they just look for benchmarks. A lot of the problem described above have simple answers.... you just need to ask the right people in the right place (aka this forum).



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The coords. must be way off of I am just no good at looking for them.


I personally don't like looking for them, there are not much fun.

Most likely it is NOT the coordinates of the benchmark are off it is you do not understand the differant types of datum used. A lot of benchmarks use NAD27 on the cocordiantes and if you GPSr is set to WSG84 then your be off from a few meters to 60 or more in the U.S. So check the datum the benchmark uses and then make sure your GPSr is set for the same. Also may benchmarks are old so they maybe buried etc... so it is harder to find them.

In fact, all of the benchmarks listed in the NGS database (from which geocaching gets it's database) are NAD83. The ones that were surveyed prior to NAD83 were recalculated into NAD83 at the time NAD83 was established. If the coordinates are off it is because the coordinates are SCALED which means it was estimated from a map and could be off by as much as 6 seconds (660 feet). That is why it is usually suggested that once you are in the general vicinity of a SCALED benchmark you should read the description to find its exact location. If a benchmark has ADJUSTED coordinates, they are more accurate than your GPSr and you can depend on your GPSr to lead you directly to the location. You can see if a benchmark has SCALED or ADJUSTED coordinates on the benchmark page where it states "location is xxxx" underneath the coordinates and altitude.


There is an admittedly different feel about hunting benchmarks vs. caches. There are certainly different things you need to know about benchmarks that don't occur with caches that make it fun and interesting in it's own right.

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Both Caches and Benchmarks are a challenge to find.


Caches are made to hide and find for a game. They have no external significance.

Benchmarks are made for real-world serious purposes.


People outside the hobby don't care if you find a cache.

People outside the hobby do care if you find a benchmark and they even care if you don't find it.


Caches are new - within the last 5 years.

Benchmarks are much older - some are antiques, going back to the 1800's.


Caches are not associated with a sense of history.

Older benchmarks have finding descriptions that give a picture of times long past.


Caches are hidden or re-hidden by peers last week - people stick them in hidden spaces and then put pieces of wood in front of them to hide them, etc.

Benchmarks are hidden by the passing of time - the effects of man and nature slowly accumulate around them with the passing of years and decades, hiding them.

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The Bottom Line in Benchmark Hunting is that you are hunting down a piece of history. It helped, and was likely used in some way to help develop the area it was located in, if that happened, and if not, it helped us physically locate the many features of the country so we could know where they were and to accurately map them, Chart them, and navigate them.


You take with you the tools and your wits, to find something nature may have hidden or man, without knowing may have obscured.


You take from it a big sense of adventure, and an enlightenment from learning the history behind the Survey Marker you looked for.


The payoff is not about taking or leaving a trinket, but rather the experience the hunt, and the adventure.


It is quite often many times moreover a riddle and a challenge than a geocache often can ever be, without seeming diabolical at all.


So if you like riddles and challenges, where the payoff is the adventure, not the end of the adventure, developing skills that do not leave you relying on luck, things that may push you further than something easy ever would, then you are not "special", you are just someone who is not easily amused and willing to take on bigger challenges for your entertainment. Sure it isn't for everyone, but neither is anything else.


It is all about having a good time, so, Have a good time!



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Benchmarks are challenging to find, sometimes even more so than caches I would suspect. As in my instance, I live in a pretty rural area and there are not too many caches around. Benchmarks are more plentiful and with the price of gas being what it is, it's easier just to stick around home sometimes

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One of the things that keeps me hunting benchmarks and not caches is that with benchmarks, I don't have to sneak around and conceal what I'm doing. Folks whom I meet in the area of a mark tend to think it is a cool hobby and they often get involved. I also get to chat with a lot of homeowners, since many are on private property.


Ditto to the person who mentioned history. My oldest is 1815, followed by 1856. I'm currently assisting my state geodetic survey office in finding 1887 granite markers along the state border.


