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Dr Jeckyl and Mr Hide

Is Geocaching Dead?

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Many of the personal issues people have with geocaching seem to be solvable by limiting oneself. "I used to have to drive hundreds of miles to get a cache" - well you still can if you want.

 

I don't mind driving hundreds of miles. I actually use to look forward to a long weekend geocaching vacation per year complete with hotel stay. But I'm not wasting anymore money.

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I just did a 2800+km road trip in under 3 days for... 31 caches. All desired targets. I may have grabbed one or two extras in there in passing, but I could pass up the "numbers", quantity, for the few I wanted to get. Costly, but it's a choice I made for the fun and experience I wanted to have. If all those extra caches weren't there, it wouldn't have made a difference. We choose the fun we have.

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I just did a 2800+km road trip in under 3 days for... 31 caches. All desired targets. I may have grabbed one or two extras in there in passing, but I could pass up the "numbers", quantity, for the few I wanted to get. Costly, but it's a choice I made for the fun and experience I wanted to have. If all those extra caches weren't there, it wouldn't have made a difference. We choose the fun we have.

 

I do not think that it's a fair comparison to compare an area far from one's home with one's home area. There the decision for many is now to not visit caches at all or to visit caches they do not enjoy that much.

 

The status of geocaching varies vastly with the area. It is certainly not dying in your area and not in mine. However there are areas where almost no new caches get hidden and almost all active cachers have left and the few that join the activity leave relatively soon too. In my experience geocaching does better in areas close to larger cities.

Edited by cezanne

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The status of geocaching varies vastly with the area. It is certainly not dying in your area and not in mine. However there are areas where almost no new caches get hidden and almost all active cachers have left and the few that join the activity leave relatively soon too. In my experience geocaching does better in areas close to larger cities.

Back at the dawn of time for geocaching, there was low participation everywhere. How did geocaching become healthy then, and would those same things make it healthy again in areas with low participation today?

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The status of geocaching varies vastly with the area. It is certainly not dying in your area and not in mine. However there are areas where almost no new caches get hidden and almost all active cachers have left and the few that join the activity leave relatively soon too. In my experience geocaching does better in areas close to larger cities.

Back at the dawn of time for geocaching, there was low participation everywhere. How did geocaching become healthy then, and would those same things make it healthy again in areas with low participation today?

 

I did not say anything about becoming healthy again - the development does not seem to be reversible.

 

The small number of cachers active back then were very attached to the activity and felt quite early the wish to contribute to the activity by hiding and maintaining their own caches and they part of a tightly knit community that tried to work together. Typically these people remained longer geocachers than it happens for cachers who started out during the last years.

 

In addition back then it was rather common in my region to place caches often quite far from where the cachers lived - the level of expectation on how fast the hider needs to react in case of troubles has been much lower.

There are many rural area where no cachers live close by. The people living in the mountains typically have other things to care about than hobbies like geocaching. Geocaching profited from cachers living in or close to cities who happened to be willing to travel further to hide caches (I do not mean vacation caches - I mean caches hidden on normal weekend hiking trips as these people still go for but without hiding caches).

Edited by cezanne

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I think factors such as lower gps costs and the geocaching app allowed more and more people to give geocaching a try which in turn spurred the uptick. In time, like any new activity, most fall away which would account for the slow decline. I really don't think cache quality is a huge factor in all this although the micro boom may have soured some of the family crowd with younger children.

 

In the beginning many of the caches I found were very basic hides and some were in rough shape but I still found the activity exciting. I think a bunch of people tried geocaching and a bunch of people came to the conclusion that it wasn't for them.

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First of all, I agree with thebruce0 that the first question to ask is where these numbers came from and whether they actually reflect a drop in the number of people geocaching. If it turns out to be just an artifact of, say, people switching from website access to app access, then it's not evidence of dying.

I believe that those who only use a phone app do not get their "last logged in" status updated when they use the app. It only gets updated when you access the web site with a web browser.

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First of all, I agree with thebruce0 that the first question to ask is where these numbers came from and whether they actually reflect a drop in the number of people geocaching. If it turns out to be just an artifact of, say, people switching from website access to app access, then it's not evidence of dying.

I believe that those who only use a phone app do not get their "last logged in" status updated when they use the app. It only gets updated when you access the web site with a web browser.

Yep - so, if the "Last Visit" date plays a role in determining whether a cacher is 'active', then the app users might not be represented properly.

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I did not say anything about becoming healthy again - the development does not seem to be reversible.

I was assuming getting these areas healthy again was our common goal. But if you're given up all hope, I guess I'll stop trying to suggest things to think about that could help us reverse the trend.

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.

 

Okay, I'm a little puzzled ...

 

(excerpting heavily)

Groundspeak is a company that had a good thing going once. Then they started treating their customers (cache owners) like crap and created policies that stifled quality. No surprise at the big decline in numbers.

 

[...]

