# Minimum Geocache Distance and Elevation

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Here's the deal, I've placed two geocaches apart. According to GPS coords they are only 480 feet apart. However, when factoring in the elevation gain for the 2nd cache, the actual distance is over 550 feet.

Shouldn't elevation change be a factor in the distance guidelines?

So, were they both published? If not, you have answered your own question. This game is based on Latitude & Longitude, not elevation.

The observation deck atop the WTC would only be a few feet away from the LPC on the corner, except for the 1300+' elevation change.

The observation deck atop the WTC would only be a few feet away from the LPC on the corner, except for the 1300+' elevation change.

Well, that's just it, thanks for helping make my point. Elevation is certainly part of the distance one must traverse between caches. Currently, both of my caches are unpublished.

This game is based on Latitude & Longitude, not elevation.

You're best course is to chose one cache leave it there and move the other 0.1 miles away.

The distance is lat/long not elevation. The rules on distance a fairly strict-although there have been exceptions. And no-I don't think elevation should normally be considered-maybe in special situations, but not for most caches.

The minimum distance is to prevent too many caches in one area. Are is length multiplied by width- as we would be able to observe on most maps. If we factor in elevation gains and losses in all caches, there would be many, many more caches in the same area. Infact in my city, you could easily see an increase of 500 feet in distance traveled when you factor in elevation-and that's just my short drive to work...

So, were they both published? If not, you have answered your own question. This game is based on Latitude & Longitude, not elevation.

The observation deck atop the WTC would only be a few feet away from the LPC on the corner, except for the 1300+' elevation change.

The WTC, as in world trade center? I am in NYC and was in SoHo about a half an ago and can confirm that the WTC buildings are no longer there.

Elevation *could* factor into whether or not a cache was published that was within 528' of another cache if the reviewer considered it to be a significant physical barrier. At the end of the day it's up to the reviewer, though their decision could still be appealed by Groundspeak. Caches that are published within the 528' limit should be considered the exception rather than the rule and I would suspect that you'd have to have a compelling reason (and cache quality can not be one of them) in order for an exception to be granted

If I understand the rules correctly, you can publish it as a multicache and that would eliminate the need for the two being separated further provided your second stage cache is over 528' from another existing published cache.

Now to enter my opinion; I believe that in certain circumstances elevation should be considered as part of the challenge and enjoyment in pursuing well thought out caches. There's defiantly a lot of "just because it's 528' feet away" caches.

Many reviewers, myself included, used to grant exceptions to the cache saturation guideline based on a "large difference in altitude" analysis. That started back in the day when there was also a "power trail exception" to the cache saturation guideline ("don't hide caches 600 feet apart just because you can).

On the day when I became obligated to publish 100 caches in a row because they were 529 feet apart, I pretty much stopped analyzing special exceptions for caches at the top and bottom of a "big hill." 528 feet is the number. If the reviewer is obligated to publish at 529 feet, the reviewer is within their rights to say "no" at 527 feet. Since I adopted this approach, the review process has functioned quickly and efficiently. That's much needed, given the uptick in cache submission volume over recent years.

That said, reviewers can and do make exceptions below 528 feet. I'm one of them. Specifically, some reviewers, not including me but possibly including several reviewers who are dogs and others who are human, may still make exceptions based on altitude variations. Any such exceptions should be regarded as a gift rather than an expectation.

So, were they both published? If not, you have answered your own question. This game is based on Latitude & Longitude, not elevation.

The observation deck atop the WTC would only be a few feet away from the LPC on the corner, except for the 1300+' elevation change.

The WTC, as in world trade center? I am in NYC and was in SoHo about a half an ago and can confirm that the WTC buildings are no longer there.

Elevation *could* factor into whether or not a cache was published that was within 528' of another cache if the reviewer considered it to be a significant physical barrier. At the end of the day it's up to the reviewer, though their decision could still be appealed by Groundspeak. Caches that are published within the 528' limit should be considered the exception rather than the rule and I would suspect that you'd have to have a compelling reason (and cache quality can not be one of them) in order for an exception to be granted

I know that the place I stood and looked down on a helicopter flying by is now unavailable to others. The Empire State Building or Sears Tower (or whatever it is called now) could be a current example.

