2019-03-30

KR1308 - "Q22 1932"

Found KR1308 on 26 March 2019 at 13:30 as described and in good condition. The building is no longer a train station, but has found new life as a resturant called The Depot Brewery and Distillery.

The Gravity Base Station 'RENO', referenced in the current data sheet as being set in the pavement directly below the mark, was not searched for.
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Found Details for Benchmark: KR1308
N 39° 31.866, W 119° 48.584 (NAD 83)
Altitude: 4504
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Published Details for Benchmark: KR1308
N 39° 31.850, W 119° 48.567 (NAD 83)
Altitude: 4501.19

Coordinates may not be exact. Altitude is ADJUSTED and location is SCALED.

Location: In WASHOE County, NV
Designation: Q22
Marker Type: bench mark disk
Setting: massive structures
Stability: Probably hold position/elevation well.

Documented History (by the NGS)
01 Jan 32 by CGS (MONUMENTED)

01 Jan 69 by NGS (GOOD)
DESCRIBED BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1969 IN RENO, AT THE NORTHWEST CORNER OF THE JUNCTION OF 4TH AND EAST STREETS, AT THE WESTERN PACIFIC RAILROAD STATION AT 325 4TH STREET, SET VERTICALLY IN THE WEST BRICK FACE OF THE STATION BUILDING, 92 FEET NORTH OF THE NORTH CURB OF 4TH STREET, 158 FEET WEST OF THE WEST RAIL, 160 FEET WEST OF THE CENTER LINE OF EAST STREET, 2.2 FEET NORTH OF THE NORTH SIDE OF THE WEST ENTRANCE, AND ABOUT 3 1/2 FEET HIGHER THAN THE ASPHALT PAVEMENT.  SEC 11, T19N, R 19E.

STATION RECOVERY (1996)
RECOVERY NOTE BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1996 (DW) RR STATION IS NOW HOLLAND LAND CORP.  BLDG. AT NE CORNER OF 4TH ST AND EVANS AVE.  GRAVITY BASE STATION 'RENO' (DOD 0454-4, NHO 32.24) IS ON PAVEMENT DIRECTLY UNDER DISK.

STATION RECOVERY (2003)
RECOVERY NOTE BY US POWER SQUADRON 2003 (PFM) BUILDING IS NOW THE BARENGO BUILDING

STATION RECOVERY (2009)
RECOVERY NOTE BY GEOCACHING 2009 (JA) RECOVERED IN GOOD CONDITION.

STATION RECOVERY (2013)
RECOVERY NOTE BY GEODETIC CONSULTING SERVICE 2013 (DRD) RECOVERED IN GOOD CONDITION.
KR1308 "Q22 1932" - Benchmark detail.
KR1308 "Q22 1932" - Benchmark and GPSr with coordinates.
KR1308 "Q22 1932" - Benchmark setting.  Set vertically in the west brick face of the Western Pacific Railroad Station, now known as the Depot Brewery and Distillery.
KR1308 "Q22 1932" - Benchmark setting.  Set vertically in the west brick face of the Western Pacific Railroad Station, now known as the Depot Brewery and Distillery.
KR1308 "Q22 1932" - Benchmark setting.  Set vertically in the west brick face of the Western Pacific Railroad Station, now known as the Depot Brewery and Distillery.
KR1308 "Q22 1932" - Benchmark setting.  Set vertically in the west brick face of the Western Pacific Railroad Station, now known as the Depot Brewery and Distillery.
KR1308 "Q22 1932" - State Historical Marker No 210.

2019-02-16

EW0940 - "T24 CADT"

Found EW0940 on 16 February 2019 at 16:51 as described and in good condition with the described witness post intact. The mark lies on the top edge of the embankment on the west side of the frontage road. This mark was set by the California Division of Highways, the predecessor to the current Caltrans.

