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Is Geocaching Fading?


Inmountains
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I was just wondering if there are any statistics that show if Geocaching is getting more popular or fading away? Due to my location, I find 10-20 a year, but some of the caches here take all day to get to just one, ie. Black Bear Trail. So I was wondering if anyone knows if there are, on average, more 'finds and hides' daily or is the interest waning?

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In my area (southern New England), you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a geocache. I have over 400 unfound caches within a 40-mile radius, and I live on the coast, so that's basically a semicircular area. They are popping up all the time. I got two FTFs already this year.

 

It's all a matter of population density.

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Speaking solely based upon what I've observed, it appears that geocaching is still growing, at least in the two metropolitan areas in which I cache. There are a steady stream of new caches and I see a lot of new names and accounts with few finds when looking at recent logs on area caches. I've seen several logs in the last two weeks that start out with "first cache found!" etc. Now, it will be interesting to see how many of these new people stick with it and are still active in 6 months.

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As of October 19, 2005, there were 208991 active caches in 217 countries.

In the last 7 days, there have been 123550 new logs written by 22817 account holders!

 

As of today, January 2, 2006, there are 224112 active caches in 219 countries.

In the last 7 days, there have been 177569 new logs written by 27491 account holders.

 

Let's see... since October 19, 2005, there have been:

 

15,121 more active caches created

54,019 more new logs written by

4,674 more account holders

 

Geocaching fading away?

I think not!

B)

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I'll answer the question from the perspective of a volunteer cache reviewer. New reviewers are typically added when the current volunteer handling a territory gets too busy and hollers for help. I was brought on board in May 2003, shortly after Pennsylvania's state parks and state forests adopted a geocaching policy that made cache reviews in my home state more time-consuming. The reviewer who hollered for help was then covering New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and much of New England. Less than three years later, it takes six reviewers to cover that same list of states.

 

I then picked up Ohio and West Virginia, so I was covering three whole states. It was no big deal and I still had plenty of time to go out and find lots of caches as a player. But eventually, eastern PA got so busy that a new reviewer came aboard to help me there. And now Ohio is shared by three volunteers, once my volume got up above twenty caches per day, seven days a week. B)

 

Similar stories could be told by reviewers elsewhere. We've added reviewers in Latvia, Switzerland, Spain, Quebec, etc., this past year. It is great to watch the growth of geocaching worldwide!

 

So, based on the volume of caches hidden, the numbers are up, up and up. And there is still a nice steady volume of very nice caches being hidden out in the middle of the woods after a long hike, to go along with the explosion of camoflaged urban micros, tricky puzzles, etc.

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Keystone,

 

We all appreciate the thankless job you guys do in your spare? time. Thanks for the hard work you put in.

 

By the way, I hope you didn't take my email from a couple days ago wrong. I was in no way insinuating that you should spend your holidays working on geobusiness. B)

 

Thanks for your help on the subject... I tried to search the site and forums for help, but... :DB)B)B)

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While I doubt its fading, the 98000 new accounts would probably be more accurate of how many folks got GPS's for holidays gifts. The question is how many of those new account will remain active. I think folks get all hot and heavy into this earlyl on and the novelty wears off. Our caches will get many new cachers in December and January then trail off a bit until drier weather returns.

 

From our own experience, we have trailed off a bit from caching because of work and holiday situations in Oct/Nov/Dec. We'll be more into in this year though, thats for sure.

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I would actually be far more worried about it getting too popular.

 

So far geocaching has had almost no mainstream press, and very few people outside of the geocaching community even know what the heck it is.

 

But imagine if it became so much more popular that suddenly 60 minutes is doing an exposè on it, and overnight there are several new Geocaching.com competitor sites popping up, and hidden caches literally everywhere.

 

Knowing how "enlightened" local, state, and federal governments can be, it might not even take long before Geocaching becomes illegal in certain areas, or you'll see Fox News, CNN & Bill O'Reilly talking about how Al-Queda is using "secret hidden messages that can be found only using GPS" to communicate & conspire.

 

Before long every muggle in the world would be looking at Geocaching with an eye of suspicion.