 

By the way, I have tried to place nice caches with good stuff inside. It takes less than a year for the geocaching community to plunder the good stuff and turn my cache into a box of junk. That’s why there are many, like me, who have long since retired.

 

So, is the problem with HQ, or with the community?

 

Personally, I think the buck stops with HQ. As for the community, I stopped putting stash in caches.

 

I also found there was a problem with people not putting caches back properly, resulting in unnecessary maintenance problems for me. The more elaborate or unique a hide, the more important for cachers to exercise care in re-hiding. It was pretty frustrating to experience the lack of consideration.

 

I probably would have tolerated the community problem but the HQ problem as a deal breaker. Look, they don’t have a business if we don’t hide and maintain caches and we do it at our own expense. It is no small amount and time and money for those who strive for quality. We are basically unpaid partners in their money-making venture. The level of disrespect HQ showed to me and others I know was too much of a turn off.

 

In this area (Central MA), not one person who was once known for placing quality caches has remained active. Do you keep going back to a restaurant that gives you bad service? That principle applies here also. We don’t need geocaching to enjoy the woods, nor do we need it to find nice places.

 

.

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I can't comment on the macro global statistics above (not smart enough, and not been in the game long enough) but I do have a micro statistic that is interesting.

 

When replacing a stolen cache recently, I was surprised to find (via one of the DNF's) that another cache used to exist in exactly the same place in 2012.

And I thought I was special.

 

Looking it up, I saw there were 75 finds on it in 18 months. My cache, in exactly the same place with the same D&T and over the same time, netted only 5. A 15 to 1 difference.

 

I'm not super dismayed by this, given that it's still a good cache in a great ravine, ( GC5DF7Q if you care to look) but I wonder too at how slow this game is played.

Altogether I have 30 caches in an urban area (Toronto) with varying difficulty and terrain levels. The real tough ones get 2-3 finds a year; the others average about 25. This is in a city wide mild saturation of about 1000 hides.

Is this slow or average now?

 

New people seem to be coming on always here and new caches too, and for sure there is certainly a core group whose names you finally learn as a beginner

The most important members of that group (and occasionally others) leave lovely interesting logs; which to me is fully 50% of why I stay in the game.

For I, like anyone else, likes to see some sort of reward for their efforts. I try to leave those same kind of logs on the few that I do find, as simple payback and also to try and stem the tide of the tftc - i.e. - at a local level - encourage the newbies and show them the fun. I don't know what else to do but be the thing you want to see.

 

The game is awfully slow at times, but there's still life in it I think, at least here, and real pleasure to be had.

 

 

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I'm finding fewer caches this year as I'm focussing on quality. So I'm spending as much time caching as I have previously, and enjoying it more. And still finding plenty of caches, just not as many as previous years.

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I'm finding fewer caches this year as I'm focussing on quality. So I'm spending as much time caching as I have previously, and enjoying it more. And still finding plenty of caches, just not as many as previous years.

 

The first few years we didn't find many caches but as we got better organized we now have about 1000 caches per year(since 2011). We are selective in what we do and find our average driving distance is increasing year by year just to go after "worthwhile" caches. The percentage good/bad (our definition) is also getting lower making it harder to find good stuff.

While it takes a lot more effort, up until now, geocaching is not dying yet for us and it seems that there's a big influx of newbies but we also see a lot of them just disappearing after a short while.

It looks that long time cachernumbers are going down (some long time names don't appear in the logs anymore) while at the same time a lot of people start playing and give up after a few months. It seems an ever bigger part of the caching population is a rotating amount of newbies.

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It's all anecdotal..

 

- for me caching has been a fairly steady pace for several years.

- but for others in my community, just about everyone I know except the hardest core cachers have slowed down their caching A LOT, and for many various reasons.

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Looking it up, I saw there were 75 finds on it in 18 months. My cache, in exactly the same place with the same D&T and over the same time, netted only 5. A 15 to 1 difference

Was the previous cache a PMO cache, or was it open to all? If it was not PMO, then that likely contributed to the difference in find rate.

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Looking it up, I saw there were 75 finds on it in 18 months. My cache, in exactly the same place with the same D&T and over the same time, netted only 5. A 15 to 1 difference

Was the previous cache a PMO cache, or was it open to all? If it was not PMO, then that likely contributed to the difference in find rate.

My guess too. :)

Though pm a while now, I skip right by pmo hides in my area.

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Perhaps it will be dying since they decided to kill the perfectly acceptable app that we've all used for years and years and replace it with something suboptimal. I wish there were an easier way to express my concerns about the new app with the powers that be instead of whining on a forum or a user review on the app stores.

 

Beak Inc

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Perhaps it will be dying since they decided to kill the perfectly acceptable app that we've all used for years and years and replace it with something suboptimal. I wish there were an easier way to express my concerns about the new app with the powers that be instead of whining on a forum or a user review on the app stores.

 

Beak Inc

 

In my home area, the people slowing down are not slowing down because of the lame app controversy. It runs the gamut but primarily people are getting bored.. too many film canisters in stop signs I guess can wear a guy down.