Elevation seems a judgment call, according to the reviewers. This brings up the "physical barrier" exception: a reviewer may let 2 caches be published under 528 ft. apart if, say, there's a deep river between.

If I put a cache at the top of the cliffs of Dover, & another at the bottom, 25 feet apart by latitude-longitude but worlds apart in reality, & a reviewer denied those, I'd appeal that all the way to the Supreme Court!

Edit: they're high & there's a definite physical barrier, but not as high as I thought, so I'd build in a set-back. Couldn't get a picture to show up.

Edited by wmpastor

This game is based on Latitude & Longitude, not elevation.

You're best course is to chose one cache leave it there and move the other 0.1 miles away.

This^

But, contact a reviewer. Sometimes, if it really does make a difference, elevation can be ruled in for slightly smaller distances...meaning 499ft instead of 528. Sometimes. Ask your reviewer....

And be prepared to hear them say "No."

This brings up the "physical barrier" exception: a reviewer may let 2 caches be published under 528 ft. apart if, say, there's a deep river between.

I quit granting the "opposite sides of the river" exception the same day that I quit granting the "top and bottom of the impassable cliff" exception. In doing so, I eliminated the debates about what's a stream and what's a raging river rapid, when is a bridge "close," and a number of other academic exercises.

You can go through the history of the listing guidelines on wayback and you will never find a "physical barrier" exception written into the Cache Saturation guideline. You will see it discussed informally here in the forums.

Keeping in mind that a primary purpose of the Cache Saturation guideline is to put an objective cap on the absolute number of caches in any single area, concepts like altitude and natural barriers are irrelevant.

I agree, it would be nice if there was some leeway for elevation changes. However, I also realize this would be a real pain in the butt for the reviewers. If 1 person gets an exemption, everybody who hides their cache on a slope is going to want one. It's better just to stick to the 528 foot rule.

I always liked the line that 528 should be a bare minimum, not a goal.

I quit granting the "opposite sides of the river" exception the same day that I quit granting the "top and bottom of the impassable cliff" exception. In doing so, I eliminated the debates about what's a stream and what's a raging river rapid, when is a bridge "close," and a number of other academic exercises.

Now that it's all cut-&-dried, the reviewers must have very little left to do! Other than " 'stoning," as it's informally been referred to in the forums.

I found one cache where GZ is 6 feet away from a 15 foot drop, with a concrete staircase from top to bottom. I had to search both levels & the stairs connecting them. I can envision a cache near a cliff with the same scenario, although the found-posts would probably soon give away whether it was at the upper or lower level.

Well, a while back I had a puzzle cache published that wasn't even 500' from the final of another cache because of the extreme terrain rule. In this case, you had to cross a moderate creek and scale a fairly tall bluff to get to the other cache. So, they do still grant exceptions...just probably not often.

This brings up the "physical barrier" exception: a reviewer may let 2 caches be published under 528 ft. apart if, say, there's a deep river between.

I quit granting the "opposite sides of the river" exception the same day that I quit granting the "top and bottom of the impassable cliff" exception. In doing so, I eliminated the debates about what's a stream and what's a raging river rapid, when is a bridge "close," and a number of other academic exercises.

You can go through the history of the listing guidelines on wayback and you will never find a "physical barrier" exception written into the Cache Saturation guideline. You will see it discussed informally here in the forums.

Keeping in mind that a primary purpose of the Cache Saturation guideline is to put an objective cap on the absolute number of caches in any single area, concepts like altitude and natural barriers are irrelevant.

I always liked the line that 528 should be a bare minimum, not a goal.

I think these are fairly sane and reasonable expectations of how a request for less than 528' would go. But, as it has been said in this thread, it doesn't hurt to ask, so long as you're aware that you will likely be told "No."

The original poster of this thread has 2 newly published caches, .1 miles apart.

Not that this means the thread is dead, but just the OP has already moved a one the caches, resubmitted and those caches are now waiting for finds.

