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Narnian Rockhound

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Everything posted by Narnian Rockhound

  1. I'll just share my own opinion - as a person who is a big fan of EarthCaches, as one who has found about 50 of them, as an owner of about 3 of them, and as a professor of geoscience at the college level. I think that grace is better than the letter of the law. I have seen how people attempt to log my ECs, and I've seen a lot of COs comment about their responsibility to make sure the logs meet the criteria, and I've experienced trying to log other people's EarthCaches. Seeing the experience from a lot of sides helps in how I think about it. Frankly, I've come to the conclusion that I think many COs take this stuff way too seriously, and all they seem to care about is protecting the "purity" of the logs, so that ZERO fake logs get through the process. The problem is, this gets to the point that it can really lose the "fun" aspect entirely. Many COs are adamant about not wanting to allow any disingenuous logs to be filed, and so they toe the line hard on what it takes to log the cache. I understand their passion and I appreciate their zeal, but I think that some of them take it too far. Yes, EarthCaching should should require the cache logger to demonstrate something educational, but it should also be fun and inspiring. The Geological Society of America wants people to learn about geology, and this is a great way for that to happen. I think if we as COs work too hard to make sure there are no "fake logs", then we run the risk of ruining the experience for the vast majority of people who are trying to enjoy the outdoors, learn something new, and log their caches. As a CO, I'd rather err on the side of letting a few fake logs through the process than ruin the experience for everyone else. I've been to a few sites where the questions were so bizarre that we just decided that cache wasn't worth logging, because the CO had sucked all the fun out of it. And let's face it, if someone really wants to cheat, it's not that hard today with the information available on the web, no matter how hard COs try to make sure that an actual visit to the site is required (and yes, we try, and should). But I mean, think about the person who's making fake logs - that person has got to be pretty lame to live their life like that, cheating at an online free "game". What kind of a loser does that?!? Most people who do this are genuinely putting in a reasonable effort. I've had people get the questions so completely and utterly wrong before that I would have sworn they never visited the site - but they post a picture of themselves smiling and having a good time at the cache site that I realize that they aren't trying to cheat, they just really didn't understand what I was asking for. Lame people just trying to create fake logs aren't really into EarthCaching, and so they aren't going to stick around for something they really don't care about for very long. They'll be gone before too long, and a few fake logs won't damage the community. So as to the original post, personally I think 5 questions is just too many. That's a lot of details for any person who visits the site to record, and I think 3 questions would make for a better experience for the geocaching community. And I would encourage grace when it comes to the logs, and not be a real stickler for exact answers to exact questions.
  2. I left feedback in the Google Play Store for the new Geocaching app, but it's so frustrating that I felt the need to express my disappointment here also. This new app is so incredibly frustrating for us basic users. If you're a premium member maybe it's awesome, it might be, but for us basic members it sure feels like getting crapped on, especially when we already shelled out $10 for the old app that now lies dormant and ignored. The new app is loaded with all kinds of restrictions asking you to upgrade to premium that don't exist on the website. A cache that's over 1.5 difficulty or terrain? That's a premium. Earthcache? That's a premium. Sorting and filtering? That's a premium. This feels like GC decided to take a crap on the heads of a whole lot of long-time, loyal fans who've been good contributors for many years. And from the reviews on the Play Store, it's clear I'm not alone in this. If someone shells out $10 for an app, they expect that app to be useful for a good long time. I know apps are cheap, but that's the market, and $10 is a LOT of money for an app. So I hope GC will rethink this and continue to treat us basic members as a valued part of the community, and continue to support the "classic" app.
  3. Really wish I could attend this event! Maine has amazing geology! Unfortunately, the distance is too far for me. I do hope the event is a huge success and that many more are planned in the future, in locations all around the US. (and the world, for that matter!)
  4. I would urge folks not to worry so much about the "armchair" cachers. Yes, the answers to a lot of EarthCaches can be obtained by an internet search. But so what? If a few people log your EC without having actually visited the site, what difference does it make? They only cheat themselves. The vast majority of cachers don't do this. Most cachers are good folk. Let's give each other a break and not make EarthCache "found it" logs too much like a police interrogation. Keep it fun, and don't worry about the dorks who feel some weird need to log EarthCaches that they've not actually visited. They cause you no harm, and they'll probably get bored with it after a few "finds" anyway.
