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using google maps to find catches quicker


ashnikes
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I do it often to see where I'm going but something to keep in mind is that those maps can be several years old. I remember once heading out after an FTF and figuring out where I could park since the cache was in the middle of a field according to the google aerial view. When I got there there was a shopping center. Contrary to how it feels sometimes those things don't just pop up overnight.

 

I also remember a time going in circles chasing a compass needle accompanied by a seasoned cacher trying to find a new cache. Then someone else walks right up to it using the google aerial view on their iPhone.

Edited by fsafranek
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just curious am i the only one who finds most catches from satellite mode on google maps and looking at the terrain on the map vs the terrain im physically standing on? it helps to find caches sometimes much quicker than a jumping around compass or radar

 

:D

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I do it often to see where I'm going but something to keep in mind is that those maps can be several years old. I remember once heading out after an FTF and figuring out where I could park since the cache was in the middle of a field according to the google aerial view. When I got there there was a shopping center. Contrary to how it feels sometimes those things don't just pop up overnight.

 

There was a thread here awhile back which showed a map of someplace in the midwest that showed a small housing development on the satellite maps that a local assured us didn't exist, nor was there ever a housing development in that spot.

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If you hunt for Irondale Pit Stop using Google it shows it to be about 300' up the street from my house.

 

It's actually on my front porch (with very accurate coordinates).

 

Good luck with that!

 

My version shows it on the front porch of the 5th house west of 16th street. Odd that it is on a front porch but the wrong house....

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I do it often to see where I'm going but something to keep in mind is that those maps can be several years old. I remember once heading out after an FTF and figuring out where I could park since the cache was in the middle of a field according to the google aerial view. When I got there there was a shopping center. Contrary to how it feels sometimes those things don't just pop up overnight.

 

There was a thread here awhile back which showed a map of someplace in the midwest that showed a small housing development on the satellite maps that a local assured us didn't exist, nor was there ever a housing development in that spot.

 

Now you've ruined the next season of "Lost"

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just curious am i the only one who finds most catches from satellite mode on google maps and looking at the terrain on the map vs the terrain im physically standing on? it helps to find caches sometimes much quicker than a jumping around compass or radar

 

No, there's a small but growing lunatic fringe group of GPS-less cachers. The newest is my 4yr old grandson... Never too young to learn to read a map. :D

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If you hunt for Irondale Pit Stop using Google it shows it to be about 300' up the street from my house.

 

It's actually on my front porch (with very accurate coordinates).

 

Good luck with that!

 

My version shows it on the front porch of the 5th house west of 16th street. Odd that it is on a front porch but the wrong house....

Cool! You're right, they have updated that image since I last looked.

 

Pretty recently, too, less than a year since it shows how I changed my fenceline and hung a ham antenna, but more than three months when I stood up a big antenna tower.

 

In the old view you could see my dog Sandy in the back yard. She's died since then. ;) She was a great pet and companion for 16 years.

 

It's now about 12' off, the cache is actually on the right side of my porch looking from the street, but I think 12' satellite view accuracy is amazing!

 

Unfortunately the resolution uneven. It is so good that you can see the slats in my window shade, but if you look at the address 607 Bark Rd Vandiver, AL 35176 you don't get nearly the close-up resolution. :D

Edited by TheAlabamaRambler
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On the evidence of my own hides, I'd say yes you can.

of course. you can also bury your caches. or place them on somebody else's private property. or not place them at the coordinates you've given in your listings. or ...

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of course. you can also bury your caches. or place them on somebody else's private property. or not place them at the coordinates you've given in your listings. or ...

... or place them legally at the Google coordinates and see comments come back about them being "spot on".

 

Not that I think your alternative suggestions lack merit, of course.

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... or place them legally at the Google coordinates ...

that's exactly what's not possible. you have to use GPS to obtain the coordinates, otherwise the listing isn't legit.

 

Yes I always use a GPS to determine the coordinates for a hide. The GPS users are accustomed to that 20 ft +/- error and it really upsets them when the coordinates are spot on. :D

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@dfx - I should be used to barnacle-like adherence to The Guidelines by now, shouldn't I?

 

Of course you are referring to:

You as the owner of the cache must visit the site and obtain the coordinates with a GPS. GPS usage is an essential element of geocaching. Therefore, although it is possible to find a cache without a GPS, the option of using accurate GPS coordinates as an integral part of the cache hunt must be demonstrated for all physical cache submissions.

