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Hiding caches - a few questions


littlegemsy
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Ok I'm new to the geocaching idea, so I realise this will seem a little premature but I'm thinking of hiding caches (not quite yet, pre-planning!).

 

Anyway, have a couple of questions as the title says.

 

1) I've seen there's a little bit of... dislike of those of us using smartphones, is it considered bad practise to hide using one? Mine is an S2 and is well within the 15-25 feet average problem radius Ive seen mentioned, most it's getting me within a couple of metres (obviously those being ones with good signal!). I'd plan on hiding with that and double checking the coords on google maps, and in person with my sat nav.

 

2) Trees - one of the hiding places I'd love to use (actually, 2 of them) signal is obstructed somewhat by tree cover, is it a case of taking the coordinates a couple of times until fairly accurate, and posting that they may be out due to trees (which I have seen posted) or is there a better way?

 

3) Is it considered bad etiquette to hide a couple fairly closely (maybe 700-800 feet apart)? 1 place I'd like to do 1, basically Id like to do 1 accessible on the path, but the other is one of the wooded ones that depending how I hid it would be a 2, maybe 2.5 terrain. Plus the wooded one I could do a small or possibly regular container, the other would likely have to be micro/nano/the smallest possible end of small if I wanted to make it accessible to disabled etc.

 

Sorry for the 3 in 1 go, just would like to be able to plan a couple to maybe do end of this or probably next month (by the time I bought/decided the things I wanted to use!).

 

Thankyou :)

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Ok I'm new to the geocaching idea, so I realise this will seem a little premature but I'm thinking of hiding caches (not quite yet, pre-planning!).

 

Anyway, have a couple of questions as the title says.

 

1) I've seen there's a little bit of... dislike of those of us using smartphones, is it considered bad practise to hide using one? Mine is an S2 and is well within the 15-25 feet average problem radius Ive seen mentioned, most it's getting me within a couple of metres (obviously those being ones with good signal!). I'd plan on hiding with that and double checking the coords on google maps, and in person with my sat nav.

 

2) Trees - one of the hiding places I'd love to use (actually, 2 of them) signal is obstructed somewhat by tree cover, is it a case of taking the coordinates a couple of times until fairly accurate, and posting that they may be out due to trees (which I have seen posted) or is there a better way?

 

3) Is it considered bad etiquette to hide a couple fairly closely (maybe 700-800 feet apart)? 1 place I'd like to do 1, basically Id like to do 1 accessible on the path, but the other is one of the wooded ones that depending how I hid it would be a 2, maybe 2.5 terrain. Plus the wooded one I could do a small or possibly regular container, the other would likely have to be micro/nano/the smallest possible end of small if I wanted to make it accessible to disabled etc.

 

Sorry for the 3 in 1 go, just would like to be able to plan a couple to maybe do end of this or probably next month (by the time I bought/decided the things I wanted to use!).

 

Thankyou :)

Hi, welcome to the game! I will try to answer your questions the best I can. Before you hide a cache be sure to read the guidelines: http://www.geocaching.com/about/guidelines.aspx

And the hiding guide: http://www.geocaching.com/about/hiding.aspx

 

1. It is stated in the guidelines for hiding a cache that:

Listings must contain accurate GPS coordinates. You must visit the geocache site and obtain all the coordinates with a GPS device.

It says that when you click on "Technical Requirements" in the 2nd section of the guidelines.

 

2. Averaging the coordinates is a good thing to do, so is the notice that the coords may be off.

 

3. No, you can hide as close as .1 mile or 528 feet from other caches including your own. Make sure it isn't to close or it won't be published.

