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Danie Viljoen

EarthCache Statistics

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Total number of ECs published worldwide: 17929

Active ECs: 16886

 

Centroid of all ECs: N59 26.339 W043 10.894

Centroid of active ECs: N59 36.157 W043 02.578 (This is about 35km south of Greenland, which makes sense - it is about halfway between North America and Europe, where most of the ECs are.)

Closest cache to the centroid: GC1X72V – Stone & Man (Greenland, 207km)

Farthest cache from the centroid: GC4VFKD – Port Davey Marine Reserve (Australia, 18110km)

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Most northerly EC: GC1XCWW – Pyramiden (in Svalbard):          N78° 39.365
Most southerly EC: GC2BX66 – Earth’s orientation – South Pole: S90° 00.000 

Highest EC:	   GC2BX63 – Earth’s Roof – Mount Everest Peak (in China): 8848m
Lowest EC:	   GC1PR3D – The Dead Sea (in Israel): -422m

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Biggest Earthcache gap in the USA:

 

(Excluding Alaska) The circle with a radius of 172.56km (107.22 miles) around N47 59.307 W106 39.206 (northeast Montana) contains no Earthcaches.

Edited by Danie Viljoen

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Farthest Earthcaches:

The following two ECs are separated by 20012.22km:

GC3QF05 – Fish and Shapes (in Portugal)

GC2BXFZ – Mangarakau Swamp (Earthcache) (in New Zealand)

These two caches are literally on opposite sides of the earth, less than 3km from the theoretical maximum, according to the earth model I’m using.

 

Closest Earthcaches:

The following two ECs are only 10m from each other:

GC1BH9B - Artesian Brother

GC1HW01 - Two Artesian Erratics (both in Indiana, U.S.A.)

Edited by Danie Viljoen

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Map of number of Earthcaches per country.

Are the dots located on the centroid point of each nation?

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Densest 10km radius:

 

World:         GC22Y2C - Earthcache Gleitfalte Glees	   (in Germany):   53 ECs in the 10km circle around this cache
North America: GC3PRZR - Caperton Swamp, or is it a Marsh? (U.S.A.):       50  "
Africa:        GC1BTDQ – Contorted Beds in Braamfontein    (South Africa): 15  "
Australasia:   GC28QZB – Mortimer’s Rift (Auckland)        (New Zealand):  15  "
Asia:          GC1D6JV – Permian Sediments                 (Hong Kong):     8  "
Latin America: GC3JHMB – Dolines                           (Brazil):        5  "
Middle East:   GC19A92 – Karnak Temple                     (Egypt):         4  "
Antarctica:    GC13ZJ3 – Antarctic Peninsula:                               1  "

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Number of EarthCaches published per year:

 

ECsperyear.jpg

 

I find it interesting that the number of new ECs have been steadily decreasing since 2010. Why would that be? It is definitely not following the trend of the other cache types. Are we reaching saturation in Europe and the U.S.A., or is it more difficult to get a new EC published now?

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Highest (active) EarthCaches:

1.  GC2BX63  Earth's Roof - Mount Everest Peak	China	       8848m
2.  GC17G8H  Llullaillaco	                Argentina      6468m
3.  GC15Y6N  ICE SÉRACS & THE “MAGIC” HIGHWAY	China	       6336m
4.  GC1F1GF  Chimborazo	                        Ecuador	       6259m
5.  GC4C79N  Big Denali	                        United States  6170m
6.  GC4PV21  Huayna Potosí glacier	        Bolivia	       6058m
7.  GC1X8A0  Kilimanjaro Climate Zones	        Tanzania       5756m
8.  GC1F1G4  Cotopaxi	                        Ecuador	       5752m
9.  GC2HVDX  Dhaulagiri Trek - French Pass	Nepal	       5360m
10. GC2HVR8  Dhaulagiri Trek - Damphus Pass	Nepal	       5253m

(My elevations are probably not 100% accurate - if you have more accurate elevations for some of these, please let me know).

