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The Death Of Geocaching?


Geo Froggy
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My brother is a scientist working on the new generation of satellites. During a visit this Christmas he pointed out that when they are operational that it will kill Geocaching as you will have something like 2 or 3 inch accuracy instead of several feet, so there will be no need to search. Have any of you thought about this and do you think that it will kill Geocaching?

 

Jackie

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For me, what I like in the game is not just finding the cache. I could be on top of it and wouldn't see it ;) But what I find cool, is going out, discovering places I never saw before, places that are in my backyard and didn't even know about. Solving the puzzles, going in the woods, walking to the cache, working with my unit. It's like going on a trip, the best part is planning it, going to the airport or whatever. Once the trip as started, the first thing you know, it's over.

 

edit: its not the cache itself that keeps me going, it's finding the hidden bag with a million dollar in it :laughing:

Edited by Nomade
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If caching was just about the mad hunt at the end, then yes, caching would die. BUT: caching is about discovering new places, making new friends, and plain old getting out of the house and getting exercise! There's so much that caching does that I think improving accuracy will only improve Geocaching!

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Recently I watched with amusement a friend spending nearly 45 minutes within the same 2-3 foot area seaching for a stage from a multi of mine, and it was even quite a bit larger than a traditional "micro".

 

Even though a GPSr can deliver you to the exact location it still won't find the cache for you.

 

You can see all the logs here, the Stage 2 part seems to be the tricky one:

 

Overlooked Twice

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Will added accuracy kill the sense of discovery and finding new and interesting places? I don't think so.

Its rarely about what's in the cache. If it wasn't for my 3 yo daughter, I wouldn't bother trading at all. Its about the journey, its about the scenery and its about family time.

 

The death knell of geocaching - surely not!

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1. I ain't buying a $1,000 high-accuracy GPS receiver. I am having plenty of fun (and success) with my "old" GPS.

 

2. I really really like reading the logs on one of my trickier caches where even the logged DNF's outnumber the "Found its" by a ratio of 3:1. God only knows how many other DNF's aren't logged. Yet, once the cache is found, everyone remarks about how super-accurate the coordinates are. So fine, bring your Trimble in its backpack. It won't help you much except to get you within arm's length of the cache.

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Also of note is that if it is an American system the high accuracy will probably be for military use only. Allowing that kind of accuracy to the general population presents to much of a national security risk.

So, just how much accuracy do you need for some guy to drive a truck into a building?

 

I had a 500 word rant on terrorism and America's over reactive, feel-good measures, but this is not the place for it so I deleted it.

 

As for the OP query, it won't change caching that much. How much accuracy do you need to figure out which lamp post is which?

 

Plus, with the present resolution units you can only go down to about 6 feet. Then there will be arguments about "your 6 feet or my 6 feet?" Of course, if the new system can be used by the present units a firmware upgrade could issued to add the extra digit. (That would then be about a little a half a foot resolution.)

 

Still, instead of purposely introducing an error, you simply keep the listings at a three digit resolution and make all of the newbies holler, "My new Garmin Ultra unit says it's right here, but I couldn't find it!" When in fact it's 3 feet away.

 

Better yet, an older hide could be up to 50 feet away and would be a major challenge to those newbies who are expecting the cache to be "right there."

 

Also, you'll have these folks saying "your coords were 3 feet off, so I moved it."

 

A good thing to come out of it is no more scorched earth tactics in searching for the cache. It would be better for sensitive areas. Don't forget there are places where the hide is not the point, it's the journey or the destination.

 

Also, I can think of one of the original types of hunts that didn't make it could make a come back with this kind of accuracy. Circular offsets. The coords are to a tall object. You figure out how tall the object is and the cache is somewhere on that circle.

 

In fact, I bet there will be other types of hunts that would pop up that could use the higher precision as a challenge.

 

So, no, I don't think even the perfect GPS would spell the end of geocaching.

 

That's what I predict anyway.