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Perhaps it will be dying since they decided to kill the perfectly acceptable app that we've all used for years and years and replace it with something suboptimal. I wish there were an easier way to express my concerns about the new app with the powers that be instead of whining on a forum or a user review on the app stores.

 

Beak Inc

 

In my home area, the people slowing down are not slowing down because of the lame app controversy. It runs the gamut but primarily people are getting bored.. too many film canisters in stop signs I guess can wear a guy down.

 

Yep.

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Perhaps it will be dying since they decided to kill the perfectly acceptable app that we've all used for years and years and replace it with something suboptimal. I wish there were an easier way to express my concerns about the new app with the powers that be instead of whining on a forum or a user review on the app stores.

 

Beak Inc

 

In my home area, the people slowing down are not slowing down because of the lame app controversy. It runs the gamut but primarily people are getting bored.. too many film canisters in stop signs I guess can wear a guy down.

 

Yep.

Another yep. :)

I don't believe it's an app that did that...

Nondescript pieces of scattered carp that have no meaning than another smiley seems more like it.

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If you really think about it, it was probably the introduction of the original app that created a lot of the problems we are seeing today. I was actually happy to see the original app retired and the new one put in it's place.

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I've cached since 2007. I once obsessed about it, putting a lot of time into my own hides. Junk hides, power trails, lack of trades (I've got kids) and busyness of life turned it into an occasional hobby. Being forced to pay $45 (I'm not in USA) to continue at the level I'm at has made me very angry. What's the alternative? Back to paper caching? (Bleagh!). I'm likely to quit altogether.

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Being forced to pay $45 (I'm not in USA) to continue at the level I'm at has made me very angry. What's the alternative? Back to paper caching? (Bleagh!). I'm likely to quit altogether.

 

Question to everyone on these forums who has made this threat over the last 6 months... How do you go when you're in the field and you need to start thinking for yourselves? Do you chuck tanties and head home then too?

 

There's a particularly interesting thread in the forum for the classic iOS app where the world is ending because of app updates so here's some options for those who have a hard time working things out;

 

1- Continue with the Groundspeak app. Use it as a basic member in demo mode or pay the equivalent of US$2.50 in your country a month for full access. Here (not US) that's roughly a bottle of Coke a month or enough diesel to get me to a close cache.

 

2- Try another app. You don't like the Groundspeak option then try another one.

 

3- Get a dedicated GPS unit. Do it the old fashioned way. Be aware though that to get it to work anywhere near as well as the old timers say you'll need spend that $2.50 (or equivalent in your country) a month.

 

4- This is the genius solution that Groundspeak don't want you to know.

 

You are frustrated with the app ago we know you already have a smartphone. Did you know that smartphones come with internet browser applications? They allow you to look at literally any page on the internet right there on your smartphone, including cache pages.

Also on your smartphone will be an application that may have a name similar to "store" where you can find other applications to use on your smartphone. Here you may find many hundreds or thousands of applications with a name similar to "GPS" which allows you to input a set of coordinates and will then guide you to them.

The genius part is when you combine the power of the "Browser" app with that of the "GPS" app... It's mind blowing all the information you have at your fingertips.

 

5- This final point is for those who really want to screw them over. Get someone else (probably with a cushy government job) to print out every cache page and have them bind them into booklet form. Fur the searching part of the operation use a sextant to find your place on earth then calculate the bearing and distance required to travel to GZ.

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Yeah, thanks for the obvious tassie and a double thanks for your condescending tone.

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Yeah, thanks for the obvious tassie and a double thanks for your condescending tone.

 

Over the top? Yes, yes it is.

 

But don't you think all the "I don't like the set up of the new app so I'm never geocaching again" comments are too?

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  •  
  • While I agree that the new app is completely sub optimal, I don't think that it's the / a reason that caching is slowing down. However, today, people want things handed to them. Many, not all, are part of the entitlement set. So - if the app doesn't make things easy for them, they don't want to play. My personal solution - smart phone with a caching app that rocks - with my eTrex as a backup. But I'm 61 and don't expect anything to be handed to me...
  • I live in semi rural WV. I've cleaned out most caches in my area and am slowly working on the more difficult ones. Here are few local cachers placing new caches here. I place a couple periodically - both easy and hard, attempting to draw people to the area. But that does relatively nothing for me - I want new caches to find without an hour's drive.
  • I really miss virtuals. I know that this is a "religious" topic, but hey, I enjoyed them. Once active, they were relatively easy for the CO to maintain - just watch the email... I know that they're gone and not being reinstated. But I'm sure there would be more COs and cachers visiting this area if there were more virtuals. And I'd prefer to "find" a neat virtual over another GRC or LPC... getting rid of virtuals was a mistake if only in my opinion.
     
     

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I agree with several of the posts that imply the quality of caches placed over the last couple of years has degraded - Not necessarily in the cache itself but in its complete lack of "sense of placement!" When I open to Geocaching Map I am impressed to see the vase number of placements (Green dots all over) but if you look closely, a vast majority are along roads - P&Gs.

