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According to Google Trends, interest in Geocaching is the lowest it's been in well over a decade


brendan714
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So let's say you actually wanted to know if "interest in Geocaching" was changing over time. On a person level, a little self reflection would answer the question. On a local level, talking to your caching buds would tell the tale. But on a state, national or global scale you would first have to define "interest" a bit more closely. Basically all counting clicks can measure is that. As noted above, everything else is just speculation, which in and of itself is more interesting than the numbers, but those numbers do make it clear that they are declining.

Now if Groundspeak were a public instead of a private company, the answer to "is geocaching growing?" would be evident. You would look at the quarterly report and it would all be laid out. Still subject to interpretation, but the numbers would be clear. But without the details, no way to tell, really. Which just leaves speculation and reasoning from too few facts. On the other hand as the Great Yogi says "You can see a lot, just by looking..." If the goal is more, then quantity matters. If the goal is better, then quality matters. Geocaching overwhelmingly focuses on quantity over quality. Indeed, caring about and improving cache quality is considered a "niche interest" in this discussion about declining interest in geocaching. When you primarily focus on quantity, average quality inevitably declines. And when more and more caches lead to fewer and fewer "clicks", well at some point, even the staunches defenders of "all is well", may want to reflect on the reality of competition: Munzee et al. which have eliminated the cache and are designed for free use on a smart phone. Twice as many in a third the time. Click city...Frankly I can't think of a single sport or game that has survived long term by focusing on more over better.

edexter

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See this link here for the Google Trends Chart.

[*]Too many micros, too many power trails. The game has been watered down.

[*]Poorly planned, poorly executed, poorly maintained caches.

[*]Land managers (often Parks officials) restrict or outright ban geocaching in many fascinating areas.

[

 

Copied from the original list.... I suspect numbers 1 & 2 are at least partially responsible for #3.

Edited by edscott
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1-Too many micros, too many power trails. The game has been watered down.

2-Poorly planned, poorly executed, poorly maintained caches.

3-Land managers (often Parks officials) restrict or outright ban geocaching in many fascinating areas.

4-Issues with the app and/or the subscription model in the new app caused many to lose interest.

5-Some found all/most the geocaches in their area long ago and lost interest in the game.

6-Other virtual games or outdoor activities simply overtook their interest in geocaching.

7-The game has become too competitive, and geocachers only care about statistics and competing for numbers.

8-The local active geocaching community primarily consists of a few veteran geocachers who are elitist.

 

I look at these and think of how they affect me personally.

 

1 and 2 probably caused 3.

4-The app is horrible-IMO-so I still use the website and a real GPS not a cell phone (No cell coverage, no geocaching)

5-I take weekend road trips to search further out from my local area.

6-That one has not affected me.

7 and 8-I almost never run into geocachers. In my mind, the geogods have placed these caches solely for my entertainment. I cannot compete with elitists I have never met. Or haven't met in a long time.

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1-Too many micros, too many power trails. The game has been watered down.

2-Poorly planned, poorly executed, poorly maintained caches.

3-Land managers (often Parks officials) restrict or outright ban geocaching in many fascinating areas.

4-Issues with the app and/or the subscription model in the new app caused many to lose interest.

5-Some found all/most the geocaches in their area long ago and lost interest in the game.

6-Other virtual games or outdoor activities simply overtook their interest in geocaching.

7-The game has become too competitive, and geocachers only care about statistics and competing for numbers.

8-The local active geocaching community primarily consists of a few veteran geocachers who are elitist.

 

I look at these and think of how they affect me personally.

 

1 and 2 probably caused 3.

4-The app is horrible-IMO-so I still use the website and a real GPS not a cell phone (No cell coverage, no geocaching)

5-I take weekend road trips to search further out from my local area.

6-That one has not affected me.

7 and 8-I almost never run into geocachers. In my mind, the geogods have placed these caches solely for my entertainment. I cannot compete with elitists I have never met. Or haven't met in a long time.

