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GC.com Why don't you create a zip file for each state?


adam_w
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... Tell me this, though. If you were planning a trip across 10 states, would you use "caches along a route" or would you load all ten "whole state" PQs (if they were available)?

(I'll ask Geode Hunters the same thing --or anyone else who wants to chime in).

I would use the caches along a route for a road trip, ...
I wouldn't and I bet that most users wouldn't. If I had a roadtrip that crossed three or four states, I'd grab the statewide PQs and move on down the road. I suspect that most users would.

Sure, I'd rationalize my doing so, but I wouldn't feel bad because I was just utilizing a member benefit.

I don't know if I am unique in my situation or not, but I work and cache 30 miles away from where I live and cache. Generally speaking I mainly cache in those two areas, and I understand everyone's point about just running PQs for those areas, but I end up extending outside of those areas quite often as I have family and friends who live outside of the range of 500 caches within those two areas. ...
Nope. You just described me fairly well. However, I've learned that the 500 limit per PQ doesn't have to limit my caching area. I 'layer' my PQs by hide date to expand the area as needed. I also can run PQs for multiple areas to give me multiple caching 'zones'.
Although everyone has given their opinions on what I should do with my suggestion, or how to work around the system. I have yet to hear a good reason why gc.com would not consider accomodating such a thing, as I know I am not the only person who wants this, as it has been mentioned several times that this has been brought up many times over the years and rejected by gc.com. So without jumping down my throat, I would like to hear from people not only the reasons why gc.com won't/can't do this, but also ideas on how gc.com could provide more data and fresh to those of us who want it.
The reasons have been given to you, you've just not accepted them.

 

Please realize that Groundspeak and, therefore, GC.com, is a business. The only thing that business has to offer, really, is the database. By limiting the size of the chunks of the database that is released, they can retain the very thing that makes them profitable. Other reasons have also been given, such as the need for users to not rely on an offline database that will get stale.

 

Consider this, a listed cache is discovered to be in an illegal location. The site quickly retracts the listing, but it already got into my PQ and is in my offline database. I either fail to update my personal database timely or do it incorrectly so the 'bad' cache isn't purged. This results in my looking for the 'bad' cache. I'm arrested and geocaching gets a black eye.

The majority of people are using offline databases, so why wouldn't gc.com embrace that and figure out a way to make more money from it. It's like the music industry pretending that people didnt want affordable digital music. Once they finally embraced it they figured out a way to sell songs at $0.99 a song and people started to buy them instead of being forced to buy a whole crappy album.
That analogy doesn't work. The music industry was forced to embrace something unpalatable or suffer huge losses.
Here are some random ideas/possibilities of how gc.com could turn this issue into a money maker.

 

1. Build their own offline database software and charge for it. If they built it in such a way that it was propietary they could even protect the data from being shared if they wanted to. I don't know if their concerns with providing more data are around protecting their asset (someone taking the data and starting a new site), or losing money from those people who might not register for premium memberships because they share the data with friends. It would seem that they are already at risk for both of these, as anyone could register enough accounts to get enough PQs to get their entire database if they so desired, and so it seems that they have already accepted either of these two possibilities.