 

Yes, one of the main benefits of GC is that such placements do foster the entry level cacher and the family but when there of those who would like more of or interested in finding caches that are not "just off the road" but out on an interesting trail or up a really cool mountain or .... of a terrain greater then a 2.5 the choices are getting to be limited.

 

My renewal is coming up and will fork out the premium fee but my patience is fading and so is the reward for finding a truly nice cache that also requires some effort

 

My $.02

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When I open to Geocaching Map I am impressed to see the vase number of placements (Green dots all over) but if you look closely, a vast majority are along roads - P&Gs.

 

Here's another thing to consider: Within .1 miles of those roadside P&Gs, there may be no other location for a good/classic/big/fun cache. I'd wager that much of the map all over the world in regions with denser cache populations are actually in places that that's the best that could be placed :P In other words, in many places, it's not that geocaching has degraded to such caches, insomuch as it's grown so popular that people will resort to such caches in order to have more to find on the map, and it's not taking away from anything.

biggrin.gif

 

Example - even in many rural areas, there are farms and home properties without any non-private space for kilometers. No cache could placed in those areas except for roadside P&Gs, or closely knit caches of a style that would have less chance to be muggled along long thin trails between properties. The alternative is to move the 'fun' of the cache to things like puzzles and challenges, or find ways to get permission to place "better" caches on private property.

 

I think there's more room for complaint and criticism when out on a public forest trail and finding a little film can hanging nondescriptly in a tree, when there's a beautiful old stump that could hold a big, quality container that could last for many many years... the more that 'style' proliferates, the more we'll be able to bemoan the loss of "quality" geocaching.

 

* The above paragraphs are rife with subjectively opinion-based terms like better, quality, good, degrading, fun, popular, etc - for arguments' sake.

 

Point: Perhaps it's not so much that geocaching is dying insomuch as it's grown in popularity so much that areas where caches would never have been able to be placed are now being populated with different styles of caches. The ratio of "good" to "bad" is changing, but I'd arguing not so much because "good" are not being placed any more, but because "bad" is being placed more, and not necessarily at the expense of "good"; but that's this change in ratio is often perceived.

Edited by thebruce0

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The app is a great, inexpensive way to allow people to give finding caches a try. This is good and bad. I'm all for more people participating in the activity but when theirs little or no investment in doing so people tend not to take it seriously.

 

Hiding a cache shouldn't be as easy.

 

I think thebruce0 hit it right on the head. Getting permission to hide a cache takes work, especially in areas we'd all consider "prime". Many of these "prime" areas are already saturated with caches. Add to that the influx of people now playing the game and wanting to hide a cache of their own.

 

It's not hard to see why the quality of caches has gone down and the number of abandoned caches has risen.

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Perhaps it will be dying since they decided to kill the perfectly acceptable app that we've all used for years and years and replace it with something suboptimal. I wish there were an easier way to express my concerns about the new app with the powers that be instead of whining on a forum or a user review on the app stores.

 

Beak Inc

 

In my home area, the people slowing down are not slowing down because of the lame app controversy. It runs the gamut but primarily people are getting bored.. too many film canisters in stop signs I guess can wear a guy down.

 

Yep.

Another yep. :)

I don't believe it's an app that did that...

Nondescript pieces of scattered carp that have no meaning than another smiley seems more like it.

 

The app did help with this problem,,, A LOT!

 

Being an app, it comes across as just another game for people to play. Most people that download it, never get past the very most basics of the hobby. They're stuck with finding easy caches. If they do end up getting somewhat interested, they hide the same easy stuff that they've already found. With nothing else to see, they soon get bored and move on to another app

 

The app is not a bad thing. It does come in handy and it does work for people. But let's face it, it's the nature of the beast. The majority of apps are easy enough to use without ever reading instructions or researching to see what else can be done with them. They get played with for a short while then get tossed. Our hobby will continue to go downhill unless people coming in get a chance to experience more than just the easy lamely hidden caches the app allows them to find.

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And that's a thing - someone gets the app in urban areas, pops it up and see loads of urban caches - not places where the "good" caches could be placed - but that's what they see everywhere nearby, so their experience with geocaching is related to that. But there's nothing that the "good" caches/cachers can do about it, because the hobby got so popular that the "bad" caches spread to areas that would otherwise have remained relatively sparse.

 

One solution would be to highlight "good" caches. Well we have favourite points. We have events and meetups to meet more people and be exposed to more. It helps. It's not perfect.

 

I don't believe geocaching is dying. I just believe the signal to noise ratio is increasing merely because there's so much more going on. Things could perhaps be done in various ways to try to encourage certain styles and ethics and qualities and whatnot... but GS can only do so much. They have to adjust based on the natural growth and popularity of the hobby. Growing pains, as they say. Not growing could be more detrimental.

