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TommyGator

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  1. Keep in mind that completion logs are not required with AdLabs. That is, someone may properly visit all the AdLab stages, find and log the Bonus, but never submit an AdLab log. There are many reasons why people might not be comfortable writing their "log in the field," and may not post the completion log until later, or completely forget (or decide not) to do so. As a consequence, a Bonus CO has no way of knowing, for sure, all who have completed the AdLab. Unfortunately, the current AdLab process makes it really difficult to go back afterwards to post a log, especially if you have just completed multiple AdLabs. Unlike "normal" caches where you can enter a GC number and go right to the cache's web page to view/enter/or edit logs, AdLabs involve that you use the app to : 1) First, enter your profile to unhide your completed AdLabs. 2) Scroll across the map and try to find the "pin" for the AdLab(s) you completed. If, with the growing proliferation of AdLabs, you have already completed a bunch of them in that area, this may take some trial and error. a. Of course, you *could* use the "hamburger menu" to get a list of AdLabs---but based on your CURRENT position. If you traveled to get the AdLab and are no longer in that area, this becomes more difficult. 3) Once found, enter or edit the completion log. 4) Go back into your profile to re-hide your completed AdLabs. 5) This, of course, implies that you remembered or noted which particular AdLab you hadn't logged. Unlike "normal" caches, there is no way (to my knowledge) to get a list of your completed AdLab logs. (For "normal" caches, your "normal" logs for the last 30 days are readily available under your profile). It would be nice if, on the list of completed AdLabs under one's profile, one could link to the activity logs.
  2. Unfortunately, you can't contact the CO via the app. You can, however, report a problem to whomever monitors the "Report this Adventure" mailbox. If you don't mind flipping between apps and poking around, you can try to contact a CO through the Official Geocaching App or via the GC website. I have contacted a CO while in the field and had favorable results, even though it took some finagling between apps to do it. However, I was fortunate in that the CO in this instance was actively monitoring his messages and was still an active geocacher. Since AdLabs are quite new, most COs probably fall into this category because AdLabs haven't been around long enough for many people to abandon them. However, as time goes on and AdLab proliferation increases,. this is sure to become a problem. It is well recognized that some COs will sometimes lose interest and walk away from their "normal" caches (or geocaching altogether), so one can expect that some AdLab COs will eventually do likewise. It would be nice to be able to post a note while the AdLab is in progress, particularly if one has encountered a problem at a stage and, as a result, hasn't been able to complete the entire AdLab to be afforded the one lone logging opportunity.
  3. For what it's worth (?), I've done over 600 AdLab stages, many of them sequential, and I have yet to discern a thematic reason for any of the sequentials, although a number of them did have bonus coordinates in the last journal. There is one exception, where the CO placed all five stages sequentially along a one-way street, so I guess I can see some logic there. While I believe I understand the rationale allowing the flexibility for thematic sequentiality, especially in an "experimental" process, I have yet to recognize a sequential theme (except for the one-way street) and have had difficulty trying to come up with an example. Perhaps someone can give some examples where sequentiality was central to the "experience the CO wanted to provide" which might justify some seemingly awkward driving?
