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Everything posted by Teasel

  1. Dear Mr Alexander, The Bogcaster County Council acknowledge receipt of your statement of intent to place a geocash in your front garden. As the provider of a sporting facility you will, of course, have a common law duty of care towards participants. At a minimum, this will require that you satisfy the council that you have adequate public liability insurance and, of course, a minimum of 1 (one) qualified first aider must be present at all times that your facility is open to the public. Furthermore, since this facility will be provided at permanent premises owned by yourself, you will also need to comply with the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Other requirements also apply and we recommend you study the documentation provided on the www.uksport.gov.uk website. A full risk assessment must be submitted to the council 21 days before commencement of provision of this sports facility. Whilst this is the first "geocashing" facility within Bogcaster, we do already have a number of orienteering courses, which we understand are similar in nature to the facility you intend to provide, requiring participants to find checkpoints located on a coordinate grid. As you may be aware, a recent application by Bodgit, Killehm and Scarper Outdoor Activities Ltd to add an orienteering course to their premises was recently rejected by the council after significant opposition from local residents. There will therefore be a three month consultation period with interested parties in your locality to ensure that local opinion is heard. Bogcaster County Council is proud to be an enthusiastic supporter of the ODPM's geocashing initiative. We feel we should be able to "fast track" your application and council staff will assist you in completing the necessary paperwork. All being well, you should be well on the way to providing this facility within the next six months. Yours sincerely Richard Farswell BCC Recreational Development Officer
  2. No, that's not true, even in England. You are allowed to stop to eat and drink, or just admire the "scenery", providing that you neither leave the right of way, nor obstruct it. I'm not aware of any law which distinguishes between natural scenery and C5 reality show evictions. The landowner would have no right to tell you to move on (though they can always ask!). I'd strongly recommend the Ramblers Association summary mentioned above. It's easy to read and clears up many common misconceptions. If a right of way has been closed or diverted by a landowner without permission, you have the right both to remove any obstructions, and to use adjacent land to make your way (when I did this cache, I exercised both of these rights!)
  3. Or, if you want to browse just archived caches, you could try here. (Click on the interactive map link for an easier way to browse).
  4. Personally, I agree with Simply Paul's post above. But if it were decided that a limit on the number of caches an individual could place was necessary, this graph shows the effect on the current cache population for all realistic values of the maximum... ...or shown as a percentage... So, for example, if you wanted to remove 20% of the country's caches, you'd need a limit of 11 caches per person, which would affect about 120 people!
  5. I think the main cause of the explosion of new caches is simply linked to the explosion of new cachers, and not to individual cachers setting lots of caches. If we set a maximum of 30, as you suggest, it would only affect 18 cachers (1.1% of cache owners) and would require the removal of about 239 caches (3.8% of the total). Most likely, such a rule would result in large series of caches being turned into multicaches. A nice side effect, IMHO, but it's mean even less impact on the total number of tupperware boxes out there.
  6. What stats do you want? (Tell me what you want to prove, and I'll provide the numbers! ) CacheTools shows the growth in caches to be increasing nearly exponentially. Quick summary of new caches placed and total logs: YEAR NEW LOGS ---- --- ---- 2000 3 10 2001 269 1544 2002 1199 15869 2003 1677 46867 2004 2844 107921 2005 1536 59891 (cf 846 27401 for the 1st 4 months of 2004)
  7. I take it you don't consider SSSIs as "out of bounds"? A recent email to GAGB from another Ranger in the Berkshire area started: But that's not actually correct. The UK guidelines (GC.com, GAGB and HCC) simply say Initially I imagined that SSSIs might affect just a couple of dozen caches in particularly sensitive areas, and that re-checking would reveal that maybe only half of these were placed with the blessing of the landowner (eg those placed by Mancunian, Tim&June and TheCat). If that were the case then, for the sake of good PR, we might consider archiving the remainder unless/until permission could be gained. But I'm coming to realise that SSSIs affect many hundreds of UK caches and that attempting to recheck which ones were / were not placed with the landowner's permission, and whether they risk damage or disturbance to the site, is not realistic.
  8. Hmmm, before any decisions are made, we need to understand how big the impact of archiving these caches would be... I personally had not realised quite how many SSSIs there are out there, nor how many geocaches they contain. Now, having downloaded from English Nature the full 248MB file of SSSI boundaries, and overlayed the caches, the full scale of the problem has become apparent. For example, here's where I live... So that's maybe half of my local caches which would be for the chop! And, yes, some of mine are in there! It's a similar story across the country - for example here's a bit of Hampshire... Hmmm...
  9. Indeed, and there are a number of caches on SSSIs and SAMs which were placed with the blessing (and sometimes the assistance) of the landowners. It would be wrong to say these should be removed. Whilst I would certainly not advocate more rigorously enforcing the "seek permission from the landowner" rule for all caches, I personally would support a decision not to list any caches on SSSIs and SAMs, unless the landowner knows and approves.
