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Cache Listing Requirements/guidelines


BalkanSabranje

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The primary need for a guidelines update was because of Waymarking.com's soft rollout yesterday. The main change was to add a new section at the end of the Guidelines to deal with cache types that are no longer available for new cache submissions. Everything about locationless, virtuals, webcams and earthcaches now appears in a new section, called "Guidelines that Apply to Grandfathered Cache Types."

 

Among other things: (1) the maintenance requirements for existing grandfathered caches remain in effect; (2) it's made clear that all locationless caches will be archived and locked at the end of this year; and (3) the present plan for existing virtuals and webcams to remain on the geocaching.com site as "grandfathered" is stated. Note: the text says "Caches which existed before August of 2005 have been allowed to remain as grandfathered caches." This was accurate when Hydee and I were writing the new draft in August, but to match reality, the sentence needs to be changed to read "November of 2005." Sorry for any confusion on that.

 

There were other changes and clarifications unrelated to the Waymarking.com rollout, but these were minor in comparison.

Edited by Keystone
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Among other things: /snip/

 

There were other changes and clarifications, /snip/

Thx Keystone for the info on grandfathered caches (I'd guessed that), but what (exactly) are the other changes?

Can't you just give us a short list of differences (version remarks), plz!

 

TIA,

BalkanSabranje

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Among other things: /snip/

 

There were other changes and clarifications, /snip/

Thx Keystone for the info on grandfathered caches (I'd guessed that), but what (exactly) are the other changes?

Can't you just give us a short list of differences (version remarks), plz!

 

TIA,

BalkanSabranje

There are a couple of possible ways to respond to your request. Over in our reviewers forum, I've asked Hydee for guidance on how to proceed.

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Hydee has authorized me to post the following summary of the changes to the Guidelines. As always, please read the Guidelines as a whole, rather than relying only on a summary.

 

1. Changes were made regarding grandfathered cache types, as described in my prior post.

 

2. A direct "mail to" link was added for the appeals@geocaching.com e-mail address. This was in response to a suggestion here in the Groundspeak Forums.

 

3. The section previously called "Off Limit (Physical) Caches" is now just called simply "Off Limit Caches," because now all new caches are either physical or they're events.

 

4. A sentence was added to clarify the mystery/unknown/puzzle cache requirements:

 

The information needed to solve the puzzle must be available to the general caching community and should be solvable from the information provided on the cache listing. For example, a puzzle that requires research on public websites in order to determine the coordinates may be acceptable, while a puzzle that requires sending an e-mail to the cache owner with the solution in order to obtain the coordinates may not be.

 

5. The introductory part of the section called Guidelines that Apply to All Cache Types was revised significantly. General language about being sensible in choosing locations, marking your container, and listening to suggestions from reviewers about situations not directly addressed in the guidelines was all moved to here, instead of appearing in the "Cache Maintenance" section.

 

6. Also in that introductory section, the language about using a GPS was strengthened:

 

You as the owner of the cache must visit the site and obtain the coordinates with a GPS. If time allows take several reading at different times over a few days and average the results. This will help you achieve greater accuracy on your coordinates.  GPS usage is an essential element of geocaching.  Therefore, although it is possible to find a cache without a GPS, the option of using accurate GPS coordinates as an integral part of the cache hunt must be demonstrated for all physical cache submissions.

 

7. Also in that introductory section, two NEW paragraphs were added to address recurring issues:

 

If you are placing a large number of caches in connection with an event cache, to be released on the day of the event, please submit the cache pages for all of the caches at least ten days in advance of the release date.  Leave a “note to reviewer” indicating that the cache is for an event, and is to be released on the date specified.  This allows your reviewer adequate time to review the submissions or to arrange for help from another reviewer.  (Note: Caches placed in connection with an event must be placed with the intention of leaving them in place after the event, temporary caches are not accepted.)

 

Your cache should be in place and ready to hunt at the time your cache page is submitted for review.  If for any reason it is not ready, please either disable your cache page so that it won’t be seen by the reviewer until ready, or include a “note to reviewer” to explain your special circumstances (for example, waiting for a permit from a land manager).

 

8. We added a sentence clarifying the "Cache Saturation" (528 foot) guideline:

 

This guideline applies to all stages of multicaches and mystery/puzzle caches, except for any “bogus” posted coordinates for a puzzle cache.

 

Forum threads noted that the Guidelines didn't say anyplace that the 528 foot test applied to all waypoints. (Of course, waypoints within the SAME multicache don't need to be 528 feet away from each other!)

 

9. There were a few other places where stray references to virtuals, webcams, etc. were removed.

 

I hope that you find this summary helpful.

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After giving them a quick read, my first impression is that the guidelines are alot better organized and clear on many of the points that have led to contention here in the forums (for example, the argument over whether virtuals were "strongly discouraged" or "banned"). Hopefully this will lead to less argument between cache hiders and reviewers over the interpretation of some of the previously more fuzzy areas (528' for all stages of a multi, or the point that AlanLacy mentioned above). Hopefully with the guidelines being more clear an alot of these isssues as well as more organized, hiders have no excuse not to read and understand them :anibad: Thanks Hydee and others for taking the time to work on the document.