 

Trying to lay blame on something for a perceived downfall of an individual preference in a wide and vastly flexible hobby is futile and misleading. There is much good happening, there is also much that many people don't prefer. But it's par for the course when dealing with a worldwide pastime such as this, based on a website that provides a means to fascillitate it and be as many things as possible for as many people.

 

Geocaching ain't dead ;)

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Perhaps it will be dying since they decided to kill the perfectly acceptable app that we've all used for years and years and replace it with something suboptimal. I wish there were an easier way to express my concerns about the new app with the powers that be instead of whining on a forum or a user review on the app stores.

 

Beak Inc

 

In my home area, the people slowing down are not slowing down because of the lame app controversy. It runs the gamut but primarily people are getting bored.. too many film canisters in stop signs I guess can wear a guy down.

 

Yep.

Another yep. :)

I don't believe it's an app that did that...

Nondescript pieces of scattered carp that have no meaning than another smiley seems more like it.

 

The app did help with this problem,,, A LOT!

 

Being an app, it comes across as just another game for people to play. Most people that download it, never get past the very most basics of the hobby. They're stuck with finding easy caches. If they do end up getting somewhat interested, they hide the same easy stuff that they've already found. With nothing else to see, they soon get bored and move on to another app

 

The app is not a bad thing. It does come in handy and it does work for people. But let's face it, it's the nature of the beast. The majority of apps are easy enough to use without ever reading instructions or researching to see what else can be done with them. They get played with for a short while then get tossed. Our hobby will continue to go downhill unless people coming in get a chance to experience more than just the easy lamely hidden caches the app allows them to find.

Did you read the posts you responded to?

The post was just another "classic vs new app" statement , not even mentioning the idea that apps in general have ruined the hobby.

 

- That part I might agree on. :)

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I don't believe geocaching is dying. I just believe the signal to noise ratio is increasing merely because there's so much more going on.

 

I agree. Which makes it hard to take claims that "geocaching is dead" seriously. Geocaching is more active than it has ever been. Perhaps it is different than in "the good old days". (I wouldn't know; my first find was in 2011.) But "different" doesn't mean "dead".

 

Interesting that I am posting this on the day when HQ is celebrating that there are now over 3M active caches worldwide.

 

I am reminded of a quote from my discipline. CAR Hoare, in 1982, was asked about what the future of programming languages would be. He replied (paraphrasing) that "I don't know what the programming language of 2000 will look like, but I know it'll be named FORTRAN." I think that's part of what we're saying here; the sport we engage in today might not be the sport of 10 years ago, but it's still called "geocaching".

 

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Perhaps it will be dying since they decided to kill the perfectly acceptable app that we've all used for years and years and replace it with something suboptimal. I wish there were an easier way to express my concerns about the new app with the powers that be instead of whining on a forum or a user review on the app stores.

 

Beak Inc

 

In my home area, the people slowing down are not slowing down because of the lame app controversy. It runs the gamut but primarily people are getting bored.. too many film canisters in stop signs I guess can wear a guy down.

 

Yep.

Another yep. :)

I don't believe it's an app that did that...

Nondescript pieces of scattered carp that have no meaning than another smiley seems more like it.

 

The app did help with this problem,,, A LOT!

 

Being an app, it comes across as just another game for people to play. Most people that download it, never get past the very most basics of the hobby. They're stuck with finding easy caches. If they do end up getting somewhat interested, they hide the same easy stuff that they've already found. With nothing else to see, they soon get bored and move on to another app

 

The app is not a bad thing. It does come in handy and it does work for people. But let's face it, it's the nature of the beast. The majority of apps are easy enough to use without ever reading instructions or researching to see what else can be done with them. They get played with for a short while then get tossed. Our hobby will continue to go downhill unless people coming in get a chance to experience more than just the easy lamely hidden caches the app allows them to find.

Did you read the posts you responded to?

The post was just another "classic vs new app" statement , not even mentioning the idea that apps in general have ruined the hobby.

 

- That part I might agree on. :)

Yea, i know the post started with the concern over the new app version. I added my comment mainly because of bflentje's addition about film canisters at stop signs. Imo, doesn't matter the app version. Being an app, it's going to be used like other apps where people check it out and then move on when they're no longer interested.

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Perhaps it will be dying since they decided to kill the perfectly acceptable app that we've all used for years and years and replace it with something suboptimal. I wish there were an easier way to express my concerns about the new app with the powers that be instead of whining on a forum or a user review on the app stores.

 

Beak Inc

 

In my home area, the people slowing down are not slowing down because of the lame app controversy. It runs the gamut but primarily people are getting bored.. too many film canisters in stop signs I guess can wear a guy down.

 

Yep.

Another yep. :)

I don't believe it's an app that did that...

Nondescript pieces of scattered carp that have no meaning than another smiley seems more like it.

 

The app did help with this problem,,, A LOT!

