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Is a Smartphone Special Equipment?


K13
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Do you consider a Smartphone a special tool? I ask, because a CO has recently published caches which, according to the description, REQUIRE the use of a Smartphone to find the cache.

Shouldn't this be categorized like the Chirp cache? My Oregon 450 is Chirp capable, but not my Magellan. The chirp cache is supposed to have an alternate method of obtaining the coordinates, for those without the correct Garmin equipment.

Why not the same for the cache which says a Smartphone must be used.

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The requirement for alternate method on chirps is that at first you had to have a Garmin so it was restricted to one manufacturer. Requiring a smartphone is general and not so restricted. I had a cache I put out that required a NFC reader so you had to have an android phone because iOS didn't have that then. I want allowed to say in the description that it was so restricted and had a couple of friends with iPhones ask me why their phone didn't do it. I have one out now that requires a smartphone.

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Do you consider a Smartphone a special tool? I ask, because a CO has recently published caches which, according to the description, REQUIRE the use of a Smartphone to find the cache.

Shouldn't this be categorized like the Chirp cache? My Oregon 450 is Chirp capable, but not my Magellan. The chirp cache is supposed to have an alternate method of obtaining the coordinates, for those without the correct Garmin equipment.

Why not the same for the cache which says a Smartphone must be used.

 

I thought the chirp rules were: If the cache requires chirp to find (with no alternative method) then it must be a "?" type...If you want to use a chirp with any other cache types (trad, multi, etc) then there must be another method other than the chirp available.

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If there is no other way to find the cache besides using a smartphone, then yes, it's special equipment. Even a field puzzle QR code cache can be done "manually" if you wanted to take a picture of the QR code, scan it back to your computer and then upload it to a site that decodes QR barcodes. I personally cannot think of a cache that is only doable via a smartphone without some sort of manual work around but I'm sure there is some out there.

 

No matter how much it seems that everyone has one these days, there are many cachers who do not have a smartphone or use it while caching. Anyone who does not have a smartphone would certainly consider it special equipment.

 

 

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When a smartphone is considered a special equipment because not everyone has one, I wonder what could be the logic to support to say that a desktop/laptop computer is NOT considered a special equipment. I'm pretty sure that there are LOTS of geocachers who do not have a desktop/laptop computer (or even a handheld GPSr) these days. I'm not disagreeing with anyone here -- I'm just wondering. I'm sure I'm missing something, as I almost always am.

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I'd say it is. Even if we all have one, we have to bring something with us to be able to find the cache, rather than just finding it. So in the same sense a magnet, a pen, even water would be special equipment. The way I look at it is if I know where ground zero is and go with only a pen, but need anything else, well then that's special equipment.

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because a CO has recently published caches which, according to the description, REQUIRE the use of a Smartphone to find the cache.

 

What is there about the cache which means you MUST have a smartphone? If it really does require a smartphone then it should have a special tool attribute but then again people often don't use the attributes appropriately anyway.

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The InterCache that I've done uses the "Special Tool Required" attribute, with a comment in the description that the special tool is a mobile device with internet access.

 

Of the 10 Wherigo caches nearest me, only one uses the "Special Tool Required" attribute, with a comment in the description that the special tool is a Wherigo-capable device. The other 9 Wherigo caches do not use the "Special Tool Required" attribute; some use no attributes at all.

 

For the purposes of the difficulty/terrain ratings, I would not consider a smartphone to be "specialized equipment". But for the purpose of assigning attributes, sure, it fits the "Special Tool Required" attribute.

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When a smartphone is considered a special equipment because not everyone has one, I wonder what could be the logic to support to say that a desktop/laptop computer is NOT considered a special equipment. I'm pretty sure that there are LOTS of geocachers who do not have a desktop/laptop computer (or even a handheld GPSr) these days. I'm not disagreeing with anyone here -- I'm just wondering. I'm sure I'm missing something, as I almost always am.

 

I can't see how one could use Groundspeak's services without the use of a computer. Maybe I'm missing something.

 

You need to register an account online. You would need a computer to search for caches. How would one get the coordinates for caches if they didn't use a computer?

 

A smartphone would indeed be special equipment to us. We don't have any sort of mobile phone. For over 30 years, we have had only one phone and it stays in the house or it doesn't work.

 

 

B.

