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Everything posted by Teasel

  1. True enough. TrigpointingUK has about 270 users of whom about 75 log each month. This compares with about 4800 UK cachers of whom about 1400 log each month. But trigpoint hunting is less family friendly (and less exciting?) than geocaching. I'm sure more than 5% of UK cachers would log trigpoints if they were included in GC.com, but for me the question is how many would get hooked and go out looking for trigs which aren't also near caches? There are some advantages of country-specific trigpoint sites. Firstly, for those people who like their stats, it's possible to provide far more interesting figures than just a simple total (eg highest/lowest that you've visited, best/worst scoring trigs, graphs of what you've logged etc). The GC.com servers are already groaning under the strain of straightforward geocaching, so I fear a significant improvement in the stats offering is some way off. Also, the type of information available for trigpoints will vary from country to country and, whilst it'd certainly be possible to shoe-horn most of it into the GC.com schema for NGS benchmarks, it may be better to design a new schema for your own country. Eg compare the information in T:UK to that in GC.com. Finally, in the UK at least, almost nobody outside of the geocaching community uses WGS84 coordinates. I don't know whether Finland has its own rectilinear coordinate system on its maps but, if so, your site may have a wider audience if you use it.
  2. OK, you can now click away to your heart's content (thanks Barry!). Hope it was worth the wait
  3. Could be. All mine have been edited in the last week, and all five run every day and return nearly 500 caches each. They eventually arrived at 7am this morning, about 46hrs after they last ran. Hopefully it's just that editing them caused them to skip a day and I'll get them at 24hr intervals from now on.
  4. Teasel

    Web Services

    Just to throw another option into the pot... What about sending a hash (MD5 is reasonably common) of the password / date / hour in the XML schema? It's not cleartext, is valid for a limited period, is stateless, and it keeps it a "single technology solution", rather than relying on bolt-on layers of security that just increase the complexity of clients.
  5. Some time ago, Chris and I discussed creating new variants of the tube map to show caches around mortorway junctions, railway stations etc. Shouldn't be too difficult to achieve technically. But first we need a good set of maps of the motorways...
  6. Give us a chance! I've been too busy adding travelbugs to the cache database, and Barry's been working on adding more icons to the grid maps. But watch this space... I've also made the streetmap links point to the OS 1:50K maps, so you don't have to keep clicking on the houses each time. People who like the smaller scale maps, or who want a 5x5 grid, or printer friendly pages, or maybe prefer multimap to streetmap can change their mapping preferences. (But until I get round to writing a preferences page for G:UK, you'll have to log in to T:UK and use the preferences page there - sorry!).
  7. Got three separate accounts feeding PQs into G:UK, but seen nothing from any of them for over 26hrs. Will try clicking the agreement again, but I suspect there's some problem with the GC.com server.
  8. A bit of SOAP would be nice, yes The G:UK database is (should be!) updated in a number of ways: 1) My pocket queries are mailed to the G:UK server where they update the database. This doesn't put any extra strain on GC.com 2) When people view the cache details pages via G:UK, they automatically update the database. This doesn't actually put any extra strain on GC.com, but does mean that G:UK shows up uncomfortably often in the GC.com server logs! 3) When new caches appear in the pocket queries, we need to webscrape them also, to ensure they're not members-only. This puts a teeny-weeny load on the GC.com server (one image-free page for each new UK cache). 4) Because the pocket queries only show a maximum of 5 logs, we need a webscraper to find any older logs. So we slowly but continually rotate around all the UK caches, scraping them from GC.com. In the scheme of things, this represents a very small load on the GC.com servers, but I'm constantly looking for ways to reduce this further.
  9. Yes please! I'd like nothing more than for G:UK to be made redundant because it's all available on the GC.com site. (I offered to code for them, free of charge, but they didn't want me, so I went to work for Mark instead ) And remember - don't use the + and - for scaling. You'll find the good old 1:50K OS maps hidden in the row of houses!