 

Being an app, it comes across as just another game for people to play. Most people that download it, never get past the very most basics of the hobby. They're stuck with finding easy caches. If they do end up getting somewhat interested, they hide the same easy stuff that they've already found. With nothing else to see, they soon get bored and move on to another app

 

The app is not a bad thing. It does come in handy and it does work for people. But let's face it, it's the nature of the beast. The majority of apps are easy enough to use without ever reading instructions or researching to see what else can be done with them. They get played with for a short while then get tossed. Our hobby will continue to go downhill unless people coming in get a chance to experience more than just the easy lamely hidden caches the app allows them to find.

Did you read the posts you responded to?

The post was just another "classic vs new app" statement , not even mentioning the idea that apps in general have ruined the hobby.

 

- That part I might agree on. :)

Yea, i know the post started with the concern over the new app version. I added my comment mainly because of bflentje's addition about film canisters at stop signs. Imo, doesn't matter the app version. Being an app, it's going to be used like other apps where people check it out and then move on when they're no longer interested.

 

To be clear..

 

In my home area, the people slowing down are not slowing down because of the lame app controversy. It runs the gamut

 

Was my actual point.

 

but primarily people are getting bored.. too many film canisters in stop signs I guess can wear a guy down.

 

This was just my UN-scientific observation and my rhetoric. Most likely meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Bottom line is, here in the Twin Cities, "it appears to me" that people are geocaching far less but I am not stating this as a fact.

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Stats from HQ on the current state of geocaching. Sure seems like it's not "dead" to me ...

 

https://www.geocaching.com/blog/2017/04/3-million-geocaches-the-infographic/

 

Well, that's a lovely bar chart to show the upward trend over time for event numbers , but why no similar one for active caches I wonder ? Or active cachers. Or finds ...

 

Strange that. You might even imagine it is a promotional piece by a company picking positive statistics to ensure everything looks sunny. Which is exactly what it is.

 

That's what companies do, and if we as consumers fail to first take account of our own confirmation bias and then don't engage our critical analytical independent thought to identify any slant and its consequences, we are being naïve.

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Stats from HQ on the current state of geocaching. Sure seems like it's not "dead" to me ...

 

https://www.geocaching.com/blog/2017/04/3-million-geocaches-the-infographic/

 

Well, that's a lovely bar chart to show the upward trend over time for event numbers , but why no similar one for active caches I wonder ? Or active cachers. Or finds ...

Because that bar chart was in the "community" section. Maybe because it's much simpler to retrieve 'event' data than to get 'active' cache/cacher data.

-- Getting event data means 'how many events had a date in 20xx' - which is pretty simple. There's no need to check the date of when the event cache was archived or to consider how long the event cache was 'active'. It's an event. It's placed date is the event date. My guess, pull two fields from the database (gc-code and placed date) and then pivot on the year. Done!

-- Getting 'active' cache/cacher data for past years is probably not as simple. First, it requires defining what 'active' means for a cache and for a cacher. If a cache was enabled for only the first 2 months of 2016, then does that count as 1 2016 cache or 0.167 2016 cache? Depending on how 'active' is defined, it may be necessary to pull much more data than just 2 fields.

 

It's an infographic, meant to be a simple snapshot of factoids. It's not meant to be an all-encompassing picture of all possible caching metrics.

 

-------------

Here are some numbers that I pulled from PGC: Post #237

If you want detailed numbers, then you can go to that site and explore for other numbers that might be telling.

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Point: Perhaps it's not so much that geocaching is dying insomuch as it's grown in popularity so much that areas where caches would never have been able to be placed are now being populated with different styles of caches. The ratio of "good" to "bad" is changing, but I'd arguing not so much because "good" are not being placed any more, but because "bad" is being placed more, and not necessarily at the expense of "good"; but that's this change in ratio is often perceived.

+1

When I read rants about PT's or other 'boring' caches that are placed in the middle of the desert, I wonder "how many non-boring caches are really being displaced?". Would anyone else have placed 'better' caches along the ET Highway or along the dusty farm roads where many PT's currently exist in the US?

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Point: Perhaps it's not so much that geocaching is dying insomuch as it's grown in popularity so much that areas where caches would never have been able to be placed are now being populated with different styles of caches. The ratio of "good" to "bad" is changing, but I'd arguing not so much because "good" are not being placed any more, but because "bad" is being placed more, and not necessarily at the expense of "good"; but that's this change in ratio is often perceived.

+1

When I read rants about PT's or other 'boring' caches that are placed in the middle of the desert, I wonder "how many non-boring caches are really being displaced?". Would anyone else have placed 'better' caches along the ET Highway or along the dusty farm roads where many PT's currently exist in the US?

Very good point. It's probably true that most of these run of the mill PTs aren't really stopping anyone from placing "neat" caches. To me, the better caches are not near guardrails or stop signs. Hafta get a little further out..,

I know - there are some neat PTs through trails etc... those aren't the ones I'm referring to.