Edited by Pup Patrol
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A smartphone would indeed be special equipment to us. We don't have any sort of mobile phone. For over 30 years, we have had only one phone and it stays in the house or it doesn't work.

 

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only curmudgeon here! Yup! The phone is plugged into the wall (where it belongs.) I've been here so long that I still only pay for rotary service.

 

Yes! A smartphone is definitely 'special equipment'.

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I can't see how one could use Groundspeak's services without the use of a computer. Maybe I'm missing something.

 

You need to register an account online. You would need a computer to search for caches. How would one get the coordinates for caches if they didn't use a computer?

All of these can be done without a computer, just with a smartphone.

 

But I think I now answered to my own question. :)

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Of the 10 Wherigo caches nearest me, only one uses the "Special Tool Required" attribute, with a comment in the description that the special tool is a Wherigo-capable device. The other 9 Wherigo caches do not use the "Special Tool Required" attribute; some use no attributes at all.

 

It's a Wherigo... You *know* you need a device capable of playing the cartridge.

No 'Special Tool Needed' attribute required.

 

If a cache needs a Chirp/NFC reader/QR or Bar code reader/ or similar -ON SITE- to continue the cache, then I think 'Special Tool Needed' (smartphone) is a nice 'heads-up' for fellow cachers.

 

(But if the 'old fogies' still want to get to the stage, go home and use a computer to get the next stage- for each stage- good luck to them!)

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A smartphone would indeed be special equipment to us. We don't have any sort of mobile phone. For over 30 years, we have had only one phone and it stays in the house or it doesn't work.

 

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only curmudgeon here! Yup! The phone is plugged into the wall (where it belongs.) I've been here so long that I still only pay for rotary service.

 

Yes! A smartphone is definitely 'special equipment'.

 

You're modern. I'm still back on smoke signals and yelling real loud.

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However, why is it necessary to find every cache published, there are so many out there. Why not just accept there are some that you can't find for one reason or another?

I think this is just a question about ratings... is it considered special equipment when he decides what to use for the difficulty rating on his cache. I haven't seen anybody complain about not being able to find it. Its a fair question.

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I would say an Intericache, cache with QR codes, or similar should always be D2 or higher because it does require particular equipment. However, smartphones are so widespread I would not consider them special equipment like a UV flashlight or Chirp which most cachers don't have. More cachers arrive at a cache with a smartphone than with a bottle of water or a screwdriver.

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I would say an Intericache, cache with QR codes, or similar should always be D2 or higher because it does require particular equipment. However, smartphones are so widespread I would not consider them special equipment like a UV flashlight or Chirp which most cachers don't have. More cachers arrive at a cache with a smartphone than with a bottle of water or a screwdriver.

 

Technically Special Equipment has nothing to do with difficulty. The guidelines put that under terrain under T=5 if special equipment is needed. Now they were referring to things like boats, ladders, etc but if you want to do it according to the guidelines every cache that requires a smart phone is a T5.

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Special Terrain (braun) equipment is different than special Brain equipment :P

T5 means special equipment is required to get to the container physically, D5 could mean that special knowledge or specialty tool could be required. It's a bit odd though, since ideally you'd add the boat attribute for requiring a boat on a T5, you probabloy wouldn't rate it a D5 if you had the special tool required attribute... I think the only capability-rating connections (apart from attributes) are really the T1 and T5 descriptions. T1 must be wheelchair accessible and requiring a special piece of physical equipment to get the container would be a T5. Generally speaking. :P

 

I think if it's clear the cache requires a smartphone, that wouldn't bump the D rating. But I might rate it D5 if the smartphone requirement can only be determined by deduction. But then the attribute may be required. And it may not be published :P

 

Hm. I think there's an inherent difference between D and T that makes 'special tool required' in concept very different than special equipment (per T5). I think D5 really is "special knowledge required" (might take research and/or learning for someone who doesn't know, like technical or highly skilled knowledge). But tools? Probably best left to attributes

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Give it some time. In 5 years or so, GPS units will likely be considered special equipment, with smartphones being expected because many people have them. :ph34r:

 

As for the D/T ratings, I am aware of someone who was forced by a reviewer to list a cache as a 5/5, due to a UV light. I don't think special equipment should add anything over a .5 bump, and it definitely should not affect the terrain.

Edited by 4wheelin_fool
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How about caches where you have to read wifi signals?

T5 example in Los Angeles, California, USA

T3 example in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Just saying...

