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Cache Population


Mallah
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Does anyone have any figures of how much the cache population is increasing each year? Even in the short time I've been playing this game, the number of caches appearing over the last 12 months seems to be far greater than any previous year.

 

It would be interesting to see if this is true or just perception. But I wonder if we are about to reach some point of saturation in some areas before long.

Could there be a problem looming? There have certainly been far more poor caches set by what I rudely call the 'smartphone' brigade (i.e. those who discover the GPS feature on their smartphone, get excited, set a cache, then lose interest)

 

Is there a cause to restrict cache setting to premium members perhaps?

 

Hang on that's two questions and an element of rambling.... Worth a discussion or two though. What do you guys think?

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Year	Count(*)
2000	2
2001	265
2002	1156
2003	1559
2004	2674
2005	4658
2006	7600
2007	10847
2008	16199
2009	23560
2010	30373
2011	43249
2012	3287

 

Wow...that's impressive.

 

Makes me wonder - of all those caches, how many of the CO's are still active?

 

In other words...of all those caches, how many of them still get maintained?

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Year	Count(*)
2000	2
2001	265
2002	1156
2003	1559
2004	2674
2005	4658
2006	7600
2007	10847
2008	16199
2009	23560
2010	30373
2011	43249
2012	3287

 

Wow...that's impressive.

 

Makes me wonder - of all those caches, how many of the CO's are still active?

 

In other words...of all those caches, how many of them still get maintained?

 

It also shows why so many reviewers are needed now, compared to e.g. '04/'05.

 

MrsB

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Wow...that's impressive.

 

Makes me wonder - of all those caches, how many of the CO's are still active?

 

In other words...of all those caches, how many of them still get maintained?

 

If they don't get maintained they disappear soon enough, which frees the space for someone else. And for all the cache setters who discover geocaching one day, hide a flimsy takeaway box the next and have given up by the end of the week it's not just those who end up leaving unmaintained caches.

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Does anyone have any figures of how much the cache population is increasing each year? Even in the short time I've been playing this game, the number of caches appearing over the last 12 months seems to be far greater than any previous year.

 

It would be interesting to see if this is true or just perception. But I wonder if we are about to reach some point of saturation in some areas before long.

Could there be a problem looming? There have certainly been far more poor caches set by what I rudely call the 'smartphone' brigade (i.e. those who discover the GPS feature on their smartphone, get excited, set a cache, then lose interest)

 

Is there a cause to restrict cache setting to premium members perhaps?

 

Hang on that's two questions and an element of rambling.... Worth a discussion or two though. What do you guys think?

 

Numbers refer to your sentences. 1...5

 

1) Answered by Alan.

 

2) I'm quite a strange creature and I'm quite selective in the base caches I set out to find. In that respect I started trolling through the UK caches and marking each one viewed with appropriate codes. In 2007 I had around 10000 that I'd not thus marked. Today that is now around 50000. I would say the ratio of caches getting my "choice" marker has changed greatly too. There will always be saturation hotspots and we have seen one element of control imposed i.e. within the New Forest.

 

3) What is a poor cache? Individuals will always have a different view upon such. My personal view is that there has not only been poor standards in setting caches but equally in seeking and logging caches too. To elaborate on that how many times have you gone round a circuit a day after someone else has visited and find most of the caches exposed, or maintain your own caches find them exposed and filled with tat.

 

4) I don't thing there will ever be a imposition that only Premium Members would be able to place caches but many of us do set our caches to Premium members only. My personal opinion is that the ideal would be to get rid of paper log books and move up a step in the use of technology by using "smart buttons" or RFID methods of recording finds/visits. If there had to be an investment involved in setting and finding caches it would improve the overall standard of geocaching. that does not fit the Groundspeak ethos of caching will be free to everyone though, except their own commercialism of smartphone applications which you yourself consider may be a cause of poor caching standards.

 

5) I certainly discussed and equally rambled. Now where is that tin hat. :blink:

 

6) AN EXTRA:- I foresee the biggest problem the discarded and forgotten caches littering OUR countryside. Its one thing to remove caches from a listing site but how many are being uplifted. A greater employment of the technology suggested above would allow greater traceability of culprits causing this litter. :):anicute::):anicute:

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Makes me wonder - of all those caches, how many of the CO's are still active?

 

In other words...of all those caches, how many of them still get maintained?

The second question is difficult to answer but we can have a go at the first.

 

There are 14500 owners of active caches. Let's say that an active cache owner is one who's placed a log of any type on any cache in the last three months. That's 8844. So only 60% of cache owners are active cachers.

 

Usual caveats about data quality and interpretation apply.

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If they don't get maintained they disappear soon enough, which frees the space for someone else. And for all the cache setters who discover geocaching one day, hide a flimsy takeaway box the next and have given up by the end of the week it's not just those who end up leaving unmaintained caches.

