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Markwell

Parking Coordinates

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Wow - this post was a little longer than I expected, but I wanted to explain everything very carefully. Please bear with me and read through the whole thing.

 

I think the time has come to bring up a suggestion that was poo-poo'd earlier - even by me. Parking coordinates on the cache pages.

 

This topic is a DIRECT result of the thread on Cache Attributes. If Jeremy is going to be going to all the trouble of including wheelchair accessible, dogs, etc., redisigning the SQL table for caches, redesigning the cache details page and redesigning the submission form, why not make a really neat optional function?

 

Here's how I envision it:

  • The cache hider would have an optional field for a single set of parking coordinates. No one forces them to put them in. If you want parking to be part of the hunt, leave it blank.
  • Those parking coordinates are assigned the same base-31 code as is being proposed in this thread on Waypoint Numbering. The difference is that the parking would have PK as a leader instead of GC. For example, my cache The Hall of Justice II has a GC number of GC7FF0. The parking coordinates would be assigned PK7FF0. That will sort them all into the PK alphabetical list, but allow a relation to be shown on a map or GPS readout.
  • These parking coordinates would be an optional download across every possibility to download a *.loc file. The pocket queries (a check box to include parking coordinates), the nearest cache downloads (a check box at the bottom by the "check all"), and on the individual page (a check box right BEFORE the download Groundspeak - similar to the "also download nearest placenames" box).
  • The result could be included in the same *.loc file or as a secondary one.
By having the input of the parking coordinates optional, we're not forcing anyone to give anything away if they don't want to. By leaving the option of downloading parking coordinates up to the cache seeker, they can choose whether they want that information or not.

 

But if the cache hider chooses to give that information, and the cache seeker chooses to receive the information, the cache seeker would have a way of downloading those parking coordinates directly to their mapping software or GPS.

 

Markwell

Chicago Geocaching

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I think that there are times when the parking coordinates are very important.

 

For example, a cache is located in the small park - it was hidden specifically to draw the person into the park and along specific trails. Unfortunately, the park is small and the cache can be accessed by bushwhacking off of an adjacent road. People end up taking the short-cut, not because they want to 'cheat' per-say (sp?), but rather because they followed their GPSr get them as close as possible before parking. Had they known where to park, they may have a better cache experience.

 

- Dekaner of Team KKF2A

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Decent idea, Markwell. Depending on the cache experience I want to have (ie, I'm on a geodate and I don't want to bushwack or encounter any "surprises", vs I'm caching alone, and minus the cache sheet or clues, to increase the challenge) I may or may not want the parking co-ordinates, but it would be nice to have the option to choose. Right now I usually manually add them (yeah, I could add them in EasyGPS, but I never remember to!) while driving to the cache. I use a GCxxxx-P format, along with the "parking" icon to mark it. Added bonus: I've now got the car waypointed in case I forget. 14 months of caching and I *STILL* forget to do that sometimes!

 

Tae-Kwon-Leap is not a path to a door, but a road leading forever towards the horizon.

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I think this is a great idea.

 

There are time when cutting cross-country from the nearest road (instead of taking trails from the suggested parking spot) can cause damage/be dangerous/(insert your similar idea here).

 

I also really like the waypoint naming idea...it keeps it simple to relate the waypoints together.

 

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"Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand."

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I'd rather those coordinates stay hidden unless clicked on, or somehow otherwise selected. I mean, the idea of having the field there is great - I'd probably include parking coordinates for all of my caches. However, when seeking caches, I'd rather not have that info appear on the main page - right when I click to view the cache.

 

I'm more of the type that would rather scout the location myself, so having the parking coordinates forced upon me would be something I'd rather not have. I know, just having them posted along with the cache coordinates isn't really "forcing" them on me - but they'd be there, I'd see them... I mean - it is just kind of a "spoiler" to me, and I don't think anyone really wants a spoiler shown to them without asking, right?

 

So yes, having the option to put the parking coordinates in is a good idea - but, imho, only if the viewer doesn't HAVE to see them if they don't want to.

 

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But people put parking coordinates on their cache pages now in the description. It's just not integrated. See my The Hall of Justice II cache for a prime example (Conundrum is another example).

 

If you want to make it a challenge, don't read the cache page details. I'm not talking about forcing anyone to see it or not. People are already including Parking Coordinates. I'm just lazy and want to be able to download them en masse like I can waypoints.