The beacon attribute covers that, and to me if there's the beacon attribute then that implies needing a device to receive the chirp/wifi/whatever and so the special tool attribute wouldn't be required. Being pedantic a smartphone isn't necessarily required to do wifi either, a laptop/tablet/raspberry pi/etc could be equally effective.

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I'm not sure what was K13's original intent. Did he mean that the cache should not be published since it requires special equipment? That is dependent on the situation and the reviewer (subject to appeal to Groundspeak), but there is no rule that a cache requiring special equipment with no alternative will not be allowed.

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My point was, if a CO says you must use a specific type or piece of equipment to find a cache, should that piece of equipment be considered "Special Equipment" and if so, should there be an attribute for it. In this case, a "Smartphone Required" cache attribute?

I have no desire to eliminate this type of cache, I'm just thinking that with a "Smartphone Required" attribute, those caches could be eliminated from PQ that will be loaded into a GPS that can't preform the task required to find the cache.

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As for the D/T ratings, I am aware of someone who was forced by a reviewer to list a cache as a 5/5, due to a UV light. I don't think special equipment should add anything over a .5 bump, and it definitely should not affect the terrain.

 

Know the GC code?? Curious about this cache (I have a UV cache of my own)

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How about caches where you have to read wifi signals?

T5 example in Los Angeles, California, USA

T3 example in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Just saying...

 

I had owned a cache like that. I rated it four stars for Difficulty but only because I was trying to make the finder figure out how to "find" the numbers needed for the final. One half of the description was vague and if you didn't read the second half of the description or the hint, the puzzle was to figure out that the coordinates were the name of the Wi-Fi network I was broadcasting. The reviewer asked me to include the wireless beacon attribute and that the cache would not have been published because it was requiring finders to read my mind...so I included the spoilers on how to find the coordinates and it was published.

 

At the time, I didn't really feel like a smartphone or anything that detects a Wi-Fi signal to be specialized equipment and I still don't. But, if there is a way to design a cache that can only be found using a smartphone, then it would be special equipment.

 

 

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I am curious what would specifically require a smartphone. The closest I've seen are NFC caches. These have to be listed with the wireless beacon, and need a device which is NFC enabled. These are generally done with smartphones (and only some models), but also tablets and even some "dumb phones" ("feature phones").

 

I've done Wifi caches with a laptop.

 

I've done caches where you need to scan a QR code; for these a smartphone (or tablet) is useful, though you can also take photos of them and use a computer, even if it means returning home between stages. Or take your laptop into the field if it has an internet (mobile data) connection.

 

I wonder if it might be better to have an attribute specific to what is really needed. E.g. if internet access is needed maybe there should be an attribute for that?

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I am curious what would specifically require a smartphone. The closest I've seen are NFC caches. These have to be listed with the wireless beacon, and need a device which is NFC enabled. These are generally done with smartphones (and only some models), but also tablets and even some "dumb phones" ("feature phones").

 

I've done Wifi caches with a laptop.

 

I've done caches where you need to scan a QR code; for these a smartphone (or tablet) is useful, though you can also take photos of them and use a computer, even if it means returning home between stages. Or take your laptop into the field if it has an internet (mobile data) connection.

 

I wonder if it might be better to have an attribute specific to what is really needed. E.g. if internet access is needed maybe there should be an attribute for that?

 

Require is such an absolute word. It's certainly possible to find a lot of caches with a compass and printed maps. As someone mentioned earlier, an "Intercache" would "require" a smartphone, thought technically that means that it requires a device with access to the internet and a GPS with a "reasonable" amount of accuracy. I just tested my device on the site and it showed my location with an accuracy of 118'. My device in this case is a laptop, connected by a cat-5 wire to a cable modem in my home office. It doesn't have a GPS in it. Given the right circumstances one might be able to use a laptop to find a "digital" cache using a laptop but it might not be very practical. For an intercache, the game piece itself might require you to be within a specific proximity of a waypoint, so while a laptop with a broadband card and, using the location API might provide your location it might not be accurate enough to complete the cache.

 

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Thanks NYPC - yes I see that in practical terms an Intercache would need a smartphone or tablet/netbook/laptop with GPS (I don't think it needs to make voice calls). Some "netbooks" also have GPS built in. E.g I assume you can play it on one of these Dell mini 10 And there are GPS devices which can be attached to a laptop via USB. The latter would be the cheapest option for someone who has a laptop already but not a smartphone or tablet.

