A fixed, more or less permanent reference point or object of known elevation; the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) installs brass caps in bridge abutments or otherwise permanently sets bench marks at convenient locations nationwide; the elevations on these marks are referenced to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD), also commonly known as mean sea level (MSL); locations of these bench marks on USGS topographic maps are shown as small triangles; since the marks are sometimes destroyed by construction or vandalism, the existence of any bench mark should be field verified before planning work which relies on a particular reference point; the USGS or local state surveyors office can provide information on the existence, exact location and exact elevation of bench marks.
Selected bench mark links:
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