 

...or maybe i'm just a paranoid moron. B)

Edited by Chester_Copperpot
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The growth of geocaching in the Southwest Houston/Sugarland area HAS INDEED SLOWED DOWN. It can be seen quite clearly in the weekly gc.com cache report emails I receive.

 

Many folks in my area have switched to terracaching and there are a few other issues that have caused this change, but they don't bear mentioning in this thread.

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I would actually be far more worried about it getting too popular.

 

So far geocaching has had almost no mainstream press, and very few people outside of the geocaching community even know what the heck it is.

I am just curious what you consider "mainstream press." Parade Magazine? The Washington Post? The New York Times? The Travel Channel? Slashdot? For all of these outlets have featured geocaching at least once. I myself have appeared on one local TV news segment, and been interviewed by one national specialty publication and three local newspapers. And that's just me, one local geocacher!

 

There are many who feel that geocaching gets too MUCH publicity. A quick glance at the 460 articles currently collected on the Geocaching in the News page would perhaps support this. Me, I think that any publicity is good publicity, if it helps make land managers and public officials aware of our pretty harmless hobby, and if it converts a few muggles over to the join in the fun.

 

Knowing how "enlightened" local, state, and federal governments can be, it might not even take long before Geocaching becomes illegal in certain areas...

We're already there. We haven't been able to reverse the NPS and USFWS bans, nor the bans in some park systems. And there is the pending legislation in South Carolina, the first of its kind. But by and large, through the hard work of local geocachers, bans are being replaced with workable land manager policies. I think the trend of regulating geocaching will continue to grow. It is a byproduct of our sport's popularity.

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I am just curious what you consider "mainstream press." Parade Magazine? The Washington Post? The New York Times? The Travel Channel? Slashdot? For all of these outlets have featured geocaching at least once. I myself have appeared on one local TV news segment, and been interviewed by one national specialty publication and three local newspapers. And that's just me, one local geocacher!

 

Also Business Week, NPR and a gazillion local and regional newspapers.

Edited by briansnat
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Way back in 2003, fizzymagic started a thread which gave analysis of geocaching's growth. He updates it from time to time.

 

I did a quick search and found it here. If you take a look at this post, you will see the most recent update. You will note that it is still growing. If anything, a quick look would suggest that the growth has increased slightly.

Edited by sbell111
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Just did a search and, from my little podunk part of upstate NY, there are 2035 caches listed within a 100-mile radius.  There are 20 PAGES of them within 40 miles.  :rolleyes:

An impressive number until you start getting closer to the center of gravity. I'm about 20 miles as the crow flies from the CoG, and have 1535 caches within 19.8 miles.

 

With the new faces I saw at the last WSGA Holiday party, I'd say we're still on a high growth rate... but that's just eyeballing the sport. It's going to depend on the level of geekiness in your area as to how fast or how slow the hobby will grow.

Edited by TotemLake
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A few thoughts. When the European Galileo GPS system comes on line in a year or two, with accuracy to within a foot, it may sound the death knell of geocaching. After all, isn't geocaching all about the hunt, not the actual find. Seems to me, the GPSrs already in existence make it pretty darn easy today. My prediction, traditional caches will fade; micros, non physical and extreme cache types will flourish.

 

Personally, judging by the amount of junk and kid's stuff I currently find in caches, I think the game is at its height of popularity, it's peak. When every kid on the block has a GPSr, it will be pointless to hide anything within a 20 mile radius of any urban area. Kids will be standing behind you waiting to log your cache, before you've even hidden it.

 

On the bright side, in the near future, geocaching will go the way of CB radios and 8 tracks, then there will only be a few dedicated, extreme cachers left. Geocaching will return to its roots. Hopefully it may evolve into something interesting and challenging again.

 

:laughing:

 

Icemannwt.

