Benchmarking (hobby)

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**History and Growth of Benchmarking**
– Survey markers in the U.S. set over 100 years ago.
– Surge in creating marks in the U.S. from about 1930 to 1955.
– Benchmarking popularity since 1995.
– Online data availability and hobbyist-oriented websites fueling growth.

**Data Sources and Tools for Benchmarking**
– National Geodetic Survey (NGS) database with around 740,000 benchmarks.
– Various entities responsible for setting marks.
– Use of digital cameras, compasses, probes, GPS receivers, metal detectors in benchmark hunting.
– Unique codes for data retrieval and precise coordinates of marks.

**Description and Challenges of Survey Markers**
– Appearance and material of survey markers worldwide.
– U.S. markers commonly bronze discs in various settings.
– Engravings on marks and their specific purposes in surveying.
– Challenges like mistaken reports, changes in the environment affecting marks.

**Typical Locations of Survey Markers**
– U.S. marker locations: mountains, ridge lines, bridges, public buildings.
– UK benchmarks at corners of pubs, churches, and recreational trig-pointing.
– Active trig points for triangulation and GPS comparisons.

**Miscellaneous Information**
– Popular culture reference: Marvin Marker cartoon character.
– References and external links for further exploration and study in benchmarking and related activities.

Benchmarking, also known as benchmark hunting, is a hobby activity in which participants find benchmarks (also known as survey markers or geodetic control points). The term "benchmark" is used only to refer to survey markers that designate a certain elevation, but hobbyists often use the term benchmarks to include triangulation stations or other reference marks. Like geocaching, the activity has become popular since 1995, propelled by the availability of online data on the location of survey marks (with directions for finding them) and by the rise of hobbyist-oriented websites.

A person taking a photo of a located benchmark
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