Thanks for the post Palmetto was just coming here to make the same statement. Things work when the guidelines are followed

The distance is lat/long not elevation. The rules on distance a fairly strict-although there have been exceptions. And no-I don't think elevation should normally be considered-maybe in special situations, but not for most caches.

The minimum distance is to prevent too many caches in one area. Are is length multiplied by width- as we would be able to observe on most maps. If we factor in elevation gains and losses in all caches, there would be many, many more caches in the same area. Infact in my city, you could easily see an increase of 500 feet in distance traveled when you factor in elevation-and that's just my short drive to work...

Didn't you say in another thread that they are guidelines? But now you say they are pretty strict.

Didn't you say in another thread that they are guidelines? But now you say they are pretty strict.

Yes, the volunteer reviewers follow the guidelines pretty strictly.

Yes, the volunteer reviewers do occasionally allow exceptions to the guidelines.

But as Keystone put it earlier:

Any such exceptions should be regarded as a gift rather than an expectation.

Wow... I need a 3D GPS to geocache now... not just distance but how high up.

So, were they both published? If not, you have answered your own question. This game is based on Latitude & Longitude, not elevation.

The observation deck atop the WTC would only be a few feet away from the LPC on the corner, except for the 1300+' elevation change.

The WTC, as in world trade center? I am in NYC and was in SoHo about a half an ago and can confirm that the WTC buildings are no longer there.

Elevation *could* factor into whether or not a cache was published that was within 528' of another cache if the reviewer considered it to be a significant physical barrier. At the end of the day it's up to the reviewer, though their decision could still be appealed by Groundspeak. Caches that are published within the 528' limit should be considered the exception rather than the rule and I would suspect that you'd have to have a compelling reason (and cache quality can not be one of them) in order for an exception to be granted

New York isn't the only city with a World Trade Center. Also, isn't the new tower they are building in New York going to be a World Trade Center tower?

Here's the deal, I've placed two geocaches apart. According to GPS coords they are only 480 feet apart. However, when factoring in the elevation gain for the 2nd cache, the actual distance is over 550 feet.

Shouldn't elevation change be a factor in the distance guidelines?

No elevation gain shouldn't be a factor. To list a cache you are required to provide latitude and longitude but not altitude. Without knowing the altitude it will be very difficult for a cacher to differentiate between two caches that are placed at the top and bottom of a ravine or top and bottom of a tall building.

The distance is lat/long not elevation. The rules on distance a fairly strict-although there have been exceptions. And no-I don't think elevation should normally be considered-maybe in special situations, but not for most caches.

The minimum distance is to prevent too many caches in one area. Are is length multiplied by width- as we would be able to observe on most maps. If we factor in elevation gains and losses in all caches, there would be many, many more caches in the same area. Infact in my city, you could easily see an increase of 500 feet in distance traveled when you factor in elevation-and that's just my short drive to work...

Didn't you say in another thread that they are guidelines? But now you say they are pretty strict.

Well for one thing, there is a difference between "Fairly strict" and "not budging one bit for any reason" If you read my post, I have also said there have been exceptions to the guideline. This is one of those times when all the words and the context must be considered.

There was a time when there was more leeway, but that has gone, and is all explained in this thread.

And I don't make or choose how to enforce the rules guidelines, I have just said what is easily observable.

Many reviewers, myself included, used to grant exceptions to the cache saturation guideline based on a "large difference in altitude" analysis. That started back in the day when there was also a "power trail exception" to the cache saturation guideline ("don't hide caches 600 feet apart just because you can).

On the day when I became obligated to publish 100 caches in a row because they were 529 feet apart, I pretty much stopped analyzing special exceptions for caches at the top and bottom of a "big hill." 528 feet is the number. If the reviewer is obligated to publish at 529 feet, the reviewer is within their rights to say "no" at 527 feet. Since I adopted this approach, the review process has functioned quickly and efficiently. That's much needed, given the uptick in cache submission volume over recent years.

That said, reviewers can and do make exceptions below 528 feet. I'm one of them. Specifically, some reviewers, not including me but possibly including several reviewers who are dogs and others who are human, may still make exceptions based on altitude variations. Any such exceptions should be regarded as a gift rather than an expectation.