Adjacent marks EW0941 (F1147) and EW0942 (G1147) were also located and found in good condition.  Described mark E1147 was not searched for.
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Found Details for Benchmark: EW0940
N 34° 52.835, W 117° 17.843 (NAD 83)
Altitude: 2326
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Published Details for Benchmark: EW0940
N 34° 52.817, W 118° 10.033 (NAD 83)
Altitude: 2434.6

Coordinates may not be exact. Altitude is ADJUSTED and location is SCALED.

Location: In KERN County, CA
Designation: T24 CADT
Marker Type: survey disk
Setting: set into the top of a round concrete monument
Stability: May hold, but of type commonly subject to surface motion.

Documented History (by the NGS)
01 Jan 58 by CADH (MONUMENTED)

01 Jan 73 by NGS (GOOD)
DESCRIBED BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1973 1.3 MI N FROM ROSAMOND. 1.1 MILE NORTH ALONG THE SIERRA HIGHWAY FROM THE INTERSECTION OF ROSAMOND BOULEVARD AT ROSAMOND, THENCE 0.2 MILE WEST ACROSS COUNTRY, ABOUT 0.1 MILE SOUTHWEST AND ACROSS STATE HIGHWAY 14 FROM BENCH MARK E 1147, ON THE EAST SIDE OF A KNOLL, 42 FEET EAST OF THE CENTER LINE OF A DIRT ROAD, 27.0 FEET WEST OF THE CENTER LINE OF A FRONTAGE ROAD, 146.3 FEET EAST OF BENCH MARK F 1147, ABOUT 18 FEET HIGHER THAN STATE HIGHWAY 14, ABOUT 7 FEET HIGHER THAN THE FRONTAGE ROAD, 1.9 FEET WEST-SOUTHWEST OF A WITNESS POST, AND SET IN THE TOP OF A CONCRETE POST PROJECTING 0.1 FOOT ABOVE THE GROUND. SEC 8, T9N, R12W.

01 Jan 77 by NGS (GOOD)
RECOVERY NOTE BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1977 RECOVERED IN GOOD CONDITION.

EW0940 "T-24 CADT 1958" - Benchmark detail.
EW0940 "T-24 CADT 1958" - Witness post detail.
EW0940 "T-24 CADT 1958" - Witness post and benchmark setting. View southwesterly towards EW0941.
EW0940 "T-24 CADT 1958" - Witness post and benchmark setting. View northwesterly towards EW0942.
EW0940 "T-24 CADT 1958" - Benchmark setting. View southerly along the frontage road and State Route 14 toward the town of Rosamond.
EW0940 "T-24 CADT 1958" - Benchmark setting. View easterly across the frontage road and State Route 14.
EW0940 "T-24 CADT 1958" - Benchmark setting. View northerly along the frontage road and State Route 14.

EW0942 - "G1147"

Found EW0942 on 16 February 2019 at 16:47 as described and in good condition. The described 2'x2.5' outcrop is a stand-alone boulder without distinguishing markings. There is no witness post, but fallen survey lath was found nearby.

Adjacent marks EW0940 (T 24 CADT) and EW0941 (F1147) were also located and found in good condition.
_____________________________________
Found Details for Benchmark: EW0942
N 34° 52.832, W 118° 10.042 (NAD 83)
Altitude: 2323
_____________________________________
Published Details for Benchmark: EW0942
N 34° 52.817, W 118° 10.033 (NAD 83)
Altitude: 2444.73

Coordinates may not be exact. Altitude is ADJUSTED and location is SCALED.

Location: In KERN County, CA
Designation: T24 CADT
Marker Type: bench mark disk
Setting: in rock outcrop
Stability: Most reliable and expected to hold position/elevation well.

