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In my area there is someone who cronically seems to hide caches then post coords that are 20' from gound zero. On the google map it will show the cache on one side of a bridge when the cache is really on the other side. Should I call them out or just live with it?

 

Twenty feet? No... leave it alone. Unless you have very good reason to believe the coords are deliberately off, and even then, you'd probably be wise to not engage that battle.

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In my area there is someone who cronically seems to hide caches then post coords that are 20' from gound zero. On the google map it will show the cache on one side of a bridge when the cache is really on the other side. Should I call them out or just live with it?

 

We've got a cacher in our area that has (only as of late) run up a pretty consistent error of about 25' or so east. Not sure what happens. Early in my caching career, I ran up against another CO whose coordinates were consistently 20' south.

 

Don't ask me how this stuff happens, but it does.

 

If you run across a cache where the difference causes significant pain (e.g., what should be an easy cache where there is a lot of "clutter" such that having the coordinates right keeps a 1.5 from turning into a 3.0), and you're confident in your own numbers, just post your "alternate" coordinates along with the rest of your gc.com log info for your find. It's not an uncommon practice. Future finders may feel free to use the posted coordinates, or give yours a try if things go badly. Sometimes the CO will hear it enough to make a bit of a shift in the posted coordinates.

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In my area there is someone who cronically seems to hide caches then post coords that are 20' from gound zero. On the google map it will show the cache on one side of a bridge when the cache is really on the other side. Should I call them out or just live with it?

consistantly off by 20 feet? EASY!, when gps says 20 feet, you're at GZ

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20 feet is not considered off. It would be nice if everyone was dead on but unless it is more than 30 feet off it is still close enough to count. Unless you feel it is off for reasons such as getting around the 528 feet from another cache guideline or some other type of deliberate deceiving going on. Then again your GPS device could be faulting. Do you have more than one to test it out or a friend's you can test it on? They are not perfect. I use a Garmin 205 a friend of mine I go caching with uses an older model Magellan. Sometimes mine gets it closer and sometimes his. Sometimes they both lead us correctly and a few but rarely we are both off. My theory is it makes a difference the type of GPS unit used for the hide. The person hiding these probably has a different unit than you do.

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Matt pretty much summed it up. In CT, 20 feet isn't bad at all. Even 30 feet isn't terrible. Also, different GPS units seem to come up with different coords at the same spot. There's a joke that with 1 GPS, a group will know where they are, but with more than 1, no one knows where they are.

 

Now, when we cache in other places, notably, CA and FL, the coords were much better. Ten feet was common, maybe because of the flatter terrain/better view of the sky w/out mountain/hill interference or something?

 

Also, it can be attributed to other things too. We did a cache a few weeks ago, coords were almost 50 feet off. Went back with friends yesterday and we had 12 feet at the cache.

Edited by Skippermark
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In my area there is someone who cronically seems to hide caches then post coords that are 20' from gound zero. On the google map it will show the cache on one side of a bridge when the cache is really on the other side. Should I call them out or just live with it?

consistantly off by 20 feet? EASY!, when gps says 20 feet, you're at GZ

In spite of the advertised accuracy and commentary, at least in OUR part of the world, it's not at all unusual to have GZ show up at 5 feet or less on a pretty consistent basis if the CO takes a little time to average the point when setting down a cache. Accuracy is sufficient that you can actually triangulate a cache (if your GPSr includes a mag compass) from about 30~35' out from three positions.

 

What you're hearing from the OP, and is worth noting if for no other reason than understanding what's happening, is that some COs seem to have a built-in offset of a rather precise number of feet at times.

 

As I noted above, we have a CO out here now that has a 25' E offset in nearly all caches being placed. That offset did not used to exist for this COs caches. For most of them, when the digits approached zero, you could be fairly well assured that you were just about standing on the spot. That's no longer the case, and if you stand at "0", you look 25' E to find the right spot. It's not my unit, either. I cache at lunch with a friend, and both of us are seeing exactly the same thing (2 different Garmin models of different vintage). I can go back to that COs earlier caches and be spot on.

 

So there is something to this offset business. Just not sure what it is yet. I'm wondering if there's a built-in bias in some units that isn't overcome unless the CO allows time for the unit to settle before taking the numbers, and some COs aren't taking the time they once did.