I choose to obey this in spirit, not to the letter. The comments I've had on my hides have demonstrated the option of using accurate GPS coordinates as an integral part of the cache hunt. Finders happy, job done.

Edited by I!
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... or place them legally at the Google coordinates ...

that's exactly what's not possible. you have to use GPS to obtain the coordinates, otherwise the listing isn't legit.

 

Explain? I also have nearly 20 caches hidden using Google Earth. Geocaching.com uses Google maps to display the caches, so they have all been perfectly compatible. My coordinates are all dead-on accurate, at least according to Geocaching.com. And the publishers in my area never question "how" I get the coordinates.

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eh, the old schoolers are just sore that they spent a bunch of money on a fancy gps unit, a printer, ink, and paper to find their nearest caches, and dont have an android phone with a good application that lets regular users get the majority of the benefits of being a premium member without the fees, as well as having the power of google maps in your pocket.

 

note to mods, before you ban me again, understand i did not mention anything unholy, im just tired of people who do not have a smartphone or have never used one, complain about the ability of it to perform as well as if not sometimes better than their expensive dated gps units.

 

After all, its not about the tools you are using to find the treasure, its whether or not you find it that matters,

 

hmmm i just got a cool idea for a multi, that involves using a gps to find the first stage as instructed by the guidelines, but has a cool old school satellite view pirate treasure map inside to find the final cache. Ill start working on it this weekend. (even though im sure its been done, and discusses on this forum several times over, ive never done it, and have yet to find one like it yet, so therefore it is new to me, and even if it has been done before, it will be a nice change of pace for all the local shrub and lps micros in my area.)

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see

cache

 

At the time this was hidden having the GPS option was the best way to be sure of approval, and I did want the mainstream cachers to see what others could do with just a map. The final is over a mile away (if you go to satellite image and zoom in one click you will have lost some of the map needed to complete the cache) and most of the logical route is trail-less.

Edited by edscott
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I choose to obey this in spirit, not to the letter. The comments I've had on my hides have demonstrated the option of using accurate GPS coordinates as an integral part of the cache hunt. Finders happy, job done.

you're missing the point here. google can not be used to reliably obtain "accurate coordinates" for a location. maybe it works in your area, and maybe it worked for your caches, then consider yourself lucky. in other areas it won't work so well, and other people won't be as lucky. however, if people tell them that google is good enough for placing caches, they will try to use it and will end up with grossly incorrect coordinates for their cache listings. this is why you can't (read: you're not supposed to) use google for hiding caches.

 

Explain? I also have nearly 20 caches hidden using Google Earth. Geocaching.com uses Google maps to display the caches, so they have all been perfectly compatible. My coordinates are all dead-on accurate, at least according to Geocaching.com. And the publishers in my area never question "how" I get the coordinates.

the reviewers don't question it because they assume you used GPS, like you're supposed to. if you tell them that you got them from google, they won't publish the listings.

 

and of course does the cache seem to be spot-on on google maps if you used that to get the coords, that's a no-brainer. but that doesn't necessarily mean it's actually gonna be at the right GPS coordinates. see above.

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you're missing the point here. google can not be used to reliably obtain "accurate coordinates" for a location. maybe it works in your area, and maybe it worked for your caches, then consider yourself lucky. in other areas it won't work so well, and other people won't be as lucky. however, if people tell them that google is good enough for placing caches, they will try to use it and will end up with grossly incorrect coordinates for their cache listings. this is why you can't (read: you're not supposed to) use google for hiding caches.

 

I think the real danger is not with Google coordinates being incorrect but much more with people not being to read the Google images correctly once they get out of the parking lot, suburban soccer field, city park mode. Way too many geographically illiterate people out there to turn them loose with a pocket full of film canisters and a map they can't read.

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dfx, Google Maps are evidently well calibrated to the true coordinates where I live, so I'll continue to use them. Sure, g-maps' coordinates may not be accurate everywhere on the planet, but that doesn't warrant a blanket ban as implied by your opening "can't use google maps/earth to place caches". Your later "not supposed to" is much more reasonable.

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eh, the old schoolers are just sore that they spent a bunch of money on a fancy gps unit, a printer, ink, and paper to find their nearest caches, and dont have an android phone with a good application that lets regular users get the majority of the benefits of being a premium member without the fees, as well as having the power of google maps in your pocket.