  4. Lab Cache Adventures (continued) Chapter 2 - Multiple Adlabs As said before, my destination area has multple AdLabs and I decided to pursue several of them. While the official APP shows a map with green pins denoting the location of the STARTING locations of each AdLab, there is nothing that indicates all the stages of all nearby AdLabs TOGETHER. Yes, you can select an individual AdLab and view an overall map of its stages (if sequential, subsequent stages are "greyed out" and cannot be selected). By flip-flopping through AdLabs, one might be surprised to find that the location of a particular stage might be shared by more than one AdLab---but it's left to the player to stumble upon that realization by whatever means one has, such as looking at each AdLab's map individually, and memorizing it so as to recognize a similar stage in another AdLab. Then again, one can laboriously and frustratingly eek out the location and stage data manually and enter one at a time into GSAK or a spreadsheet. I've done this, and although it works, it ain't fun. If one hasn't gone through this process, and are dependent solely on what the APP and GC "officially" provides, you might be "lucky" enough to do an AdLab involving driving several miles between stages, only to later find that you drove right past several stages from adjoining AdLabs. But, you might not find that out until after you completed the first AdLab, selected the next, and then saw that you have to drive some or most of the exact same route AGAIN. Further, you can enjoy the experience of having one or more "deja vu moments" as you revisit places you just visited, as you find out that a different AdLab uses the same spot. Yes, this happened several times on my recent trip---almost! Because I was fortunate in having earlier downloaded stage data, I was able to use GSAK to organize and download the locations to my GPSr, and thus knew where shared stages existed. In fact, I was at the stage of one AdLab, was walking back to the geomobile,, when I looked at my GPSr and surprised myself by seeing AdLab's stage right at the spot I just left. Thankfully, I only had to turn around and walk back about 100 ft to grab the other stage. Only, it wasn't that simple. The AdLab I had selected on the APP is good about showing me which stage of that AdLab I am at. However, that is because I originally selected that AdLab and it was following my progress. When I realized that I was at a stage for a DIFFERENT AdLab, the situation again became "interesting" (i.e., frustrating). The APP only tells you about the stages for an AdLab that you have selected. It does not tell you about any other stages for other AdLabs unless you specifically select that Adlab. Unless you are using the selected AdLab, the APP only shows the STARTING location of the other AdLabs (more on this later). As a result, the "extra" stage you just encountered may belong to an AdLab whose starting location is 20 miles away, and the stage doesn't tell you which AdLab it belongs to. So, while you now know that this stage is shared, the AdLab is of little use in knowing as to which AdLab (of the 40 or so in the area) it belongs to, and you may find yourself playing "is this it?" a number of times before hitting on the correct AdLab to finish the stage. Yes, yes, I know you're thinking that I'm supposed to do one AdLab at a time, which appears to be the current design philosophy, and yes, I was shirking around that philosophy by heretically going after more than one AdLab at the same time. And yes, since I deviated from the design philosophy, I bear the responsibility for the extra work that it entailed. So, how did I handle it? Knowing the APP limitations (from previous experience) regarding linking stages with multiple AdLabs, and being fortunate to have had the stages in GSAK as well as in a spreadsheet, I had constructed (before my trip) a cross-reference of all the stage names, their locations, and the name of the AdLab to which each stage belonged. It was then a relatively simple matter to look at the stage name now in the GPSr, check the cross-reference for the name of its respective AdLab, back out of the current AdLab, select the other AdLab, and then answer the question from the other AdLab. I then had to re-enter the AdLab of whatever stage I was going to go to next, following my planned route. BTW, did I mention that I did some "normal" geocaches while doing these AdLabs? That was possible mostly because I was able to merge the AdLab data previously mentioned with a "normal" Pocket Query and had the merged data in my GPSr. This way I could see the AdLab stages as well as the "normal" caches, and this worked rather well. Without the aforementioned AdLab data, I would have had to flip-flop between devices or APPS which, as you'd know if you'd tried it, is exceedingly frustrating. I should note that I did use two devices, and that worked well. I used my GPSr to navigate to each stage, noted the next, and then turned to the APP to read the stage text and answer the question. Although one might consider it "nice" to use only one device (i.e., the smartphone with the APP) to do everything, I still prefer to use my GPSr for positional activities. I will not get into a discussion here about which is better, as everyone has their own opinion. All I'll say is that in my experience, the APP will often have me going in circles trying to home-in on a set of coordinates, while my GPSr generally leads me straight to the spot with little fuss. Your results may vary. Next chapter: Starting Locations Maybe more after Midwest Geobash!