 

Markwell

Chicago Geocaching

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Hmm... I suppose that sounds about right. Hrmm... okay - nevermind what I said. icon_smile.gif I just figure with a specific area to fill out the parking info, more people might start doing it. I guess it isn't a big deal though. I just always am uneasy when "new stuff" is getting added to the current, "comfortable" way that things are done. I don't like change, unless it is something that I request. icon_razz.gif

 

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I like this idea but....there are three things I can see as bcoming a problem

 

1) A cache hider mistakenly places the parking coords in the location spot (I know a fellow that made this very mistake.) or vise-versa. This is only a problem for the first (and maybe second) searcher.

 

2) There is a better parking place that the cache hider wasn't aware of.

 

3) The searcher takes the parking coords thinking they are the cache coords.

 

I'm not against this idea at all. In fact I'm all for it. My only concern is OE (operator error).

 

Just my 2.5 cents

 

====================================

As always, the above statements are just MHO.

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Well, you can't always allow for "eye-dee-ten-tee" or PEBKAC errors.

 

David April had a problem with the site when he mistakenly left off a leading zero (the Geocaching site didn't show leading zeros when this error happened) - read the experience here. Unforutnately, he was with a USA Today reporter at the time. icon_biggrin.gif

 

Markwell

Chicago Geocaching

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quote:
Originally posted by Dekaner of Team KKF2A:

per-say (sp?)


 

Since you asked, it's 'per se'.

 

A Latin phrase meaning 'in or by itself; intrinsically'

 

--

wcgreen

Wendy Chatley Green

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Another thing this solves...

 

If a cacher puts in the proper parking coordinates, the website could calculate the distance from parking to cache (as the crow flies).

 

Markwell

Chicago Geocaching

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quote:
Originally posted by Markwell:

Another thing this solves...

 

If a cacher puts in the proper parking coordinates, the website could calculate the distance from parking to cache (as the crow flies).


That would be the distance in chrome(alt.spelling; crome) then.

 

Tae-Kwon-Leap is not a path to a door, but a road leading forever towards the horizon.

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quote:
Originally posted by Markwell:

Another thing this solves...

 

If a cacher puts in the proper parking coordinates, the website could calculate the distance from parking to cache (as the crow flies).

 

http://www.markwell.us

http://www.chicagogeocaching.com

 

I have wanted this for a long time. This option is #1 on my list. It is important to many cachers like myself that I have an idea of how far the cache is from the parking area. I had back surgery recently and must limit my walks to under 1 mile round trip. This would let you know almost exactly how far. If others did not want to use it, they could simply ignor it. I LIKE IT. icon_biggrin.gif

 

ENJOY THE OUTDOORS

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I agree if these changes are going through, I would like this feature the most.

 

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If you do not extend your expectations unto others, you will not be disappointed by the stupid things they do.

Mokita!

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I know that on a few of the caches I've gone after, that a clearer picture of where to start from would make for a more enjoyable trip.

 

And while I do agree that route planning and finding the parking is a part of the cache hunt itself, having a(n) (optional) field for the parking coordinate would be a very nice, and useful option icon_wink.gif.

 

I, for one, consider the hike out and back to be the 'fun' of geocaching. Puzzling out where to park, or spending more than 15-30 minutes at the location trying to find it, well, just isn't my idea of fun icon_frown.gif.

 

Well, and spending the evening before a big cache hunt with the state atlas, county atlas, topo maps and cache page printouts spread out before me planning the day's route is kind of fun too... icon_wink.gif

 

But, I'm weird in that I could spend hours just looking at maps icon_biggrin.gif

 

"You will kneel before her in her altar in the trees" - Tara MacLean, Let Her Feel The Rain

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I appreciate parking coordinates. I would also like to see information on the cost of parking. I've gone to parks after geocaches only to find there is a parking fee. I would be nice to know that beforehand.

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Parking coordinates would be much appreciated if I'm in an unfamiliar area. Sometimes it's part of the fun to figure out where to park, sometimes's it's a real PITA or even puts out-of-towners into unsafe situations.

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I find the fun in caching is doing the leg work before the hunt.

 

I look at my topo map program or S&T to find the location and from there plan my hunt.

 

This also helps my kids because they do it with me and they can practise map reading and how to plan an outing. They are in Scouting and Guiding.

 

As we have honed our skills now we try and use just the map and compass bearing on our hunt and use the gps only when we are getting close and at the beginning to get our bearing.

 

We must always remember

 

"BE PREPARED"

 

gm100guy

http://members.rogers.com/gm100guy/cachepage.htm

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quote:
Originally posted by ValCor:

I would also like to see information on the cost of parking. I've gone to parks after geocaches only to find there is a parking fee. I would be nice to know that beforehand.