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"..or sometimes the CO will hear it enough to shift their coordinates" - I agree that's the best possible outcome & generally when I find caches that are >4x the accuracy I had when looking in the area I'll post the coords I found it at. I've had one of my finds that generated this kind of feedback ive been back quickly to check & have updated my coords.

 

Had an interesting experience with something similar over the weekend, the (relatively inexperienced) CO posted intentionally (as stated in the cache description) soft coordinates, stated that they were no more than 5m out and posted a pretty useless hint (unless of course you think that 'fungi3' = tree; that's not an obvious one to me). Instead of taking the feedback from multiple cachers about it, this guy went on a tirade & disabled the listing:

 

"This is what i'll do next. I'll tell you exactly where it is so nobody has to be thrashing about looking for it and making it difficult to collect a found cache. Of course the cache may have been much closer at the beginning and it is also possible that someone may have moved it slightly. There is only one tree within the diameter i described and if that is too difficult to find then perhaps i'd recommend another hobby. Getting tired of whiners. Could Fungi 3 also refer obliquely to a TREE ??? both the number and the word sound similar. Need any more detailed description? Perhaps not. By the end of this month I will remove the cache for good so people don't have to worry if it's their gps or whatever that is at fault. Lighten up people-this is supposed to be fun and also the use of the brain is required on occasion. Sorry i am venting a bit. It is sometimes frustrating.

Look for the nearest tree from the gate and go no further. Should I post a photo?

Have fun, fun,fun,fun!!!!!!!!!!!!"

 

Now, i'm sitting here thinking to myself - ah yes, should have posted "TFTC TNLN SL" and been done with it!

I;m hoping though that this kind of reaction is the exception rather than the rule.

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As others have said, 20 feet is well within the margin of error given the accuacy of most units and differences in satellite reception or even satellite position at the time coordinates are taken. If your unit is "off" ten feet, and the owner's unit is "off" ten feet then a 20 foot search area is not unreasonable.

 

We have had a few cachers in my area who seem to be routinely off at least 40 feet. I ended up expecting that to be part of the search and factoring it into my decision about whether to look for the cache. Last week there was a tough one that was 120-150 feet off (the owner ended up changing the posted coordinates).

 

If I think it matters I wil post alternative coordinates with my log. Sometimes 20 or 30 feet can make a significant difference - like if a cache is surrounded by poison oak. In other instances it might be good enough to get you to the hide.

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I'm going to go against the tide here.

 

I would have agreed with them before I got my new GPS. Now I've got something that is accurate and I actually know when the cache is 20 feet off. It sounds like you've got that confidence from your GPS too.

 

the way this game is played is that the coordinates are posted of the cache, and we go find it.

 

If the cache owner doesn't want to post accurate coordinates it should belong under mystery cache designation.

 

If the owner wants accurate coordinates then they should have no trouble with you saying in your logs, "Coordinates are 20 feet off". Future searchers can take this or leave it.

 

I've encountered coordinates 80 feet off and about 150 feet off. If they're that far off I usually post the coordinates I get. If it's a short ways off, I say, 20 feet off (or whatever it is) in my logs. That let's them know they need to widen their search if they can't find it.

 

If you are at all unsure of your GPSr's accuracy, then 20 feet is acceptable error. If you know for a fact it is consistently spot on, then leave a nice note in the logs.

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In my area there is someone who cronically seems to hide caches then post coords that are 20' from gound zero. On the google map it will show the cache on one side of a bridge when the cache is really on the other side. Should I call them out or just live with it?

 

I'd move the caches so that the hides match the GZ on your GPS.

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In my most humble opinion, a proper response might be "I found the cache close to these coordinates on my GPS Nxxxxxxxxx Wxxxxxxxx". Much more polite to the cache owner than simply "The coords are off 20 feet" which could imply that you are perfect and all-knowing and the cache owner is an idiot.

Also -- if you are going to imply in any way that you believe the posted coordinates may be inaccurate, you should also be confident enough to (1) post the coordinates you believe may be closer to correct and (2) give details on how you arrived at those coordinates. Something like "took 37 readings over 3 days with two GPS units and averaged them..."

One more thing -- if you found it, and other cachers are finding it regularly with no posted DNF's -- the coordinates are fine, post a TFTC and move on!!!