  5. Lab Cache Adventures (continued) Chapter 1 - Travel Planning I just returned from a trip to a city which has in excess of 40 AdLabs. I don't mean "8 Adlabs with 5 stages each"----I mean 40 AdLabs! I had planned to to some "AdLabbing" on this trip, so I sat down at home before departure to try to plan some AdLab activities. The frustration began immediately. *Disclaimer* I know that there are some unpublished "work-arounds" or tools that some might employ, and some which may have worked until they got shut down and are currently being argued. But in the spirit of helpfulness, I'm describing the AdLab processes as they are "officially presented." Being that, to my knowledge, there is no "official" GC site from which to download a list of available AdLabs based on a chosen location (please correct me if I am wrong), I opened the AdLab app, hit the "hamburger menu," and saw a list of AdLabs based on my present position (i.e., at home). This isn't what I was after. I scrolled the map over to my destination area and was greeted by over 40 green pins, many of them partially (or perhaps fully) overlaid on each other. With the map centered on my destination, I again hit the "hamburger menu" and, once again, got a listing of AdLabs based on my present (i.e., home) position, NOT the location that I was about to visit. At this point, I had two options: I could scroll back and, pin-by-pin, try to examine each AdLab and perhaps manually extract lat/long and textual information. I have indeed done this in the past and can tell you that it is time-consuming and agonizing, especially since I know that the information is readily available in GC's database but is being withheld for reasons unknown to me. The "official" option is to wait until I get to the destination, open the app, and say "Gee, I wonder what AdLabs are around here!" and then pick perhaps the nearest AdLab after I try to read through all the descriptions after arrival using the "hamburger menu," which would then register my present position in the vicinity of the AdLabs. So what did I do? As I mentioned, I have indeed used the laborious and frustrating pin-by-pin method before and am well-acquainted with it. However, I was fortunate in that I had previously been able to download some AdLab data of the type available before a GC source was shut down, and was able to actually plan a route. That route included multiple AdLabs, but that will be the subject of Chapter 2.
  6. Lab Cache (old term) Adventures Preface I enjoy AdLabs----I really do. In my humble opinion, AdLabs have tremendous potential to showcase some of the world's interesting places, some of which might go otherwise unnoticed. However, having sought geocaches in excess of ten years, I've managed (like others) to evolve my geo-activities in ways that make my geo-actions more efficient, save time, reduce redundancy, save fuel, etc. Unfortunately, although AdLabs are provided as an adjunct to geocaching, there is a distinct difference in methodology between the two that can be a source of frustration. Geocachers are denied access to much information about AdLabs that is available for "normal" geocaches that makes it much easier to organize one's activities. This is a matter of differing philosophies. There are at least two different approaches to geocaching: (1) Spontaneous geocaching: A player otherwise going about their daily activities, be it travel, shopping, visiting family, etc., gets an urge to geocache, pulls out their GPS-enabled device, and says something akin to "Gee! I wonder if there are any geocaches around here!" They pull up their smartphone app or turn on their GPSr (provided it has been loaded with caches), let it settle on their present position, and report back on any nearby caches. The player then can choose a nearby cache and "go for it." After finishing with that cache, they say, "Gee! I wonder if there are any more around here!" ... and so on. One might call this the "onesies and twosies" approach, although one could certainly say "Gee!" many more times if they enjoy aimlessly moving to wherever the nearest cache might be to their prtesent position. (2) Planned geocaching: A player decides to invest some time in their favorite hobby (geocaching) and plans a route or destination to maximize geocaching opportunities. The player uses the geocaching.com website, GSAK, or a number of other tools to look through and analyze specific cache data to choose which caches to attempt, and the most efficient route to take between them. Planned geocaching may be the day's sole focus and may involve significant numbers of cache attempts. Such planning may include making maps and lists, programming automotive GPS units, coordinating with friends, etc for perhaps hours or days of caching. Both of these approaches are useful, but in different situations. By far, most of my geocaching experience has been of the planned approach. I go out for perhaps a day of caching, come home, and then log my caches using either GSAK or the GC website. This gives me the opportunity (i.e., time) to attempt to be more reflective in what I enter. Of course, I could enter the logs (via APP) as I make the finds, and sometimes I might, but often I'd rather spend my time in the field caching rather than typing. However, there are occasions where I was doing "something else" and found myself with some extra time and said, "Gee! I wonder if there are any caches around here!" I have indeed made a few finds this way. The point here is that I get to choose which method to pursue my geo-activities. Both of these methods are useful, but they are complementary to each other. One method does not satisfy the aims of the other, and design philosophies which try to force one method at the exclusion of the other can be sources of frustration. Unfortunately, AdLabs seem to fall into this situation. My ramblings here deal with these frustrations, and I provide them as feedback for which some may agree, and certainly some will disagree---but are intended to be helpful as AdLabs develop or morph into whatever their destiny might be. I don't know how many of these I'll post, so ya get what ya get.
