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Mickey4jes

Leading geocaching workshops with the Geocaching app

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Hi there!

 

I host a lot of geocaching events locally. Some are official geocaching.com events and others are local outings where I teach new people about geocaching. Other times I bring muggles along on my geocaching adventures.

 

I've recently noticed while taking new people geocaching that they can't follow along on within the Geocaching app while we're adventuring because most geocaches in our area are more than 1.5/1.5 so they won't display in the app without a premium membership.

 

post-280430-008976100 1499811437_thumb.jpg post-280430-001762500 1499811392_thumb.jpg

Here's some screenshots from my sister's geocaching app. I've found most of the geocaches in our city, so when I take new people along it's in areas where I haven't cached before, thus not always able to control what they can see in their app.

 

Does anyone have a workaround for this?

I don't find it normal to have people setup a monthly subscription in the app store on their first geocaching adventure until after they are addicted. I'm going to be leading some geocaching workshops in my community and am trying to design around the limited availability while finding interesting geocaches.

When I look through the interesting geocaches in San Francisco and compare it to the available non-premium & under 1.5 D/T geocaches the cache quality decreases.

 

 

I've found a few tips towards creating successful geocaching workshops:

Give a little instruction

Explain briefly what geocaching is, what we're looking for and how to use the app, but then get right into having people find something together! Don't spend too long giving instructions because the best way to learn is by doing (experiential learning). Your participants will best learn by trying, failing and trying again while having the opportunity to ask questions while you're on the adventure together.

 

Start with something simple

Finding an easy geocache together gives them context on what to look for and prepares participants to start thinking outside of the box, moving things around at ground zero, and getting their hands literally dirty.

 

Pick interesting geocaches to find

Camouflaged pill bottles have their place, but people get excited when they find something completely out of the ordinary, whimsical, surprising or takes them to a very interesting place. I like to plan geocaching workshops around super engaging and interesting geocaches because I've found that those are more likely to get people excited about geocaching again and geocaching in the future without me around. Including a field puzzle, multi or gadget geocache in your workshop allows new geocachers to have an amazing experience that results in a smiley. Adding an extra engaging geocache to your workshop allows people to have a successful find experience together that they may not have attempted without a group or without you instigating it.

Examples include the Lands End Labyrinth

and Bucket o' Fun. The Lands End Labyrinth geocache takes about 20-30 minutes of collecting clues and then 20 minutes of solving a gadget geocache while experiencing an absolutely beautiful area of San Francisco. The Bucket 'o Fun multicache takes 4-5 hours, but every stage is super engaging, creative and memorable resulting in an amazing story that they want to share with everyone after they get home.

 

Visit photo-worthy places and take photos

Make sure to encourage participants to take photos of their experience and take some while others are finding the caches. Posting these on Facebook or another social website where participants can tag themselves allows participants to share their geocaching fun with their friends that haven't geocached before. This will usually result in their friends commenting with "what is geocaching?" or "OMG, I love geocaching too, but I have been waiting to find someone else to geocache with!"

This reaction is perfect because it increases the likelihood that your participant will geocache again in the future since you're setup a buddy for them to go on an adventure with! At the same time, you're creating lead generation for your future workshops. ;)

 

Have participants download the app beforehand

It will save time at the beginning of your adventure! Plus many participants will create accounts after downloading the app, which means that some participants may have looked through the app or watched a video or two on getting started, so they can become helpers during your workshop! Plus they're more likely to geocache again if they already figured out how to use the app and were able to ask questions during your adventure together.

It's disengaging to spend 1-3 hours in a geocaching workshop where you can't see things on your device.

If not everyone has a device during the adventure, make sure to encourage participants to share their devices with others and along the adventure make sure everyone has a turn holding a device to navigate with and reading the design language of the app. It is ideal for participants to have their own device and the app.

 

Bring backup batteries

Bringing extra charged power banks to share when your participants' phones die will keep everyone happy on their adventure!

 

I've hosted dozens of geocaching workshops over the years. They used to be with my geocaching kits (GPS units + geocaching brochures) that I had donated to our university library for students, staff and faculty to check-out with their library cards. When smartphones became more prevalent, I thought it was going to be a game-changing for getting new users on board and teaching others to geocache. During college, I led 2 Intro to Geocaching workshops a month for 2-3 years and we found that college students were more likely to geocache again, come back to our events and maybe even purchase a GPS unit to geocache with if they found an "epic experience" geocache on their first outing with us and were confidently able to navigate with a GPS or their app during the outing. IE: reaching their story-worthy magical moment.

Edited by Mickey4jes

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I've recently noticed while taking new people geocaching that they can't follow along on within the Geocaching app while we're adventuring because most geocaches in our area are more than 1.5/1.5 so they won't display in the app without a premium membership.

 

[...]

 

Does anyone have a workaround for this?

I don't find it normal to have people setup a monthly subscription in the app store on their first geocaching adventure until after they are addicted.

Others have noticed the same thing, for example:

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=338138

 

When I introduce others to geocaching, I already avoid bothering them with the details of the technology as much as possible. This just confirms that I don't want to bother them with the details of Groundspeak's Geocaching app.

 

Take them to nice places, let them find an assortment of geocaches, and if they enjoy that, then they might be interested in sorting out the technology.

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Does anyone have a workaround for this?

When we take new folks under wing, we don't have anyone join the site just for an app...

We have enough spare gizmos to loan them one pre-loaded where we're going, ready to go.

Larger groups share/work as teams.

If they like it, they'll join on their own, maybe as pms too.

 

I'd rather there weren't "exceptions" to the 1.5/1.5 or less basic function for a free app thanks. :)

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I'd rather there weren't "exceptions" to the 1.5/1.5 or less basic function for a free app thanks. :)

+1

 

The site itself (www.geocaching.com web site) allows higher D/T for free (with ads). The App is like 99% of every other game App, the "free" part is very limited. This is how Apps do it today.

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Does anyone have a workaround for this?

As mentioned, don't require everyone to sign up. Bring a loaded GPSr or two and go. Even better, set up your own variety of closely spaced unlisted temporary caches for the class. Type the coords into the GPSrs.

 

For the more adventurous who already have accounts and Apps, people can type coords as waypoints while navigating to any cache. Click one of them on the map, Start Navigation, type coordinates from a list or directly from the web site.

 

Open a Smartphone's web browser, and you get the entire Geocaching web site right there on the screen, not limited to 1.5/1.5. Note the coordinates, type them in as waypoints to any GPS App, such as Official App. But my technique for iPhone is to have Commander Compass (free trial doesn't save waypoints, but Apps are expensive, you pay to play). It's simple to send coordinates directly from the web site to Commander Compass and other such Apps with no typing. There's a similar thing with Droid. But stick to letting people see various devices in action, which you set up in advance, and they can figure out later what they may prefer.

Edited by kunarion

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