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Since I was always of the camp that prefers the process of using the GPSr to get to the location of the hide over a drawn-out hunt at those coordinates, and I believe that caches (except in certain circumstances) should be hidden from non-cachers instead of cachers themselves, increased accuracy will only make the game more fun for me. Remember, the first cache was a big white bucket sticking halfway out of the ground just by the side of a road. If you got there, you found it. While I often enjoy evil and ultra-creative hides, they are, I believe, a subset of caching (like puzzles) and not the standard rule. The most rewarding hide for me is the one that a cacher knows of but the rest of the world is oblivious to. And yes, your opinions will probably differ...

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OTOH, all you need to do is look at some fairly old archived cache in your area and see how many names you recognize.  People stop geocaching all the time.

 

Its a fact that for every 1 geoacher who quits the sport, 3 new ones start.

 

The source for that information is me. I wrote down a bunch of numbers on a piece of paper and chose two that sounded about right

Edited by briansnat
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Knowing how "enlightened" local, state, and federal governments can be, it might not even take long before Geocaching becomes illegal in certain areas, or you'll see Fox News, CNN & Bill O'Reilly talking about how Al-Queda is using "secret hidden messages that can be found only using GPS" to communicate & conspire.

 

If it gets too popular, I'm sure our politicians will figure out a way to tax it. It will be an "entertainment" tax.

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In Europe the popularity of geocaching is still increasing.

Sure, but the growth rate of hidden caches is definitely decreasing over here (sort of saturation, nudge, nudge).

 

Detailed figures separated for caches found/placed:

http://geocaching.rockus.org/caches_rates.html

You can see the same thing in the Netherlands, the number of active cachers still increases, but the number of placed caches seems to stabilize. (http://www.geocaching.nl/temporary/imagefnp.png?1136484515)

Our country is just not big enough :laughing:

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Just looking at currently available caches here in Oklahoma.

  • 2001 Caches still active = 55
  • 2002 caches still active = 140
  • 2003 caches still active = 263
  • 2004 caches still active = 422
  • 2005 caches still active = 863
  • TOTAL active caches = 1743

I know that there are a lot of older caches archived, but if you look at just the increase from 2004 to 2005, the number of caches has doubled. I think this indicates that the sport is increasing.

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Just did a search and, from my little podunk part of upstate NY, there are 2035 caches listed within a 100-mile radius.  There are 20 PAGES of them within 40 miles.  :blink:

An impressive number until you start getting closer to the center of gravity. I'm about 20 miles as the crow flies from the CoG, and have 1535 caches within 19.8 miles.

That is a lot! For my part, the source of my grin at our local numbers is that in this area I'm used to "cool" stuff happening Anywhere But Here. The chance of this hobby having any longevity in my particular case has gone up with the realization there are enough caches within a reasonable distance to last me for quite some time. As related to the topic of this thread, that means that quite a large number of caches has "trickled down" to this sparse neck of the woods, which intuitively tells me the overall numbers must be robust, indeed.

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Geocaching has had nothing but steady growth. If it was a fad, it would have exploded in popularity, and then have quickly died out. There seems to be a spike in 2004, but the popularity has only increased since then. Hopefully geocaching will stay out of mainstream media and avoid oversaturation. The day that every person on the planet knows what it is, is the day that it will be at it's peak and start to decline. I firmly believe that it should stay hidden (to a degree) much like it's own caches are. I also think that it should not try to garner any more attention, but at the same time be available to be "found" by mostly anyone who is seeking it. (but not too easily) Just my own personal opinion. Secrets are not necessarily a bad thing..

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In Europe the popularity of geocaching is still increasing.

Sure, but the growth rate of hidden caches is definitely decreasing over here (sort of saturation, nudge, nudge). Detailed figures separated for caches found/placed: http://geocaching.rockus.org/caches_rates.html

 

Your data does not support your claim that the rate of growth is slowing.

 

For caches found: Look at Feb 2005 or July 2003 for slumps much like the Jan 2006 projected one. Note the cyclical pattern each year, where the 3rd and 4th quarters spike high and the 1st quarter is a decided low. (In fact the curves for 2003, 2004, and 2005 are virtually identical for caches found.)

 

Caches hidden show much the same pattern.

 

Not that such a tiny sample size is enough to make much of a valid analysis of anyhow...

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