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Types and classifications of trigpoints

TYPES OF TRIGPOINT

Pillar

The classic trigpoint and a welcome sight for hill walkers everywhere! A concrete pillar about 4' high, with a flush bracket near the base and a circular plate on top with groves for mounting a theodolite. There are 6923 pillars listed in the T:UK database. Whilst most of them have fallen into disuse, about 231 of them are currently used in the Passive Station network.

FBM - Fundamental Benchmark

An underground chamber topped with a short granite pillar. The pillar contains an easily accessible height reference point, but the accurately measured level is underground where it is less likely to be disturbed. There are approximately 207 FBMs across the country and whilst many have fallen into disuse, about 200 have been incorporated into the National GPS Network as Passive Stations.

For a detailed breakdown of the different types of FBM, see Ian Richardson's FBM styles - A Pictorial Guide.

Surface block
Surface Block

Surface blocks are part of the network of Passive Stations. There are 1271 surface blocks in the T:UK database.

New style rivet Old style rivet
Rivet

Rivets are part of the network of Passive Stations. There are 1238 rivets in the T:UK database.

Berntsen

Berntsens are part of the network of Passive Stations. There are 105 Berntsens in the T:UK database. See www.berntsen.com.

Bolt

Bolts are part of the network of Passive Stations. There are 4281 bolts in the T:UK database.

Block

Blocks are part of the network of Passive Stations. There are 2021 blocks in the T:UK database.

Buried Block

Buried blocks are part of the network of Passive Stations. There are 2673 buried blocks in the T:UK database.

Centre

Centres are part of the network of Passive Stations. There is 0 centre in the T:UK database.

Active station
Active Station

There are 167 active stations in the T:UK database, (including those which are no longer used), which are sited at about 30 locations around the country. These are GPS receivers which constantly log their readings (known as Rinex data) on the Ordnance Survey website. This allows a very high level of positional accuracy to be achieved, without the need to physically occupy one of the Passive Stations.

Flush Bracket
Flush Bracket

Flush brackets were fixed to walls at 1 mile intervals between FBMs. They consist of a metal plate with a unique number. There is also a horizontal mark with three vertical marks pointing towards it from below (the same mark as was carved into walls for lower order benchmarks). Flush brackets which are fixed to walls are not included in the database. However, triangulation pillars also boast a flush bracket near their base. Of the 6923 pillars in our database, we only know the FB numbers of 6800 of them! Please help us fill in the gaps.



CURRENT USES

Not used

The vast majority of the old triangulation pillars, and most of the FBMs have fallen into disuse. While the Ordnance Survey have a database of their locations, it is not maintained and they have no interest in the current state of repair of individual trigpoints (unless they are a safety risk). A number of groups (eg the Ramblers Association) have "adopted" individual trigpoints and keep them in good repair. Passive stations which have been removed from the network will also fall into this category.

Active Station

There are currently 167 stations in the active network, located at about 30 sites across Great Britain. These are transmitters which, when used in conjunction with the Rinex data provided by the Ordnance Survey, allow a very high level of positional accuracy to be achieved, without the need to physically occupy one of the Passive Stations.

Passive Station

There are currently 1009 stations in the passive network. These are accurately surveyed locations around the country which, unlike traditional pillars and FBMs, are both easily accessible and give good accuracy for both position and height. An online database of passive stations is maintained by the Ordnance Survey.



HISTORIC USES

Not used

Most of the stations in the active and passive network are new and have no prior use.

Primary

A set of around 378 triangulation pillars constituted the primary network. These were surveyed between 1936 and 1962 and can be considered the "backbone" of the triangulation network.

Secondary

A set of around 2731 triangulation pillars constituted the secondary network. These "filled in the gaps" between the primary stations.

Fundamental Benchmark

An underground chamber topped with a short granite pillar. The pillar contains an easily accessible height reference point, but the accurately measured level is underground where it is less likely to be disturbed. There are approximately 207 FBMs across the country and these provided the primary layer of the "Ordnance Datum Newlyn". Levelling between these locations provided accurate height information, though the horizontal location was less well determined than for the triangulation pillars.

Active Station

Decommissioned active stations (see above).

Passive Station

Decomissioned passive stations (see above).



FOOTNOTE

You may have noticed that some of the figures given above are inconsistent. This is because the data held in this database is incomplete and often self contradictory. For example, the number FBMs in the country is quoted as being 207, whereas the number of trigpoints whose historic use was as a FBM is 207. This does not sit well with the assumption that no new FBMs have recently been built, eg for the passive network. It is hoped that as people log their finds on this site, we will in time build up a better picture of what's out there, and "clean up" the data in the database.




The TrigpointingUK database is owned and maintained by Ian Harris (Teasel). The TrigTools pages are provided by Barry Hunter. Contact us.