Edited by Danie Viljoen

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Lowest EarthCaches:

 

1.  GC1PR3D  The Dead Sea	                                Israel	      -422m
2.  GC3HKX6  THE DEAD SEA - EARTH'S LOWEST ELEVATION ON LAND    Israel	      -388m
3.  GC2ADG6  En Gedi	                                        Israel	      -265m
4.  GC2KF7B  Sea of Galilee and the Hot Springs	                Israel	      -211m
5.  GCPAFJ   Lac Assal, Really Deep	                        Djibouti      -107m
6.  GC2WB4N  H2SO4 - ACIDIC LAKE!	                        Ethiopia       -87m
7.  GC1N0X1  Devil's Golf Course	                        United States  -84m
8.  GC2V50H  Alluvial Fans and Bajadas in Death Valley	        United States  -80m
9.  GC1RBAD  Death Valley	                                United States  -73m
10. GC3EM0C  Turtlebacks of Death Valley: A Continuing Mystery	United States  -72m

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Most EarthCaches developed (active):

1.  TerryDad2:	          132
2.  PathfinderMark:	  113
3.  Northwoods Explorer:  111
4.  Me & Bucky:	          102
5.  d..:	           93
6.  Thoto:	           70
7.  Team sissifalke:	   68
8.  danieloliveira:	   63
9.  AirRaidFan:	           62
10. Konnarock Kid & Marge: 60

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Number of EarthCaches published per year:ECsperyear.jpgI find it interesting that the number of new ECs have been steadily decreasing since 2010. Why would that be? It is definitely not following the trend of the other cache types. Are we reaching saturation in Europe and the U.S.A., or is it more difficult to get a new EC published now?

 

I wonder if the decline has anything to do with the perception of the guidelines being restrictive - as discussed a lot on these forums?

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Danie - in the light of the above graph - could you compare the EC's growth / decline versus another cache type? I am not sure if you could - as you probably do not have the entire GC.com database?

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Danie - in the light of the above graph - could you compare the EC's growth / decline versus another cache type? I am not sure if you could - as you probably do not have the entire GC.com database?

No, unfortunately I don't have the entire database. Just looking at the total number of caches however, it is obvious that at least the number of traditional caches is growing at a near exponential rate. My experience with the South African statistics shows the same thing - the number of new EarthCaches peaked in 2009/2010, and is currently only at about 60% of the peak number.

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Oldest EarthCaches:

 

I see we are celebrating 10 years of EarthCaches this year. I wonder why - according to my database the oldest EarthCaches are quite a bit older than that?

1. GC6D8B  NC Geology #1: Paleo Pavement Earthcache:           2002-07-06
2. GCCE8D  Tidal EarthCache:                                   2003-02-02
3. GCGWVG  Ancient Worm Trails:                                2003-09-13
4. GCHFT2  Earthcache I - a simple geology tour of Wasp Head:  2004-01-10
5. GCHKCK  Earthcache II - the geology of WoolShed Creek, ACT: 2004-01-29

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Oldest EarthCaches:

 

I see we are celebrating 10 years of EarthCaches this year. I wonder why - according to my database the oldest EarthCaches are quite a bit older than that?

1. GC6D8B  NC Geology #1: Paleo Pavement Earthcache:           2002-07-06
2. GCCE8D  Tidal EarthCache:                                   2003-02-02
3. GCGWVG  Ancient Worm Trails:                                2003-09-13
4. GCHFT2  Earthcache I - a simple geology tour of Wasp Head:  2004-01-10
5. GCHKCK  Earthcache II - the geology of WoolShed Creek, ACT: 2004-01-29

 

Good question - I know that "4. GCHFT2 Earthcache I - a simple geology tour of Wasp Head: 2004-01-10" was the first Earthcache ever placed - it was placed by Gary (geoaware) - who started the program. I guess the others had earlier dates selected by the cache owner when the cache was placed. But #4 on your list is definitely and unequivocally the oldest Earthcache - no debate on that.

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But #4 on your list is definitely and unequivocally the oldest Earthcache - no debate on that.

