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Search Area Reduced


Night-Hawk
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This morning when I left home, there were 2,006 caches within 100 miles of my home that I had not found. Around 11am this morning, that number changed to 1. I called around and discovered that the normal search distance from my home coordinates was reduced from 100 miles to 50 miles. Why would geocaching.com make this change? I only have 1 cache within 50 miles of my home. Does this mean that I only have 1 more cache until I win? Seriously though, why isn't the distance a user defined parameter?

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It is.

 

use This Page

 

When you do a search for caches closest to your STORED home coordinates (filter finds on YOUR account page), it defaults to 50 miles and is NOT user defined.

 

You can add "&dist=20" to the end of the URL that pops up from the "search from your home coordinates" link. That's probably as official as you're going to get.

 

OR

 

Set up a Pocket Query for caches within a certain distance from a set of coordinates and you can even limit it to the type of caches you like - then use the PREVIEW on that pocket query to get exactly what you are looking for.

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It is.

 

use This Page

 

When you do a search for caches closest to your STORED home coordinates (filter finds on YOUR account page), it defaults to 50 miles and is NOT user defined.

 

You can add "&dist=20" to the end of the URL that pops up from the "search from your home coordinates" link. That's probably as official as you're going to get.

 

OR

 

Set up a Pocket Query for caches within a certain distance from a set of coordinates and you can even limit it to the type of caches you like - then use the PREVIEW on that pocket query to get exactly what you are looking for.

 

PERFECT... adding "&dist=100" resulted in exactly what I wanted.

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We lowered the search radius to 50 miles, as StarBrand stated, to reduce the load on the server.

 

You can always visit http://www.geocaching.com/seek/ and specify a search distance

 

Or as a benefit of being a Premium Member you can create a Pocket Query to accomplish the same thing, but with the added benefit to have it scheduled.

 

-Raine

Edited by raine
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The default used to be 100 and I used it all the time. Now I'll have to use the &dist= hack to get the info that I use in my profile page as opposed to not having to do anything special at all. That is until they make some other change forcing me to have to do something else.

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I've long been using a Greasemonkey script that has changed all the seek urls on the side to add &dist=10. Testing I did at one time indicated this was typically 5-6 times faster to run than the default 100 miles.

In areas I'm concerned about, 10 miles still returns over a thousand caches :lol:

 

I'm surprised TPTB didn't lower it farther, to 10 or 20 miles. B)

 

I don't know much about databases, but I wonder if they could make the default query something like "all caches within 25 miles, but show at least 20 caches if there are less than 20 within 25 miles."

My guess is it could be done, but the performance hit would make it not worth it.

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I don't know much about databases, but I wonder if they could make the default query something like "all caches within 25 miles, but show at least 20 caches if there are less than 20 within 25 miles."

My guess is it could be done, but the performance hit would make it not worth it.

Not a trivial exercise, since you have no idea how far a distance you'd have to include to be assured of getting at least 20. What if your home coordinates were near this cache, for example?

 

The default query could, I suppose, run with 25 miles, and then if the result was less than 20, you could run another query with some arbitrarily huge distance (say 5000 miles) and then pick off the closest 20, even if the 15th closest was 98 miles and the 16th were 1373 miles. In some areas, even setting a maximum of 100 miles might return thousands of caches. Of course, you could set a more reasonable upper bound if you were willing to relax the "minimum of 20" requirement.

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I don't know much about databases, but I wonder if they could make the default query something like "all caches within 25 miles, but show at least 20 caches if there are less than 20 within 25 miles."

My guess is it could be done, but the performance hit would make it not worth it.

Not a trivial exercise, since you have no idea how far a distance you'd have to include to be assured of getting at least 20. What if your home coordinates were near this cache, for example?

 

The default query could, I suppose, run with 25 miles, and then if the result was less than 20, you could run another query with some arbitrarily huge distance (say 5000 miles) and then pick off the closest 20, even if the 15th closest was 98 miles and the 16th were 1373 miles. In some areas, even setting a maximum of 100 miles might return thousands of caches. Of course, you could set a more reasonable upper bound if you were willing to relax the "minimum of 20" requirement.

 

It could be simpler than that. If 50 gets you 1, repeat at 60. If that passes 20, done, if not 70. Use 20 as a minimum result and it should simplify.

 

My areas of interest vary from pleny in 50, to not many in 100. Plus a cache day can be a 200 mile trip, but those are planned differently than the nearest search.

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It could be simpler than that. If 50 gets you 1, repeat at 60. If that passes 20, done, if not 70. Use 20 as a minimum result and it should simplify.

 

My areas of interest vary from pleny in 50, to not many in 100. Plus a cache day can be a 200 mile trip, but those are planned differently than the nearest search.

 

Not much of a solution if you switch from one query to several different ones.

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Not much of a solution if you switch from one query to several different ones.

The point is, for probably 98% of the users, a 20 mile query is going to return hundreds or thousands of caches. These people have almost zero need for a 50 or 100 mile query that returns several thousand caches.

 

For a few people out in the sticks, it might have to run 2 queries (make the 2nd one the old default of 100 miles). Overall, I think we'd see vastly better performance.

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We've found that the sort is actually the biggest issue with these queries. We're going to look into adjusting the sort method to speed up the results.

 

You're right about the distance queries, however. I'm sure we can look into this further and find some ways to speed it up. Right now the 50 mile restriction and the latest changes to the database gives us some breathing room to test some ideas.

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