Day 140

National Geodetic Survey benchmark

May 18th, 2012

This little monument marks a point, surveyed under the auspices of the National Geodetic Survey (NGS), whose position and elevation are known with a high degree of accuracy. There are hundreds of thousands of such markers around the US, and, as part of the National Spatial Reference System, they can be used as benchmarks to determine the exact location of other points of interest. Having this common ground for measurements is important for providing a correspondence between maps and reality; so that, say, when a road is designed in a certain location, it can be built exactly where it was intended.

According to the engraved text, the penalty for disturbing this marker is a $250 fine or imprisonment. Considering it's embedded in a piece of concrete that's just sitting on the ground, I would guess that it has in fact been disturbed since its installation in 1932. Its NGS data sheet indicates that it hasn't been inspected since 1997; perhaps some construction in the last 15 years has displaced it.


  1. Ben says:

    According to this sucker:

    and the coordinates previous, looks like it may have been moved if your geotagging is correct for the photo.

  2. Michelle says:

    Actually these things are like icebergs, there’s a GIANT pile of concrete below the surface. I’ve seen one of them that was torn up. It’s hefty!

  3. tna says:

    So no geocache prize underneath?

  4. David says:

    Damn you and your information. Now I have to go look at all NGS sites that I’ve been to.

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