#1 has the word "Earthcache" in its title, the description contains a geology lesson (in other words the cache type is correct) and it has several find logs prior to 2004-01-10. Why does it not count?

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But #4 on your list is definitely and unequivocally the oldest Earthcache - no debate on that.

#1 has the word "Earthcache" in its title, the description contains a geology lesson (in other words the cache type is correct) and it has several find logs prior to 2004-01-10. Why does it not count?

 

Danie - there was no "Earthcache" type - until Gary (geoaware) placed the GCHFT2 Earthcache I - a simple geology tour of Wasp Head in Australia. So anything prior to that could not have been an "official" Earthcache. Perhaps a prototype - or something else? Geoaware (or one of the other senior Earthcachers) may have a better explanation?

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This is awesome, and as expected, the stats raise some fun questions!

 

a. Regarding the 2010 peak; I am not sure of the reasons for that, but a few quick guesses are saturation (in area and in topic), and guidelines that have admittedly gotten "stricter" around that time. The tighter guidelines may discourage some people from developing EarthCaches, while at the same time, reducing the number of submissions that actually get published. I wonder how much impact the changes on photo requirements had? Seems a lot of older EarthCaches relied heavily on the required photo, but since that was phased out, it became more difficult to create suitable logging tasks. Just thinking out loud. Also, since 2010, we've continued to add more and more reviewers, and I wonder if that has an impact as well. Back when there were fewer reviewers, maybe we were more inclined to say "good enough -- published!". But now, with more reviewers, each can take more time to ensure each cache fully meets the guidelines. Funny, I'd have thought more reviewers means more published caches, but I could see an argument for the opposite. But again this is total guesswork. Just "rationalizing"! Of course there is the saturation thing too. Although EarthCaching lacks the distance guidelines of traditional caches, there are limits on how many similar caches can appear in an area, so perhaps around 2010, we started reaching saturation of some types in some areas (erratics, waterfalls, springs, bogs, etc.). There's only so much geology to go around! :) I also wonder about the role of the Masters program. That program encourages people to develop their own caches. Maybe once so many people reached Masters status, they slowed down the rate at which they produced new EarthCaches?

 

b. Regarding the EarthCaches that are older than Gary's, my guess is that they were published as some other cache type, then transitioned into an EarthCache type later on in their lives. I think I've seen a few other examples of these. I'm not sure if this is the explanation or not, but it's my initial guess.

 

Aha, okay, saw this log for GC6D8B NC Geology #1: Paleo Pavement Earthcache, on 2/23/05:

"Converted to an Earthcache" (by Geoaware)

 

It looks like it started as a virtual, in which people learned a geology lesson and took geology readings to show they visited the location. Then later, after the official "EarthCache" type had been developed, this cache was converted to one. So, although we probably can't say it's the first (there are probably others out there too that were never converted), that cache looks like it's probably one of the first "proto-EarthCaches"! That's pretty awesome.

 

For this cache: GCCE8D Tidal EarthCache, it looks like there was a log book as of 2005, but then eventually it was converted to an EarthCache, but I didn't see when, but by sometime in 2006.

 

For the other one, GCGWVG Ancient Worm Trails, the CO logged this o 7/20/05: "The cache has been stolen. We are gogin to try and convert this cache to a virtual or maybe even an Earthcache. Stay tuned. In the mean time, if you want to log it, just post a picture of yourself or your gps by the rock."

 

This is really interesting history :)

 

--Matt

Edited by geoawareHQ

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I would echo the saturation. People look for the easy grabs. Those are ones that are known locally, or highlighted in papers, parks etc. Those are mostly gone. Combine that with people that want you to just take a picture, and did not actually gather info at the site, or never got permission from someone. Sadly those caches end up not getting published.

 

An example... There are lots of Yellowstone Geyser caches. Now to do one you need to find something unique to teach, that is much harder than the first couple.

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Bummer, I can't see the maps... I just get page loading forever...

Sorry about that - TargetMap appears to be down. Hopefully it will be restored.

 

They're back! Nice. :)

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This is awesome, and as expected, the stats raise some fun questions!