Granted, but that could be covered in the description instead of an additional field. I'm proposing an additional non-mandatory field that could provide information to be downloaded to my GPS. Not every cache has a fee (in fact, most don't). You HAVE to park your car for 90% of the caches (except drive-thru virtuals).

 

quote:
Originally posted by gm100guy:

I find the fun in caching is doing the leg work before the hunt.

That's fine, then don't use the parking coordinates. I'm suggesting that it is an option for people who would like to give coordinates, and an option for people who want to use the coordinates.

 

I don't know about you, but I can't look at two sets of coordinates and see visually how far apart they are - or even given a map with the cache as a dot on it, I can't tell by a set of numbers where the parking should be.

 

Again, what I'm proposing is an optional field for entering in parking coordinates. Then the seeker has the option of doing what they want with the coordinates - downloading, viewing, ignoring whatever.

 

Sorry if I'm coming across harsh. I just really think this is a great idea.

 

Markwell

Chicago Geocaching

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quote:
Originally posted by Markwell:

 

Sorry if I'm coming across harsh. I just really think this is a great idea.


 

You are not coming across harsh and it's a fantastic idea. icon_biggrin.gif

 

ENJOY THE OUTDOORS

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quote:
Originally posted by Rubbertoe:

So yes, having the option to put the parking coordinates in is a good idea - but, imho, only if the viewer doesn't HAVE to see them if they don't want to.


 

Using myself for this example: Just wanted to make the point that regardless of if you were to show me the parking coordinates or not I wouldn't remember them. Even if I printed them out they would be pretty much useless to me unless I entered them into my GPSr (or tracked it manually?). It's not like a clue where once you've read it you can't go back.

 

I guess my point is, even if they're there if you don't want to use them, don't load them into your GPSr. It shouldn't matter though if they are displayed on the cache page or not.

 

- Dekaner of Team KKF2A

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quote:
Originally posted by gm100guy:

I look at my topo map program or S&T to find the location and from there plan my hunt.

 

We must always remember

 

"BE PREPARED"


 

I use four different mapping resources before I head out to a cache. None of them show park entrances or parking areas.

Some hiders want, or believe you will follow the route they took to hide the cache. If they fail to post coords or give specific directions the rest of their info does not make sense.

 

Here are two examples.

 

I went to a cache in a small park with three different entrances. It was a normal cache. I searched at the coords for a half hour and read the hint. The hint read *the cache is between three maple trees on the right as you come down the hill.*

There were three hills at the location and maple trees everywhere. The direction I came from I crossed a bridge. So I had to imagine which hill they came down that would fit the hint.

If they posted beginning coords there would be no question what their hint meant.

 

The other cache was in a very large park with three mountains in it. In the cache description they say that you can reach the cache from any trail, however they recommend a specific trail head.

My friend and I were unable to find any info on the trail they recommended. We headed out after work and entered the park on the third trail head we found. Our trail sent us up and over a mountain and half way up another.

We found the cache to be on the trail they recommended. If we would have taken that trail we would have only gone half way up through a ravine. Only an hour and half hike rather than four hours of searching for a trail and hiking so far in. We more than doubled our trek to the location. We had to hike out in the dark.

 

Posting coordinates to these pages were necessary.

 

As to being prepared, having another waypoint could only improve your preparation.

 

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If you do not extend your expectations unto others, you will not be disappointed by the stupid things they do.

Mokita!

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Maybe even one more field..a starting point waypoint.

 

I have one cache hidden that gives a starting point for entering the forest, because if you go in this way you are almost guaranteed to see some deer. However, the nearest parking is some distance from this starting point.

 

While you don't have to start at the recommended starting point, doing so is the most scenic for wildlife lovers. Not starting there is interesting as well, but you might miss out on seeing the area where the deer like to play.

 

Of course some will oppose this idea as making it too easy to find the cache, but in some cases, what you see on the way to the cache is what makes it interesting.

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quote:
Originally posted by cachew nut:

Of course some will oppose this idea as making it too easy to find the cache, but in some cases, what you see on the way to the cache is what makes it interesting.


 

There is no way this option can make it "too Easy" for two reasons. First the hider doesn't even have to use the option to list the starting coords. and second the user can elect to ignor using them. It sure would make it nice for those of us who would use them for what ever reason.

 

ENJOY THE OUTDOORS

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Just bumping it to the top again with another ancillary idea.

quote:
Originally posted by Markwell:

The result could be included in the same *.loc file or as a secondary one.