Documented History (by the NGS)
01 Jan 61 by CGS (MONUMENTED)

01 Jan 73 by NGS (GOOD)
DESCRIBED BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1973 1.3 MI N FROM ROSAMOND. 1.1 MILES NORTH ALONG SIERRA HIGHWAY FROM THE INTERSECTION OF ROSAMOND BOULEVARD AT ROSAMOND, THENCE 0.2 MILE WEST ACROSS COUNTRY, IN THE TOP OF A 2- BY 2 1/2-FOOT OUTCROP WHICH PROJECTS ABOUT 2 FEET ABOVE THE GROUND, 81.4 FEET NORTHEAST OF BENCH MARK F 1147, 120.0 FEET WEST OF THE CENTER LINE OF A FRONTAGE ROAD, 56.8 FEET NORTHEAST OF THE NORTHEAST FACE OF A LARGE OUTCROP WHICH PROJECTS ABOUT 15 FEET ABOVE THE GROUND, 51.7 FEET WEST OF THE CENTER LINE OF A DIRT ROAD, ABOUT 14 FEET HIGHER THAN THE FRONTAGE ROAD AND ABOUT 7 FEET HIGHER THAN THE DIRT ROAD. SEC 8, T9N, R12W.

01 Jan 77 by NGS (GOOD)
RECOVERY NOTE BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1977 RECOVERED IN GOOD CONDITION.

EW0942 "G1147 1961" - Benchmark detail.
EW0942 "G1147 1961" - Benchmark setting in a 2'x2.5' outcrop, about 12" to 15" above the adjacent grade.
EW0942 "G1147 1961" - Benchmark setting. View northerly along the frontage road and State Route 14.
EW0942 "G1147 1961" - Benchmark setting. View southeasterly toward EW0940, the frontage road and State Route 14.
EW0942 "G1147 1961" - Benchmark setting. View southwesterly toward EW0941.


EW0941 - "F1147"

Found EW0941 on 16 February 2019 at 16:40 as described and in good condition with the described witness post intact. Recent surveying activities, including many pieces of flagged lath and paint on the rocks made the mark easy to find. For the record, I am NOT a fan of surveyor graffiti. Surveyors should leave little to no trace, especially in rural areas such as this.

Adjacent marks EW0940 (T 24 CADT) and EW0942 (G1147) were also located and found in good condition.
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Found Details for Benchmark: EW0941
N 34° 52.828, W 118° 10.032 (NAD 83)
Altitude: 2408
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Published Details for Benchmark: EW0941
N 34° 52.817, W 118° 10.033 (NAD 83)
Altitude: 2450.21

Coordinates may not be exact. Altitude is ADJUSTED and location is SCALED.

Location: In KERN County, CA
Designation: T24 CADT
Marker Type: bench mark disk
Setting: in rock outcrop
Stability: Most reliable and expected to hold position/elevation well.

Documented History (by the NGS)
01 Jan 61 by CGS (MONUMENTED)

01 Jan 73 by NGS (GOOD)
DESCRIBED BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1973 1.3 MI N FROM ROSAMOND. 1.1 MILES NORTH ALONG SIERRA HIGHWAY FROM THE INTERSECTION OF ROSAMOND BOULEVARD AT ROSAMOND, THENCE 0.2 MILE WEST ACROSS COUNTRY, IN THE TOP OF A LEDGE ALONG THE SOUTH SIDE OF A LARGE OUTCROP WHICH PROJECTS ABOUT 15 FEET ABOVE THE GROUND, 168 FEET WEST OF THE CENTER LINE OF A FRONTAGE ROAD, 101.0 FEET WEST OF THE CENTER LINE OF A DIRT ROAD, 146.3 FEET WEST OF BENCH MARK T-24 (CHD), 14.4 FEET WEST OF A WITNESS POST, AND ABOUT 22 FEET HIGHER THAN THE FRONTAGE ROAD. SEC 8, T12W, R9N.

01 Jan 77 by NGS (GOOD)
RECOVERY NOTE BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1977 RECOVERED IN GOOD CONDITION.

EW0941 "F1147 1961" - Benchmark detail.
EW0941 "F1147 1961" - Benchmark setting in a large rock outcrop. Recent surveying activities made locating the mark relatively easy. I am NOT a fan of survey graffiti like this.
EW0941 "F1147 1961" - Witness post set approximately 15 feet southerly from the mark.
EW0941 "F1147 1961" - Benchmark setting. View northerly. Mark EW0942 lies northeasterly from the mark.
EW0941 "F1147 1961" - Benchmark setting.  View easterly toward EW0940, the frontage road and State Route 14.
EW0941 "F1147 1961" - Benchmark setting.  View southeasterly toward the frontage road and State Route 14.
EW0941 "F1147 1961" - Benchmark setting.  View southwesterly.