This goes against their core competencies and forces tham to go into direct competition with former partners, causing ill will.
2. Create files that can be picked up from their server on a nightly basis. These files can't be that big, can they? They could charge for each file. How many PQs would stop being run each day?
My understanding of v.2 is that we will have an option of downloading our PQs rather than waiting for the email. There will be no additional charge for this ability. It will likely reduce the number of scheduled PQs somewhat, but probably not much since it really doesn't save very much time versus the current ability to run them on demand.
3. Allow for larger PQs,?
For reasons previously given, this is ferociously unlikely.
Anyways, I have other thoughts, but I can start with these. Please don't respond if all you have to say is, suck it up, it is what it is, live with it.
Sometimes, we have to understand that we can't always have everything we want. In those cases, it is in our best interest to suck it up and learn to live with it.
All companies must evolve to meet the demands of their customers, or else someone else will, so there is no harm in letting gc.com know that we would like more and we are willing to pay for it.
While I truly think that you believe that, I don't see the danger. TPTB have been quite responsive to our needs and desires, but they have to keep an eye on the business. They cannot implement a 'benefit' that would harm the business. This has upset some people and they have gone away to the other geocaching sites. GC.com still grows bigger and better.
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Fair enough. I have already implemented the suggested work arounds, and will continue to use them. Thanks to those with positive suggestions. It is a poor business model to continue to ignore the requests of your customers though, and eventually gc.com will have to come up with a solution or lose their customer to someone who comes along and does it better.
Said many many times, and yet the membership continues to grow. Predictions like this one are futile.
Only because they hold a monopoly on the business. They have the website name which is the name of the game, they have the largest (current) database, and the easiest interface at this time. No one has attempted to challenge them. I would say the main reason is for most people, they're happy to accept what they have. For the people who want more, they just get beaten down by, as they were called here, the "loyalists", and gc.com does what they want. Like the kleenex of facial tissues, geocaching.com is the site for the game of geocaching... mainly because of the name recognition.
Actually, GC.com is not a monopoly. There are other geocache listing sites out there and the barrier to entry into this market is surprisingly low.

 

If half a dozen guys in an area got together, they could place enough alternacaches in an area that they would have about the same number of caches to look for as we had around 2002. If they got their friends involved, they could perhaps grow the number of players and hides to make alternacaching viable.

You are right - any business which does everything everyone wants is doomed to fail. But they do need to be more responsive. This is not the Catholic Church where what the pope says, goes. It is a business. It needs to listen to its members. The churches which split off of catholicism over fundamental differences in their beliefs (read - ways to do things) are, for the most part, doing just fine. If someone started up a website, and took enough people with them, GC.com might revise its "Our way or the highway" approach to things.

 

But that is unlikely to happen, because the masses are almost always happy with what they have, and unwilling to work for something better. They just don't know, or are unwilling to try to find, something better. The newspaper in our town is like that. No serious competition, they do whatever they want, but they're the only paper in town, so you're stuck with them if you want a paper.

Great analogy, but not like you intended.

 

Have you noticed that there are huge differences in Catholic churches from state to state and country to country? Have you also noticed that the Church has found the necessity to restate their tenets from time to time? As it turns out, even the Catholic Church is somewhat responsive to its customers. However, it has had to draw a line sometimes. When it has, many people stuck around and lived within its rules while some struck out on their own.

 

Similarly, TPTB have been willing to expand benefits and alter the game to please us, but they have had to remember that before anything else, bills have to be paid and families have to be provided for. It's a business and they can't make decisions that could harm the business.

 

Some people haven't accepted this and they've gone off to create new caching websites. Some of these sites have stuck around and some of them went away.

I'm not saying it's a bad website. I'm saying they need to be more responsive to their users, and less concerned with income. It's a game. If they are more concerned with their income than the quality/status of the game and the happiness of the players, I feel they need to rearrange their priorities (as should anyone in that position).
I think that people are quick to claim that TPTB aren't responsive to the users when they don't get something that they want. However, if they stepped back and looked at everything that TPTB have done for the game and for us and consider the many times that they have tweaked the site to make it better or given us new benefits, they could not claim that they don't listen.
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So it is a business, not a game.

 

Make money, protect your investment, and don't listen to the users more than you absolutely have to.

 

They do, whether or not you believe it, have a de facto monopoly. This is mainly because they have the largest current database, and the largest group of users, and the website name which is the name of the game.

 

When AT&T had a de facto monopoly, the government split them up. Did we benefit from that? In some ways. Were there disadvantages? Yes. But was the de facto monopoly a problem? Yes.