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My brother is a scientist working on the new generation of satellites. During a visit this Christmas he pointed out that when they are operational that it will kill Geocaching as you will have something like 2 or 3 inch accuracy instead of several feet, so there will be no need to search. Have any of you thought about this and do you think that it will kill Geocaching?

 

Jackie

Two words:

Significant digits.

 

Coordinates accurate to inches requires minutes with 5 decimal places.

Just round the coordinates to the nearest three decimal places like we do now and we are still hunting in a general area.

 

N 42° 55.301 W 076° 33.571 is the listed location for one of my caches

N 42° 55.30134 W 076° 33.57126 might be it's ACTUAL location, but i don't know that because my gps isn't accurate enough to tell me. It it was accurate enough, I might still round it to three decimal places just to keep the hunt interesting.

 

With all that being said, even if we did use the more accurate coordinates, you could just make the hides that much harder!

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1. I ain't buying a $1,000 high-accuracy GPS receiver. I am having plenty of fun (and success) with my "old" GPS.

 

2. I really really like reading the logs on one of my trickier caches where even the logged DNF's outnumber the "Found its" by a ratio of 3:1. God only knows how many other DNF's aren't logged. Yet, once the cache is found, everyone remarks about how super-accurate the coordinates are. So fine, bring your Trimble in its backpack. It won't help you much except to get you within arm's length of the cache.

Assuming that the person that hid it also used a trimble and the coordinates posted are accurate and don't have the 30 feet bias from the hider's GPS.

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I actually have had the cache in my hand and not realized it. I thought it was a piece of trash that I'd picked up, but it was a log hidden in a Bic stick-style pen, stuffed under a brick wall. It took me 5 tries to get that dadgum cache, and my GPSr was reading "1 foot" at the location. I had even set the GPSr unit down on the cache at one point.

 

Talk about feeling like a doofus...

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Banish the thought of the death of geocaching! I'm perfectly willing to use the Letterboxing method or map and compass to cache if that's what it takes. As long as there are those of us who are willing to hide--and seek--"treasure," Geocaching isn't going to die any time soon. The thrill of adventure will compel us to overcome any setbacks technology may throw our way.

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I think (MY 2 cents) that the only way you could kill the game for me is to deliver any and all caches I seek that day to my back porch before I can get in the old Buick to leave on a caching trip . . . and then only long enough for me to get back on the gc.com sight to load the GPSr with 500 more to seek.

 

It ain't going any where, clever hides may increase, though!

Edited by GRANPA ALEX
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I had a 500 word rant on terrorism and America's over reactive, feel-good measures, but this is not the place for it so I deleted it.

Since it would have been off topic (as you noted), it is probably a good thing you did.

 

;)

Well, considering that rant was reduced to that one paragraph my post overall was a tad long. Not that something like a few hundred words has stopped me before, but I am trying to trim my posts.

 

See?

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Have any of you thought about this and do you think that it will kill Geocaching?

We have been planning on taking advantage of increased accuracy since the site was developed. You may be surprised how beneficial increased accuracy will be to geocaching and GPS entertainment in general.

 

As some have indicated already, it is reaching the destination that can be the best part of geocaching. There's no way that increased accuracy can kill the excitement of the hunt.

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It's easy to forget that the hunt is only the latter half of the GPS accuracy equation. It doesn't matter if your GPSr has sub-centimeter accuracy (like in my former life as a Land Surveyor - it rocks!), if the cache owner didn't let their GPSr settle in appropriately before marking the waypoint. The only way to achieve true extreme accuracy is to set the receiver on a tripod and let it average for at least a few minutes, if not hours. The instability inherent to handheld GPS receivers and human error (and worse) will allow for many more years of geofun!

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No way will it kill geocaching. We'll have to wait to see exactly what the specifications are for the new satellites, as in what percentage of the time is it that accurate. For the current system accuracies are usually described like 'under 3m with WAAS 95% of the time'.

 

I suspect that there will still be the issues of reflections of signals, poor satellite constellation geometry etc. that currently lead to the 95% of the time statement. If so, there will still be lots of inaccuracy in the game.