  5. To the GeoEduCaching Community- I am interested in some ideas for puzzle caches that are specifically designed to help teach/learn about geography, more specifically about GPS and lat./long. coordinate systems. What is essential is that the puzzle be somehow related to thinking about one's lat./long. position and distances to other positions. I'm looking for ideas that could be developed into local geocaches just about anywhere and used by teachers on a field trip day to help students learn about geography and the technology. For example, one puzzle cache might be to give starting coordinates, then state that the actual cache is 1000' due East of the posted coordinates. To solve the puzzle & find the cache, the cacher has know how to use the GPS coordinates to travel due East by looking at the lat./long. numbers only (and of course the answer is that the latitude value of the cache would be identical to the starting location). The cacher would also need to think about how he/she will use the GPS to know when he/she is 1000' away from the starting point (and the easiest way to do this is to input the starting point as a POI and walk away from it until 'distance to POI' is 1000'). Other ideas for such puzzle caches that teach geographical knowledge?
  6. All- I did some searching today and discovered that Siccar Point is not set up as an EC. I'm shocked!! Historically this is one of the most important places on the planet for human understanding of geology. It is the place where James Hutton, the father of igneous petrology, established the principles of uniformitarianism (well, one of them anyway). It is probably the most cited example of an angular unconformity in the world, maybe a close second to the one in the Grand Canyon. IT IS A CLASSIC. People, this is not right! :-) FYI, it is located at 55.931414,-2.301421. Seriously though, if any geocachers near Edinburgh, Scotland, want to set this up but need some long distance geological expertise in doing so, contact me and I'd be glad to help.
  7. I bet you're talking about GC1GRQ0 The Marmoraton - I've done that one!
  8. Thanks for the hints & suggestions from everyone! Let's keep them coming. What's the most interesting logging requirement you've found in ECs you've visited? I liked one from GC1Y4E8 LaSalle Canyon, located here in Illinois. Requirement 3 asks the cacher to use his/her GPSr to measure the length of the canyon from one point on a bridge near the mouth of the stream, all the way back up into the canyon where there is a really nice waterfall. A good use of GPS technology.
  9. Is this information still available in a previous database (maybe a back up somewhere?) If the old classification is still available, it would make it much easier to get the GC.com caches updated, even if it was in the description or title (as in VOL-Hawaii Volcanoes N.P-Calder and Crater or SPR-Thermal Spring) or some such thing. I've updated databases this way, and while not the best choice, sometimes it's better than creating a new table column, sometimes not. Just a suggestion. Its a good suggestion....but we still have 5000 not classiflied...a huge number! Maybe we can get some volunteers (hint, hint) to help? Geoaware I'm happy to help with the EC classifications.
  10. There are a number of challenge caches out there related to ECs, some are related to the total number found, others to the category of cache found. Folks have already posted these, which are all category related: Houston (GC1Z4PZ) Washington (GC1WY05) Oregon (GC2J533; premium members only) near Chicago (GC24G20) Wisconsin (the tic tac toe one near Milwaukee, GC1A1Q8). These are also out there, which are related to total # EC finds, not categories: Indianapolis (GC1A8GC, combines ECs w/ virtuals) a bunch in Ann Arbor, MI (starting with GC2AM0Y & going up in the number of finds up to 500, which no one has yet found; you can see all of them on the map view as they are all close by one another)
  11. We're all aware that ECs must require cachers to answer questions that can only be answered at the EC site, questions that are educational in nature & relate to the Earth science evidence at hand. I know many find it difficult to come up with logging requirements that are interesting, related to the site, etc.; at times I also have to rack my brain to get the creative juices flowing, and in a case I describe below I've hit a brick wall. Plus, the activities have to be doable with very little geologic knowledge. So, I thought perhaps we could give one another thoughts in this regard that might help spark some ideas. Some tasks I've asked people to do in my ECs: 1) use a protractor to measure the angle of a plane from horizontal. 2) count the number of layers of a rock feature 3) estimate the length of a geologic feature 4) estimate the height of a package of rocks 5) prod at some "rocks" with a knife to see which ones are rotten & weathered I've got a great location in mind for another EC where there is a gorgeous black & white gneiss*. There isn't much I can think of to have folks do at the site - I can't think of anything to measure or estimate or whatever. The site is also the location of a nice waterfall, which is pretty & all, but I want to bring people there to learn about the rocks... and there are a million waterfall ECs out there. So... what have you all asked people to do? What requirements have you seen out there that you thought were really good ones? Any suggestions for a spectacular gneiss location? *For those who don't know, a gneiss is a high-grade (i.e., was really hot & deep in the crust) metamorphic rock that has layers of alternating minerals/colors, often black & white.
  12. Ok, so I just discovered this evening that the categories for EarthCaches have been removed from the listings at the EarthCache.org website. I'm confused by this, and will be sorely disappointed if they do not return. Can anyone shed some light on what's going on?? I haven't seen this topic here in the forum, but I suppose it is possible I missed some announcement. There are several EC challenge caches out there based on finding one EC for each category, and I was 2 caches away from completing the darn thing. I do hope they come back.