 

Absolutely, and when a prolific and long-term CO stops maintaining (interest, injury, moving away, whatever) they can leave dozens of caches in poor condition in a small area and this could seriously put off somebody starting who can find nothing but broken boxes and wet logs and wonders what the point is. More of a negative than the maligned example of an enthusiastic but short-lived newbie.

 

All that said, I can see nothing but positives for the increase in numbers. I'm not particularly elitist and I'm happy to share my hobby with others. If people want more of a challenge, they can refine their search to specific types if that's how they want to play the game.

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Year	Count(*)
2000	2
2001	265
2002	1156
2003	1559
2004	2674
2005	4658
2006	7600
2007	10847
2008	16199
2009	23560
2010	30373
2011	43249
2012	3287

Are they the numbers of new caches, or do the figures represent cache number growth? What I mean is, have you subtracted the number of caches disabled / archived in the year?

 

I think that you have to bear in mind that there used to be such a thing as a multicache, where you'd hide several linked caches and call them a multicache. That seems rare nowadays, as people prefer to log several caches separately (and perhaps finish off with a "Bonus" cache). Unfortunately Groundspeak have never noticed this trend so we ended up with a lot of extra caches which appear to be standalone, except that the name links them together in an informal fashion. Then there is a "Bonus" cache as well, for which you need to apply some calculation to locate.

 

The inference that more caches = worse caches I don't think holds true. Clearly, if 10% of caches would generally be judged as "poor", if there are only 10 caches nearby then only 1 is likely to be sub-standard and you'd just forget about it. But if there's 100 nearby then you could spend a whole day on the 10 poor ones and come home pretty disgruntled.

Or you could be unlucky in your area and have a much higher proportion of bad caches whereas someone else has nothing but good ones.

 

Personally, I think that the improvement in tools for selecting caches more than makes up for the increase in number of poor caches. It's easy to eliminate (most of) them from your plans. I don't have any sympathy for those that complain about poor caches but insist on attempting every single one in the area!

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Are they the numbers of new caches, or do the figures represent cache number growth? What I mean is, have you subtracted the number of caches disabled / archived in the year?

The numbers are simply those caches which have a placed date in the appropriate year. Subtracting archived caches would take a long time to run because the archived date is stored only in logs. In other words, the numbers aren't the "cache population" because dead caches are included. However, I'd expect the number archived to roughly track the number placed. I'll have a look...

 

I think that you have to bear in mind that there used to be such a thing as a multicache, where you'd hide several linked caches and call them a multicache. That seems rare nowadays, as people prefer to log several caches separately (and perhaps finish off with a "Bonus" cache). Unfortunately Groundspeak have never noticed this trend so we ended up with a lot of extra caches which appear to be standalone, except that the name links them together in an informal fashion. Then there is a "Bonus" cache as well, for which you need to apply some calculation to locate.

I don't understand any of that <_<. In the numbers above a cache is a cache. Perhaps more accurately, a listing is a listing.

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I bunged these figures into Excel and added a trendline to predict future numbers based on the past rate of increase.

 

If the rate remains the same :

 

2012 should see about 60,000

 

2013 about 75,000

 

2014 about 98,000

 

2015 about 122,000

 

2016 about 158,000

 

2017 about 195,000

 

By then the density will be so high that you should be able to log a cache without even leaving your house !

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If they don't get maintained they disappear soon enough, which frees the space for someone else. And for all the cache setters who discover geocaching one day, hide a flimsy takeaway box the next and have given up by the end of the week it's not just those who end up leaving unmaintained caches.

 

Some caches don't get archived soon enough. If the container is easily found and stays dry, the only thing that goes wrong with them is the log gets full. Most cachers will simply add paper or change the logs instead of listing a 'needs maintenance'. Sure, theyr'e still part of the game..... But personally, I'd rather see those areas get opened up for the new folks to enjoy their own hides.

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The numbers are simply those caches which have a placed date in the appropriate year. Subtracting archived caches would take a long time to run because the archived date is stored only in logs. In other words, the numbers aren't the "cache population" because dead caches are included. However, I'd expect the number archived to roughly track the number placed. I'll have a look...

OK, here's an enhanced version:

Year   Placed   Archived   Nett increase   Population
2000        2          0               2            2
2001      265         14             251          253
2002     1156        100            1056         1309
2003     1559        258            1301         2610
2004     2674        579            2095         4705
2005     4658        851            3807         8512
2006     7600       1369            6231        14743
2007    10847       2109            8738        23481
2008    16199       4033           12166        35647
2009    23560       5939           17621        53268
2010    30373       8620           21753        75021
2011    43249      11976           31273       106294

E&OE

 

As I expected, a graph of any of the columns follows exactly the same line :D

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