Jump to content

Degradation of Cache Search Functionality


Followers 6

Recommended Posts

Heck, we're not even asking for a fancy search that covers multiple fields.

 

One simple text field, cache name - how hard can it be to index that?

 

Methinks the problem is management, not software.

 

Agreed. I learned to do searches like this using SQL commands in the first week of my Database 101 class in college. There are several other tools that make these searches even easier and more efficient.

 

Apparently Groundspeak is stuck in the last decade running their own servers. In this day and age of Cloud Computing, there are dozens of companies out there running Server Farms that host other company's software and databases in an inexpensive and efficient manner.

 

I just wish Groundspeak concentrated more on things that Geocachers need and use instead of concentrating on things like Twitter and Facebook integration and Geocaching Calendars. I shouldn't have to rely on GSAK as much as I do for basics like searches and Maps that are more useful in planning geocaching trips.

Link to comment

Heck, we're not even asking for a fancy search that covers multiple fields.

 

One simple text field, cache name - how hard can it be to index that?

 

Methinks the problem is management, not software.

 

Agreed. I learned to do searches like this using SQL commands in the first week of my Database 101 class in college. There are several other tools that make these searches even easier and more efficient.

 

Few modern search engines use SQL directly. Writing SQL for all types of searches can get pretty complicated. Using something like Lucene, Solr, or ElasticSearch makes it a lot easier.

 

Apparently Groundspeak is stuck in the last decade running their own servers. In this day and age of Cloud Computing, there are dozens of companies out there running Server Farms that host other company's software and databases in an inexpensive and efficient manner.

 

The use of cloud services has nothing to do with searching functionality. Moving to cloud services certainly would not improve searching functionality (but might improve performance) if the data indexing and search code is used.

 

 

 

Link to comment

Since searches of the entire database is apparently too demanding for Groundspeak's limited servers, why don't they restrict each search to a single state/country. That would have the dual benefit of reducing the number of records to search, and the search in most cases would be more helpful to the user.

Link to comment

Since searches of the entire database is apparently too demanding for Groundspeak's limited servers, why don't they restrict each search to a single state/country. That would have the dual benefit of reducing the number of records to search, and the search in most cases would be more helpful to the user.

 

That wouldn't reduce the number of records to search unless they had separate databases for every state/country. Restricting the search to a single/country would just an and extra element to the search criteria but it would still search over all records in the database.

Link to comment

Since searches of the entire database is apparently too demanding for Groundspeak's limited servers, why don't they restrict each search to a single state/country. That would have the dual benefit of reducing the number of records to search, and the search in most cases would be more helpful to the user.

 

That wouldn't reduce the number of records to search unless they had separate databases for every state/country. Restricting the search to a single/country would just an and extra element to the search criteria but it would still search over all records in the database.

 

It's been a looong time since I did any programming, but it used to be possible to do this : search the entire database for one value of one variable (here the country or state), create a subset of the database, search that subset for your second criteria ( here the presence of words in the title). That way the "more ressource intensive" search is done on a smaller set of data.

 

Seems like a reasonable idea to me. I think most would be happy with this search function. You rarely need to search all the caches in the world at once for a word...

Link to comment

Since searches of the entire database is apparently too demanding for Groundspeak's limited servers, why don't they restrict each search to a single state/country. That would have the dual benefit of reducing the number of records to search, and the search in most cases would be more helpful to the user.

 

That wouldn't reduce the number of records to search unless they had separate databases for every state/country. Restricting the search to a single/country would just an and extra element to the search criteria but it would still search over all records in the database.

 

It's been a looong time since I did any programming, but it used to be possible to do this : search the entire database for one value of one variable (here the country or state), create a subset of the database, search that subset for your second criteria ( here the presence of words in the title). That way the "more ressource intensive" search is done on a smaller set of data.

 

Seems like a reasonable idea to me. I think most would be happy with this search function. You rarely need to search all the caches in the world at once for a word...

 

It's that "create a subset of the database" part that is going use up resources, but instead of compute time, you'll end up using more memory. Only a small percentages of my searches are for my local area so I'd be rebuilding the "geographical subset" almost every time I did a search. I still think using something like Solr would be ideal for the type of searching we do. If anyone is wondering if it would scale for a database with a couple of million caches, there's a library in Denmark that is using Solr for searching resources that has over 175 million records in it.

Link to comment

As the cacher who started a similar discussion which was then redirected here, I think it would be more useful if everyone stopped complaining about the various suggestions being made to get round the problem. Perhaps if everyone who dislikes the new system just said so, then Groundspeak might listen.

 

Just a thought...

 

When I noticed that the system had changed I emailed Groundspeak and received the following reply:

 

We recently made the decision to change the search function because it has significantly decreased the load on our sever, allowing for better function of the website overall. I apologize for any inconvenience.

 

My original complaint was that several cachers in our part of the world like to prefix their cache names with their initials and a number: e.g. CHxx (us) or BSxx (a friend). Also we started a series of caches called "UK Toll House" and included a link to find all caches that contained the words "UK Toll House". To make it easier to find each one in a PQ we have asked all setters to prefix the cache name with a serial number and therefore the system will no longer find them and the links are useless. Another local cacher started a series along the route of a dismantled railway line. He invited other cachers to add to the series and asked them to include the words "Devizes Branch Railway" at the end of the cache name. His links are also useless.

 

Please, Groundspeak, bring back the system to search for any word in a cache name. Please.

Link to comment

As the cacher who started a similar discussion which was then redirected here, I think it would be more useful if everyone stopped complaining about the various suggestions being made to get round the problem. Perhaps if everyone who dislikes the new system just said so, then Groundspeak might listen.

