Geocaching Extreme Benchmark Hunting
 

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What is benchmark hunting?
  2. What is extreme benchmark hunting?
  3. There's an error in one of the extremes. How can I report it?
  4. Can I download the extremes for my state?
  5. How often are the statistics updated?
  6. My Geocaching.com benchmark count is higher than what's shown in the statistics table. What's wrong?
  7. I submitted recovery reports to the NGS, but they haven't been counted. What's wrong?
  8. What is counted by the statistics? Are NOT FOUNDs counted ?
  9. Hey, why isn't my name in the list?

What is benchmark hunting?
Benchmark hunting is a game / pastime / passion that involves searching for certain types of geodetic survey markers that have been placed and documented across the nation. Some of these markers date back to colonial times and have historical significance as well as scientific significance. Technically we hunt for geodetic control points instead of benchmarks, since the term "bench mark" is reserved for a particular type of control point that establishes elevation, or "vertical control". Other types of control points establish geographic latitude and longitude position, or "horizontal control".

The National Geodetic Survey (NGS) maintains a database of over 750,000 control points from every state and many territories. That database describes the control points and provides the basis for the game of benchmark hunting. The game is a variant of Geocaching, and is described in detail at the web site Geocaching.com.

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What is extreme benchmark hunting?
  Any time people participate in a game, there is desire to seek out the extremes. In the case of benchmark hunting, the extremes are found at the oldest, highest, lowest, most remote, or most difficult to find control points. Extreme benchmark hunting involves searching for those control points.

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There's an error in one of the extremes. How can I report it?
  The data is obtained from NGS datasheets, so the best solution is to have the datasheet corrected by contacting the NGS and describing the problem. You can contact the NGS directly, or you can seek the advice of the helpful members of Geocaching.com. Membership is free, so why not join? Once you are a member, you can post a message in the Groundspeak National Geodetic Survey forum where you can discuss the issue with a NGS representative and with other forum members.

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Can I download the extremes for my state?
  Not from this site. However, the NGS provides several ways to obtain datasheets at their web site.

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How often are the statistics updated?
  The NGS updates the datasheets monthly. Once the updates are available, they are downloaded to this site and analyzed. After the analysis is complete, the extremes and recovery statistics are updated.

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My Geocaching.com benchmark count is higher than what's shown in the statistics table. What's wrong?
  This site captures statistics once a month, when the NGS updates the datasheets in their database. At the same time, we gather the total number of Geocaching.com benchmark log entries for each geocacher who has reported recoveries to the NGS. A few other known geocachers are added to the statistics, even though they do not report recoveries to the NGS. We don't update our statistics until the next NGS update cycle, so the Geocaching log count shown here may be less than your current count at Geocaching.com.

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I submitted recovery reports to the NGS, but they haven't been counted. What's wrong?
  There is often a backlog for updates at the NGS and it may sometimes take months before you see your recovery reports appear in the datasheets. If you keep an eye on the datasheets to see when they get updated, then you can expect your statistics to change when the totals are updated at the beginning of the following month.

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What is counted by the statistics? Are NOT FOUNDs counted ?
  The Geocaching statistics count the number of benchmark log entries made at Geocaching.com. All benchmark log entries are counted: found, not found, destroyed, and notes.

The NGS statistics count the number of NGS recovery reports submitted under the GEOCAC organization code, as well as reports for some known individuals who submit under the INDIV organization code. All reports are counted, FOUND and NOT FOUND. The only exceptions are reports of DESTROYED stations, which are not counted because when a DESTROYED report is accepted by the NGS, the datasheet is removed from the database of "publishable" stations and not available in the downloads that are analyzed for statistics.

If two or more reports have been submitted for the same station, they each are counted.

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Hey, why isn't my name in the list?
  This site is not affiliated with Geocaching.com, so we don't have access to their database of members. We discover geocachers by looking at the GEOCAC recovery reports on NGS datasheets. If you don't appear in this list, you probably haven't reported any recoveries to the NGS.

That doesn't mean that you have to report to NGS, or even should, unless you understand their standards and procedures and are willing to adhere to them. The NGS datasheets are technical documents for professional use, and must be kept accurate.

The NGS welcomes the aid of Geocacher volunteers in documenting the status of the national network of control points, but we Geocachers should be certain of the accuracy of the information we provide. It is easy to mistakenly identify some kinds of markers, or to overlook a hard-to-find station. Before submitting reports, you should seek the advice of experienced volunteers at the Groundspeak National Geodetic Survey forum.

If you want to be included in this list, even though you don't report to NGS, then send us an email.

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