 

Besides, as everyone else seems to have said in this thread, its the getting out and finding new trails and new places that is the real payoff.

 

JDandDD

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Some days I wish I had that kind of accuracy.  Especially during the fall when the leaves are thick.

I feel the same way, except I'd change the last line:

 

Especially during the summer when the leaves are thick and interfering with my reception. Arghh!

I'd have changed it to 'especially in the winter when all the caches are under 3ft of snow' :lol:

 

JDandDD

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Lately I've grown a little weary of the same old containers. Since I find myself seeking more of a challenge, I assume others do as well. I have joined the ranks of the ultra-camo containers and recently tested one on two friends before I submitted it. I watched for 15 minutes as the literally walked on top of it several times and even now after a week it has no finder. Camouflage can defeat accuracy!

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Lately I've grown a little weary of the same old containers. Since I find myself seeking more of a challenge, I assume others do as well. I have joined the ranks of the ultra-camo containers and recently tested one on two friends before I submitted it. I watched for 15 minutes as the literally walked on top of it several times and even now after a week it has no finder. Camouflage can defeat accuracy!

When I started caching (which was pretty recently) it seems that the majority of the cache containers in my area were fairly obvious to spot, that is they stood out a bit from their surroundings and also at the very least had a portion exposed. That is starting to change a bit as camo-ing seems to be norm for new hides as well as concealing them within a natural object etc.

 

I always enjoy finding a clever camo-ing job or devious concealment.

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No way.  Increased accuracy can only lead to good things.  Trespassing and suspicious behaviour is what will kill geocaching.

I agree! All those annoying signs we see as we enter parks that read:

 

NO ALCOHOL

NO COOKING

NO 4 WHEELERS

NO SKATEBOARDING

NO METAL DETECTORS

ETC...

I BELIEVE YOU WILL SOON SEE

 

NO GEOCACHING :unsure:

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I find that the accuracy makes using the GPSr fun! I wish it would be to the cm, or even to the mm! For caches that I have that are fairly obvious, namely birdhouses, I make them a puzzle to get into. Almost all my birdhouses I design and make myself, and they are at the end of a multi or puzzler cache sequence. Increasing the accuracy will force us to be even more creative!

 

Happy New Year! About 1.3 hours to go here.

 

-it

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No way.  Increased accuracy can only lead to good things.  Trespassing and suspicious behaviour is what will kill geocaching.

I agree! All those annoying signs we see as we enter parks that read:

 

NO ALCOHOL

NO COOKING

NO 4 WHEELERS

NO SKATEBOARDING

NO METAL DETECTORS

ETC...

I BELIEVE YOU WILL SOON SEE

 

NO GEOCACHING :ph34r:

'Don't believe this one either.

 

... Every time this topic comes up, under some other heading, there are the naysayers, "GC is dying" for this reason or that. And then I look at the number of caches listed on here and wonder what all the commotion is about. I don't see a decrease in the number of caches being placed within the org. There is prolly some official stats within GC that studies trends that we don't have administrative approval to look at. I'm not betting guy but I bet it isn't near as bad as declared every 2-3 weeks on the forums.

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NO GEOCACHING

This is not far-fetched, sad to say.

If your parks are banning geocaching, I assume it is because you are not working with them. Many park systems have embraced the idea of geocaching. In fact, there is a current thread about a park in Alabama that has posted a link to GC.com on its web site.

 

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Edited by sbell111
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Current systems allow for cm accuracy -- doesn't seem to be killing the hobby. My unit is 2-4 meters -- however, surveying equipment is far more accurate. Check out the Trimble website -- they have one unit for the low, low price of $4995 - in the oil patch, they set up land stations and you can use these.

 

I was speaking with a local surveyor and he was saying that the codes the military placed to decrease accuracy have actually been reversed and eliminated pretty much -- so much so that the military is apparently taking courses in GIS from civilian companies.

 

(I have not way to confirm or deny this of course -- just a fun rumour) The same person also said that they had Milimeter accuracy -- which blows me away! -- never seen or heard of THAT before.

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