I think it is great that so many folks enjoy geocaching, and I'm pleased to see all the recent publicity in newspapers and on TV. Personally, I just can't get excited about trying to remain inconspicious while looking for a box of trinkets. But if someone DOES enjoy caching, I say, "Go for it!"



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I like both But prefer benchmark hunting. The thrill I get when I find one and the history behind the placement is what gets me. If I find a particularly old one or one that hasen't been found for a while I think of just what exatlyit took for it to get there. the old ones in particular. I haven't found many but it is exciting when I am able to go. Take one placed in the 1800's for example. The people that placed it were probably away from home for weeks or months at a time. they were on horseback or in a wagon with primitive camping equipment at best. No airconditioned winnebago with a refridgerator

and microwave. no gas stove to cook on. no fresh food other than that which they could hunt or forage for. hardscrabble men doing a hardscrabble job. no paved superhighways. hacking thier way through thick brush. in the heat of the summer with no A/c to retreat to at the end of the day. no running water.to cool off with. Its the history that gets me. The sacrifice and effort these men put into placing that particular benchmark.

Skillett :laughing:

Edited by skillett
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Recently learning about Geocaching lead me to Benchmarks. My daughter and I, with no GPS headed out around town and found five on our first try. We both had a blast, she can't wait to go out and look for more. We did find one virtual cache but I think we had more fun looking for the benchmarks. We are new to this hobby so I'm not sure what side I'll fall on as of yet.


I'll keep ys posted :)




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My son (age 13) and I have become avid Benchmark hunters. He loves the history lesson....So that slab of concrete on the side of the road 12 miles from home was a missle tracking station in the 1960's...cool. He also likes the "Detective" work it takes to discover some of the tough finds. We go to the area using the GPS and then follow the description most of the time. We have found several "not recovered" by other groups such as the US Power Squadron. That means a lot to us as we found something others can't. It does take extra "tools" that geocaching doesn't such as ground probe, a small hand trowel, paint brush and baby powder. in case you wonder...the baby powder is great for highlighting the stamping so it can be seen or photographed.


We had a great run of 12 finds in four hours a couple weeks ago. of course we also had half that may not founds.


My daughter (age 11) hates benchmark hunting however loves caching.

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Where do you get this "HISTORY" of the benchmark you are talking about? or what it was used for? If I knew the history behind them maybe that would help make it more interesting. I look them up at geocaching.com and it tells where it is and thats about all.

Here is a good read for an example of the "History" involved with these marks.


The Jefferson Pier


A lot of marks out there have lost some of their historical information, but that is where you take it indoors and do your library research.


So many survey marks were placed there over a hundred years ago, many a lot longer than that. If you want some "History" then read some of "seventhings" finds, there you will find history. He has done an exhaustive search of

Mason-Dixon boundary stones, some in the database and many not.




There is history all around, just take the time to see it. The best way is to get out there and find the old one's.


Happy hunting,


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WHERE are you getting this history?


The field notes for when these stations were established are primary historical sources. The field notes were used to write the NGS records, from which the online NGS Data Sheets are transcribed. This makes a quite useful database of secondary sources. But they are not necessarily a narrative. That makes it more interesting, as one fills in the narrative by looking at the bits of information (clues) at the sites and in the descriptions.


Take your finds, for instance:


H 109


1.It was set in 1931 by the US Geological Survey.


2. It was recovered (found) in good condition by the National Geodetic Survey in 1934.


3. NGS entered a written description of it in their records when they found it.


4. It was located certain distances from some landmarks. Are they still the same?


5. There was a schoolhouse at Scipio when this was described. Is it still there? From your remark, "found it thanks to SirGerald coords it would of taken all day to find it," I am guessing most of the roads and fences mentioned have changed and that the schoolhouse that was there in 1934 is gone.