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Right, that's not to say that no power trails cause that sort of problem, but that problem can happen with any individual cache. And I've actually heard more complaints about displacement in the context of LPCs and parking lots that are nearby nice parks and trails :P

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Geocaching has declined to about where it was in 2009. One of the problems it now suffers from is from 3-5 year old 1.5/1.5 junk from no longer active cachers that prevents placement of caches for local cachers to find requiring geocachers to drive further and further away. Our state now goes through periods of 2 or 3 weeks before a single cache gets published. The solution is either a big push by Groundspeak for 1.5/1.5 to be archived so that new placements near them can be put in place. I also believe that if a cacher has been inactive for over a year that all those caches should be automatically archived.

 

As far as this sub-forum being dead, that is due to the lack of competition from GPS companies. Garmin is the only one left.

 

If a cacher sees that a cache has been inactive for a long period of time, what's stopping someone from posting a NM or a NA log? Maybe it's an extra step in your day but at the very least you're getting the inactive caches some much needed attention and if the CO decides he/she doesn't want to do anything with the cache then it gets archived.

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There's so little discussion on here nowadays that I have to wonder if Geocaching is soon to be a thing of the past.

 

I've been caching for a number of years, and remember the heady days where that's all I wanted to do in my spare time, but the last few years, finding caches has generally been a disappointment. Most of the time the caches are mouldy, smelly boxes of tat, the kind of stuff you'd normally throw away. And good luck finding a pencil, or a sharpener to fix that broken one you do find.

 

And don't get me started on travel bugs and that sort of thing. The number of tags and coins I put out and never saw or heard from again is really a huge letdown.

 

Now that people are more into games like Pokemon Go, perhaps Geocaching won't survive.

 

Am I wrong to feel this way?

 

Geocaching will certainly survive.

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I noticed the original poster and L0ne.R haven't placed a cache based on their profiles. There's nothing wrong with not placing caches, but maybe you should consider placing a few quality hides in your areas. Monkey see - monkey do. Maybe if folks see some quality hides, they will place some of their own. Just an idea.

 

My wife is the one who logs the caches we find. We own a few in our area and check on them as often as possible.

 

I can hardly find the enthousiasm to log my own finds, but my wife has logged 439 finds and 6 hides, most of which I participated in.

 

We do try to clean up and restore caches if necessary. Saw some while camping last Summer and one in particular was placed by a Forces member who'd been moved away, but nobody wanted to adopt it. We changed the container and log book, and added some decent swag.

 

The number of times I've reported caches in need of maintenance and never heard back is also annoying.

 

But it gets tedious to always find the caches in similar condition.

 

If you find a cache, and are sure the Co moved away hence no longer able to take care of their cache, why aren't you posting a NA log?

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I noticed the original poster and L0ne.R haven't placed a cache based on their profiles. There's nothing wrong with not placing caches, but maybe you should consider placing a few quality hides in your areas. Monkey see - monkey do. Maybe if folks see some quality hides, they will place some of their own. Just an idea.

 

My wife is the one who logs the caches we find. We own a few in our area and check on them as often as possible.

 

I can hardly find the enthousiasm to log my own finds, but my wife has logged 439 finds and 6 hides, most of which I participated in.

 

We do try to clean up and restore caches if necessary. Saw some while camping last Summer and one in particular was placed by a Forces member who'd been moved away, but nobody wanted to adopt it. We changed the container and log book, and added some decent swag.

 

The number of times I've reported caches in need of maintenance and never heard back is also annoying.

 

But it gets tedious to always find the caches in similar condition.

 

If you find a cache, and are sure the Co moved away hence no longer able to take care of their cache, why aren't you posting a NA log?

 

Wayne - I agree. But in a few of these threads (they're all running together for me now) posting that would get you flamed for "blasphemy."

 

Something should be done to clean up abandoned caches...

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Geocaching, which is to say the Groundspeak listing service version of the game, is a privately owned business venture with a largely volunteer staff that doesn't own caches. Geocaching, the hobby or game where you hunt caches, is "owned" by it's participants, all of whom are volunteers who expend considerable time, energy and money to place and occasionally maintain caches.

Neither the business nor the game is dead but determining the health of either requires different approaches.

 

The financial health of a business depends in general on the difference between it's revenue and it's costs, neither of which is publicly available. One can only assume that the various non-financial figures and statistics released by the business are skewed in a positive direction. Since Groundspeak obtains their main product (caches to hunt) for free, their main cost involves maintaining the listing site. Income must come form other sources (memberships and related caching products). This suggests "more is better" and growth is publicly described as more caches and more cachers rather than more revenue. Actual revenue is not disclosed. If income grows as fast or faster than the cost of maintaining the listing service, they are healthy.

 

The health of the game depends on the desire of finders to look for the hiders' caches and broadly speaking their (our) motivation is to enjoy the experience of hunting or placing and maintaining caches. If you are enjoying the time and energy you expend playing the game, then you will continue to do so and if not you will do less or stop. In the broadest sense, the game players consist of two groups: long time players and transients (folks who play for a short time and then stop). People only become long time players if the desire to play the game persists. The total number of long time players can only grow if the number of new players exceeds the number of long time players who stop. From the perspective of the game (not the business) total number of transients don't matter, only the number who stick around.