  10. There's already this facility on the GLAD database provided by GAGB - the problem is getting the data. Sometimes (such as for Cheshire County Council) the landowner gives us shapefiles containing the boundary of the area in question; sometimes (such as for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust), they refuse. Where the area is easily obtainable from OS maps (eg the New Forest), I have been able to manually trace the boundary into the system. But locating and tracing out all 90 BBOWT reserves isn't something I fancy taking on myself - any volunteers?! Outlines of SSSIs are now available from MAGIC, and I've been sent a dataset of SAMs from English Nature. But both of these are already checked by the approvers when new caches are placed, so they'd only be useful for locating existing caches which break the UK cache approvers' local guidelines. But existing caches are "grandfathered" and not generally removed just because new local guidelines have been adopted. Is there any merit behind the idea of archiving any cache which would no longer be approved under current guidelines? Is it appropriate to allow geocaches to stay on SSSIs / SAMs (animal holes / dry stone walls?) without explicit permission from the landowner?
  11. Hmmm, that's interesting! I've got a headtorch with a 6V 6W bulb, currently powered off 5 x 7Ah NiCd F cells, giving me 7hrs of reasonably bright light. I've been considering upgrading the cells to NiMH, but your post suggests that drawing 1A through a NiMH isn't a good idea. Am I better sticking with NiCd, do you think? (There's also the difficulty of making myself a charger - can I just use a constant current, or is it more fiddly for NiMH?)
  12. D'ya know the thought HAD crossed my mind. Interactive would be nice, but nicer still would be an mpeg animation starting back in 2001 and evolving to the current day. Might be a pretty big file to download, but well worth the wait! ps G:UK has permission to reuse GPX data for statistical purposes, so if you wanted to host it on our database, it'd be a great addition to the site.
  13. The limit that's been reached is what Macromedia Flash can cope with (or, at least, my programming abilities in that language!). A workaround is to first search for caches around a nearby location, then visit the interactive map link from the search results. Alternatively, try out the new interactive map, which is a little clumsier to use, but has a few more features.
  14. All correct answers are immediately replied to with a standard email, and also forwarded to the cache owner. Incorrect answers end up in my inbox and I manually forward them to the cache owner. Another option would be to have a fixed email address which looked for key words or phrases in the email subject / body and replied accordingly. That would deal with the wrong answer problem, but I've not bothered to set it up because, for the two caches which use this system, nobody's ever got the wrong answer! Replying to text messages from mobile phones is also perfectly do-able. I'm happy to discuss any requirements people may have.
  15. It doesn't help with the cache referred to above, but I'm happy to set up an autoresponder for anyone who owns virtual caches. Basically, the answer to the clue is incorporated into an email address to which cache finder sends an email. Assuming it's the correct answer, they immediately receive a friendly email back telling them that they can go ahead and log the cache. Eg see GHCA4E.
  16. Oops, yes, you're entirely correct, sorry!!! (I should have checked more than a single line of longitude before opening my big mouth!). It's my 2004 RAC Road Atlas that's OS compliant. As you rightly point out, the AA version uses a less obvious grid system. D'oh! Where's an embarassed smiley when you need one?
  17. AA road maps use... wait for it... OSGB!!! Admittedly the coordinates are given in page/letter/number format, rather than the "proper" grid letters/eastings/northings format found on OS maps. But even so, it's actually really useful to have an OS grid as it allows us xenophobe luddites to quickly and easily find an OS grid reference using an AA road atlas.
  18. No, the grid reference on GC.com correctly uses the OSGB36 datum. Coordinates will agree with maps to within a couple of m or so. OS (and most other UK) maps are based on a British Grid format, yes. Until very recently they were based on the OSGB datum, yes. (I believe they are currently based on the ETRS89 datum, but let's not get into the nitty gritty about how to compensate for a 2.2cm/yr tectonic drift rate!) What grid do they use? As noted above, even OS maps no longer use the OSGB36 datum (ETRS89 is actually based on WGS84 ), but we still have gridlines a set number of km apart (rather than a set number of degrees apart). The few sea charts I've seen don't actually have a grid. Possibly because ships generally move in long, straight lines, often in defined shipping lanes, often from one country to another, so it's a very different style of navigation. I'd be surprised if many walkers or drivers would choose to go from a square grid (1km x 1km for walkers, bigger squares for drivers) to something rectangular. It's currently very easy to look at a route on a map and estimate how long it is - you'd lose that if you went to a lat/long grid. Even the "D3" style of grid used on road atlasses would look a bit funny if the grid wasn't square.
  19. Pilots fly, sailors sail. EVERYONE who walks in Britain and Ireland uses OS grid references. Oh, apart from an small bunch of geocachers who use an American site to log their finds. (And then express indignation when the UK emergency services don't understand their weird coordinate system when they get in trouble!) The sad truth is that we are sacrificing simplicity for thousands of UK geocachers, simply for the convenience of a handful of foreign tourists who can't be bothered to change their GPS datum when they land at Heathrow. Hell they reset their watches, why not their datums? Every schoolchild in the land learns about grid references, as does every Scout, Guide, rambler, etc etc. It's the only grid shown on OS maps, and the only grid shown on Harveys maps. Oh, and if you're driving, it's the OS grid that's used on the AA road atlas, and the A-Z street atlas, and the Philips Street atlas, and... (get the picture?!). The only reason geocachers are even aware of WGS coordinates is that providing familiar local coordinates wasn't high on Jeremy's todo list. (Look at early UK caches to see what came naturally to UK geocachers before people got used to suffering the hitherto unknown WGS84). Anyone writing a new geocaching listings site from scratch should use local coordinate systems, not the lazy WGS84 global "lowest common denominator"!