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So it is a business, not a game.
Groundspeak, Inc and GC.com are a business. Geocaching is a game.
Make money, protect your investment, and don't listen to the users more than you absolutely have to.
That's not even close to what I posted. I suspect that you are already aware of this.
They do, whether or not you believe it, have a de facto monopoly. This is mainly because they have the largest current database, and the largest group of users, and the website name which is the name of the game.
It's only a defacto monopoly if the barriers to entry are high. It has been shown that the barriers are not high. Therefore, it is not even a 'defacto' monopoly.
When AT&T had a de facto monopoly, the government split them up. Did we benefit from that? In some ways. Were there disadvantages? Yes. But was the de facto monopoly a problem? Yes.
There is quite a difference between a game and a necessary utility. Also, I think that you would agree that in the seventies, there were immense barriers to entry in the telecommunications industry. Edited by sbell111
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So it is a business, not a game.

 

Make money, protect your investment, and don't listen to the users more than you absolutely have to.

 

They do, whether or not you believe it, have a de facto monopoly. This is mainly because they have the largest current database, and the largest group of users, and the website name which is the name of the game.

 

When AT&T had a de facto monopoly, the government split them up. Did we benefit from that? In some ways. Were there disadvantages? Yes. But was the de facto monopoly a problem? Yes.

 

I think you're confusing some things. Yes, it IS a business to them, not a game. It's built around a game/hobby, but they're not running a non-profit. If you're in support of competition in a capitalistic society, this should be a good thing to you.

 

Yes, they do run the risk of alienating their customers if they aren't responsive. Nothing wrong with reminding a business of this (and I don't think they've forgotten it). That being said, if the majority of people ARE happy with the service, what is the business doing wrong? Every business can be improved. But no business is going to please 100% of their customers or give customers 100% of everything they ever want.

 

Finally, AT&T didn't have a de facto monopoly. They had a guaranteed monopoly of every aspect of their industry for most of the years prior to their break-up. Groundspeak can't prevent you from using any other service or listing your cache or more than one listing site. They're definitely the dominant (by FAR) player in the game of geocaching. They were first, scored the domain name, and have built an interface and set of guidelines that the majority of players enjoy.

 

Other sites exist that compete with geocaching.com. They're tiny and don't have nearly as much momentum as geocaching.com. If people get upset and leave, that may reverse. If the other sites add features that people want, geocaching.com may lose market share. In a monopoly, competitors are forced out of the market and prevented from starting up. That's not happening with the geocaching world.

 

Just because a company is better than their competition doesn't mean they're forcing customers to stay with them.

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I am so frustrated with pocket queries. I have maxed out my pocket queries, and so now I can no longer have all of the caches in my state up to date. This is ridiculous. I am tired of going to caches only to find they are archived or out of date. There is no reason why gc.com could not create a zip file for each state and small countries each night and let members download the zip file from their site. They could even charge for this service. running 30+ pocket queries to have all of your caches up to date is ridiculous. Pocket queries should be used for those rare occasions like a road trip to GeoWoodstock or something like that, not for keeping your regular caching areas up to date.

This has become more of a problem as the number of caches has increased beyond our ablity to track the ones in our area of travel with pocket queries.

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I am so frustrated with pocket queries. I have maxed out my pocket queries, and so now I can no longer have all of the caches in my state up to date. This is ridiculous. I am tired of going to caches only to find they are archived or out of date. There is no reason why gc.com could not create a zip file for each state and small countries each night and let members download the zip file from their site. They could even charge for this service. running 30+ pocket queries to have all of your caches up to date is ridiculous. Pocket queries should be used for those rare occasions like a road trip to GeoWoodstock or something like that, not for keeping your regular caching areas up to date.

This has become more of a problem as the number of caches has increased beyond our ablity to track the ones in our area of travel with pocket queries.

Isn't that an awesome problem to have?