 

a. Regarding the 2010 peak; I am not sure of the reasons for that, but a few quick guesses are saturation (in area and in topic), and guidelines that have admittedly gotten "stricter" around that time. The tighter guidelines may discourage some people from developing EarthCaches, while at the same time, reducing the number of submissions that actually get published. I wonder how much impact the changes on photo requirements had? Seems a lot of older EarthCaches relied heavily on the required photo, but since that was phased out, it became more difficult to create suitable logging tasks. Just thinking out loud. Also, since 2010, we've continued to add more and more reviewers, and I wonder if that has an impact as well. Back when there were fewer reviewers, maybe we were more inclined to say "good enough -- published!". But now, with more reviewers, each can take more time to ensure each cache fully meets the guidelines. Funny, I'd have thought more reviewers means more published caches, but I could see an argument for the opposite. But again this is total guesswork. Just "rationalizing"! Of course there is the saturation thing too. Although EarthCaching lacks the distance guidelines of traditional caches, there are limits on how many similar caches can appear in an area, so perhaps around 2010, we started reaching saturation of some types in some areas (erratics, waterfalls, springs, bogs, etc.). There's only so much geology to go around! :) I also wonder about the role of the Masters program. That program encourages people to develop their own caches. Maybe once so many people reached Masters status, they slowed down the rate at which they produced new EarthCaches?

 

 

Not so sure I'd agree with the saturation as being the main driver. There are vast areas of the world where traditional caching is really growing fast - I think of Arabia as an example - but the earthcaching component has really not taken off - and there is AMAZING geological diversity there. Any caches that have developed have really been by a single individual. As an avid Earthcacher (and cache developer) - I have constantly spoken to cachers at various events around the world - and the perception is that the guidelines are restrictive and that there will be a lot of heartache to get an Earthcache published - so why bother. And there are generally anecdotes from cachers who support this with examples.

 

The Masters Program is still in its infancy in these areas - so should show more growth here. I wonder if there is a breakdown of Earthcache Masters (Gary/Matt - could you provide this info in a database for Danie to analyse too????).

 

So saturation may be a cause in parts of Europe and USA - but other places like Southern Europe, Africa, Oceania, Aisa - there are still huge expanses of untapped potential, which traditional cachers are exploiting.

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Countries with the highest EarthCache densities:

1.  Monaco	           4950	ECs per 10 000 square km
2.  Gibraltar	           2941	ECs per 10 000 square km
3.  Bermuda	            752	ECs per 10 000 square km
4.  Sint Eustatius	    476	ECs per 10 000 square km
5.  Malta	            253	ECs per 10 000 square km
6.  Hong Kong	            245	ECs per 10 000 square km
7.  Cook Islands	    167	ECs per 10 000 square km
8.  Cayman Islands	    152	ECs per 10 000 square km
9.  British Virgin Islands  131	ECs per 10 000 square km
10. Liechtenstein	    125	ECs per 10 000 square km

Most of these are minute countries with a single EarthCache, which is not really meaningful.

The following list only contains countries bigger than 10 000 square km:

 

1.  Germany	             89	ECs per 10 000 square km
2.  Netherlands	             70	ECs per 10 000 square km
3.  Czech Republic	     68	ECs per 10 000 square km
4.  Austria	             47	ECs per 10 000 square km
5.  Portugal	             36	ECs per 10 000 square km
6.  United Kingdom	     33	ECs per 10 000 square km
7.  Belgium	             30	ECs per 10 000 square km
8.  Slovenia	             28	ECs per 10 000 square km
9.  Switzerland	             28	ECs per 10 000 square km
10. Denmark	             26	ECs per 10 000 square km
.
.
19. USA                     6.2 ECs per 10 000 square km

   World (land)            1.1 ECs per 10 000 square km     

To give you a feel for what this means - in Germany, if all the ECs were evenly distributed, they would be spaced 11.4km from each other, in the USA, 43.2km (26.9 miles) and the average for the world is 101.6km.

 

The EC density in large parts of Europe is more than 10 times the density in the USA. I realize that interesting geology is not spread evenly, but with the possible exception of Western Europe, I doubt if we are even close to saturation anywhere else.