  7. barefootjeff, You are correct. I was looking at the log page. Thanks for pointing out my error. TG
  8. I've been trying to view cache finds of some geo-friends and.... "Oh my gosh! What have they done!" I started reading through the Release Notes to see what happened to (what used be) a very useful and simple-to-use listing of a player's finds----and now is borderline useless for many of the purposes for which I used it. (In no particular order) - No pagination -- which means I have to endlessly scroll trying to examine a list, and can't jump ahead or behind to review finds earlier in one's timeline. Oh yeah---according to the forum discussion, the listing appears limited to the most recent 1,000 finds, if one were to actually sit there and scroll that far. I guess looking for cache info on someone with 32,000 finds is now useless. -- Scroll one-by-one through 1,000 caches? You've got to be kidding! - There is a checkbox next to each cache, but no way to download that which I have checked. A few days ago, there was a button to allow me to make a List of checked caches--but that button is now gone, and there is nothing to indicate what those checkboxes do anymore. - There is a "Circled Plus Sign" next to each cache that doesn't seem to do anything. - What used to be a concise, readable list has now expanded to "eye candy" that takes up a whole lot more space---and see my above comment about what fun it is to have to scroll through a large landscape. - Forget about all the existing puzzle caches that require searching through user finds---and there are a lot of those puzzles. In summary, I have used the "old" system of searching for years and have been able to find most of what I was looking for with some efficiency. What I see now is almost unusable for the things for which I use it, but that is just my opinion. There is an old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't break it." For me, this is definitely NOT an improvement---but more a hobble. Please re-evaluate this decision.
  9. I believe it is to allow for AdLabs to be available only to a select group of people, such as those attending a Mega/Giga event or a themed event where the AdLab is not available to the general community, and the applicable QR code is only given to attendees/participants. That's one of the main ways lab caches started out---as "event caches" that became active at an event such as Midwest GeoBash or GeoWoodstock, and then had to be logged within a specific date and time window before the lab caches were inactivated. I suppose, if one were so inclined, one could set up a themed event with a simultaneously-themed AdLab (if the CO has an available AdLab credit or requests one from GC), and then would activate it just for those who attended the event. The CO could then decide afterwards whether to keep it private or to make it active for the general geocaching community. Historical note: It is my understanding that the whole idea of geofencing was driven, perhaps largely, by accusations of "armchair logging" of previous private event caches by people who had no connection to the events. The idea of private AdLabs hearkens back to the original concept of lab caches, but I haven't seen anyone recently use it---perhaps because of event restrictions due to Covid. Perhaps we'll see some once events become more available (whenever that is).
  10. Cool! This helps a lot and solves some other issues! Are there other search filters besides &skip and &take?
  11. Using your computer, you can download lists of caches to your computer, then connect your Etrex-20 to your computer via a USB cable, and then transfer the files from the computer to the Etrex. However, the Etrex only accepts GPX files, which are only available to Premium members. But, as a Basic member, you CAN download LOC files, which contain the "bare necessities" for geocaching. You can then utilize a number of free programs to convert the LOC file to a GPX file, and then it can be transferred to the Etrex. Some programs that can convert LOC to GPX are: GSAK, EasyGPX, GPSBabel, as well as others, and some of these programs have other useful capabilities for managing geocache data, and some can download the data directly to your Etrex (via usb cable). If you were to upgrade to Premium membership, you could then download GPX files directly from Geocaching.com, and then merely transfer the files to the Etrex as previously described, or with the same programs mentioned above (they work with GPX files too).
  12. Keep in mind that every stage is completely editable. That is, you don't have to delete a stage in order to create another one. You just edit the original stage to be whatever you changed your mind to. Every single thing you enter on any stage, or in the description, or in the title, can be changed by you at will. If you are not happy with a stage, you can merely edit it to be something else. However, whatever you do, don't EVER delete a stage once you've released it and people have found it, as doing so can cause problems with the app and with the system. The ONLY reason I can come up with for justifying the deletion of a stage is if: 1) You either haven't released it yet OR it hasn't yet been found AND 2) You initially created , let's say, five stages, then on second thought decided four would be sufficient. This brings up another issue: What happens to an AdLab when, after a bunch of people have completed it, the CO decides to add a stage? Does this "uncomplete" the AdLab for those who had already completed it? I have no idea what happens, and dare not try it, because my hunch is that it would cause problems.
