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The red pushpins indicate points that have already been visited.


In February of 1996, my friend and co-worker Dick Jarrett told me that his son Alex had started a project on the web called the “Degree Confluence Project”.  My immediate question was “What in the world is a degree confluence?”  Answer: degree confluences are the points on the earth where a latitude and longitude line intersect.  For example, the closest point to Westminster is 43 degrees North 72 degrees West in Hancock, New Hampshire.  The point is out in the middle of the woods, as many of these points are.  In fact, this was the first point ever visited.  In 1996, a grand total of 2 points were visited and documented for this project.  In 2008, there were 1,144 points documented for what is now a total of 5,717 points (and 83,000 photos from 181 countries!) that cover 35% of the land-based points on the earth!  
 
About a year ago it occurred to me to take a look on Google Earth and see how many MINUTE confluence points there might be in Westminster (each degree is divided into 60 minutes).  It turns out there are 36.  So I thought it might be a cool idea to get pictures at each of the Westminster Minute Confluence points and tie it in to the 250th Anniversary by taking pictures at each of these same points 25 or 50 years from now (maybe 25 is best since I’ll be a young 74 years old at that point and I’m less sure about making it to a young 99 ;-).
There is a list of the points below. Check out the list and see if there are any near your house. If you don't have a GPS, click here to email Jen Shenk to borrow one for this project! To find out more about the project and see some of the photos taken at the confluence points, follow these links to go to the DCP home page or visit the Degree Confluence Stats page.
 
The first point I did is the point closest to my house (click here to view).  It’s out in a beaver pond that was just barely frozen over and in photographing it I got just a little bit wet due to what my wife would deem stupidity, but which I prefer to call a “learning experience”. 
 
For anyone who wants to help photograph the rest, get your GPS and find your way to one of the points (especially if you live at N31 W53 which looks like it’s inside your house or any of the half dozen or so points that are in someone’s yard).  Chances are there’s one not too far from where you live.  Take (at least) a picture of the GPS reading when you get to the point, then take a picture in each compass direction for a total of 5 pictures (or 9 if you want to do NW, NE, SW, and SE) and email them to davidjcouture@gmail.com.  Include the story of your getting to the point if you want and you’ll have eternal glory in Westminster for ages to come :-)

TIPS AND LESSONS LEARNED:
- Wear boots.  Odds are you're going to run into wet ground somewhere in the woods and boots are less likely to get sucked off your feet when you step into hidden muck ;-)
- Wear long sleeves and long pants.  You're often walking through bushes, brush, and branches and tend to get scratched up quite a bit if your arms and legs aren't covered.
- Bring a compass.
- Write down your coordinates at your starting point.  Once you've made it to the confluence, if you're deep in the woods, it may be difficult working backwards without knowing where you're heading to.
- If you're hoping to get a picture of any wildlife, you'd better have your camera ready at all times.  When I was was walking through the woods for 32'N 56'W, I just caught sight of a deer's large white tail as it disappeared out of sight.


 

Westminster
30'N 54'W - Mount Wachusett
#8 - 2009-Nov-7

30'N 55'W - Lanes Road
#22 - 2010-Jul-05

31'N 52'W - Near Crow Hill
#21 - 2010-Apr-05

31'N 53'W - Wyman’s Pond (Inside of House?!)

31'N 54'W - West Princeton Road (In a Front Yard)

31'N 55'W - Davis Road
#5 - 2009-Oct-10

31'N 56'W - Mare Meadow
#14 - 2010-Jan-17
31'N 57'W - Knower Road
#1 - 2009-Mar-14


32'N 51'W - Landfill
#20 - 2010-Mar-21

32'N 52'W - Notown Road


32'N 53'W - Wyman's Pond
#16 - 2010-Jan-21

32'N 54'W - Worcester Road
#2 - 2009-Sep-24

32'N 55'W - Meetinghouse Pond
#15 - 2010-Jan-21

32'N 56'W - Minott Road
#7 - 2009-Nov-1

32'N 57'W - Minott Road
#23 - 2010-Oct-10

32'N 58'W - Kurikka Place

33'N 52'W - Depot Road

33'N 53'W - State Road East

33'N 54'W - Town Farm Road

33'N 55'W - Aubuchon Distribution Center
#13 - 2010-Jan-16

33'N 56'W - Westminster Country Club
#18 - 2010-Feb-14

33'N 57'W - Livermore Hill Road (right next to LNG facility)
#9 - 2009-Nov-15

34'N 52'W - Monty Tech (about 1/2 mile NNW of school)
#19 - 2010-Feb-20

34'N 53'W - Crocker Pond
#3 - 2009-Oct-4

34'N 54'W - North Common Road
#11 - 2009-Nov-29

34'N 55'W - Overlook Road (in woods near easement)
#17 - 2010-Jan-26

34'N 56'W - Colony Road
#12 - 2009-Nov-29

35'N 52'W - Bean Porridge Hill Road (in woods off of Sawyer Road)

35'N 53'W - Bean Porridge Hill Road (in woods near golf course)

35'N 54'W - Intersection of Oakmont Ave. & S. Ashburnham Road

35'N 55'W - East Gardner Road (Wildlife Management Area)
#10 - 2009-Nov-22

36'N 52'W - Route 12 (between houses)

36'N 53'W - Between Bean Porridge and Bragg Hill (near Muddy Pond)
#24 - 2011-Jan-17

36'N 54'W - Bragg Hill Road (between two houses)

36'N 55'W - Oakmont High School
#4 - 2009-Oct-4


37'N 52'W - Dean Hill Road
#6 - 2009-Oct-17