Edited by Danie Viljoen

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Countries with the fewest people per EarthCache:

1.  Antarctica	       429 people/EC
2.  Niue	       466
3.  Svalbard	       881
4.  Falkland Islands  2932
5.  Sint Eustatius    3897
6.  Saint Helena      4255
7.  Iceland	      4598
8.  Cook Islands      4892
9.  Montserrat	      5164
10. Greenland	      6263

Once again, most of these are very small, sparsely populated places. If we only consider countries with at least 250 000 people:

 

1.  Iceland	      4598 people/EC
2.  New Zealand	     17873
3.  Czech Republic   19725
4.  Austria	     21196
5.  Germany	     25318
6.  Canada	     28937
7.  Luxembourg	     29881
8.  Portugal	     31588
9.  Slovenia	     36061
10. Norway	     38318

14. USA              52179

   World           428314

Iceland, with its 70 active ECs and a population of only 322 000 gets the crown!

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Maybe this has been discussed before, but what are some of the most popular earth caches, both in favorite points and most finds? Least amount of finds?

I really like all the stats, keep them coming.

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what are some of the most popular earth caches, both in favorite points and most finds? Least amount of finds?

That is coming, maybe in week or two. One needs all the logs to properly compare caches, and it takes very long to download them all. (There are in the order of 2 600 000 EC finds in total!)

Edited by Danie Viljoen

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Most isolated EarthCache:

 

The EarthCache with the farthest neighbour is GC3HXW9 - High noon in Kiribati - Rising sea & sinking land. Its nearest EC neighbour is 2305km away, in Samoa!

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Countries without any EarthCaches:

 

There are about 38 countries with no ECs (not counting small islands.) Most of these are in Africa. The largest 10 are:

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Chad
Niger
Zambia
Somalia
Central African Republic
Cameroon
Papua New Guinea
Uzbekistan
Congo-Brazzaville

Together they cover an area larger than Canada, about 8% of the earth's land area.

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Maybe this has been discussed before, but what are some of the most popular earth caches, both in favorite points and most finds? Least amount of finds?

I really like all the stats, keep them coming.

 

In my experience the "most popular" earthcaches in terms of favourite points and resoundingly positive logs are rarely the better earthcaches in the real true earthcaching sense. Rather than being interesting geologically and educational, they tend to be at a touristy "wow" location (where the "wow" has little or no geological interest) and the tasks extremely easy with little or no educational value. I know that sounds super critical and negative and I actually don't mean to be, really, honest... It's just the reality of it - that the majority of geocachers don't judge an earthcache on earthcachey criteria.

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Biggest Earthcache gap in Africa

 

The circle with a radius of 1499.38km (931.87 miles) around N09 59.630 E21 08.303 (southeast Chad) contains no Earthcaches. It covers all of the Central African Republic, as well as large parts of Sudan, South Sudan, D.R.C., Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad. This is an area almost as large as Australia!

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Maybe this has been discussed before, but what are some of the most popular earth caches, both in favorite points and most finds? Least amount of finds?

I really like all the stats, keep them coming.

 

In my experience the "most popular" earthcaches in terms of favourite points and resoundingly positive logs are rarely the better earthcaches in the real true earthcaching sense. Rather than being interesting geologically and educational, they tend to be at a touristy "wow" location (where the "wow" has little or no geological interest) and the tasks extremely easy with little or no educational value. I know that sounds super critical and negative and I actually don't mean to be, really, honest... It's just the reality of it - that the majority of geocachers don't judge an earthcache on earthcachey criteria.

+1

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Biggest Earthcache gap in Asia:

 

The point N73 05.818 E122 13.354 (on the north coast of Russia) is the point in Asia that is the farthest from any EarthCache. The nearest two, Santa's Backyard (in Alaska) and Lake Baikal are 2499.74 km (1553.6 miles) away. Excluding islands, this is probably the land point farthest from any EarthCache.