Edited by T.D.M.22

Sorry to ruffle your feathers TDM. Just going off what I read in two different posts about basically the same thing. Guidelines are one thing, but rules are another.

...never mind...

Edited by team tisri

So, were they both published? If not, you have answered your own question. This game is based on Latitude & Longitude, not elevation.

The observation deck atop the WTC would only be a few feet away from the LPC on the corner, except for the 1300+' elevation change.

The WTC, as in world trade center? I am in NYC and was in SoHo about a half an ago and can confirm that the WTC buildings are no longer there.

Elevation *could* factor into whether or not a cache was published that was within 528' of another cache if the reviewer considered it to be a significant physical barrier. At the end of the day it's up to the reviewer, though their decision could still be appealed by Groundspeak. Caches that are published within the 528' limit should be considered the exception rather than the rule and I would suspect that you'd have to have a compelling reason (and cache quality can not be one of them) in order for an exception to be granted

New York isn't the only city with a World Trade Center. Also, isn't the new tower they are building in New York going to be a World Trade Center tower?

Yes, the new building is called One World Trade Center. It's not yet open to the public. It will have an observation deck that spans three floors. Of course, there's no chance that there would ever be a physical cache up there.

I like this statement by Keystone:

Any such exceptions should be regarded as a gift rather than an expectation.

Back when I first got into geocaching, I was also doing a fair amount of climbing/peak-bagging. One of my first hides was on the central granite spire of a small group of distinct and fairly massive peaks.

The two outer peaks had caches on them already, but I thought I'd try to put one on the middle spire. I knew about the separation distance vaguely, but was still new, so I didn't remember 528' was the value, nor did I attempt to pre-measure the distances from the Middle peak to the others. When I reached the summit and was looking for a place to put my cache, I simply tried to make it as far away from both other caches as possible. This turned out to be something less than 528', in fact a good deal less at 445'. While writing up the listing I read the guidelines over and realized the cache might not get published. But I went ahead and submitted it with a note to the reviewer about what I did and why I felt that a cache on this peak was separate and distinct from its neighbors, and also a significant effort to reach all on its own. Man was I pleased when the reviewer published the cache.

I ended up learning the guidelines a bit more, and I haven't attempted to get a proximity exception since. I've never felt that asking for such exceptions would be appropriate now that I know the guidelines better. It would feel like I would be intentionally pushing the boundaries and making things more difficult for the reviewers. Or maybe I just don't want to push my luck. I wonder if Reviewers are more lenient to beginners with good intentions, or if I just happened to be lucky? Either way, I'll take this "gift" from my reviewer. Thanks for being understanding and helping to get me hooked on this game.

I give every hider a one-time freebie exception to the Cache Saturation Guideline, at distances of 500 to 527 feet (and maybe a bit less if the conflict is with stage 17 of a multicache or the actual location of a difficulty 5 puzzle cache).

I keep a record of these freebies and I have a method to be sure that I don't grant a second or third freebie because I'd forgotten about the original freebie given two years ago.

Before publishing the cache that's 512 feet from its neighbor, I send the owner a reviewer note using the following form letter:

Hello, I am a volunteer for Geocaching.com and I have just reviewed your new cache submission. I will be publishing it shortly, but before doing so I wanted to mention an issue I saw during the review.

Your cache is placed just {FEET} feet from another existing cache: {OTHER CACHE NAME}, {GC CODE}. Our general guideline for cache density is that caches must be at least .1 miles apart. See the Geocache Listing Guidelines on this subject here: http://www.geocaching.com/about/guidelines.aspx?expand=1#cachesaturation Also, please see the Page in the Groundspeak Knowledge Books entitled "Checking for Cache Saturation": http://support.Groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=199

Since {FEET} feet is so close to 528 feet, I am going to grant an exception to the listing guidelines in this case. In the future, please make sure that your caches are separated by the minimum required distance.

Enjoy the logs on your new cache!

Keystone

Geocaching.com Volunteer Cache Reviewer

When I do this, the community has one more geocache to find and I have an educated hider who is happy with their freebie exception instead of cheesed off about having to move their cache. Everyone wins.

All that said, I don't base these exceptions off of altitude differences alone, as I posted previously.

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