  13. Consider that GS has reasons for not applying any judgment or oversight over AdLabs. The idea seems to be that these are experimental and have been given to the community "carte blanche" to see what the community can come up with. Establishing rules and then enforcing them changes the whole concept of "experimental," and then drags GS into the quagmire of having to adjudicate complaints between COs and finders, as well as complaints from COs who feel such oversight was, for some reason, unjust. The forums already contain complaints requesting the ability to delete logs or otherwise punish finders for not complying with what the CO intended, which would invariably result in complaints to GS for arbitration when such actions are challenged, and I would guess that GS isn't in the mood to enter that fray at present, but is interested to see the ideas generated by the community and the issues/advantages they bring. Of course, that's just my guess.
  14. I'm afraid I have to disagree----sort of. The ONLY reason to be concerned whatsoever about guessing is to prevent cheating, which seems to be a far greater concern for some COs rather than the quality of the AdLab experience for those playing it properly. The AdLab "system" is already set up to require the player to be physically present at the GZ to answer the question. In that light, I don't think the complexity of the answer has any relevance. In fact, I've had to guess a number of times because the CO either spelled something different from what lay before me (and, blushingly, I've been guilty of misspelling too), and more recently, MY way of counting objects apparently differed from the way the CO counted. In fact, after finally guessing one answer (after having a seat at the GZ because I knew it would take a while) and then re-looking at the GZ with correct answer in hand, I still couldn't figure how the CO got that answer. I would have been highly unhappy if I had to leave that AdLab unfinished, and it was at a location far enough away that a return trip would be unlikely anytime soon. Since only a cheating hacker is able to override the "you have to be there" protocol, I think I'd let Groundspeak worry about that and concentrate my efforts on enjoying the game with the vast multitude who play the game as it is. Then again, that's just my opinion. If someone wants to lose sleep over not being able to delete someone's log, that's their business. To me, there are many bigger issues with AdLabs than this, and I'd prefer GS to pay attention to the many recommendations already made rather than getting into fights over who may or may not have cheated---unless GS likes the adjudication business.
  15. I would expect that anyone who uses notifications for new caches (mystery, in particular) would recognize a bonus based on an AdLab they'd already completed and would merely go back to the app to review the journals. Actually, it would be nice if the bonus web page description mentioned where the coordinates might be found (i.e., in the AdLab journals). A more perplexing situation could occur based on a recent AdLab I just examined, but haven't yet played. The bonus for this particular AdLab doesn't rely on the AdLab journals. Instead, the CO added additional questions, listed on the bonus web page, which would have to be answered WHILE you are doing the AdLab, in addition to the questions asked by the AdLab. In this scenario, anyone who didn't know about the bonus (or forgot that a bonus was associated with it), who had already completed the AdLab, would have to go back and retrace their route through the AdLab to be able to answer the additional bonus questions. If I decide to go after this particular AdLab, I will have to remember to print-out the bonus web page to have the list of additional questions with me. Of course, those who geocache only by smartphone will have to jockey back-and-forth between the AdLab and their regular geo-app so as to be able to view both games somewhat simultaneously, and some method to record the bonus answers as they proceed through the AdLab. It sure would be nice if the AdLab developers provided the CO with an end-of-AdLab completion message in which the CO could place bonus coordinates instead of using the journals, and could use such a message to provide additional end-of-game information if so desired. As best I can tell, EVERY sequential AdLab I've thus far completed has been sequential ONLY for the purpose of hiding bonus coordinates in the final journal or placing me near the bonus at the end. I don't know what the developers had in mind by giving the option to make an AdLab sequential or not, but can only relate how I've been seeing that capability used----and I find it irritating to not have advance knowledge of upcoming stages and being limited to a specific route solely to make it easier to include a bonus. Some might, with some validity, argue that this process is akin to doing a five-or-more stage Multi, where you won't know anything about a subsequent stage until completing the present stage. The difference is that with a Multi I need only use one device or app, and can see the constellation of other nearby caches while I progress and can easily deviate whenever an enroute opportunity arises. I can also do two or more multis simultaneously because I don't have to keep swapping apps/devices to see what is around me or plan my route, or have to keep swapping between AdLabs (which I've already done a couple of times and it detracted from the experience). It appears to me that the AdLab design philosophy is that of a single linear start-to-finish app-only game that excludes any other activities until that particular game is completed. Yes, you can deviate for other purposes, but only after making awkward swaps and restarts. This probably works fine for an area with only one or two AdLabs and that's all you were interested that day. However, if you find yourself in an area with 14 uncompleted AdLabs, you might not particularly care for doing them linearly one-by one, criss-crossing back and forth over routes of AdLabs you've already completed, or even going backwards to re-visit sites that you'd just visited on a previous AdLab (which has happened to me too). Sorry for putting multiple issues here---I wrote them as they occurred to me.