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I've done caches where you need to scan a QR code; for these a smartphone (or tablet) is useful, though you can also take photos of them and use a computer, even if it means returning home between stages. Or take your laptop into the field if it has an internet (mobile data) connection.

 

As a slight aside - with a view to being helpful / informative - a lot of the QR / barcode reading apps I tried out on my android smartphone needed an active mobile Internet connection - which in some places just doesn't exist :(

 

This app on the other hand is completely self contained - it will work just fine with no mobile signal whatsoever :)

 

EDIT TO ADD: This means that the app would work fine also on an Android tablet with zero internet connectivity - so long as the tablet had an inbuilt camera of course :)

Edited by Team Microdot
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I would say an Intericache, cache with QR codes, or similar should always be D2 or higher because it does require particular equipment. However, smartphones are so widespread I would not consider them special equipment like a UV flashlight or Chirp which most cachers don't have. More cachers arrive at a cache with a smartphone than with a bottle of water or a screwdriver.

 

Technically Special Equipment has nothing to do with difficulty. The guidelines put that under terrain under T=5 if special equipment is needed. Now they were referring to things like boats, ladders, etc but if you want to do it according to the guidelines every cache that requires a smart phone is a T5.

 

I beg to differ. The guideline for rating terrain refers to the terrain. If it requires specialized equipment to conquer the terrain, then it would be a T5. The actual wording for T5 is:

 

Extremely challenging terrain

Requires specialized equipment (boat, 4WD, rock climbing, SCUBA, etc.) or is otherwise extremely difficult.

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Do you consider a Smartphone a special tool? I ask, because a CO has recently published caches which, according to the description, REQUIRE the use of a Smartphone to find the cache.

Shouldn't this be categorized like the Chirp cache? My Oregon 450 is Chirp capable, but not my Magellan. The chirp cache is supposed to have an alternate method of obtaining the coordinates, for those without the correct Garmin equipment.

Why not the same for the cache which says a Smartphone must be used.

 

Looping back to the OP - yes I think it is a special tool (and good to set the Special Tool Required attribute). But it doesn't need an alternate method. Chirp and NFC caches do not need an alternate method if they are listed as mystery caches and have the "Wireless Beacon" attribute.

 

If the cache in question is an Intercache, maybe a new "Intercache" attribute would be useful. Then that could define exactly what is needed (which is a browser, internet access, and GPS).

 

I'm now thinking of creating an Intercache myself!

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If the cache in question is an Intercache, maybe a new "Intercache" attribute would be useful.
I think a better approach would be to make the Wherigo cache type more generic. An InterCache program is really very similar to a Wherigo cartridge. The main difference is that a Wherigo cartridge is downloaded to your device, but an InterCache program lives on the server and requires a mobile device with GPS and an internet connection.

 

In the same way that the Wireless Beacon attribute applies to more than just Garmin chirp™ devices, the Wherigo cache type could be a generic Interactive Program cache type (or attribute) that applies to more than just Wherigo™ cartridges.

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In the same way that the Wireless Beacon attribute applies to more than just Garmin chirp™ devices, the Wherigo cache type could be a generic Interactive Program cache type (or attribute) that applies to more than just Wherigo™ cartridges.

 

I see a problem with it, because we already have computer-game wherigos which require to be played on simulator. So the next would be games where you must get certain level to get the cords?

 

On the other way, the same is already with mysteries. Many are already like computer games (puzzles) or require writing a program to solve...

 

Maybe 'computer required' attribute would be a good idea...

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In the same way that the Wireless Beacon attribute applies to more than just Garmin chirp™ devices, the Wherigo cache type could be a generic Interactive Program cache type (or attribute) that applies to more than just Wherigo™ cartridges.

 

I see a problem with it, because we already have computer-game wherigos which require to be played on simulator. So the next would be games where you must get certain level to get the cords?

 

 

If this is your understanding of how Wherigo's work, you are mistaken.

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If this is your understanding of how Wherigo's work, you are mistaken.

 

Now, it's not my understanding how it works, it's how they works.

 

There are some wherigos in my area that are not possible to made, or extremally hard to make, without simulator.

 

I don't understand what you mean by hard to make.

 

Do you mean hard to complete in the outdoors?

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