Things are a bit different here, or perhaps the outside world hasn't quite penetrated yet.

1. There are no power trails as such locally (saturation caches every 161m), and my find count of smalls (280) is almost double that of micros (165), with regulars in close third (137). And no, I don't routinely ignore micros.

2. Most of the caches around here are in good nick, with the community active in posting NMs and NAs as and when required. The reviewers occasionally sweep away caches that have been disabled for more than a few months.

3. NSW National Parks has a permit policy which I've had trouble with due to a predominance of Aboriginal sites in the local park, but this was implemented some five years ago following a complete ban on caches in the early 2000s at a time when there were relatively few caches (so this wasn't caused by 1 and 2).

4. I don't regularly use the app apart from logging new caches in the field, so can't comment much. I'm in two minds about the 1.5D/T restriction for basic members, it probably gives a rather narrow introduction to the game.

5. Burnout seems to be common around here after three or four years.

6. Or work or family commitments perhaps.

7. Any competitiveness I've encountered locally has been of the friendly kind. Sure, there are those who like to fill grids and the like, but I don't see it causing any problems.

8. The veterans around here are anything but elite, often attending/hosting events and giving helpful advice.

 

Yet in spite of that, caching does seem to be a bit in the doldrums around here, with the number of new hides a long way down in the last year or so. For now I put it down to an intergenerational gap, with the bunch who started six or so years ago after the deep lull in 2009 moving on and the newer generation yet to swing into full gear.

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I've been caching for more than 10 years and have 12,000 finds in 47 states and live in a very cache dense area, yet, I'm having trouble motivating myself to go out and find geocaches this year. For me, the problem is that I like to use caching as a diversion while on a hike or bike ride in the mountains and I've found most of the caches on nearby trails. The density is so high that there are few new caches on legal trails to warrant a caching trip.

 

We should take a tip from the caching community in the Sarasota, Florida area. They have a huge state park that is very cache rich. However, every year or so most of the caches are archived and new ones hidden nearby. This gives people reasons to go back to the park. BTW, very few of the caches are simply pill bottles in SPORs.

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1-Too many micros, too many power trails. The game has been watered down.

2-Poorly planned, poorly executed, poorly maintained caches.

3-Land managers (often Parks officials) restrict or outright ban geocaching in many fascinating areas.

4-Issues with the app and/or the subscription model in the new app caused many to lose interest.

5-Some found all/most the geocaches in their area long ago and lost interest in the game.

6-Other virtual games or outdoor activities simply overtook their interest in geocaching.

7-The game has become too competitive, and geocachers only care about statistics and competing for numbers.

8-The local active geocaching community primarily consists of a few veteran geocachers who are elitist.

 

I look at these and think of how they affect me personally.

 

1 and 2 probably caused 3.

4-The app is horrible-IMO-so I still use the website and a real GPS not a cell phone (No cell coverage, no geocaching)

5-I take weekend road trips to search further out from my local area.

6-That one has not affected me.

7 and 8-I almost never run into geocachers. In my mind, the geogods have placed these caches solely for my entertainment. I cannot compete with elitists I have never met. Or haven't met in a long time.

Things are a bit different here, or perhaps the outside world hasn't quite penetrated yet.

1. There are no power trails as such locally (saturation caches every 161m), and my find count of smalls (280) is almost double that of micros (165), with regulars in close third (137). And no, I don't routinely ignore micros.

2. Most of the caches around here are in good nick, with the community active in posting NMs and NAs as and when required. The reviewers occasionally sweep away caches that have been disabled for more than a few months.

3. NSW National Parks has a permit policy which I've had trouble with due to a predominance of Aboriginal sites in the local park, but this was implemented some five years ago following a complete ban on caches in the early 2000s at a time when there were relatively few caches (so this wasn't caused by 1 and 2).

4. I don't regularly use the app apart from logging new caches in the field, so can't comment much. I'm in two minds about the 1.5D/T restriction for basic members, it probably gives a rather narrow introduction to the game.