  13. I would like to add, in as graceful a manner as possible, that there are a couple of the "10 Best" ECs that are not in compliance with the 2011 or even the 2010 guidelines. Holding up an EC as a great example for all that violates the guidelines is a bit hypocritical. While I'm sure that there is no ill intended, these "10 Best" ECs need to lead by example if they are going to be given such a noble recognition. Best to all in the New Year, and let's all keep working to make EarthCaching even better.
  14. I have completed modifying my 3 ECs to make the photograph requirement optional. I encourage others to do the same & comply with the new guidelines. I would also ask again that GeoAware please post further clarification on when pictures can be required when writing up an EC. The information given so far is minimal and leaves a number of unanswered questions, and I don't know where else to look for better understanding.
  15. This seems counter-intuitive. Most Earthcache owners aren't deleters. Depriving yourself of all future Earthcaches because one cache owner was a jerk doesn't make any sense, and it certainly won't affect a cache owner who treated you badly. The best revenge is living well. If I ever get deleted, I'll keep finding Earthcaches, and I'll keep rewarding the good ones with favourite points! Good words! Live well! Shrug off the bad & move on with a positive attitude.
  16. I completely agree with the sentiments you express here, and I've done much of that as well. I definitely want to be helpful as a cache owner, and not some kind of "bouncer" keeping people out of the club! But it's going to be a lot harder to help people & work with them when they don't post photos and you as the cache owner have serious questions about whether they actually visited the site. If someone completes the logging requirements correctly, then there's no problem. It is those that don't do this correctly where it will be more difficult. And maybe the geoaware folks don't really care how well we as owners verify finds, I don't know. Some guidance there would be helpful.
  17. THOSE ARE FANTASTIC!! So cool. Thanks for sharing!
  18. I agree completely with you here. The "take a picture of yourself" ECs went too far, and I'm glad the change was made last year to eliminate that. I don't think taking a picture that you are personally uncomfortable with and that provides no educational value, should be required. ECs shouldn't be that limiting. I'm not sure if you are directing this at me, but it seems to respond to some specific things I said. I do empathize with your situation. You shouldn't have to know much about geology to do an EC - the whole point of them is to help folks like yourself who don't know much about geology to learn more about this fantastic Earth of ours. And that's why I create ECs - so other people can learn about geology! Because it's fantastic! And so ECs need to be written at an appropriate level. But they still can be a challenge - a fun challenge. A chance to learn something new or better. And if using a protractor is part of that, then so be it - take up the challenge, and it will be worth it. As to the answers - I'm certainly not, and neither are most EC owners I know, expecting the answers to be "perfect", as you stated. The mistakes I wrote about in my previous post are significant, enormous errors - like if the answer is supposed to be 25, and people give you an answer of 142. It happens. And yes, some ECs are pretty serious - but ECs are an educational experience by design, and education must be taken seriously or it ceases to be, well, educational. And as to camera/GPS being one unit, no problem! Almost anything can be used for scale - a coin, an umbrella, a hat, whatever. The point I tried to make with my previous post is simply this: what am I expected to do, as an EC owner, when the answer is supposed to be 35 and I get an answer of 267? From the numbers alone, I would have to conclude that the person didn't really visit the site, or if they did, they really didn't have a clue of what they were doing. But how am I supposed to know which one it is, if they cannot answer the questions correctly and they can't provide some kind, any kind, of photographic evidence to help me out? When people post a photograph (note again that I never ask for anything personal, like a face), it helps me to know how to approach them. And furthermore, again I'll reiterate that taking good quality photographs is part of a field geologist's daily work - it is part of the educational process to document physical evidence. The bottom line is this: If any and all photographs are optional, fine. I'll change my ECs to reflect that, and I'll abide by the guidelines, and it won't be a problem. But when people send answers to the questions that are grossly in error, and choose to not provide a photo, I will have to let them know that they failed to answer the questions correctly and request that they try again. I won't nit-pick on tiddly little things - if they are close to the right answers, that's good enough for me, and it should be for all ECs. It is the ones who submit answers that are totally out in left field that will be a problem (such as saying 200 when the true answer is more like 35). If they provide a photo, that gives me what I need to extend a bit more grace and try to help them understand where they went wrong because I know they've been there. But again, I'll reiterate that I need some additional clarification from Geoaware on when photos are allowable, and when they are not. The two examples given so far are helpful, but don't answer all of the questions. Clearly from the examples, sometimes photos are allowable, and that is what needs to be clearly communicated so that we can all understand.