  10. An API would certainly be a great addition to the GC.com site! Such a thing would be great for facilities such as the mobile midlet. But the best enhancement to help what we do at G:UK would be a pocket query option to remove the 5 log restriction. That might actually lower the load on the GC.com pocket query server, too, as people who just want to keep GSAK updated wouldn't need to download every cache every day. I've not heard any concerns recently from the guys at Groundspeak, so I'm hoping that the blocking is for technical, rather than political reasons. A lot of people access GC.com cache details page via G:UK (which adds grid references, links to streetmap etc). So it could appear that we're being a much heavier drain on GC.com resources than in fact we are. I'm still addding my allotment pocket queries to the database each day, and I've moved the "webscraper" program to a different server which still has access. However, the UK-enhanced versions of the cache details pages are still unavailable, as I don't want this other server to get automatically blocked before Elias realises that it's all kosher!
  11. Yes please! The streetmap maps are far better than any of the sites currently linked to. And if you know that you can get the proper 1:50K series OS maps by clicking on the slightly larger house icon (ie don't use the + icon), then the real advantages become clear!
  12. The geocaching.com server is currently blocking all access from the GeocacheUK server. Since the cache details are obtained live from GC.com (rather than from the G:UK database), this means that the mobile midlet is currently unavailable. I've contacted Groundspeak to find out what the problem is. Meanwhile I'll see if I can make a temporary change to the script so that it works again. Cheers, Ian [Edit] - OK should now be working (though the OS coordinates added to the descriptions are now duplicated).
  13. One of the guys from Cheshire County Council is also a geocacher who's placed a couple of caches in the area. He's already logged the Brereton Lake cache and I'm sure he knows about the one at Teggs. Pity you're pre-booked for that weekend. It's also the weekend that large chunks of Cheshire become access land and we get the right to roam on them. Certainly a day worth celebrating!
  14. As part of the Step Into Cheshire event on 18/19 September, Cheshire County Council are keen to have an introduction to geocaching event for the public at one of their country parks. They're looking at a reasonably small-scale event, catering for maybe 100 visitors. They offered a couple of venues (Brereton Lake and Teggs Nose), both of which have a ranger centre which could be used for running the event. (They can provide some laptops to show visitors the web side of things). I've had a quick nose (groan!) round the two sites, but unfortunately I don't have time available to organise anything myself, so I'm looking for cachers in the Cheshire / Peak District area who would like to take this on. The whole Step Into Cheshire initiative is expected to attract up to half a million people across the county, with all sorts of activities, so it would be great if Geocaching could be represented. If you think this sounds like fun let me know and I'll put you in touch with the CCC. Cheers, Ian
  15. Sorry about that. That page didn't like all the sudden attention! I've added a couple of extra indexes, so it should be better behaved now. The above link returns a list of all >5000 UK cachers, with the least experienced at the top. For a better flavour of what the UK cacher stats provide, try listing the top 100 and click on a cacher name to get detailed stats for that team. The database is updated automatically in two different ways. Firstly, pocket queries are emailed to the server. With only about 4700 caches in the UK, it doesn't take too many queries! Doing a large chunk of the US would require correspondingly more, but that's not a major problem. The second method of updating the database is to download the cache details web pages from GC.com. This is becoming progressively more difficult, as each new tweak to GC.com seems to add an extra obstacle (eg session cookies, removing the cacher IDs used in pocket queries from the web pages etc). However, this is necessary, in order to get around the problems with pocket queries (mainly the limit on 5 recent logs, but there are one or two bugs to overcome too). On G:UK we trickle feed the database by downloading a cache or two every minute. Any more than that and it'd start to put strain on GC.com, which we don't want to do. This could have implications for any Northwest stats pages and you might have to choose which web pages to grab more carefully. Other features like the interactive map, the plain static map, or the London Underground map are obviously UK specific, but anyone who wants to convert them for other countries is welcome to borrow my code. The most difficult bit of writing the G:UK stats pages was getting permission from GC.com to use their data. So I'd strongly suggest this should be your starting point. Cheers, Ian
  16. Oops! Looks like the database glitch earlier took out the entire cache log table while it was at it Thanks for letting me know! Should now be OK (though maybe up to 24hrs out of date - eg "Monty Python's Holy Grail" has now been found. Cheers, Ian