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In my area there is someone who cronically seems to hide caches then post coords that are 20' from gound zero. On the google map it will show the cache on one side of a bridge when the cache is really on the other side. Should I call them out or just live with it?

 

I'd move the caches so that the hides match the GZ on your GPS.

Wrong.

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In my area there is someone who cronically seems to hide caches then post coords that are 20' from gound zero. On the google map it will show the cache on one side of a bridge when the cache is really on the other side. Should I call them out or just live with it?

 

I'd move the caches so that the hides match the GZ on your GPS.

 

I don't think that is the way to handle the situation. If so, you are actively engaged in "cache migration".

 

It is probably best to let the CO handle it, based on log information supplied.

 

Now, if it were your cache, you could move it as you so desire, I guess! :unsure:

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Once you find a couple of caches that are 60+ feet off, you will feel better.

Until then, You can have fun with your log.... I prefer to post something like.... expanded our search a bit and found it. :unsure:

That's what I like to call "zero out, then fan out". First, try to zero out the distance figure on your GPS, then start searching the site for 'candidate hiding spots', gradually expanding your search area, until you either find the cache or give up.

 

Heck, you might just end up zeroing out on two locations on opposite sides of a long obstacle. You'll just have to approach the obstacle from opposite directions, then search. That's what I had to do on one of my finds today.

Edited by DENelson83
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If it is with 30 feet, I would say it is not that bad. I have had days where the GPS wanders around and will give me multiple locations where it says 0 metres. Then wander around for a while and have it say 0 meters somewhere else.

 

Another thing to consider is a GPS can only get you to the posted coordinates which are good to 3 decimal places. Depending on the rounding used by the GPS that was used to place the cache it could be off about 30 feet depending on the rounding of the latitude and longitude to those three decimal places.

 

For example, internally the cache is at N 43 27.1235. The GPS may round it to N 43 27.124 and display that to the cache placer. Now you go out and your GPS will try to take you to N 43 27.124 not N 43 27.1235. That could mean a variance of up to 00 00.001 on both the latitude and the longitude. Add to that the GPS being accurate to with 10 feet at the time it was placed and 10 feet at the time you try to find it, it is a wonder we can find these things at all.

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Deliberately posting soft coords is not in the spirit of geocaching, IMHO

 

And I recently ran into a case of exactly that.

The CO had hidden quite a few caches, and many finders were noting that the numbers seems unusually far off...consistently. I managed to find most of these, but I DNFed one. Later, when I went back, I noticed the CO had updated the cache page to include an explanation that their first 20-30 caches were done without a GPSr, and they felt that caching became 'just too easy' once they got one, so they thought that the rest of us should have the 'enjoyment' of searching without accurate numbers.

 

The funny thing is that recently they have posted logs complaining about bad numbers! :unsure:

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Deliberately posting soft coords is not in the spirit of geocaching, IMHO

 

And I recently ran into a case of exactly that.

The CO had hidden quite a few caches, and many finders were noting that the numbers seems unusually far off...consistently. I managed to find most of these, but I DNFed one. Later, when I went back, I noticed the CO had updated the cache page to include an explanation that their first 20-30 caches were done without a GPSr, and they felt that caching became 'just too easy' once they got one, so they thought that the rest of us should have the 'enjoyment' of searching without accurate numbers.

 

The funny thing is that recently they have posted logs complaining about bad numbers! :unsure:

 

UGH!

The website clearly says that a GPSr is supposed to be the core of the hobby. Hiding without one is just not cool.

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it is not my unit. when you look on Google maps GZ is off by 15+ feet on almost every hide. It just seems hard to be that inconsistant. Should I post new coords? Thanks for the replies.

 

In my area, Google Maps is actually what is off. Google maps consistantly shows caches about 25-30 feet west of the actual gz. It is possible this is what is happening in your area.

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In my area there is someone who cronically seems to hide caches then post coords that are 20' from gound zero. On the google map it will show the cache on one side of a bridge when the cache is really on the other side. Should I call them out or just live with it?

 

I'd move the caches so that the hides match the GZ on your GPS.

 

I don't think that is the way to handle the situation. If so, you are actively engaged in "cache migration".

 

It is probably best to let the CO handle it, based on log information supplied.

