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Arby Gee

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Posts posted by Arby Gee

  1. We've all seen it on the forum where a cache owner takes a particularly hard line because they are not aware of the guidelines about photos etc. Personally I don't want to deal with the stress of stumbling over one of these cache owners while out and about logging caches and having to fight to keep my log because they didn't know what the guidelines are.


    A master e-mail would be a super idea as it would be unrealistic to expect earth cache owners to be continually checking ot make sure the guidelines haven't changed. But clear communication the owners about the guidelines to all the owners (not just those that happen to use the forums) would be great from a finders stand point. Owners then aren't blind sided and upset because me as the lowly finder didn't follow one of their requirements.


    I know there are many many earth caches that I have not done because the owners still want a picture of me added into the logs as a requirement. And it's true most all of those are older caches. I honestly would not expect these owners to be reading through the guidelines after the placement of their caches to make sure they're still up to snuff. I know that the volunteers aren't going to go through all the caches out there only those that a complaint is generated from.


    I've been planning my road trip for next year and running into this conundrum all over again and find myself, again, by passing many earth caches due to this logging requirement.


    I think sending out a bulk e-mail would be great, although I have no idea how practical that would be. Just clarifying the guidelines, like Ambrosia suggested, would be a big help though. Then if you do an older cache that still has the photo requirement, you could include an excerpt from the guidelines when you send in your answers.


    In the meantime, Chokecherry, if you ever come to northeast Ohio, be sure to look up my Earthcaches. Whenever I ask for a photo it's always optional.

  2. Each national park sets its own policies. Many don't allow Earthcaching at all. This is the first time I've heard of one charging a fee, but it doesn't surprise me. I've heard state parks in Pennsylvania have started charging fees for caches, so this could very well be the new normal.


    Our national park here supports Earthcaching with no fee, but it took one of our local cachers a year of patient determination to get it done. Even then, it's quite a hassle getting an Earthcache approved.


    In order to place an Earthcache at our national park, you have to sign an agreement to become a park volunteer. This provides an advantage for the park, because they receive federal funds for every hour of volunteer work they get. You might want to mention this to your land manager just in case they're not aware of it. I logged over 40 volunteer hours developing my Earthcache at our park.

  3. Again...as stated in posts before...the answer is very simple.


    You can't ask for a photograph of a person unless that is optional.

    You can't ask for a photograph of the persons kids, or car or their dog unless it is optional. Basically you can't ask for photographs that contain items that could be used to identify the person. (its a privacy issue!)


    Maybe it would avoid some confusion if this was spelled out in the official guidelines. The term "specific content" is vague and has a different meaning, to me at least.

  4. I thought I understood this but now I guess I'm totally confused. The logging requirement asks that both a GPS and the cacher appear in the picture. Wouldn't both of those be "specific content"? And how is any of that educational? It does allow for an exception, but only if you're using a combination phone/camera/GPS. I guess I don't see how this is any different from the old rules.

  5. I was going to mention the earthcache.org website, but I see it only lists 8376 earthcaches.


    As for archiving, don't know the numbers, but it's not many. I've archived one of my 8 earthcaches though. It was a shale cliff wall alongside a public beach (GC1PQNW). Within a few months of it being published, the powers that be cut back the cliff and put up a concrete barrier wall in front of it. (I think maybe they read my write-up on erosion, LOL.)

  6. I agree with what everyone above has said. When you get right down to it though, there've been a lot of logs I could have deleted for answers that weren't quite right. Instead I have my own rule of thumb (and this is just me personally, I'm not speaking for anyone else) - if the cachers give me enough info between their log entries and their e-mailed answers for me to know that they were on site and put some effort into it, I'll let the log stand, even if the answers are wrong. In fact, I've never deleted a log entry for bad answers (although I've come very close on a couple occasions). I have deleted many logs though for no answers.


    Whatever the case, I think it would be polite, as suggested above, to give the cachers a warning before you delete their log and give them a chance to correct their answers.

  7. Why not read the Earth Cache BEFORE you go and be prepared? They are for learning something, not just getting another smiley. Earth caches are not designed to be paperless, and jeeze, one piece of paper isn't going to save a forest!

    In another thread a user asked EarthCachers to post the logging requirements up front because their paperless unit cuts off after so many characters. :)


    Here is that thread, you may notice it makes the statement that doing so is a courtesy easily extended. Paperless caching is a fact of life now and many cachers have never known another way to go about it. Why not let these cachers or cachers who are totally unfamiliar with EarthCaches know upfront that these are a different type of cache and have different requirements to log. Not everyone knows that preparation is needed for a visit to an EC.

    My intent with an EC is to teach a lesson, not to delete logs and alienate those who may be doing an EC for the first time. My first experience at an EC was not the best, although not the developers fault, because of confusion over the logging requirements and I could have easily never gone to visit another EC. If that had been the case I would have missed out on some wonderful sites and experiences and I would not have been able to share my lessons with other appreciative cachers.

    The word courtesy in that thread, after the initial use, was wrapped in quotes of sarcasm. That came off, to me at least, as being very elitist and controlling. Why should some one who develops an EarthCache be above courtesy to their visitors? There is nothing sancrosanct about an EarthCache writeup. Nothing that prevents helping those new to EC's know that they are different from geocaches.