 

Because the game is geographical, a major expense is the time and money spent driving to and from caches and this increases over time. My average drive time is now a two hour round trip. This means the caches I find now have to be more interesting than in the early days when it cost me ten minutes. This means in the broadest sense the caches I find now have to be of higher "quality" (however I define it) than in the past. This is more or less true for all long time players

(finders) and is part of the nostalgia "for the old days". This is not an issue for transients, and never will be, unless they become long time players.

 

From the perspective of the hiders the situation is slightly different. Most folks hide the great majority of their caches close to home and after a while most have "used up" their good spots and their number of hides decline. But a small percentage of hiders become increasing prolific. I think is it fair to say that the general quality (however you define it) of caches placed by someone with 200 hides a year will be lower than a long time player with three new caches. And that even if the number of long time cachers holds steady, the number of caches placed by transients as a percentage of total caches steadily increases. The majority of transient caches will end up abandoned and unmaintained. All of these factors will result in both a perceived and real decline in average quality of caches (however you define it).

 

From the perspective of the business health also depends on where the money comes from. Because, if the above is true (the longer you play the game the more quality matters) then your business goal would be to improve the quality of the caching experience (to make it worth the longer drives), if most of your income is from long time players. However if most of the income is generated by transients then having more caches to find close to home (quantity) matters more. Assuming this is true for the moment, do you see the emphasis from the listing service being to increase the general quality of the caches listed?

 

From the perspective of the game, its' health depends on increasing the quality of the caches (and the caching experience) and less so on quantity. The common complaint from old timers is not that there aren't enough caches to do, it's that it is getting harder and harder to find quality caches without expending more and more time in identifying them. If your interest is in "finding lots of caches" you don't need quality control. But if your interest is in finding "caches worth doing" then the game needs help from the business in the form of an easier and faster way to identify quality caches. My enjoyment of the game would increase if I were able to spend less time sorting through the stuff I'm not interested in doing. Any number of quality rating scales, cache maps by distance off roads, % of fav pts/finds, etc come to mind. But the single biggest and easiest thing to do is to promote quality rather than promoting quantity. Of course, any improvement in quality depends upon the hiders placing higher quality caches. All the business can do is support the effort (or not).

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There have been 2 traditional caches published within 50 miles during the last 45 days. This aspect of geocaching has slowed to a snail's pace in our area. On a more positive side, there were 6 events published. Not dead but it is getting slower and slower around these parts.

Edited by Mudfrog

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There have been 2 traditional caches published within 50 miles during the last 45 days. This aspect of geocaching has slowed to a snail's pace in our area. On a more positive side, there were 6 events published. Not dead but it is getting slower and slower around these parts.

 

Not a lot going on around here. There's me and one other cacher that place caches locally. My last 2 events I was the only attendee.

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There have been 2 traditional caches published within 50 miles during the last 45 days. This aspect of geocaching has slowed to a snail's pace in our area. On a more positive side, there were 6 events published. Not dead but it is getting slower and slower around these parts.

 

Not a lot going on around here. There's me and one other cacher that place caches locally. My last 2 events I was the only attendee.

 

Have you checked to see if there are other social groups who do geocaching? Maybe there's a facebook group locally, or a meetup.com group. You could reach out to other outdoorsy social groups like hiking or camping groups and propose a geocaching-themed gathering that could help introduce more people to the hobby. The best way to get more players is to introduce more people to it :) Pretty sure that influx of new players from randomly coming across the website or app is relatively small compared to the effect of larger-scale word of mouth! ideas ideas ideas

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There have been 2 traditional caches published within 50 miles during the last 45 days. This aspect of geocaching has slowed to a snail's pace in our area. On a more positive side, there were 6 events published. Not dead but it is getting slower and slower around these parts.

 

Not a lot going on around here. There's me and one other cacher that place caches locally. My last 2 events I was the only attendee.

 

Have you checked to see if there are other social groups who do geocaching? Maybe there's a facebook group locally, or a meetup.com group. You could reach out to other outdoorsy social groups like hiking or camping groups and propose a geocaching-themed gathering that could help introduce more people to the hobby. The best way to get more players is to introduce more people to it :) Pretty sure that influx of new players from randomly coming across the website or app is relatively small compared to the effect of larger-scale word of mouth! ideas ideas ideas

 

Interesting that you mention serendipitously stumbling onto the GC website! Back in 2002 I was planning a trip to Nicaragua, backpacking, hitch hiking busses etc for 21 days. Fearing getting lost, I bought a GpS and feverishly googled "things to do with a GPS" or some such.. I stumbled upon GC site and tested it out on a trip to Mexico. At the time I lived in cache "rich" Northern Virginia but my first cache was in cache "poor" Mexico. Go figure...

 

I created the local FB caching page and there are no meetup groups local.

 

I hadn't thought about local outdoor groups though. I'll have to think about that one.

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