2019-01-06

EV2866 "Sunnyhill 1933" - Triangulation Station

I found this mark on a short trip along Old Route 66, about a mile east of Helendale, Ca. as described and in good condition. The described witness post is in place. Reference Mark No. 2 was located as described and in good condition. Reference Mark No. 1 was not located but most likely still exists.

The GPSr showed a found coordinate deviation of only 0.001' of longitude.  The altitude was about 10 feet off as I was holding the GPSr about 4 feet above the mark.  Both measurements well within the tolerance of the handheld Garmin.
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Found Details for Benchmark: EV2866
N 34° 44.968, W 117° 17.843 (NAD 83)
Altitude: 2633
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Published Details for Benchmark: EV2866
N 34° 44.967, W 117° 17.843 (NAD 83)
Altitude: 2623

Coordinates may not be exact. Altitude is VERT ANG and location is ADJUSTED.

Location: In SAN BERNARDINO county, CA
Designation: SUNNY HILL
Marker Type: triangulation station disk
Setting: set into the top of a round concrete monument
Stability: May hold, but of type commonly subject to surface motion.

Reference Points
EV1124, EV2865, & EV2924

Documented History (by the NGS)
01 Jan 33 by CGS (MONUMENTED)
DESCRIBED BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1933 (LCJ) ABOUT 1.5 MILES NORTHEAST OF HELENDALE, 38 FEET NORTH OF ROUTE 66, ABOUT 100 YARDS WEST OF SUNNY HILL GARAGE, AND 120 FEET WEST OF DIRT ROAD WHICH LEADS NORTH TO HINKLEY. TO REACH FROM HELENDALE, GO NORTHEAST 1.6 MILES ON ROUTE 66 DIRECT TO STATION SITE. MARKED BY STANDARD STATION DISK IN CONCRETE, NOTE 1A. REFERENCE MARKS ARE STANDARD REFERENCE DISKS IN CONCRETE, NOTE 11A. NO. 1 IS 19.903 METERS (65.30 FEET) FROM STATION IN AZIMUTH 71 DEG 29 MIN. NO. 2 IS 21.582 METERS (70.81 FEET) FROM STATION IN AZIMUTH 346 DEG 25 MIN. AZIMUTH FROM STATION TO LOS ANGELES-LAS VEGAS AIRWAY BEACON NO. 8 IS 37 DEG 55 MIN 13 SEC.

01 Jan 54 by USE (MONUMENTED)
RECOVERY NOTE BY US ENGINEERS 1954 STATION RECOVERED AS DESCRIBED. STATION MARK IS 0.4 FT. ABOVE THE GROUND SURFACE, AND ABOUT 0.5 FT. BELOW THE SURFACE OF U.S. HIGHWAY 66. LINE OF SIGHT FROM T-2 TRIPOD HEIGHT IS CLEAR IN ALL DIRECTIONS. REFERENCE MARKS 1 AND 2 RECOVERED IN GOOD CONDITION. THE AZIMUTH DESCRIBED FOR REFERENCE MARK 2 IS FROM THE REFERENCE MARK TO THE STATION RATHER THAN FROM THE STATION TO THE REFERENCE MARK AS INDICATED.

01 Jan 58 by CGS (MONUMENTED)
RECOVERY NOTE BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1958 (WRH) THE STATION MARK AND THE TWO REFERENCE MARKS WERE RECOVERED AS DESCRIBED AND IN GOOD CONDITION, EXCEPT THAT A SMALL DIFFERENCE IN THE MILEAGE FROM HELENDALE WAS NOTED. TO REACH THE STATION FROM THE RAILROAD STATION AT HELENDALE, GO E ON U.S. HIGHWAY 66 (TOWARD BARSTOW) FOR 1.8 MI. TO THE STATION ON THE LEFT.