    My latest EC I'm developing will have the following, upfront, before anything else on the page.


    "This is an EarthCache, a special category of caches developed by a partnership between the Geological Society of America and Groundspeak. They are intended to help educate geocachers about the earth processes of the world we live in. There is no container or log to be signed; however there are tasks that must be fulfilled to log this as a find online. Often a tool, such as a thermometer or camera, will be required as well. These tasks, and any tools needed, will be outlined on the cache page.

    Please be aware that if you cache paperless, this information may become truncated (cut short by device data restrictions.) To get the most from your visit, it is highly recommended that the entire cache page be read and printed prior to visiting EarthCache sites. Logs not meeting the requirements are subject to deletion."


    I will also add that to a few of my existing EC's that do not already have the logging requirements upfront already.

    I am not demanding that all EC developers do likewise to accommodate paperless cachers. All I have ever said was to consider extending that courtesy when writing up an EC. Paperless cachers are not a second class geocacher just cachers who use different devices. Those unfamiliar with EarthCaching would do better with some guidance rather than the slap of a log deletion.

    I see value in doing this, both for myself and other geocachers.


    I understand your point, but adding all that extra verbiage to an already long cache description is just going to make it all the tougher for people to read through it. I don't want to bore people who are serious about doing Earthcaches with a bunch of extraneous text that tells them nothing more than the Earthcache icon tells them already.

  8. I like to cache paperlessly too, when I can, both for the convenience and for the salvation of trees. That said though, there are some caches out there that you just have to read up on, and sometimes even print out and take with you. In my opinion, those are the best ones. Not just Earthcaches, but multis and puzzles too. Hopefully the day will never come when people start "dumbing down" their caches so they can all be done by iPhones and pocket queries. That'll be the day I hang up my GPS.

  9. As you describe the situation, I agree with you completely. The requirement of Earthcaching is that you demonstrate that you learned something. There is no requirement that you have to believe what you learned. I'm not a Creationist myself, but I believe your friends' views should be treated with respect. Personally, I wouldn't blame your friends if they reported the situation to the reviewer.

  10. An Earthcache has to be geological, so trees and forests won't cut it unless somehow you can tie them in to geology. Lime kilns might work because lime is geological, but I wouldn't think a wood kiln would work, unless you can take it from the angle of the prairie clay.


    As for searching Earthcaches, you might want to try going directly to the Earthcache site, www.earthcache.org. From there click on Earthcache Listings, then click on Advanced Search. From there you'll be able to search for Earthcaches by country and classification.

  11. But now it seems like it's harder to create a legitimate experience for non-scientific cachers than it is to recreate the Giza pyramids. I believe it has become a toy for the elite and that people with limited earth science experience are a mere nuisance to the "real" scientists.


    In what way? It's been over a year since I published my last Earthcache. Never had any problems before. How have things changed?

  12. One of my goals when I create an Earthcache is to make it so you can't answer the questions without first reading the write-up. I don't always achieve that goal, but I always try. Paperless caching is fine, but sometimes you just have to do a little advance preparation. Earthcaches were never meant to be park'n'grabs.

  13. I know that "actual mileage will vary" in the review of ECs depending upon a lot of things. Having said that I know about how long it takes for traditional caches in my area of Virginia, and was just wondering if there is a typical or average length of time for the review of an EC submission? It is more like days, or weeks or even longer?


    Tomorrow I hope to submit my first one...can you tell that I'm excited about it? :D


    Congratulations! I've had Earthcaches published in less than a day after I submitted them, and others published after 2 or 3 weeks. A lot of it depends on the reviewers' backlog. Of course things will also be delayed if they have to come back to you for revisions, or if they have delays confirming approval from the land manager.


    When you get it approved, how 'bout posting a link here so we can see it? Looking forward to it.

  14. I looked at every EC within about 100 miles of me, most were approved in 2007 or 2008. I did find one what had been approved in 2010. The reviewers for all but the 2010 was Geoaware, and the 2010 was GeoawareCA. So it looks like ours around here in Virginia are being approved by EC reviewers not local.


    Most areas don't have "resident" EC reviewers. Your local EC reviewer will usually be someone far, far away.


    Even though it's a bit old, you may want to take a look at this EC as an example of an EC on public lands in your region:



  15. I have seen a few Earthcaches on public lands where it's hard to imagine that permission could have been obtained (for example by the side of a highway). I've also seen some posts in this forum from Earthcachers who claim they have published Earthcaches on public lands without having to get permission. Of course, as mentioned, it's all up to your local reviewer.


    If all else fails, write up the Earthcache and submit it with an explanatory note and see what happens. I believe the chances are good you won't be wasting your time.

  16. Hey-hey, I'm not the only one in the world with dial-up Internet and an older computer!! :) Actually, it has NEVER been a requirement that Earthcaches have to require photos, and with the new Earthcache guidelines which you posted, photos can only be required if there is some educational task involved. So you should have much better luck going forward.


    This is one of the reasons I never require photos in any of my Earthcaches - even the old ones.


    Have you tried using photo editing software? I use Adobe Photoshop Elements on my computer and cut my photos down to 125 kb before uploading. It only takes a minute or two to upload them at that size.

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