 

This tremendous growth lets us all be a bit pickier in our PQs to better target only the caches that are our most favorite. Also, we can find these caches closer to home so we aren't wasting as much gas.

 

Hurrah for too many caches!!!

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.......

Isn't that an awesome problem to have?

 

This tremendous growth lets us all be a bit pickier in our PQs to better target only the caches that are our most favorite. Also, we can find these caches closer to home so we aren't wasting as much gas.

 

Hurrah for too many caches!!!

 

Along those lines - I have been suggesting more and more options in the PQ's to more closely target caches I would enjoy going after. I could get a very decent radius with more options. And I could change my mind and get a different set as often as I needed (up to 5 times per day).

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.......

Isn't that an awesome problem to have?

 

This tremendous growth lets us all be a bit pickier in our PQs to better target only the caches that are our most favorite. Also, we can find these caches closer to home so we aren't wasting as much gas.

 

Hurrah for too many caches!!!

 

Along those lines - I have been suggesting more and more options in the PQ's to more closely target caches I would enjoy going after. I could get a very decent radius with more options. And I could change my mind and get a different set as often as I needed (up to 5 times per day).

Excellent suggestion. I'm not really interested in having a PQ for each state but expanding the PQ options would be something I would like.

Edited by mertat
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I dropped off this thread because it was going nowhere. I made a simple suggestion for what I thought would make my geocaching experience more enjoyable and less time consuming to manage, and saw a win win solution where gc.com could even profit from a service like what I suggested.

 

However others feel like they need to flex their geocaching expertise to tell me where I can stick my suggestion. I do not feel the need to respond to people who want to attack me personally or tell me how I should geocache. I simply suggested something that I would find useful, and would be willing to pay for. Obviously people see that they should be loyal to gc.com for some reason and defend them. I like having my entire state in an offline database and I like having the data as fresh as possible. I like to analyze the data, and play with it. So sue me....well scratch that, it seems some of you take this suggestion so personally that you may just sue me, so I retract that statement. I will pursue my suggestion directly with gc.com instead of through a bunch of gc.com loyalists who seem to have nothing better to do than sit at their computer and squash any idea of improving the user experience.

 

well, i'm also a newbie, and had just posted pretty much exactly the same suggestion you made, including

providing a web page where you could just pull down the whole state, etc. so, you're not alone in your

thinking.

 

however, don't consider that a compliment, as you haven't seen some of the 6 beer hot flashes i've come

up with in the past......

 

the thread i started with my post was closed, and i was directed *here*, for the "redesigning of the wheel"

steering committee.....

 

it's not that the current setup doesn't work, it obviously does. i just didn't want to bother with the setting

up, and tweeking the PQ's to get the coverage i "needed".

 

"needed", however, doesn't mean i need to approach this "hobby" with the same gritty determination

of an amphetamine freak painting his living room with a 1" wide brush at 3 am......

 

i just didn't want to have to spend 2 hours setting up the PQ's.... i'm lazy.

 

MY GOD, what if i miss a cache? whatever will i DOOOOOOOOO????????

i'll have to drive another 1.13 miles... oh, my..... my life is a black void... time to end it all.....

 

instead of committing suicide, i made up a PQ, set up with what i want to look for, copied it 20

times, and used zip codes for the centers.... not that elegant, and i miss some caches, i am sure,

but good enough..... the one for my home, i run once a day, the others, once a week. it works.

 

and i suspect the real reason for GC.com not allowing unlimited downloading of all the areas in

the whole world is just the straight economics of bandwidth, not a fear that someone is going to

steal "their" data and build a competing service..... they have to pay for the usage by the terabyte,

and they don't really need FulThrotl downloading 92 megs 7 times a week to update caches he

will never visit in a million years.

 

they aren't selling data here, they are providing community, and charging a reasonable fee for it.

 

GC.com isn't the draw here. YOU ARE. all of you. there are people who've been here 5 or 6 years,

with over 10,000 posts. that's something like 40 posts a week..... for 5 years.