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Thanks for asking these questions! I'm new too, and am still in the thinking stages of planning my first cache... well... actually, I've bought the swag! But I have not decided WHERE my first cache is going. I know it will NOT be a micro and it will NOT be on the side of the road! It WILL take a hike into the woods to find it! But I WAS thinking it would be nice, having made the hike, to find 2 or 3 caches in the vicinity! Just make it a little more worth the effort! :lol:

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1) I've seen there's a little bit of... dislike of those of us using smartphones, is it considered bad practise to hide using one? Mine is an S2 and is well within the 15-25 feet average problem radius Ive seen mentioned, most it's getting me within a couple of metres (obviously those being ones with good signal!). I'd plan on hiding with that and double checking the coords on google maps, and in person with my sat nav.

Some of the older smartphones had sub-par GPS chips, so it was usually pretty easy to tell if a cache had been hidden using one (you found the cache 100 feet or more from the coordinates!). Newer smartphones are much better, but the accuracy is still much more inconsistent than dedicated GPS devices. If you're in an urban area, with good cell signal, you'll probably have pretty good accuracy. If you're out in the woods, with no cell signal, your accuracy will probably be pretty poor. From what you said, it sounds like your phone is consistently getting you pretty close, so you'll probably be OK using it.

Averaging multiple sets of coordinates will help reduce any errors, but make sure you take coordinates at least several hours apart, or preferably on different days.

Checking afterwards with Google Maps can be a good way to confirm your coordinates, but keep in mind that in some areas the alignment of Google Maps is as much as hundreds of feet off.

You mentioned checking using your sat nav, which I assume means the built-in GPS in your vehicle. I have no idea whether vehicle sat-navs can accept a set of coordinates, but if it can, this would be an excellent way to check your coordinates.

 

I'd like to say thank you for putting some planning into your hides. Some new cachers would just grab the first empty food container they see, toss it into a bush on the side of the road, and publish it with horrible coordinates. That you're asking these questions here shows that you care about the quality of your hides.

Good luck!

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double checking the coords on google maps, and in person with my sat nav.

 

If you can use the SatNav(car GPS) To find the co-ordinates, you should be able to use it to place the caches. The best is a hand held GPS. Basically SatNav relies on street addresses more than Lat. and Long. and therefore will be off depending on the maps in it, maybe half a block-maybe right on. I have first hand experience with the difference in quality from a brand new smartphone, and a cheap $100 GPSr. The GPSr has gotten me EXACTLY on-literally standing on the cache. The Phone? At worst I was 500km away, at best I was 50M(about 150 feet) away from the cache, and in clear non obstructed sky. I mean at $100, for a GPSr you should do it. If you upgrade, keep it as backup.

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Ok I'm new to the geocaching idea, so I realise this will seem a little premature but I'm thinking of hiding caches (not quite yet, pre-planning!).

 

Anyway, have a couple of questions as the title says.

 

1) I've seen there's a little bit of... dislike of those of us using smartphones, is it considered bad practise to hide using one? Mine is an S2 and is well within the 15-25 feet average problem radius Ive seen mentioned, most it's getting me within a couple of metres (obviously those being ones with good signal!). I'd plan on hiding with that and double checking the coords on google maps, and in person with my sat nav.

 

2) Trees - one of the hiding places I'd love to use (actually, 2 of them) signal is obstructed somewhat by tree cover, is it a case of taking the coordinates a couple of times until fairly accurate, and posting that they may be out due to trees (which I have seen posted) or is there a better way?

 

3) Is it considered bad etiquette to hide a couple fairly closely (maybe 700-800 feet apart)? 1 place I'd like to do 1, basically Id like to do 1 accessible on the path, but the other is one of the wooded ones that depending how I hid it would be a 2, maybe 2.5 terrain. Plus the wooded one I could do a small or possibly regular container, the other would likely have to be micro/nano/the smallest possible end of small if I wanted to make it accessible to disabled etc.

 

Sorry for the 3 in 1 go, just would like to be able to plan a couple to maybe do end of this or probably next month (by the time I bought/decided the things I wanted to use!).

 

Thankyou :)

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE think of your seekers and DON'T take readings with a phone!