 

note to mods, before you ban me again, understand i did not mention anything unholy, im just tired of people who do not have a smartphone or have never used one, complain about the ability of it to perform as well as if not sometimes better than their expensive dated gps units.

 

After all, its not about the tools you are using to find the treasure, its whether or not you find it that matters,

 

 

First of all, for the record, my GPS was not expensive, we're bargain hunters... just so you know, a smartphone would VASTLY outweigh our GPS in price; but anyhoo, I don't think it's that people are sore, it IS actually true that Google Maps/Earth are not as accurate as using a GPS unit, in MANY areas, especially rural ones.

 

In some areas, yes the coords are spot on, but one doesn't really know. Some folks may get lucky and place a few caches using Google Earth I'm not saying this because I think using Google Earth to find caches, etc is bad; like I said, heck I used to find caches with nothing but Google Earth, but when you hide them with Google Earth/Maps you have a better chance of not being accurate than using your GPS.

 

I don't want to hear how many caches you've placed accurately with Google Earth, really. I am sure that there are some out there that have worked great, but my husband and I make online maps for a living, and I am quite aware of how inaccurate it can be in some places.

 

Does this mean you shouldn't be allowed to hide caches? Of course not... use whatever you want, but don't use the excuse that Google Earth is just as accurate as a GPS, because it just is not.

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dfx, Google Maps are evidently well calibrated to the true coordinates where I live, so I'll continue to use them. Sure, g-maps' coordinates may not be accurate everywhere on the planet, but that doesn't warrant a blanket ban as implied by your opening "can't use google maps/earth to place caches". Your later "not supposed to" is much more reasonable.

 

Yes, this is true. This is a good example of what I was saying; in some areas, Google is spot on. In some areas it isn't... if I! knows that his/her coords are spot on using Google for sure, then I don't see a problem with that particular cacher making hides with it.

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dfx, Google Maps are evidently well calibrated to the true coordinates where I live, so I'll continue to use them. Sure, g-maps' coordinates may not be accurate everywhere on the planet, but that doesn't warrant a blanket ban as implied by your opening "can't use google maps/earth to place caches". Your later "not supposed to" is much more reasonable.

 

A good indicator of poor coordinates is the DNF rate. Yours total 154 and 2... and those two appear to have been caused by a muggled container. Knowing that you used aerial photos to establish your coordinates wouldn't deter me in the slightest from searching for your hides.

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eh, the old schoolers are just sore that they spent a bunch of money on a fancy gps unit, a printer, ink, and paper to find their nearest caches, and dont have an android phone with a good application that lets regular users get the majority of the benefits of being a premium member without the fees, as well as having the power of google maps in your pocket.

 

note to mods, before you ban me again, understand i did not mention anything unholy, im just tired of people who do not have a smartphone or have never used one, complain about the ability of it to perform as well as if not sometimes better than their expensive dated gps units.

 

Why would someone be sore about the one-time cost to buy a GPS and the US $30 fee per year for premium membership? Printer? Paper? I've been geocaching for five years and I've never needed those. Before I had a GPS with paperless caching, I had other devices that let me view caches pages in the field.

 

A decent smartphone would cost me about as much as my GPS to start with, and then I'd probably have to pay something like $50 to $75 a month (i.e. $600 to $900 a year) in mobile charges. Phones aren't designed for rugged handling, and the battery life isn't long enough for an extended trip away from a car or outlet where I could recharge it. If I want to go on an extended hike in a remote area, the phone is a poor choice for GPS.

 

Many geocachers are gadget-lovers who have smartphones in addition to handheld GPSrs. There have been plenty of field tests comparing the accuracy of different devices, and smartphones are not as accurate as the most popular handhelds.

 

For me, the real debate isn't how accurate the devices are - that's well established. The important question, I think, is how accurate does a GPSr need to be? For many situations, a smartphone is probably accurate enough. In my experience, smartphones are usually gateway devices for the game - they're good for trying it out, but people who get serious about geocaching will eventually get a better device.

Edited by narcissa
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For me, the real debate isn't how accurate the devices are - that's well established. The important question, I think, is how accurate does a GPSr need to be? For many situations, a smartphone is probably accurate enough. In my experience, smartphones are usually gateway devices for the game - they're good for trying it out, but people who get serious about geocaching will eventually get a better device.

 

That's a really good point I think. In my opinion, I think it depends on the type of caching one plans on doing. I think for mostly urban hides, and a few out of the way ones, a smartphone is probably just fine, but I'm not sure if I'd take mine out on the trail.