  16. What comes up if you tap on the icon? Does a normal AdLab come up, or an AdLab with something missing?
  17. If you also have an Android smartphone, you can use an OTG USB adapter to connect your Etrex30 to the phone using a USB cable, then transfer files using the Android file transfer utility. I have to agree that swapping micro-USB cards is probably the easiest for your specific purpose. However, I have found it convenient to carry "extra files" in my Android phone and, with an OTG adapter, can connect USB devices (such as my Etrex30 or a USB stick) to the phone and transfer a variety of files.
  18. Had a "counter issue" just the other day. I logged two traditional caches via GSAK and the API, but my "total finds" counter only incremented by one. I started to wonder, but about an hour or so later saw that it finally incremented by one more to the correct count. Better late than never, so to speak.
  19. I just went back and looked at the AdLab I published, and it looks like I can edit everything that I originally entered. If something can't, it's news to me---but then, my experience is limited to the one AdLab I've been credited..
  20. AFAIK, the CO has no "final completion message," only a journal entry for each stage. When you complete each intermediate (i.e., non-final) stage, you can tap on a button to see the journal entry for that particular stage before continuing on to the next stage. The CO makes and can edit each journal entry. However, it works differently for the last stage. When you successfully answer the final question, you get immediately pre-empted by the "Congratulations" screen which is stock from Groundspeak and cannot be edited. You are then taken directly to the logging area so you can post your log, if so desired. It is only after you either post a log or otherwise exit the AdLab that you can re-enter the AdLab and then scroll through all the journal entries, finally getting to read the last one that got pre-empted by the "congratulations" screen. The lack of a final completion message is why COs who have made a bonus cache will make the AdLab sequential, then put the bonus coordinates in the last stage, knowing that you will have had to do all the stages before getting the bonus coordinates. This method works, but otherwise needlessly makes you go sequentially for no other apparent reason other than to make up for the lack of an actual final completion message. If such were to exist, the CO could put the bonus coordinates there, and then would not have to resort to making the AdLab sequential----unless there were an actual thematic reason for doing so----which I have yet to see, but recognize that such is theoretically possible.
  21. After I completed an AdLab, the CO later deleted one of the stages due to valid reasons (conditions at the physical site had changed). Now, the app (Android for me) crashes whenever I try to re-access the individual stages of that particular AdLab. I can bring up the AdLab's main page and can view the remaining journals as well as the activity log---- but if I tap on the map at the bottom to access the individual stages, that's when the app crashes. BTW, it thankfully DOES still show up as completed, both on the map and on the list. However, when I check my profile, the report of my Lab finds shows only the current number of stages as "found," which is one less than the number I actually completed. I have no idea whether my total find count changed after the deletion occurred. My guess is that the "system" knows my actual count, but it doesn't match with AdLab's current available count, hence the crash, If anyone is asking, I prefer to keep my actual count intact, Apparently, deleted AdLab stages are not archived---they simply disappear, causing consequences as described.
  22. I just used the builder and the default was non-sequential. I left it that way. I've found a number of sequential AdLabs now and could not discern a thematic reason for doing so in any of them, except for hiding bonus coordinates in the last journal entry, or putting you close to the bonus cache at the end. I imagine one could come up with an adventure theme for which the order might be important, but I've yet to see one. Perhaps something that builds from stage to stage, or something like that.