 

Just a thought...

 

When I noticed that the system had changed I emailed Groundspeak and received the following reply:

 

We recently made the decision to change the search function because it has significantly decreased the load on our sever, allowing for better function of the website overall. I apologize for any inconvenience.

 

My original complaint was that several cachers in our part of the world like to prefix their cache names with their initials and a number: e.g. CHxx (us) or BSxx (a friend). Also we started a series of caches called "UK Toll House" and included a link to find all caches that contained the words "UK Toll House". To make it easier to find each one in a PQ we have asked all setters to prefix the cache name with a serial number and therefore the system will no longer find them and the links are useless. Another local cacher started a series along the route of a dismantled railway line. He invited other cachers to add to the series and asked them to include the words "Devizes Branch Railway" at the end of the cache name. His links are also useless.

 

Please, Groundspeak, bring back the system to search for any word in a cache name. Please.

 

Although I haven't tried, I believe you can change cache name. I remember finding a cache under one name which has now had a name change. Just change the descriptions to start with "UKToll". There are currently no caches what start with that.

Link to comment

Ya, Google's not the answer. Try finding something more generic like "Challenge caches" or Jasmer Challenges". You can get a bunch of forum stuff and what do you do with all the individual links?

 

At the bottom of all Google Search results pages is Advanced Search. Fill in the blanks and it will build this search string, which will give an idea of how it works.

 

allintitle: Jasmer Challenge --log site:geocaching.com/seek

 

 

I know that the minus symbol is a NOT qualifier. What does double minus do?

 

Also what does the /seek switch do please?

Link to comment

Ya, Google's not the answer. Try finding something more generic like "Challenge caches" or Jasmer Challenges". You can get a bunch of forum stuff and what do you do with all the individual links?

 

At the bottom of all Google Search results pages is Advanced Search. Fill in the blanks and it will build this search string, which will give an idea of how it works.

 

allintitle: Jasmer Challenge --log site:geocaching.com/seek

 

 

I know that the minus symbol is a NOT qualifier. What does double minus do?

 

Also what does the /seek switch do please?

 

/seek is the directory on the web site, not a Google search switch. All caches are listed under www.geocaching.com/seek.

 

Google itself built the search string using the --. I tried it with just a single - and it returned the logs on the caches. I have tried to use a single - in the past to exclude certain terms and it has never worked well for me, always giving me results that I expected to be excluded. I'll have to experiment with the --.

Link to comment

Sorry, I should have asked "how to find cacher's name when we don't know exactly how it's spelled"

Since the Geocaching interface is behind the times as far as search functions, there's no way to enter "walru" and get results that include "WalruZ" - at least, not as far as I can find.

 

Since this thread is about google-whispering to make up for the lack of search functionality here, I'm hoping someone knows how to google-whisper cachers' names, or any other trick.

Edited by hotshoe
Link to comment

Two things.

 

You didn't answer my question. Are you trying to find the profile or caches placed by? Either way the previous post answered your question.

 

If you are trying to find the profile your question was answered by the next poster. go there and put in the start of a name and it will give you a drop down of all that start with that.

 

Once you have that use any program i.e. gsak that has API access and put that name in hidden by box and you get it.

Link to comment

Rather than argue about all this and try to find ways round the new system, why doesn't everyone just email Groundspeak (click here) telling them that we'd like to have the old search system back? Perhaps if enough people emailed them they would know how we felt and might change it.

 

Yes, I know that cache names for series can be changed so that they can be found with the new system, but that means a lot of alterations by a lot of people worldwide. I don't know much about programming, but I guess that the search system can probably be changed by one person in a few moments.

Link to comment

I find it interesting that the *advanced* search options are the same as the regular search options..

What better way to improve performance. :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

 

Following a tried and true business model for a like situation. You can have it in any color as long as it's black. :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

 

That may be the idea. Make "search" so utterly useless that nobody is left using it.

Link to comment

Perhaps if enough people emailed them they would know how we felt and might change it.

They know.

 

The old system is dead and buried. No amount of emails is going to change that plus their seems to be a general opinion expressed before that the new API system is magnitudes better.

 

I personally find it great except for the 500 cache limit on queries. Take a look at the advanced page on an application and you can see the huge difference even at this early stage of development.

Link to comment

Perhaps if enough people emailed them they would know how we felt and might change it.

They know.

 

The old system is dead and buried. No amount of emails is going to change that plus their seems to be a general opinion expressed before that the new API system is magnitudes better.

 

I personally find it great except for the 500 cache limit on queries. Take a look at the advanced page on an application and you can see the huge difference even at this early stage of development.

The new API system is great. This thread is about the redesigned search engine, introduced much more recently than the API. It is definitely not great.

 

RE: The 500 cache limit on queries; my PQs have a 1000 cache limit. I don't remember how or when that changed, but my weekly query is set for up to 1000 caches.

Link to comment

PQs are a thousand. API calls are 500

 

If you dont mean PQs when you talk search engine what exactly are you referring to.

Hmmm, something must be broken. A couple days ago I did an API call to get some caches and ended up with 1855. I'll file a trouble ticket for the broken API call.

Link to comment

Thanks, now I understand. I just tried the API and you are right. I use GSAK and wonder if they had a limit at the start because I know I got an error message when I put in to big a number.

 

Thanks for pointing out even it was snidely.

 

Make sure that you are updated to the latest GSAK patch. Older versions were hard coded for the api limits and a new patch had to be made every time Groundspeak tweaked the limits. Sometime back, GSAK changed to where it now checks and sees what the limits are. When people see limits that they are not expecting, it's usually because that are using a version prior to that change.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 6
×
×
  • Create New...