If you get the parking coordinates as a secondary *.loc file, the "waypoint type" could be "parking" instead of "geocache", and I think ALL of the GPS devices have a "car" icon.

 

Still waiting to here from TPTB on this one. Elias?

 

Markwell

Chicago Geocaching

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quote:
Originally posted by Markwell:

...

Sorry if I'm coming across harsh. I just really think this is a great idea.


 

It is a good idea and you are coming off pretty harsh.

 

Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

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I agree with Markwell. I would like to see an optional Parking location, as well as having it download via Easy GPS. This weekend I spent time searching for a couple of caches that had parking areas mentioned in the info. It resolved and eliminated a lot of confusion and frustrating driving to locate a starting point. I don't really care how far I have to walk (within reason), but I really get bent when I find that I could have driven right up to the site.

 

Madog "Discover of America"

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At least as a field you enter on a cache page, the answer would be no. I'd rather take it to the next step and allow people to upload an ancillary GPX file which contains different information. Of that information could be parking coordinates if the user wants to add it. And for those who don't know about GPX there could be an "add a waypoint feature."

 

My argument is since we're adding a field, we might as well support multicaches and locationless caches as (which locationless caches are like mini geocaching.com sites anyway).

 

Jeremy Irish

Groundspeak - The Language of Location™

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First off, I'm surprised at a resounding no. So I'll make a little more of an argument here even though I know I probably won't get positive results.

quote:
Originally posted by Jeremy:

My argument is since we're adding a field, we might as well support multicaches and locationless caches


My rebuttal to this is that every cache has a potential for parking coordinates. At some point if someone wants to get to a cache, you have to drive there. Unless you can hit the cache literally without getting out of your car, you have to park the car somewhere. Locationless caches are much fewer in numbers. Multi-caches are also a smaller subset of the main caches. We would not HAVE to do the same thing for them. Yes, it would be nice - but this could be taken in smaller steps. Even multi-caches have the potential for parking coordinates.

 

Adding the ability to do multiple waypoints (locationless, multi-stage) would mean uploading a relational table. IMHO, that would be more difficult. I'm not proposing a one-to-many relationship for caches to waypoints.

quote:
The cache hider would have an optional field for a single set of parking coordinates.
That's as simple as adding the four fields (parking lat degrees, parking lat minutes, parking lon degrees, parking lon minutes), and then redesigning the sheets to accommodate, and adding the extra separate download.

 

I must be missing something. I have my own offline Access database to keep track of my finds and potential hides. I implemented parking coords in about 30 minutes. I know that SQL and ASP are more complex, but I would think that this would still be an easy implementation, and result in a monumental benefit for a great number of cachers.

 

Markwell

Chicago Geocaching

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quote:
Originally posted by Jeremy (Admin):

At least as a field you enter on a cache page, the answer would be no. I'd rather take it to the next step and allow people to upload an ancillary GPX file ...


 

I as a user I would find a Parking coordinate field the most convenient and easy way to get my caches to hunt. I know as a paying member I can get pocket queries but I still find searching online easier. I look thru list, check caches I want to download, and print the pages. (KISS - Keep it simple, ...)

 

By having Parking coordinates, they will print on page, they could be made to download with the waypoint for cache and now I can upload to GPS without me doing any editting of any other files.

 

I don't want to play with files. I just would like to download the parking coords with cache coords if the hider feels like providing them.

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quote:
Originally posted by Jeremy (Admin):

At least as a field you enter on a cache page, the answer would be no.

Jeremy Irish

Groundspeak - The Language of Location


 

icon_confused.gifBut we wanted this so much icon_confused.gif

 

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I don't use GPX or the .loc files.

Maybe I want something a little simpler than uploading the parking coordinates with EasyGPS.

 

I think if there is a field for the Beginning/Parking coordinates it will prompt the hiders to consider posting them.

 

Some very good reasons have been raised for this feature.

+Distance from beginning to end.

+Following the path and experience of the hider.

+Showing the park entrance, which is not on maps.

+Ensuring that seekers don't trek, unnecessarily, off trail.

 

There are many reasons for this simple field. This feature is so important it started this separate thread.

It needs to be reconsidered.

 

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If you do not extend your expectations unto others, you will not be disappointed by the stupid things they do.

Mokita!

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quote:
Originally posted by leatherman:

There are many reasons for this simple field. This feature is so important it started this separate thread.


 

There are already enough fields that we have to scroll past while creating new caches; why should the rest of us have to scroll past parking location fields?

 

There needs to be an option to never see the parking location fields again.