 

Of course, I'm too much of a cheapskate to buy one anyway... but that's beside the point. I guess I just can't bring myself to spend that much money on a phone.

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dfx, Google Maps are evidently well calibrated to the true coordinates where I live, so I'll continue to use them. Sure, g-maps' coordinates may not be accurate everywhere on the planet, but that doesn't warrant a blanket ban as implied by your opening "can't use google maps/earth to place caches". Your later "not supposed to" is much more reasonable.

it's not me who's saying that you can't use google to get your coords, it's the guidelines saying that. sure, you can still do it, and if it works out, then good for you, but if it doesn't then you'll get a herd of cachers angry at you, plus a very quickly archived cache if you ever mention anywhere how you got the coords.

 

this is especially important for newbies: if they hear or read anywhere that they can use google to get coords for their cache placements, they will undoubtedly do so, and without ever having verified how accurate those coords are. this is where the "blanket ban" comes into play: you tell them that it's an absolute no-no, and chances will be much higher that they're gonna use GPS to get the coords.

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just curious am i the only one who finds most catches from satellite mode on google maps and looking at the terrain on the map vs the terrain im physically standing on? it helps to find caches sometimes much quicker than a jumping around compass or radar

I live in an area of rolling hills (& valleys). Satellite view is very helpful to show you what dirt road might go very close to the cache as opposed to hikeing in a straight line.

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dfx, Google Maps are evidently well calibrated to the true coordinates where I live, so I'll continue to use them. Sure, g-maps' coordinates may not be accurate everywhere on the planet, but that doesn't warrant a blanket ban as implied by your opening "can't use google maps/earth to place caches". Your later "not supposed to" is much more reasonable.

 

Here is what the guidelines say:

 

You as the owner of the cache must visit the site and obtain the coordinates with a GPS. GPS usage is an essential element of geocaching. Therefore, although it is possible to find a cache without a GPS, the option of using accurate GPS coordinates as an integral part of the cache hunt must be demonstrated for all physical cache submissions.

 

It doesn't say that you should use a GPS to obtain coordinates when hiding a cache. It doesn't say that you're supposed to use a GPS. It doesn't say that as long as you follow the spirit of the guidelines regarding obtaining GPS coordinates that it is okay if you don't use a GPS. The guideline reads: "You as the owner of the cache must visit the site and obtain the coordinates with a GPS." What part of the word "must" are you having trouble understanding?

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What part of the word "must" are you having trouble understanding?
There's no misunderstanding. I choose to disobey the Guidelines' instructions on how to obtain accurate coordinates.

 

Let me say it again (have you taken your blood pressure pills?). I CHOOSE TO DISOBEY. *gasp*

:)

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What part of the word "must" are you having trouble understanding?
There's no misunderstanding. I choose to disobey the Guidelines' instructions on how to obtain accurate coordinates.

 

Let me say it again (have you taken your blood pressure pills?). I CHOOSE TO DISOBEY. *gasp*

:)

 

Fine. Don't be too surprised if a reviewer chooses archive all of your caches because you choose to violate the guidelines,

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What part of the word "must" are you having trouble understanding?
There's no misunderstanding. I choose to disobey the Guidelines' instructions on how to obtain accurate coordinates.

 

Let me say it again (have you taken your blood pressure pills?). I CHOOSE TO DISOBEY. *gasp*

:)

 

Fine. Don't be too surprised if a reviewer chooses archive all of your caches because you choose to violate the guidelines,

 

Yeah, that's probably not a good thing to blatantly admit in the Groundspeak forums. Wow.

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note to mods, before you ban me again, understand i did not mention anything unholy, im just tired of people who do not have a smartphone or have never used one, complain about the ability of it to perform as well as if not sometimes better than their expensive dated gps units.

 

 

as with everything.... not everyone has the same experience. i have a buddy who has only a smart phone to geocache with. it usually gets him within 50 feet of a cache... and then it is up to his wits. if it is a lamppost cache... or a cache in a tree (and it is the only tree around) he's golden.... otherwise he runs into problems.

 

me on the other hand... i have a low end model garmin that was $100 - still don't see the use in paying 300 for a smart phone and then paying 50+ a month for service that may or may not be there. i mostly don't have problems zeroing in... tree/cloudcover, bad cell reception and all. the ones that give me problems.... the people who place caches using iPhone... that appears to be hit or miss - 2 feet all the way out to 300+ feet off.

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