 

money can't buy devotion like that. however, money can be made providing a place for it to

occur naturally, and GC.com seems to have done a decent job of that. they earn their money.

 

me, i've tweeked my PQ's, and have it down to just ONE PQ, that i can run once a day.... now, if

GC.com will just increase the queries results from 500 to 188,306,750 all will

work wonderfully..... i can put the whole planet earth in a 3 terabyte email attachment.....

 

that isn't being unreasonable, is it?

 

FulThrotl

(it's not just a handle, it's a way of life)

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I just came up with the perfect modification to the pocket query process.

 

What if TPTB added the ability to select a starting date and then give you the caches starting at that placed on date up to 500 caches?

 

You could then create a pocket query starting at Jan 2000. When you receive that query you would know the next starting date for the second pocket query.

 

It's already possible to get most of the caches in the world, if you work at it. For a number of years I have been running 5 queries a day doing a scan of all the caches in the world. I segmented the world into pocket queriable subsets and then added date limits to keep each query just below 500 caches in the preview. It took a year to do world scan 7 which I finished early this year. I'm currently working on world scan 8 starting from January 1, 1994 (there are only a few before May 2000) and I'm currently working on January of 2007, but I've added scans for the dates after world scan 7 to pickup new caches so I have all the new caches usually within a month of when they are approved. These use up queries that I used to use for the serial world scan making it take lots longer. Because of the growth in the rate of new cache placements, my new cache scan takes about half the queries. It will probably take a couple more years to finish world scan 8.

 

I also run a daily pocket query to get 500 of the caches from the prior day and occasionally special queries for places I cache. There are over 800 new caches a day on weekdays and over 1000 on weekend days, so my eighth world scan will take several years at the rate I'm going if I keep it up. The end of the eighth world scan keeps getting later and later as we add more caches every day and I use queries for other things.

 

We still have some time before we approach 2500 new caches a day, which limits the percent of all caches that one could theoretically query. My first world scans only took a few months and I was able to manually get individual gpx files for all of the archived caches. I've had to give up getting the final archived caches because there are too many. We will soon be at a million caches. If you get 490 caches practically in a query, say, then that means that it would take just over 2000 queries to get them all, or 400 days at 5 per day. That's just over a year's worth.

 

Notice that my experience proves that pocket queries can already cover even the largest state (California) or country (Germany, but now available by "state") by using the date range feature. The arguments above that Groundspeak has to add functionality for various reasons are faulty. Geocachers already have strategies available. They could even go beyond what I've done by purchasing multiple premium accounts, but then you get into issues in the data license agreement.

 

Anyway, have fun querying.

 

Nudecacher

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i wish to address this "i don't know where i'll be" thing.

 

periodically i leave my house to go geocaching and stay out for twenty-odd days at a stretch, living in my car and wandering wherever i wander. typically my area is within eight or nine hours' travel of my house, but i often do not know whether i will be in maine or maryland or ontario.

 

even with that broad a field, i find that most of that wandering ends up being in western MA, central NY, and southern VT. it takes me two or three days' worth of PQs to fully charge my huge honkin' database of where i might possibly be at any given time, but when it comes right down to it, i don't need the list of every cache everywhere i might be. i don't usually find more than two dozen caches in a day, and it easy enough to fill up my time with conveniently placed caches without having 100% coverage everywhere i might be all of the time.

 

often when i realize where i will be tomorrow (or this afternoon) i just run a PQ on the road for where i am NOW. this covers even the days when i wake up in connecticut and for some reason suddenly decide that in the afternoon i MUST be in northern maine, or when i'm in rhode island and suddenly decide that i MUST cache in harrisburg.

 

if you have more peripatetic and mercurial travels and cannot run a decent PQ for where you'll be in a couple of hours, i'm going to suggest that perhaps you might reconsider how effective your use of data is.

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