01 Dec 92 by NGS (GOOD)
RECOVERY NOTE BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1992 (AJL) STATION AND REFERENCE MARKS 1 AND 2 RECOVERED IN GOOD CONDITION. STATION IS LOCATED ABOUT 38.6 KM (24.0 MI) NORTH-NORTHEAST OF HESPERIA, 20.9 KM (13.0 MI) NORTHEAST OF ADELANTO, 2.4 KM (1.5 MI) NORTHEAST OF HELENDALE, ON THE HIGHWAY RIGHT-OF-WAY. OWNERSHIP--CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION. TO REACH THE STATION FROM THE JUNCTION OF U.S. HIGHWAY 395 AND SHADOW MOUNTAIN ROAD, NEAR 395 MILEPOST 27.00, ABOUT 16.1 KM (10.0 MI) NORTH OF ADELANTO, GO EAST ON SHADOW MOUNTAIN ROAD FOR 11.2 KM (7.0 MI) TO A T-INTERSECTION. TURN LEFT, NORTHEAST, ON HELANDALE ROAD FOR 2.3 KM (1.4 MI) TO AN INTERSECTION. TURN RIGHT, SOUTHEASTERLY, ON VISTA ROAD FOR 1.8 KM (1.1 MI) TO A T-INTERSECTION. TURN LEFT, NORTHEASTERLY, ON NATIONAL TRAILS HIGHWAY FOR 4.15 KM (2.58 MI) TO THE TOP OF A SLIGHT HILL AND THE STATION ON THE LEFT JUST BEFORE REACHING THE CENTER OF A GRAVEL INTERSECTION (MEADOW VIEW DRIVE). STATION MARK IS A DISK SET IN A 30 CM SQUARE CONCRETE MONUMENT THAT PROJECTS 6 CM. IT IS ABOUT 37.5 FT (11.4 M) (11.4 MT) NORTHWEST OF THE CENTER OF NATIONAL TRAILS HIGHWAY AND 0.6 M (2.0 FT) WEST OF A METAL WITNESS POST. NOTE--NGS REFERENCE OBJECT BOXSCORE AND 1933 DESCRIPTION GIVE INCORRECT AZIMUTH FOR REFERENCE MARK 2. REFERENCE MARK 2 IS APPROXIMATELY 166 DEGREES MAGNETIC (SOUTH) OF THE MAIN MARK, AS CORRECTLY STATED IN 1954 RECOVERY NOTE.

EV2866 "Sunnyhill 1933 - No. 2" - Triangulation Station detail.
EV2866 "Sunnyhill 1933 - No. 2" - Triangulation Station detail and GPSr.
EV2866 "Sunnyhill 1933 - No. 2" - Triangulation Station coordinates.
EV2866 "Sunnyhill 1933 - No. 2" - Triangulation Station setting.  View easterly along the National Trails Highway, aka Route 66.
EV2866 "Sunnyhill 1933 - No. 2" - Triangulation Station setting.  View westerly along the National Trails Highway, aka Route 66.
EV2866 "Sunnyhill 1933" - Triangulation Station setting.  View southerly across the National Trails Highway, aka Route 66, toward Reference Monument No. 2.
EV2866 "Sunnyhill 1933 - No. 2" - Reference Monument No. 2 detail.
EV2866 "Sunnyhill 1933 - No. 2" - Reference Monument No. 2 and GPSr.
EV2866 "Sunnyhill 1933 - No. 2" - Triangulation Station setting.  View northerly across the National Trails Highway, aka Route 66, toward the Station.

2017-04-09

GT0292 "3926 1905"

This early 1900s U.S. Geologic Survey Benchmark is located a the Inyo County courthouse in the beautiful town of Independence, Ca. The mark is set in the westerly face the southerly balustrade of the front steps of the Courthouse.