  19. I could use some clarification on the new photo request guidelines. I have created & submitted 3 ECs in the past year, all of which have a photo requirement, and all of which were approved without any question in regard to this being part of the cache under the 2010 guidelines. As a geologist, I consider the field photograph as part of the training - geologists nearly always document their field work with good, careful photographs, and I have made this clear in the caches I've placed. As an educator, I consider the field photograph to be the best assessment tool I have to use. I thought the change last year was a good one, to eliminate the unnecessary requirements of some caches that insisted on including the cacher's face in the picture, for example. I've made sure the photos I've asked for are part of the learning process for the finder. In two of the caches I own, I ask for a photograph of the geologic object that includes an object for scale. This is a critical part of documenting field work in geology, and in my opinion is a perfectly reasonable request for an EarthCache. A "for scale" object can be anything the finder wants it to be so long as it accomplishes the goal of giving appropriate size information. Many objects in geology are fractal in nature and can look very similar at grossly different scales; I think this in itself is a great lesson to learn about the Earth. Secondly, as a cache owner, the photograph allows me to see with confidence if the finder has actually found the object they are supposed to be looking for. Other cache owners have made this argument in the past - that the photograph is what they need for proof of finding the cache. This has been responded to by saying that the cache must include field determinations that can only be done on-site. In theory, I think this is reasonable - but in practice it is not. Even though I have logging requirements that can only be determined on site (and I agree that all caches should have this), the fact is that many people who have no training in the field as geologists make mistakes, gross mistakes, when they are making measurements. Even very basic field measurements such as the height or length of some geologic object can be missed, and the more difficult the measurement, the more likely the average geocacher is to making a mistake. In one of my caches, I ask finders to measure the angle of a plane from horizontal with a protractor - wow can people goof that up big time! There are many reasons as to why this can happen and I've seen it many times over just the past few months when people log the ECs I own. The fact is that people with no training in geology often simply don't see the rocks the way a trained geologist does, and they won't necessarily know what they are looking at or if they are looking at the wrong thing. Misinterpretations happen. There have been several logs of my ECs where I would have sworn that the person logging the cache couldn't possibly have visited the site based on the answers they gave to the questions - but their photograph proved they were there. I would argue, therefore, that the photograph is the ONLY reliable way for a cache owner to know that the cacher actually found the cache - onsite measuring requirements are not always reliable due to the nature of the game. Having the picture allows me as the cache owner to email the cacher back and help them understand what mistakes they made in their measurements and perhaps what they could have done differently for the future. It helps me to give them guidance & help, because I can be confident that their incorrect answer is not due to a lack of trying. As an educator of Earth science, that's a big part of it that I enjoy - helping people really learn about their planet. Without the photograph requirement, I believe I would have to be more stringent with the other logging requirements. And based on my experience with the answers people give, I know that some people who genuinely visit the site will submit completely erroneous answers. This I fear will lead to more "he said/she said" situations that I'd really like to avoid. In the third cache I own (GC2GP79 Sword in the Stone), I ask for a photograph of a knife stuck in a paleosol. The idea behind this cache is for cachers to discover old, weathered rock that is now buried beneath younger sedimentary rocks by prodding the rocks/paleosol with a knife. In doing so, I'm hoping that the cacher will discover that the granitic gneiss below the sedimentary rocks is hard & stiff at the bottom, but progressively softer & weaker where it is weathered at the top. You can't really tell this by simply looking at the rocks, it takes some poking to figure it out. The photograph the cacher posts is one part of their answer that shows me whether they were really able to get this or not. So please elaborate on what "exceptions" will be made for photograph requirements, including some examples (feel free to look at mine and use them as examples if you wish - GC2GP79, GC2H0W6, and GC26CM1) so that I can better understand what is expected of cache owners & finders. And thanks for working hard to make EarthCaching an enjoyable & educational hobby! I love this stuff!
  20. Well I don't know anything about the CO you are talking about, or the age of other EC developers (but I would bet most are much older than 14). And I can understand not wanting to put a lot of effort in just to see it rejected. But sometimes you just have to persevere and push through - take the bad with the good, shake it off, and try to see it to completion. And that's a great lesson to learn at 14. And yeah, some cachers do leave a bad taste in the mouth, but I think you just have to move on and shrug off the jerks in life.
  21. None of the ECs I've planted come from the state I live in. Go for it.
  22. For my first EC, GC26CM1, I was asked to bring it down to the correct reading level. Basically the problem was that I used too much geology lingo/jargon in the original writing that I didn't explain. So I had to fix that.
  23. With the recent publication of GC2GP79 "Sword in the Stone" (which is not yet found yet up in Ontario, BTW), I can now announce that I've reached Platinum. For me it was creating of them that was the slow part, not the finding. I've found over 50 in 11 states plus Canada. Now what's next, Palladium? Titanium? Zirconium? How about Lanthanum? That's a pricey commodity these days...
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