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Hi there, I am relatively new to geocaching aswell but have placed a few caches now. I found that if you follow the guidlines and put as much information as possible in the reviewer notes when you enable your cache it should flow easily. I use my smartphone for placing caches without any problems. I tend to take the coordinates and walk away a fair distance and then come back and see how close the coordinates are. I may do this a few times in different directions, I have had to average out my coordinates a few times to get the final coordinates. Admittingly I do also have a gps that I then double check the coordinates with, but I have not had to change them yet. As for placing a few close together, there is no problem with that as long as they are within all the guidelines. I have 5 caches in an area of scrub near by, 4 of them are part of a series I have. So maybe make them in to a series or you can do a multi-cache using the different locations as waypoints.

Goodluck with it.

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Thecacheseeker - thanks, I've read that but I couldn't see anything about places where getting an exact will be almost impossible (even the best GPSr will be hurt a bit by tree cover I gather) - I thought averaging made sense! I saw the minimum requirements but was unsure if basically making an area yours was considered rude or anything!

 

TheATeam - that all makes sense. I do have plans for a layby one but it'll still be thought out (and in that place for a reason!) :D Looking at ways I can hide them seems the fun idea! Yea, my phone yesterday under tree cover got me to about 4 metres of the hide (and of course with the trees the original coordinates may be out!), on most seems able to be accurate to 1-2 metres so is doing a good job for now. The GPS is a tom tom one, portable, the common type in the UK at least (not sure about elsewhere!), I'm 99% sure it has a coordinates option... will double check.

 

T.D.M.22 / power69 - as I said mine seems to be getting me consistantly under 5 metres (so what, 15 feet) away , often nearer - is that older vs newer GPSr in phones? I'm thinking that if its accurate getting me there, it'll be accurate taking coordinates surely? Bluntly I don't have the money for a GPSr, and when my phone is getting me to each one fine it seems a bit of a waste of money really. Is there any other reason (providing you check, double check and triple check!) the coordinates, not to use a phone if it's accurate finding caches? To be clear (because the internet doesnt convey tone!) I'm asking if there's other reasons, not actually arguing :)

 

fishingmad - sounds like you've had phone success!

 

Think I'll go and nose where I could hide them today, can work through the GPS issue after I've actually worked out exactly where!

 

Thanks for all the replies, this seems a very helpful forum!

Gemma

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Not all phones are equal - some are more equal than others...

 

I can see that you are willing to take several co-ord readings to check accuracy: That's good.

(Some cachers manage to give really inaccurate co-ords even when using a GPSr <_< )

Once you've got what you think are good co-ords (i.e. within 20ft) try leaving it a few day, then use them to try and find the cache location - then be honest! Did it get you there? :D If you want to be extra helpful you can always give a really good hint.

 

There's nothing wrong with putting out several caches in one area just as long as they're all at least 528ft from all other physical caches, and you have appropriate permission, and you follow all the other guidelines.

 

As you're a new cacher, in Cornwall UK, you might find this link useful

 

"Follow the arrow" - Geocaching resources for the UK and Ireland.

 

MrsB

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Whatever device you are using, it's a good practice to mark your spot then walk about 30 metres or 100 feet away and see if your device guides you back to it.

 

Even with the excellent receiver in the Oregon 450, there can be iffy spots and when I'm in doubt I follow this practice, adjusting as necessary so my spot is where another geocacher can expect to be lead to, even if Ground Zero (GZ) has less than ideal satellite reception.

 

Best of luck!

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Whatever device you are using, it's a good practice to mark your spot then walk about 30 metres or 100 feet away and see if your device guides you back to it.

 

Even with the excellent receiver in the Oregon 450, there can be iffy spots and when I'm in doubt I follow this practice, adjusting as necessary so my spot is where another geocacher can expect to be lead to, even if Ground Zero (GZ) has less than ideal satellite reception.

 

Best of luck!

 

Good advice!