6. No one has found it and reported that fact to the NGS.






1. It was set in 1938 by the Coast and Geodetic Survey


2. by someone with the initials FGJ


3. Station was located 1.6 miles west of the town of Scipio. Is it still 1.6 miles west of town?


4. There was no mark at the 1/4 corner of Sec. 18, Township 18 South, Range 2 West . Is there one now?


5. Standard surface, Underground, Reference, and Azimuth marks in 1938 were bronze disks mounted in concrete. That standards has changed.


6. The main North-South highway in town was US 91. According to my map, that no longer is the case.


7. Directions are from the Post Office. If the Post Office has moved, you could find the 1938 location working backwards from the mark using the description.


8. Post Office location was one block north of a Conoco filling station. Is there a gas station there now? The same one?


9. You get the picture!


It might be interesting to find the Reference marks and Azimuth mark from the NGS online datasheets for KO0409 (MILLARD):.


Also, you can check out the real Data Sheet for KO0129 (H 109) at that link.


This Link will take you to a page where you can look up any mark in the NGS Database by PID.


Happy Hunting!



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I've found too many for a living to have much interest in doing it as a hobby. Some of the locations are interesting. This weekend I came across one on top of a butte. The mark was interesting. You could set up over the mark and the visibility was phenoniminal but in the end the view won the day and the mark will live just fine if all I do is log the nearby cache.

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I'll provide my angle on the history part.


While geocaches can have a historical theme to them, they are mostly trying to tell the story of the history of the spot or area that they are located, which is great in its own right. Benchmarks are often set in or are referencing an object or location that is historically significant.


Here in New England (mostly eastern Mass.), there are a lot of both the (vertical and horizontal) controls (disks, rods, chiseled squares) and the landmarks (mostly intersection stations like church spires). So, a mark could be part of an old church, for instance, the church spire of the Old Ship Church in Hingham, the oldest structure used continuously as a church. Or, a mark could be a chiseled square at one of the dry docks of the old Charlestown Navy Yard (which has been closed as a navy yard - part reopened as a national historic park and part has been developed for other uses).


The descriptions, in most cases, are fairly short, and don't go into the history, itself. The descriptions are meant to capture the current state of the mark at the time of observation, and may briefly reference, for instance, 'the naval shipyard.' Thus, you may not recognize the history unless you do a little research of the area. For me, I'm especially happy to find industrial references. Often, they are cupolas, chimneys or stacks, or water towers on the property. I'm happy to find places that still exist, even if the company has long since disappeared, but I'm also satisfied to find where a place has been where no trace remains.


Other marks located town or city boundaries, which may not be the present corners, along railroad right of ways that haven't had tracks in decades, or even the chimney of a house where some local historical figure lived.


And this is another reason why I benchmark and report findings to NGS. Here, especially around Boston, the area has changed significantly in the last few years. Some marks, I can tell, have been destroyed or altered in the last decade, and I know a few of the ones that I have found have already been altered or are threatened with destruction (I've been doing this for only a year and some). So, by making these reports, and having someone come by and make observations at that time, we are actually making a historical record of our own.


Some marks found as examples:

http://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=MY3289 - NECCO Factory Water Tower (now occupied by Novartis).

http://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=LX5950 - Gillettes Tower - House of an actor who was famous for his on stage performances of Sherlock Holmes

http://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=MY3266 - Walter Baker Chocolate Factory Stack (the factory building is now mostly housing)

http://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=MY3037 - Disk on Pier 5 in the former Charlestown Navy Yard (now threatened because of development plans).

http://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=MY3217 - Monument at Castle Island about the building of clipper ships in Boston Harbor

http://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=MY4562 - Disk set in Ft. Warren on Georges Island.

http://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=OC1656 - Portland Observatory - historical structure related to the sailing days.

http://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=PG0197 - Disk set within an old railroad right of way that has since been abandoned and no track remains.


Summing it up, you may need to do some extra research to find the historical significance. But, the mark was made there for a reason and may be the lasting evidence that something (ex. factory, military establishment, railroad) was there, and, from observations of the mark over time, we see how the location has changed over time.

Edited by NorStar
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