 

Now, if it were your cache, you could move it as you so desire, I guess! :D

 

That was a joke dude..

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My sibling consistently posts coords that are 20' off.

I finally got around to chasing his last cache but before I left the house I took another look at his page to check for updates because I had been sitting on the GPX for some time.

Somebody had updated his coords, I downloaded them and set them as a secondary point.

When I chased down his original GZ I then walked 20' directly to the cache, then I took a look at the "corrected" coords and they where an approximately 40' off of his 20' off set.

 

I cant say for sure, but supposedly my brother takes 10 samples, walking away by at lest 50' and restarting his unit each time, then averaging the results.

Are the people that decide to correct a COs coords taking the time to do multiple samples?

I took 60 samples (left gps on the cache doing 1 sample every 10 seconds) I'll be back on at least 9 more occasions to do the same thing, then and only then will I dare to assume I have enough information to change the coords.

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Deliberately posting soft coords is not in the spirit of geocaching, IMHO

 

And I recently ran into a case of exactly that.

The CO had hidden quite a few caches, and many finders were noting that the numbers seems unusually far off...consistently. I managed to find most of these, but I DNFed one. Later, when I went back, I noticed the CO had updated the cache page to include an explanation that their first 20-30 caches were done without a GPSr, and they felt that caching became 'just too easy' once they got one, so they thought that the rest of us should have the 'enjoyment' of searching without accurate numbers.

 

The funny thing is that recently they have posted logs complaining about bad numbers! :D

 

UGH!

The website clearly says that a GPSr is supposed to be the core of the hobby. Hiding without one is just not cool.

 

They actually had a GPSr at this point, but thought posting 'soft' co-ordinates would make it more fun for others.

 

I don't get it either.

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Another thing to consider is a GPS can only get you to the posted coordinates which are good to 3 decimal places. Depending on the rounding used by the GPS that was used to place the cache it could be off about 30 feet depending on the rounding of the latitude and longitude to those three decimal places.

Up/down rounding is employed, and a full 0.001 minutes of error during rounding amounts to about 6' N/S and 4' E/W - the latter being dependent upon latitude, but pretty typical in the U.S. The average error created will be half that due to rounding for any given cache location.

 

I have hides that consistently produce numbers within those limits. I have one spot that I use for "calibration" purposes that comes down to about 4 feet every time I approach it unless there's a really strange ephemeris situation going on, and that's rare. I don't think there's anything special about either my Garmin eTrex Summit nor the Garmins my finders are walking around with.

 

Of interest, I frequently see comments of the following sort on a couple of what could be pretty nasty hides. In each case, substantial time was taken to develop good coordinate averages before posting the cache:

 

"Great camo on this one! I am surprised I was able to find it as quickly as I was, due mostly to good coordinates."

"Couldn't believe I was right next to it, cords are right on."

"Nice Hide! Great Camo! Corrdinates Right on Thank You! could of been ugly without them!"

(GC1B049)

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Are the people that decide to correct a COs coords taking the time to do multiple samples?

If I post alternate coordinates, it's only done after substantial sampling. If I think I've got an issue with a location, I'll set the Garmin on "Mark", set the thing to averaging, and then take time to pull out the log, sign it, and return the cache to its hiding spot. That always provides time for at least a 50 sample. Sometimes that also gives MY unit a chance to settle, and I find that the location isn't so bad after all.

 

I also won't make a call like that unless my Summit is telling me that it's working to 8 feet (the best 'accuracy' it ever displays). Anything above that, and I'll leave it to the next guy to post something different if he can get better numbers. Out in the open, though, 8' is what I usually see displayed, but it's a bit pessimistic at times.

 

Truth to tell, I find that these things can be far more accurate than they're given credit for being.

 

Ah - a caveat. Battery life notwithstanding, I always operate with WAAS enabled. There's a reason the FAA took the time and expense to launch those puppies, and their ability to account for clock drift and atmospheric effects is pretty amazing. The newer generation to be launched will include this sort of closed loop system as an integral part of the package. I have heard some cachers turn it off to conserve battery. Well - I guess you get what you pay for. I notice a definite improvement with it enabled.

Edited by ecanderson
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Again I agree with most here that 20' isn't an issue here though the consistent pattern is interesting.