 

I also notice that you can no longer select the "grandfathered" cache types when submitting a new cache.

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DavidMac, thank you for the feedback. I agree that the Guidelines are a bit easier to read now. It is a struggle to keep them from turning into something like the PGA Golf Rulebook. But by moving all the stuff about virtuals, locationless, etc., to the end of the document, what remains before that is a lot easier to follow. The rules on virtuals were the most long-winded portion, which says something.

 

CO Admin gets the credit for suggesting some text-shuffling that makes the new version flow in a more logical and organized manner.

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GPS usage is an essential element of geocaching.  Therefore, although it is possible to find a cache without a GPS, the option of using accurate GPS coordinates as an integral part of the cache hunt must be demonstrated for all physical cache submissions.

Oh, and by the way: will new rules like the one quoted be applied to existing caches ?

 

BalkanSabranje

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GPS usage is an essential element of geocaching.  Therefore, although it is possible to find a cache without a GPS, the option of using accurate GPS coordinates as an integral part of the cache hunt must be demonstrated for all physical cache submissions.

Oh, and by the way: will new rules like the one quoted be applied to existing caches ?

 

BalkanSabranje

The answer is found in the document that you are studying so hard. :anibad:

 

If a cache has been posted and violates any guidelines listed below, you are encouraged to report it. However, if the cache was placed prior to the date when a guideline was issued or updated the cache is likely to be “grandfathered” and allowed to stand as is.
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6.  Also in that introductory section, the language about using a GPS was strengthened:

 

You as the owner of the cache must visit the site and obtain the coordinates with a GPS. If time allows take several reading at different times over a few days and average the results. This will help you achieve greater accuracy on your coordinates.  GPS usage is an essential element of geocaching.  Therefore, although it is possible to find a cache without a GPS, the option of using accurate GPS coordinates as an integral part of the cache hunt must be demonstrated for all physical cache submissions.

 

Dear Keystone, could you please give some more background on what this exactly means?

 

Let me give some examples, and maybe you would be so kind to explain shortly how they are to be viewed from the perspective of the quoted guideline.

 

1. Example: Urban Traditional (example applies to many drive-in traditionals):

Coordinates are taken by owner and given in the listing (of course). However, clicking on the map feature from the listing's page reveals the spot on the map (e.g. a well-known public place). Maybe the description even gives a hint as to where to search. Hence, you can locate the cache completely without use of a GPS. It will even not be of much use other than bringing you to the right area.

 

2. Example: Mystery Cache, where the puzzle determines a location that can easily be found on a map. Once you have the puzzle's solution, you are essentialy back in example 1. The puzzle would, for example, include identifying a location from an areal or a satellite image. Coordinates are not of particular importance here, but once the image is identified you could get the exact coordinates of the spot, however, and use GPS from there. Nevertheless, as in example 1, it is not essential to find the cache as the spot can also be located by map use only.

 

3. Example: Multi-Cache. Start coordinates are taken and given in the listing (of course). From there you need to use a radio bearing device to locate the cache, which is at the sender's position. Again, except from the start coordinates, coordinates are of no particular importance. You could, however, make use of a GPS by projecting your bearings subsequently, and use the GPS to get to the intermediate waypoints. From there, you take a new radio bearing and project again, and so forth. However, the important part is the radio bearing device, not the GPS. Once at the starting coordinates, you don't need the GPS. (Same for many night caches, where you just follow a chain of reflectors to the cache.)

 

4. Example: Almost the same multi-cache as above, except that now the location of the radio sender is only an intermediate waypoint. There you find the coordinates of the final cache. A GPS now is required to get from the radio position to the coordinates of the cache. But as it is the case with many other special equipment caches, you can't find the cache without that additional equipment.

 

Ok, one could of course construct a lot of examples here. But maybe these suffice to clarify how the guideline is to be interpreted. It would be great if you would share your view us, in particular comparing Examples 1 and 2, respectively 3 and 4, with respect to demonstrating the use of exact GPS coordinates.

 

Thank you very much!

 

HoPri

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Seems to me that the map and hint don't work unless the geocache was hidden using accurate GPS-obtained coordinates. Otherwise, you might go to the wrong guard-rail/lamp-post/tree/bush/rock.

 

The map you see pinpoints the location because accurate GPS coordinates were obtained.

 

Just a thought.

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It is saying if you hide a cache use a GPS to get the co ordinates listed on the site.

I see that this kills Example 2. All other examples still involve accurate GPS-coordinates to some degree.

 

The owner uses a GPSr to determine the exact location (Examples 1 and 4) resp. starting point (Example 3). But even in Example 1) GPS accuracy is either questionable (urban environment) or not really required (point described verbally). Many people I know even pinpoint the coordinates of example 1) caches with good maps rather than a GPS receiver.

 

The cache hunter does not really need a GPS in Examples 1) and 3) as he can locate the cache spots on the map (Example 1), resp. the start point on the map (Example 3).