The coordinates shown by the GPSr were dramatically different from the published coordinates to the tune of about 1250 feet horizontally. I imagine it was due to signal multi-path or signal shadow caused by the building. Interestingly, the elevation was only 143 feet. I would have expected more given the horizontal error.

Regardless of the coordinates or GPSr error, the goto description on the datasheet is clear and makes finding the mark easy.
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Found Details for Benchmark: GT0292
N 36°48.212', W 118°11.985' (NAD 83)
Altitude: 3786
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Published Details for Benchmark: GT0292
N 36°48.100', W 118°12.200' (NAD 83)
Altitude: 3929.89

Coordinates may not be exact. Altitude is ADJUSTED and location is SCALED.

Location: In INYO county, CA
Designation: 3926
Marker Type: survey disk
Setting: massive structures
Stability: Most reliable and expected to hold position/elevation well.

Documented History (by the NGS)
01 Jan 05 by USGS (MONUMENTED)

01 Jan 62 by NGS (GOOD)
DESCRIBED BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1962 AT INDEPENDENCE. AT INDEPENDENCE, AT THE COUNTY COURTHOUSE, SET VERTICALLY IN THE WEST-SOUTHWEST FACE OF THE SOUTH-SOUTHEAST ONE OF TWO BALISTRADES AT THE WEST-SOUTHWEST (MAIN) ENTRANCE, 15 1/2 FEET SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF THE CENTER OF THE STEPS LEADING INTO THE BUILDING, 2.0 FEET ABOVE THE FIRST LANDING ABOVE THE GROUND, AND ABOUT 3 1/2 FEET ABOVE THE GROUND.

01 Jan 87 by NGS (GOOD)
RECOVERY NOTE BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1987 RECOVERED IN GOOD CONDITION.

GT0292 "3926 1905" - Benchmark detail.
GT0292 "3926 1905" - Benchmark, GPSr, and coordinates shown.
GT0292 "3926 1905" - Benchmark setting in the southerly balustrade of the Inyo County Courthouse in Independence, Ca.
GT0292 "3926 1905" - The impressive entrance to the Inyo County Courthouse in Independence, Ca.
GT0292 "3926 1905" - The copper cladded doors at the entrance to the Inyo County Courthouse in Independence, Ca.
GT0292 "3926 1905" - Plaque on the Inyo County Courthouse in Independence, Ca.
GT0292 "3926 1905" -  The view from the steps of the Inyo County Courthouse in Independence, Ca.

2017-04-08

AE4848 "S 1164 RESET" 1997

I found near the entrance to the airport in Independence, Ca. as described and in good condition.  The mark is described as being "set in the top of a concrete post projecting 0.5 foot above the ground", but I didn't find the mark immediately as I expected.  Over time, topsoil had moved in and covered everything.  Thankfully, close calls to the fence and witness post showed me where to look.  After kicking the dirt around for a few minutes, the mark was exposed.  I covered it back up before I left.

The published altitude of the mark is 3903.7, but my GPSr initially showed and elevation of 4000+ feet.  There was good satellite coverage, but the thick tree cover probably caused some problems.  After a few minutes, the GPSr was able to settle down and show an elevation of 3900'. 
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Published Details for Benchmark: AE4848
N 36° 48.583 W 118° 12.267 (NAD 83)
Altitude: 3903.7

Coordinates may not be exact. Altitude is RESET and location is SCALED.

Location: In INYO county, CA (View Original Datasheet)
Designation: S 1164 RESET
Marker Type: vertical control disk
Setting: set into the top of a round concrete monument
Stability: May hold, but of type commonly subject to surface motion.