 

And, IF you use a phone, take your time, turn the phones GPS on well before you start taking coordinates, and take LOTS of readings and average them. Then walk away and see if you are guided back to the cache spot.

(And make sure the phone is using the satellites, and not the phone network, to work out it's location.

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The Phone? at best I was 50M(about 150 feet) away from the cache, and in clear non obstructed sky.

 

I can't agree with this, although i don't dispute that people may have different experiences. I use a phone as my primary device and i would say 95% of the time it puts me right on the cache (excluding bad co-ords). i have also placed all my caches with said phone and had no complaints about bad co-ords, in fact on the contrary, people have complimented on the "spot on co-ords". I just take multiple reading from different approaches and even sometimes on different days.

 

All for the price of a geoapp and a premium membership, bargain ;)

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A couple potential downsides to using a phone instead of a GPSr that haven't yet been touched on in this thread. The first seems to be potentially moot, but with many phones using cell towers to triangulate signals, if you go caching outside of phone range: no reception = no GPS.

 

The big one for me is the battery life of the phone. I enjoy going out for most of a day for hiking and caching. If I'm using it regularly, my phone won't last for any significant time at all, where I can get a good solid 6-8 hours of steady use out of my GPSr on one set of batteries, and I always carry a spare set or two. Who carries a spare iPhone battery?

 

I'm also glad you're putting thought into your hides, thanks for doing so. There have been a few really bad experiences in this area with people using smart phones and/or google maps to hide caches, so my opinion isn't the greatest on those circumstances. The general consensus is that it can be done without much issue, but in my limited experience it's not a good idea.

 

Have fun, and welcome :D

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...(even the best GPSr will be hurt a bit by tree cover I gather)...

Hi gemsy, welcome to the addiction!

The issue with phones used as GPS devices are all related to the antenna. The modern iPhones, Androids and such use a patch antenna very similar to the ones found in the old yellow eTrex devices. While it's not a terrible antenna, it does not receive as much signal as an antenna in a modern handheld. This antenna causes a phone to 'technically' be less accurate.

 

But it's not the end of the world.

 

In clear skies, (think urban), the difference in reception is so slight as to be barely noticeable. The factors that affect accuracy on all GPSr devices, (satellite constellation, sky obstructions, user error, etc), are obviously magnified by having an antenna which absorbs less signal.

 

So long as you are aware of the differences, and take steps to nullify them, you should be fine. Taking multiple readings, walking away a hundred feet and double checking your coords, and checking your coords on different days, at different times, are all positive steps toward ensuring your cache will have the best coords possible.

 

Good luck!

 

-Sean

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On Android (a HTC Hero) I use the app GPS Status to force a download of the GPS satellite almanac ("GPS Assistance data") from the internet before doing anything that has to do with finding or setting coordinates. Without the almanac (or worse, with an old almanac), the GPS receiver is lost. This app is also useful for a couple of other GC-related things, plus it gives you your live location in a raw but familiar format. If you enter geocache coordinates as a waypoint, you can also use it as a high-tech compass. I have military background and sorta like the no-nonsense, added-challenge in finding a cache this way. Yes, I'm one of those oddballs who like things when they're difficult and/or confusing. Helps keeping the Alzheimer's away ;)

 

If you don't have a dataplan or don't have access to WiFi, leave the phone on for around 30 minutes. The phone will then slowly pull down the almanac from the satellites themselves.

 

To take pretty accurate coordinates, I use the app GPS Averaging. I let it take around 75-100 measurements while pacing a couple of meters back and forth around the point. This takes about five minutes. After that, I walk several hundred meters away and try to navigate back (with GPS Status, the app mentioned above). I repeat until satisfied, but always until I have less than 3m/10 ft of deviation. The latter will be displayed on screen.

 

To prepare for a geocache hide, test the coordinates on e.g. Google Maps' satellite view. This can be quite inaccurate, but since so many geocachers rely on this service (i.e. geocaching like in a top down video game), it helps seeing what they will see.

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