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Forum Index -> Trail Talk -> Geodetic benchmark types
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puzzlr
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Post Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:26 pm    Geodetic benchmark types
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I ran across the above illustration in a display case in the "Castle" at the top of Whiteface mountain in the Adirondacks. Googling led me to the source at CONTROL LEVELING, a NOAA publication. Knowing these variations should make it more interesting when found on peaks. I picked a benchmark photo at random from this site and it's type #2, a "reference mark" (thanks jimk). I wonder how hard it would be to "collect" all 11, or if more have been added since 1941.

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JimK
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Post Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:35 pm   
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That's new info to me. Thanks for posting Monte. Near the benchmark above is this one, a #1.


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Magellan
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Post Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:53 pm   
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Very interesting. up.gif
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veronica
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Post Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:57 pm   
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Yes, very interesting... now I have something else to take a picture of!  clown.gif

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HitTheTrail
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Post Tue Jul 13, 2010 7:02 am   
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I bagged two different types in one day on Remmel last week.


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kleet
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Post Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:30 am   
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The one you have labeled Remmel Summit Bench Mark is actually just a reference mark. RMs are set to aid in locating benchmarks or triangulation stations (the arrow on a RM points toward the actual monument). Here's the station info on the one you found: "REFERENCE MARK NO 1, A STANDARD BRONZE DISK REFERENCE MARK WITH THE ARROW POINTING TOWARD THE STATION, IS WEDGED IN A DRILL HOLE IN A BOULDER 14.71 METERS FROM THE USC&GS STATION IN BEARING 114 DEGREES 08 MINUTES 08 SECONDS."
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HitTheTrail
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Post Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:36 am   
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kleet wrote:
The one you have labeled Remmel Summit Bench Mark is actually just a reference mark.

OH, you are so picky. Anyway thanks for keeping me honest!
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Criminal
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Post Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:31 am   
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There's a reference mark on the west summit of Col Bob that points off to nowhere, sort of south.  I've scoured the summit for the Station Mark (as close to the edge as I dare to go) but never found it.  The ref mark seems to point almost, but not quite, towards Gibson far in the distance- too far really to make it a useful reference.  The odd thing is that I've  never found it, or the RM in the USGS database.

The tiny and seldom visited east summit of Col Bob has this marker:
Also not in the database, but oddly enough appears on the topo map as a + sign on the summit (I think that's what that's there for):

The nearest set of markers in the database are the ones on Mt. O'Neil (aka Baldy) off to the west.  I took this pic with my GPS sitting on it and somehow managed to forget to take a picture of just the marker:
I found most of the RMs on O'Neil except the cross chiseled inside a circle on the rock face.  I forgot to take my notes so I did a cursory look around without success.

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kleet
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Post Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:28 am   
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The NGS datasheets report both Col (SY1831) and Col Bob Lookout House (SY1830) as being destroyed. As you said, the closest marker is the one you found on Baldy.
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Criminal
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Post Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:33 am   
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kleet wrote:
The NGS datasheets report both Col (SY1831) and Col Bob Lookout House (SY1830) as being destroyed. As you said, the closest marker is the one you found on Baldy.

The first picture in my post is the marker on Col Bob, so it's not destroyed.  The west summit marker may well have been destroyed, but the east summit marker is alive and well.

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wamtngal
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Post Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:39 am   
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So the markers with the triangle and the dot in the middle -- triangulation stations -- are the true summit markers...while the others are reference ones...interesting. Never really thought about those symbols much.

Now everyone who has suspected that they reached a certain summit in whiteout conditions can go back, look at their "summit marker" photos and confirm. That blows.  lol.gif
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Criminal
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Post Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:42 am   
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wamtngal wrote:
So the markers with the triangle and the dot in the middle -- triangulation stations -- are the true summit markers...while the others are reference ones...interesting. Never really thought about those symbols much.

Now everyone who has suspected that they reached a certain summit in whiteout conditions can go back, look at their "summit marker" photos and confirm. That blows.  lol.gif

No, they are not summit markers, the summit is often just an easy place to put (and use) one and later be able to find it again.  There are many thousands of them at every elevation.  They're basically survey markers used by G-man surveyors.

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wamtngal
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Post Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:47 am   
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I know BMs are all over the place...and I realize not every summit has them...many do though. I looked at one of my summit photos -- and it had the triangulation marker on it, so I assumed most summits would have that marker.

I looked at another "summit" photo (taken in whiteout conditions on what I had suspected was the top of a certain peak) and it had a reference marker on it. I was assuming you could identify if you reached a true summit or not by IDing the benchmark. At least you'll know if you didn't reach the true summit if the BM you find is labeled with a ref marker, which points to the actual summit -- or "monument" as kleet put it (and the "summit" photo was labeled with the peak name).

Does that clarify things for you?

I would love it if someone explained if it is likely that summits have triangulation markers on them or if they can have a reference marker...that means I don't have to go back and tag the true summit of the one I mentioned above.  wink.gif Really I'm just curious.
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Malachai Constant
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Post Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:47 am   
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Benchmark Hunting is a variant of Geocaching as I am sure Criminal is aware. nerd.gif

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Criminal
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Post Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:58 am   
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wamtngal wrote:
I know BMs are all over the place...and I realize not every summit has them...many do though. I looked at one of my summit photos -- and it had the triangulation marker on it, so I assumed most summits would have that marker.

I looked at another "summit" photo (taken in whiteout conditions on what I had suspected was the top of a certain peak) and it had a reference marker on it. I was assuming you could identify if you reached a true summit or not by IDing the benchmark. At least you'll know if you didn't reach the true summit if the BM you find is labeled with a ref marker, which points to the actual summit -- or "monument" as kleet put it (and the "summit" photo was labeled with the peak name).

Does that clarify things for you?

Well, the marker may or may not necessarily be placed on the "true summit".  I don't know the criteria they use, but I'd think it would include rock stability, re-find-ability, and usability (they have to erect a stand over the marker to mount the measuring equipment).  That might be the true summit, but then again, it might not.

I would also venture that they prefer to sink a Station Mark into a relatively level surface.  I've seen RMs mounted in vertical rock faces, but I don't recall ever seeing a Station mounted that way.

Someone familiar with surveying could probably speak more authoritatively on the subject.  As mentioned above, Benchmarking is an offshoot of geocaching so the appropriate forum has a wealth of information as well.

I find them interesting because of their age and because they give you a written route to some interesting places that aren't in any trail guidebooks.  When I climbed up on Mt. O'Neil I used the directions from the 1941 survey to find the best route up there.  It was some fascinating detective work to try to take the directions written almost 70 years prior and translate them to the current landscape.  For example, I never knew the Colonel Bob Trail used to be known as the Ewell Creek Trail; it took some research (and a lucky break) to make the connection.

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