  23. PQs also allow you to examine caches at locations other than where you are, and do it on your computer instead of on a smartphone screen. Suppose that next week (Covid-19 notwithstanding) you are planning to drive to another state to visit relatives for a week or two and would like to do some caching while you are there. You can download, not only a PQ of the area you will be visiting, but also get caches along the route that you can look through to see if any pique your interest. There are a number of good software programs such as GSAK that allow you to do this with ease---far easier than scrolling around a map of icons on your smartphone. Since local law enforcement takes a dim view of you staring at your smartphone while you drive, it might be to your advantage to make note of particular caches you'd like to visit along the way and so be better prepared---perhaps by pre-loading coordinates into your vehicle's navigation system. Further, if you are "into" such things as puzzle caches, where the posted coordinates may be up to two miles away from the real cache location, you might find it advantageous to download a PQ of such caches so you can work through them in an orderly fashion.
  24. I believe I've come to recognize the biggest issue geocachers have with AdLabs (speaking for myself), and it is a matter of philosophy, not technology. The AdLab app, just like the official Geocaching app before lists were introduced, is designed to be a "spur of the moment" geocaching activity. That is, it is designed for the person who, once in a while, says to themselves, "Gee, I have some time on my hands and I wonder if there are any AdLabs currently around my present position. That person opens the app, which centers on their present position, and shows them the AdLabs sorted by increasing distance from their present position (if you press on the "three bars"). Sure, you can scroll a map to see if any are elsewhere, but you won't get a listing of them except from your present position, sorted by circular distance, and only the names, distance, and whether or not you've completed them. It is left to the user to individually drill down on each entry to try to determine where that AdLab might be, or click on individual pins one at a time, to get bits of information about them that require multiple app-presses---for each one. Presuming that you, the user, are THIS type of cacher----the kind where your main concept of geocaching is as a spontaneous activity where your main way of caching is to say, "Gee, I wonder if there are any caches around here?" then this app is for you. It is "stand alone" and you need no other support from geocaching.com. On the other hand, if you are like just about every geocacher I've known and met that really enjoys geocaching, gathers with friends to go on caching trips, PLANS where they want to go and what caches they want to go after, then this app alone just doesn't "cut it" because cachers who PLAN what they do need more information than the app provides, just like the official geocaching app, and depend on information (downloadable lists, GPX/LOC files, web pages with descriptions, etc) gathered from geocaching.com. In fact, many become Premium members specifically to get access to MORE information from geocaching.com, because of the importance of that information to their style of caching, so much so that they pay an annual fee in order to get such access. Now, this is not to say that cachers don't have spontaneous moments---I certainly do and I know others do as well---but those moments are few, as the vast majority of the caching I and others do is PLANNED, and I depend on geocaching.com and tools such as GSAK to help me organize my geocaching activities. Getting the information I need to plan for AdLabs isn't provided except through the APP, and is laborious and time-consuming to extract. You can't get coordinates without drilling-down through app pages, finally getting to Google Maps, and then having to WRITE THEM DOWN (I haven't yet gotten cut-and-paste to work here) in order to transcribe them to another device or enter into a database. You can't get a listing of descriptions if the CO chose to make the AdLab sequential, if only to have the ability to enter bonus coordinates on the last page and for no other reason. And most importantly, you can't get any information whatsoever from geocaching.com, because the philosophy, at the moment, appears to be a "stand alone" app with little or no user support from the parent website. Until this philosophy changes, I'm afraid frustration lay ahead for cachers who'd really like to include them but find the effort increasingly difficult and contradictory to their style and manner of caching, that style and manner which keeps them interested and invested in the hobby. Of course, others will have their own opinions---this is just mine. Personally, I've had fun doing most AdLabs and look forward to more, but am getting weary of the extra work involved due to lack of parent website support. To me, it's not so much a matter of "fixing the app," as the app works relatively well for what it does. It's more a matter of providing support in terms of information from the geocaching.com website---information which would help me blend AdLabs into my "normal" geocaching activities.
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