5. Burnout seems to be common around here after three or four years.

6. Or work or family commitments perhaps.

7. Any competitiveness I've encountered locally has been of the friendly kind. Sure, there are those who like to fill grids and the like, but I don't see it causing any problems.

8. The veterans around here are anything but elite, often attending/hosting events and giving helpful advice.

 

Yet in spite of that, caching does seem to be a bit in the doldrums around here, with the number of new hides a long way down in the last year or so. For now I put it down to an intergenerational gap, with the bunch who started six or so years ago after the deep lull in 2009 moving on and the newer generation yet to swing into full gear.

 

You are correct about number 8, the veterans are usually very welcoming and do much of the community footwork (hosting and organizing events, giving advice, etc. )

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So let's say you actually wanted to know if "interest in Geocaching" was changing over time.

[snip]

Basically all counting clicks can measure is that. As noted above, everything else is just speculation, which in and of itself is more interesting than the numbers, but those numbers do make it clear that they are declining.

Just to reiterate what CanadianRockies has eloquently explained several times in this thread, the Google Trends data presented in the OP does not show a decline in people using the Geocaching website and I don't believe the Trends data shows a decline in "interest in Geocaching" either. It's a random sample of normalized data, not a raw count, of people googling the term 'geocaching' on a single search engine.

 

If we had reports that showed site activity for geocaching.com over time, then that would be telling. Only, of course, if activity on various apps was reflected in that traffic.

 

The only numbers we have that show a decline are the Project-GC numbers of active cachers (however 'active' is defined) and hidden caches . Whether that implies a decline in "interest" is up for debate. Personally, I see that other things going on in the world are keeping some people distracted from a hobby about finding hidden containers.

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I had never heard of geocaching until I ran into it maybe a year and one-half ago. I found one cache. Last November my brother got me reintroduced to geocaching, now I have 114 -- with several DNF to get even with. I know some of them have been lost, destroyed, ruined or whatever.

No, no, no. The trend is down. Didn't you know you weren't supposed to start geocaching? In fact, according to Google Trends, you haven't. Any evidence you may have to the contrary is statistically unlikely and therefore the product of an overactive imagination.

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See this link here for the Google Trends Chart.

 

I posted this in another geocaching forum elsewhere and it received a lot of attention.

[*]Too many micros, too many power trails. The game has been watered down.

[*]Poorly planned, poorly executed, poorly maintained caches.

[*]Land managers (often Parks officials) restrict or outright ban geocaching in many fascinating areas.

[*]Issues with the app and/or the subscription model in the new app caused many to lose interest.

[*]Some found all/most the geocaches in their area long ago and lost interest in the game.

[*]Other virtual games or outdoor activities simply overtook their interest in geocaching.

[*]The game has become too competitive, and geocachers only care about statistics and competing for numbers.

[*]The local active geocaching community primarily consists of a few veteran geocachers who are elitist.

 

 

Too bad there isn't a search feature that could help weed out micro caches or a map that could help people avoid power trail caching...

 

Geocaching has become too competitive, and geocachers only care about competing for numbers. Maybe we should come up with a way to find the least amount of caches possible. The more DNFs the better. That'll solve that issue.

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It's a game and the point of the game is to find caches. So go find them, and stop worrying about all that other stuff.

 

I used to enjoy hiding nice quality containers in locations of interest, like historical sites. Geocaching has changed, it's more about the numbers, really interesting caches are fewer and far between. I'm not going to start hiding power trails or micros to keep up with geocaching, I'm just going to stop hiding caches and start finding a few if that's what the game is all about. I've been doing it wrong. :(

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When I first learned about Geocaching I had to drive 40 miles to the closest cache to me. The next one was about 60 miles. As they became a little denser I would limit myself to one cache a weekend so I wouldn't use them all up. Now there are 2092 caches within 50 miles of me. For me, it's just not the same and I have little interest in it anymore.

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