  20. Recently there's been a flurry of posts from or about people who get confused between the different datums available on their GPS. Now, IMHO it'd be nice if GC.com only used OS coordinates on UK/Irish caches, but sadly we're stuck with WGS84 and that's that. The biggest problem seems to be when people set caches where some of the clues refer to OS coordinates. Half the time, it seems that the person who set the cache doesn't fully understand datums themselves, so what chance for the poor person trying to find it?! Is it time that we made a UK-specific rule (we're allowed to do that still, aren't we?) that only WGS84 coordinates are allowed in clues? I'm not suggesting that cache descriptions shouldn't include OS translations of WGS84 cache coordinates. Indeed, one of the main features of GeocacheUK is that OS grid references are automatically inserted into cache descriptions. But shouldn't all coordinates and calculations which are required to actually find the cache be in WGS84 H DDD MM.MMM format?
  21. The OS website is the most accurate (sub-cm I believe), but is fiddly to use and will not provide you with grid letters (ie you'll get 470267,122765, not SU 70267 22765). For a quick one-off conversion, there are many websites which will do this with varying degrees of accuracy. <plug>Mine is here and falls into the "medium accuracy" band (a couple of m either way - same as your GPSr)</plug> Alternatively, for a friendlier system for converting batches of coordinates, check out Waypoint Workbench, which has all sorts of features to help cachers. It too falls into the "medium accuracy - good enough for geocaching" category.
  22. 'Course we could all wind each other up for a while again, just for effect, but...
  23. We've already had it! At least, everyone is now fully aware of where everyone else is coming from. 'Course we could all wind each other up for a while again, just for effect, but... Having decided that we wanted the first design of UKGeocoin to be a map of our bit of the globe over a UK flag background, there were only three choices available: E+S+W , E+S+W+NI or E+S+W+NI+RoI. We appreciate that all three options will definitely offend someone (hey, there are a lot of people who will be offended just by my use of the letters 'NI' in the previous sentence!); we just wanted to minimise it where possible. IMHO, E+S+W would be appropriate for a "GB geocoin", but would be factually incorrect for a "UK geocoin" (I'm not particularly political, but I'm nothing if not pedantic!). When Irish geocachers were consulted, they found E+S+W+NI+RoI less offensive than E+S+W+NI, even against a union flag background. Though I was surprised by this, I was also pleased because there's no doubt that having a disjointed NI floating alone in the Irish Sea doesn't look as good as a map with the whole island. Also, it makes the map (albeit not the background) geographical, not political. It's not a map of the UK, but a map of the World, centred over the UK. If you look closely, just off the edge of the coin you can see the coastline of France too! Anyway, I'm glad that most people seem to like the design (well done Peter, excellent work!). And remember, if the first batch sells well, we'll be needing a new design for batch 2, so if you don't like national flags or latin inscriptions, start thinking about what you'd like to see next time!
  24. Donations should be sent to... I guess it depends on the area. Certainly that's not representative of Peak District Callouts, despite having Britain's largest area of upland moors (whatever that actually means!). In fact, out of several dozen callouts which I have attended, only three come to mind where I've thought to myself "they shouldn't have tried to do that". There can't be many experienced walkers who haven't at some point done something a bit silly, or bitten off more than they could chew. And, however well trained you are, and however much equipment and experience you carry with you, accidents still happen -- as Moss Trooper can attest! Which is just a dramatic way of saying "she had mild hypothermia, so they put her in dry clothes and took her somewhere warm"! If she had been suffering from severe hypothermia, they would not have removed her wet clothes.
  25. Usually I'd agree, but in this case no! The opening up of the first area of access land on 19th September was the culmination of the hard work of literally thousands of people across the country. And whilst Alun Michael was unable to attend, I was certainly there at Derbyshire Bridge to witness such a historic occasion! To suggest that people avoid this new access land, until stiles have been installed in all walls on the route they wish to take, undermines the effort that has been made to give the public the legal right to access all this new land. Particularly because part of the official process of opening up this land is to wait and see which routes are popular and then add stiles and gates to those routes, thus further opening up the most popular routes to people who are perhaps not spritely enough to hop over walls and fences. The right to access this land, including its walls and fences, was hard won and we should actively encourage everyone to exercise their new rights. But, as was the strapline of the campaign, with new rights come new responsibilities... Anyway, in the final analysis, the CRoW act is as irrelevant to geocachers as it is to mountain bikers, rock climbers and orienteers (and mountain rescuers looking for somewhere to train!), as it confers no new rights to us. So suggested approach routes should be one of the things discussed when you approach the landowner for permission to place the cache.
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