 

I am interested though in what kind of setting are these caches in? Are these caches in a thick forested or mountainous region. Cause there is a lot of factors that go into GPS accuracy. Anything that can block or refract the signal can cause accuracy issues. If these caches are in wide open area with clear skies then maybe these coordinates could have been better but elsewise I can't see this being an issue.

 

Another thing to remember is when the CO submited the coordinates there is an accuracy limit on his GPS and lets say that was 10' off. And then your GPS will also have some error in its accuracy and lets say 10'. So you are all ready up to 20' off. Now again this consistent pattern of being 20 ft off is interesting but with a series of factors that can block signal plus putting the faith that both the CO and your GPS are more or less pin point accurate I think I would let this issue alone.

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I would have agreed with them before I got my new GPS. Now I've got something that is accurate and I actually know when the cache is 20 feet off. It sounds like you've got that confidence from your GPS too.

I have a couple friends with an expensive GPS...a different brand than I use. Our coords are almost always 40 feet off. They will say they're at ground zero and so will mine, but we're standing 40' apart. Who's GPS is the inaccurate one? Obviously it's theirs. Mine is always perfect. :)

 

If the cache owner doesn't want to post accurate coordinates it should belong under mystery cache designation. If the owner wants accurate coordinates then they should have no trouble with you saying in your logs, "Coordinates are 20 feet off".

Around here, 20' is not considered off. Maybe where you live 20' isn't accurate, but that's average coords around most of New England. It's not that the coords are bad either. Unless you're at the beach, you start looking when you're within 20 feet.

 

I think that's why we have good luck caching in other places. We're used to searching a 20-30' circle, so it's a great when you don't need to look any further out than 10' away.

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In my area there is someone who cronically seems to hide caches then post coords that are 20' from gound zero. On the google map it will show the cache on one side of a bridge when the cache is really on the other side. Should I call them out or just live with it?

 

I'd move the caches so that the hides match the GZ on your GPS.

 

I don't think that is the way to handle the situation. If so, you are actively engaged in "cache migration".

 

It is probably best to let the CO handle it, based on log information supplied.

 

Now, if it were your cache, you could move it as you so desire, I guess! B)

 

That was a joke dude..

Forum reputations aside, you failed to include the required :) or :) or :) to allow those whose tongue and cheek are separated to get that bit of irony. :P

 

Anything inside of 20' is perfectly find. Unless you are caching in the desert, at the shore, or using a $25,000 surveyor grade unit, there is going to be some inaccuracy built into the hide and seek mode. I wouldn't trust GE to always be 100% accurate either. But if you are seeing this on a consistant basis from the same hider, perhaps there is something going on. I'd be very hesitant to call them out on soft coords though.

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I guess 20' would seem fine if many of this persons caches were shown exact on the google map and when I go there the are right at stated ground zero. But many of theirs are off and in a wide open area (no trees). When I go there my GPSr shows me GZ to be right exactly where googe maps show GZ to be. That is why I think they are posting soft. Would it be wrong for me to post the coords where I found GZ to be? I want to play in the spirit of the game.

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In my area there is someone who cronically seems to hide caches then post coords that are 20' from gound zero. On the google map it will show the cache on one side of a bridge when the cache is really on the other side. Should I call them out or just live with it?

 

I'd move the caches so that the hides match the GZ on your GPS.

 

I sure hope you are joking. :P I would NEVER move a cache without first contacting he owner...for ANY reason other than if the container were sitting out in the open. I also would never suggest this to ANYONE, whether in jest or not. Some might not know the difference (as in this instance...I truly hope you were joking).

 

If you happen to visit my area, please don't assume you have the right to move any of my caches just because you think your GPS is better than mine. I use a PN-40...if you use the same and see an error, feel free to contact me but DO NOT move my cache. :P

 

I now see you say this was a joke...not a very good one I would say. Maybe making it OBVIOUS it was a joke would be a good idea?

Edited by Rockin Roddy
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20 feet? That's it? Heck, the other day, I found 3 caches that were all 30 ft. off, I'm thinking it was a bad day for my GPS unit.

 

We had a geocacher that was hiding caches and every single time, they were from 20-100 ft. off. We found out later that she was using a TomTom-type GPS unit. We assumed that she just posted the coordinates for where she parked her car!

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