 

Hence, neither the owner nor the hunter really need a GPS in examples 1) AND 3). Are then both non-compliant?

 

The difference of Examples 1) and 3) is that for one, given coordinates (not really required, though) it's the cache coordinates, for the other the start coordinates (also not really required). Does this make a difference for the reviewing process?

 

Only in Example 4, the hunter really needs a GPS. That should be a clearly compliant cache, right?

 

I mean the question is not of utmost importance. That's clear. However, it is always nice to understand the rules and the reasoning behind the rules. So, thanks for input! [:o]

 

Best regards,

HoPri

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But look at the intent of the guideline¹

You as the owner of the cache must visit the site and obtain the coordinates with a GPS. If time allows take several reading at different times over a few days and average the results. This will help you achieve greater accuracy on your coordinates.  GPS usage is an essential element of geocaching.  Therefore, although it is possible to find a cache without a GPS, the option of using accurate GPS coordinates as an integral part of the cache hunt must be demonstrated for all physical cache submissions.
The idea is for the hider to use a GPS to obtain the best possible coordinates. The extreme other end of the spectrum from your examples is someone going out without a GPS (because they are cheap, or just "trying it out") and placing a cache, or worse, having someone ELSE like their brother-in-law's third cousin, place a cache. Then what these hiders do is write in the description something like "The coordinates are very rough (maybe off by 100-150 feet), as I got them from an online map. Will the first three or four finders write what their GPS readings are? I'll update the page later using one of those."

 

That's what the guideline is trying to stop.

 

===========================

 

Of course hiders can get good coordinates from using just maps. Here's an example of one that I published recently and three maps for the same location: a topo, an aerial shot wide and and aerial shot close:

3a9ac502-4ce2-4aec-a0ec-46c955048b80.jpg2437b758-8cff-4091-a8de-b0313957e0e3.jpgfcb0a409-c615-424f-baef-490105c8e89d.jpg

 

There's nothing around but farmland and a small grove of trees at the intersection. The area of trees is only 100 feet in radius (200 feet in diameter). Any set of coordinates in that grove of trees would be good enough to find the cache.

 

But should someone place a cache where they didn't go out and visit the location and take as accurate of readings as possible?

 

===========================

 

Since it is a guideline¹, I suggest that if you have a special circumstance that means that you would be able to override this - or ANY - listing guideline, talk to the local reviewer either ahead of time before you go to the trouble of setting everything up, or at the least, include the information in a reviewer note. We are humans after all, and can (for the most part) be reasoned with if there are special exceptions.

 

 

¹It is a guideline not a rule

 

coolsignal.gif

Edited by ILAdmin
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Thanks for the clear input! :o

 

It is, of course, always a good way of preparing a cache listing to discuss out-of-the ordinary things in advance with a local reviewer. I mean, we are all playing together to make this an enjoyable activity for the community. Knowing the guidelines* and their intention sure helps to make those discussions straight forward.

 

*thanks for pointing out.

 

Best regards,

HoPri

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HoPri, your examples 1, 3 and 4 do not trouble me at all, because GPS usage *can* be an essential element of the hunt. If I choose to study maps and photos, I might be able to find any cache on that basis alone -- and there are some who do just that, enjoying the challenge of it. Some caches are easier than others to find this way. A cache shown on the photo as being near the southeast corner of a large building is easier to find without a GPS than a cache in the middle of the woods where the satellite photo shows a green blob. But the point is that I *can* choose to navigate with my GPS receiver, oblivious to maps and photos, and get there to either of these two caches.

 

Something that this guideline does guard against is situations where the coordinates take you to the front door of a building, and you then have to stroll indoors to find a cache. I really don't need a GPS to get to the front door of a museum.

 

For your example #2, I would prefer not to comment upon as the answer may vary depending on the details of the particular geocache. Also I am conscious of the fact that there are international differences in customs for geocaches, all well within the shades of gray that make up the listing guidelines. I would not want to say anything that contradicts the practices of my reviewer colleagues, without first checking with them.

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Something that this guideline does guard against is situations where the coordinates take you to the front door of a building, and you then have to stroll indoors to find a cache. I really don't need a GPS to get to the front door of a museum.

But in many urban areas you will not only do not need a GPS to find a certain location (e.g., a well known building), but it will typically also be more difficult to find the spot with using the GPS due to reception problems.

 

What is the difference for example, between a micro cache that is hidden behind some statue in front of a museum (suppose the statue is well known and the name of the museum is obtained as solution of a puzzle) and a cache hidden inside the museum? In both cases you just need to go to the museum, a task for which certainly a GPS is not necessary, but for which it can be used.

 

In case you wish to exclude caches inside of museums, the same logic would exclude cave caches where the reception near the entrance is very bad and one needs to rely on a verbal description of the path to the cave and on the way how to proceed once in the cave. Excluding such caches would exclude some of the nicest caches. I would trade one such cache against 10000 urban micro caches with exact coordinates or ammo boxes which are almost of drive in type.

 

 

Cezanne

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