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a. Regarding the 2010 peak;

--Matt

Reasons are bound to be multi-layered & agree with Matt's points. Combine also with "developer saturation" - I guess initial developers were mostly geologists who also ran out of new ideas/energy and now we have more amateur developers like me who take ages to develop each one. In my experience the new criteria improved the average quality EC.

 

It's just the reality of it - that the majority of geocachers don't judge an earthcache on earthcachey criteria.

Agree.

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My opinion on the fewer numbers...

 

The simple ones are gone. Everyone knows of the local landmarks. Nearly all of the locations highlighted by the local geology groups and rockbound groups have EarthCaches. So you can't pull up a simple website, get the answers then make a page. So in many areas (not all) you actually have to hunt for the information. If you are not a geologist you see something cool and go.. "huh, thats cool, I wish I know why it was like that" and you walk away.

 

In other words, in many areas much of the simple stuff is gone.

 

Second, the big drop in numbers was in January of 2011. That is when you had to actually have more than a photo. Well, you had to before that, but I think it hit home at that point. I have had a few people say that they don't want to go through the emails. They just wanted to look at the cache page. If there was no photo they deleted it. So it was a combination of not being able to come up with logging tasks, not wanting to police logs, and/or not wanting to deal with emails.

 

Some areas just need that person to start looking and putting in the footwork.

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Countries with the most EC finds:

 

1.  Germany	   766915 finds	30.60%	of total
2.  United States  665545	26.56%	
3.  Czech Republic 189586	 7.56%	
4.  Netherlands	   116902	 4.66%	
5.  Canada	   102726        4.10%	
6.  United Kingdom  89818	 3.58%	
7.  Austria	    73024	 2.91%	
8.  Spain	    71344	 2.85%	
9.  Portugal	    47974	 1.91%	
10. France	    36212	 1.44%	

It is interesting that Germany, with considerably fewer EarthCaches (3421 vs. 6665), managed to log more finds than the US.

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Countries with the most EC finds:

 

1.  Germany	   766915 finds	30.60%	of total
2.  United States  665545	26.56%	
3.  Czech Republic 189586	 7.56%	
4.  Netherlands	   116902	 4.66%	
5.  Canada	   102726        4.10%	
6.  United Kingdom  89818	 3.58%	
7.  Austria	    73024	 2.91%	
8.  Spain	    71344	 2.85%	
9.  Portugal	    47974	 1.91%	
10. France	    36212	 1.44%	

It is interesting that Germany, with considerably fewer EarthCaches (3421 vs. 6665), managed to log more finds than the US.

 

Maybe a case of many people living nearby the average EarthCache?

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It is interesting that Germany, with considerably fewer EarthCaches (3421 vs. 6665), managed to log more finds than the US.

I think that's interesting, too. I think it might be a matter of cache density/ease of access. It's a looooong way between EarthCaches in a state like Montana, for instance. Montana is about the size of Germany, but it has far fewer EarthCaches.

 

Is there any way to compare other like sizes of land areas--say the US states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware to Germany.

I think that land area is about the same. Those states are relatively close to each other, too, and I tried to pick states I thought might be roughly as densely covered in EarthCaches as Germany.

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Is there any way to compare other like sizes of land areas--say the US states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware to Germany.

I think that land area is about the same. Those states are relatively close to each other, too, and I tried to pick states I thought might be roughly as densely covered in EarthCaches as Germany.

I'll see what I can do. But remember, the total number of finds for the WHOLE of the USA is less than the number of finds for Germany. If one compares only a part of the USA with Germany the difference will be even bigger. Or did I misunderstand you?

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Is there any way to compare other like sizes of land areas--say the US states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware to Germany.

I think that land area is about the same. Those states are relatively close to each other, too, and I tried to pick states I thought might be roughly as densely covered in EarthCaches as Germany.

I'll see what I can do. But remember, the total number of finds for the WHOLE of the USA is less than the number of finds for Germany. If one compares only a part of the USA with Germany the difference will be even bigger. Or did I misunderstand you?

 

Personally I think the reason is a greater number of cachers in Europe. I'll get to that soon...

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