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Is little Znazzy-poo still sore about his stupid little Did you ask permission dissclaimer?

splat.gif

 

This whole thread is about the parking coords. Duh!

 

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If you do not extend your expectations unto others, you will not be disappointed by the stupid things they do.

Mokita!

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I can pretty much do without parking coordinates, even when caching out of town, but I must admit that there are some caches out there that I have driven around a countless number of times, and parking coordinates would certainly have been welcome if included in a hint, for example. It is frustrating at times.

 

When I go caching in a strange town, I try to plan out my route ahead of time. Often times I find out that there is no parking where I thought there would be. But if parking coordinates were offered on each cache, I would be too tempted to use them. Sometimes part of the fun is finding close parking, other times the locals have an advantage by knowing the parking areas.

 

I have mixed feelings about this, maybe they can be hidden or encrypted somehow. I'd hate to see them available on every cache page, but I would also hate to pass on a cache hunt on foot because of not having a place to leave the car.

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quote:
Originally posted by leatherman:

I don't use GPX or the .loc files.


OMG, do you enter coords manually?

 

Jamie

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Uh...

No...

No I use what ever that GPX thing is.

Yah, yah that's it.

 

Heh, heh.

 

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If you do not extend your expectations unto others, you will not be disappointed by the stupid things they do.

Mokita!

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I just wanted to toss in my $.015 and say I'd really like to see parking coords. I'd hope it would encourage cache hiders to post said coords. Too often I read a cache description that says to park at the main park parking lot yet I haven't a clue where that is. I probably drove an 8 mile square loop trying to find the parking area for one cache. Had I known ahead of time I could have saved 7.5 miles of driving guessing which roads to try in order to find the parking lot. Even this last weekend I ended up on the wrong side of a turnpike since I didn't have parking coords. icon_frown.gif

 

Additionally I don't think parking coords need to be hidden or anything. It's not like "accidentally" seeing them is going to give away anything to those who consider the place to park as part of the hunt. I doubt most people can just look at coords and know where that is...

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quote:
Originally posted by Egnix:

Additionally I don't think parking coords need to be hidden or anything. It's not like "accidentally" seeing them is going to give away anything to those who consider the place to park as part of the hunt. I doubt most people can just look at coords and know where that is...


 

Exactly. The comments about hiding the parking/beginning coordinates seems a little ridiculous. As if someone's hunt is going to be spoiled by glancing at them.

Maybe the coords will spontaneously appear on their GPSr. Which will make the location of the cache so obvious that they might as well not look for it.boom.gif

 

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If you do not extend your expectations unto others, you will not be disappointed by the stupid things they do.

Mokita!

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I just want to make my position clear.

 

I could go either way on this subject.

 

Jamie

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quote:
Originally posted by Egnix:

Additionally I don't think parking coords need to be hidden or anything. It's not like "accidentally" seeing them is going to give away anything to those who consider the place to park as part of the hunt.


 

I agree a quick glance won't give anything away, however when parking coordinates are given on a cache page, I tend to use them. I've always appreciated parking coordinates, although in some cases I can still find closer parking.

 

On a recent trip out west, I planned my route based on the cache waypoints. If the cache pages had parking coordinates, I would have probably used them in planning my route.

 

I found that in some cases, finding parking near the cache was more fun than the cache itself. If all of the caches had parking coordinates, my cache hunting would have been made easier, and my find count for one day might have been higher.

 

I'm all for having parking coordinates for those special cases where parking seems impossible, but perhaps they should be in a hint instead of displayed, for when you really need them.

 

I can see the discussion some day... Yeah, you found 500 in your first year and it took me two years, but we didn't have parking coordinates back in the good old days.

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Personally, I'd also like the option of including parking coordinates.

 

One sort-of-solution I have used in the past is to make your cache a two part multi where the first clue cache (containing only the coords for the final cache location) is placed near the prefferred parking area and the final cache is located on down the trail from there. Of course this has backfired on me too when folks just hike back to the car and then drive closer to the final cache location instead of following the intended trail. icon_confused.gif

 

Happy caching,

Tedoca

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quote:
Originally posted by cachew nut:

...perhaps they should be in a hint instead of displayed, for when you really need them.


Parking coordinates in the hint will land you in the "Useless Hint" thread. Tell me how parking coordinates are gonna help me when I'm stumbling around in the woods looking for a little box.

 

I do understand what you mean... but I think putting them in the hint (spelled out?) isn't going to help much, since no one will know they're there... And personally, I'd be aggrevated if I couldn't find the cache and the dern hint tells me where to park.

 

Jamie

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