  17. Sorry, database problems! Should be OK now (fingers crossed!)
  18. That's not nearly a record either, I'm afraid! Some caches have waited years for their first find! Check out this page for a list of caches which waited the longest for their first find. Also take a look at this list of current virgin caches that are still waiting for someone to find them. Thrunton Woods #1 is on the list, but it's got a long way to go before it reaches the top spot!
  19. Not sure whether I'll be able to make it (family wedding that day), but I will if I can. There's the Rock Inn at Upper Hulme, which is about here. Has both carpeted and tiled bars, depending on how muddy (bloody?)you get! I'd suggest that if there's a pub event cache, that it doesn't start until everyone's "off the hill".
  20. Oops, yes, much friendlier than the OS versions. Sorry Chris! (I got stuck in software developer mode!) The OS spreadsheet does have the advantage that it works on an Ipaq, but it's a PITA to use. If you're really desperate, you can persuade Memory Map on the Ipaq to do the conversion...
  21. The definitive transformation program is the Ordnance Survey OSTN02 / OSGM02 software. This is highly accurate (a few cm or so). You can download a PC version of the program, or use it online. Not sure whether it runs on the Ipaq. Developers can also request DLLs and full technical details from this site. For less stringent requirements, the Ordnance Survey also provide an approximate transformation, accurate to a few metres. An Excel spreadsheet implementation of this transformation is available here. I've not tried this on my Ipaq, so I couldn't say whether it runs under Pocket Excel or not. I believe Garmin, GC.com and G:UK all use the approximate transformation from the spreadsheet (anyone know for sure?). Cheers, Ian
  22. Hope the GC.com moderators don't mind if I reply to this here... The IDs used actually come from geocaching.com, though they've become less visible over the last few months and have been replaced by either nice waypoints or nasty long hex codes (depending on where you are). It's available in the Groundspeak GPX files though, so I'm surprised that GSAK can't use it, but since it can't... ...I've added an option to use the waypoint on the G:UK versions of the cache pages. just put ?wp=GC1234 onto the end of the URL - eg:http://stats.guk2.com/caches/osgb_cache_de...s.php?wp=GCHFN4 Cheers, Ian
  23. The whole database currently weighs in at about 180Mb (429,000 records). That's not all cache data, though. The three main tables (cache, cacher and log) total about 40Mb, and around that there are the summary tables, lists of places, user queries and all sorts of other stuff.
  24. Hmmmm, a little too detailed in my opinion. Anyone who found that kit list useful should not be attempting that sort of a mountain! The first sentence covers it - "This cache is only to be attempted by experienced hill walkers". A lot of the text after that is superfluous at best and dangerous at worst. Experienced hill walkers won't need this sort of advice; inexperienced hill walkers should not be learning mountaineering from a cache description! Now I've argued before that geocaching is a useful tool to help people push their limits (eg night caching), but this cache seems to be too big a jump for someone who needs reminding how to call out Mountain Rescue. It also suggests that experienced hill walkers in good physical condition and with specialised equipment should only attempt the hill in fair conditions. Why? If you're a practiced ice climber with good avalanche awareness skills, give it a go in winter! Stay within your abilities and only just outside your experience and you'll do fine. Don't attempt the cache without a mobile phone, GPS and hiking stick? Why not? Mobile phones are only useful when you have failed to stay safe. It may tell mountain rescue where you are, but it won't guarantee that you'll still be alive when they get there! Interestingly, the cache page, for all its verbosity, gives neither the length of the suggested route, nor the total height gain - the two most useful descriptions of a route.
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