Documented History (by the NGS)
01/01/1997 by CADT (MONUMENTED)
DESCRIBED BY CALTRANS 1997 (KR) 0.4 MILE (0.6 KM) NORTHWEST FROM INDEPENDENCE, 0.45 MILE (0.72 KM) NORTHWEST ALONG US HIGHWAYS 395 AND 6 FROM THE COUNTY COURTHOUSE AT INDEPENDENCE. AT THE MAIN ENTRANCE TO THE INDEPENDENCE AIRPORT, IN A EAST-WEST ROW OF TREES, 111.5 FEET (34.0 M) EAST OF THE CENTERLINE OF THE HIGHWAY, 73.0 FEET (22.3 M) SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF THE CENTER OF THE ENTRANCE OF THE AIRPORT, 85.0 FEET (25.9 M) EAST OF POWER POLE NO. XP4-102 WITH A GUY WIRE, 1.6 FEET (0.5 M) NORTH-NORTHEAST OF A FENCE, 1.6 FEET (0.5 M) SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF A WITNESS POST, SET IN THE TOP OF A CONCRETE POST PROJECTING 0.5 FOOT (15.2 CM) ABOVE THE GROUND. N 88 DEGREES W 74.7 FEET (22.8 M) TO TOP OF FIRE HYDRANT, S 66 DEGREES W 111.5 FEET (34.0 M) TO POWER POLE NO. XP4-102 WITH GUY WIRE, N 56 DEGREES E 66.7 FEET (20.3 M) TO POWER POLE NO. M26380V WITH GUY WIRE.

AE4848 "S 1164 RESET" 1997 - Benchmark detail.
AE4848 "S 1164 RESET" 1997 - Benchmark and GPSr.
AE4848 "S 1164 RESET" 1997 - Benchmark setting and witness post.  The mark was found under 3 inches of topsoil.
AE4848 "S 1164 RESET" 1997 - Benchmark location setting and witness post.  The mark was found under 3 inches of topsoil.  View southeasterly.
AE4848 "S 1164 RESET" 1997 - Benchmark location setting and witness post.  The mark was found under 3 inches of topsoil.  View southwesterly.
AE4848 "S 1164 RESET" 1997 - Benchmark and GPSr.  View northeasterly toward the Independence Airport.
AE4848 "S 1164 RESET" 1997 - Benchmark coordinates and settled elevation.

2015-05-02

Wall Street Journal Article: "Forget Geocaching, Bench-Mark Hunting Is the New Nerdy Hobby"

Enthusiasts search for geodetic survey disks wherever they may be: cities, country roads, a man’s front yard.

By ERICA E. PHILLIPS
Updated May 2, 2015 12:36 a.m. ET
Please click HERE for a link to the full article at Wall Street Journal.



SPRINGVILLE, N.Y.—On an overcast spring morning in this Buffalo suburb, Robert Macomber, armed with a shovel, a hand-held GPS device and a photocopied topographic map, set off into a wooded area near the local country club’s 14th hole in search of quarry that might elude a less determined hunter.

The 62-year-old telecommunications specialist had driven nearly 200 miles from his Canfield, Ohio, home for this expedition. Neither a steep climb nor the surging creek below—high from the snow melt—was going to keep him from his purpose: locating a 3-inch-wide metal disk, pegged to an old bridge abutment and stamped: “U.S. COAST & GEODETIC SURVEY BENCH MARK.”

Before the day was done, he had measured, searched and dug for similar disks outside a Buick dealership, near an old railroad bed, in a friendly man’s front yard and at various spots along a two-lane country road. Of 14 bench marks he aimed to find, he located 11.

“Some guys go hunting, some guys go fishing, some guys play golf,” Mr. Macomber said. “I look for bench marks.”

The disks he found that day are part of a nationwide network of nearly 1 million similarly marked points whose information such as latitude, longitude and elevation are maintained in a government database. Data on these points is used for a variety of surveying and engineering purposes including drawing maps and laying roads or sewer lines. The bench marks—many well over 100 years old—were placed by surveyors atop high peaks, along important roadways, on the sides of public buildings, and everywhere in between.

Bench marks “are kind of like a skeleton or basic framework” for designing the nation’s infrastructure, said Malcolm Archer-Shee, a programmer who works with the National Geodetic Survey’s Integrated Database. The NGS is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is responsible for earth science research, from tracking the weather to monitoring the environmental health of the coasts.

A few years ago, Mr. Archer-Shee wrote a computer program showing hobbyists and professional surveyors where they can find bench marks. The program pulls coordinates and a description of the surroundings from the national database into Google Earth. But much information in the database he used was outdated and the measurements—recorded before the advent of GPS in many cases—were off.

Now, thanks to the work of volunteer hobbyists like Mr. Macomber, the national database is far more up-to-date. Upon locating, or “recovering,” a bench mark, these admittedly nerdy hunters meticulously record the GPS coordinates, the mark’s current condition and the measured distances from nearby points of interest. They then file a report and digital photographs to NGS—known as “recovery notes.”

According to Mr. Archer-Shee, about 80% of the recovery information in the national database is now crowdsourced in this manner.

An avid bench-mark hunter in his own right, he also contributes reports in his spare time. “It’s like a treasure hunt,” Mr. Archer-Shee said. “When you can find one that somebody hasn’t found in 50 years, it’s kind of an ego-boosting experience.”

Many in the small community of bench-mark hunters happened upon the hobby via their interest in geocaching—a sort of high-tech scavenger hunt where players hide an object and list its geographic coordinates on the website geocaching.com. The site now includes a dedicated page for beginning bench-mark hunters.

Jennifer Galas recorded coordinates and photographed a bench mark in Acadia National Park in Maine.
PHOTO:JENNIFER GALAS
Jennifer Galas, who met her husband through geocaching, said several years ago she saw a post on the site linking to the NGS database.

Since then, the Pennsylvania couple has focused their hunting efforts on bench marks. Together, they have located about 1,000. They even seek them out when they’re on vacation.

“When we go away, we don’t necessarily like to look at touristy things,” Ms. Galas said. “We like to find interesting little spots that people don’t know about.”

Kerry Brady and his wife have taken “at least six vacations where bench marks were either the primary or secondary reason for the vacation,” the Beaverton, Ore., man said. And they’ve been successful—encountering more than 500 marks across 23 states.

Mr. Brady says their destinations, among them Eastern Oregon and Northern Nevada, are “not where normal people would go on vacation.” But the couple gets a thrill out of their avocation.

In an online message board frequented by bench-mark hunters, Mr. Brady said he jokes with other users about “filming ‘the happy dance’—where you finally find one you’ve been looking for forever.”

Ken Wachter of San Diego distinguishes that kind of hunting from what he calls “urban bench-marking” or, as he puts it: “the easy ones on the sides of buildings.” Venturing into rural areas with a shovel and a metal detector, he said, is the real deal.

“It involves hiking,” he said. “I’ve dug for bench marks that were a foot and a half buried. That was real exciting.”

Their passion for this obscure endeavor connects them with the nation’s history, many of the hobbyists say. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln were surveyors, after all. In the survey’s earliest days, objects like bottles or stone jugs were buried to mark critical spots. Finding those types of bench marks, enthusiasts say, is like finding the “Holy Grail.”

The NGS’s former Chief Geodetic Surveyor, Dave Doyle, has watched the popularity of bench-mark hunting grow in recent years as people “from literally all walks of life” started using GPS devices and sharing their stories online. Mr. Doyle offers expertise to this community, answering questions in the forum and via email.

“This is a fairly esoteric science,” he said. “So every time you find somebody who says, ‘I know what that is,’ you get this big smile and you just want to hug them.”

Mr. Doyle still goes out hunting, too. Recently, he recovered a series of marks in North Carolina that had been set in 1838. “After a while, it just kind of gets in your blood,” he said.

Still, not everyone shares the excitement. Mr. Macomber’s wife, Debora, says when her husband found out about bench marks, “he just became smitten with it, he absolutely went nuts.” In roughly 10 years of hunting, he has sent in more than 6,000 recovery reports. He even looked for a few during their honeymoon in Key West.

He has recruited family members to go out hunting with him over the years, but rarely gets them to go twice, his wife said. “It’s fun for him,” she said, “but it’s not so much fun for everyone else.”