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Geocaching HQ

Release Notes (Updated Geocache Hiding Guidelines)

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(This information was shared today on the Geocaching Blog. Please direct questions or discussion to this General Discussions thread.)

Today, Geocaching HQ is releasing updated guidelines for hiding caches. The main goal of the update is to make the Geocache Hiding Guidelines easier to read and understand. Here is what we have done to achieve that goal:

  • Improved guideline layout
  • Made text more clear
  • Reduced number of words by 15%
  • Moved supporting material to Help Center
  • Added some changes or clarifications to specific guidelines (see below)

In addition to the text updates, the page got a face lift, including better navigation! Read the new guidelines.

Community volunteer translators are currently translating the new guideline text into 24 languages. As these translations become available, the guidelines will be updated in those languages.

Changes and clarifications

Some guidance has changed since the last update a few years ago. Those changes include:

Caches must be accessible

Make sure to hide your cache for the long term, where it is available most of the week, and so it can be found without contacting anyone. Check out the new section in the guideline text about accessibility.

Caches cannot be buried – except with permission

To avoid problems with land managers and property owners, geocaches were previously not allowed to be buried under any circumstances. In general, this is still the case, unless you get explicit permission from the property owner. See the Regional Geocaching Policies Wiki for details in your region.

Definition of container and logbook

The lack of proper definitions and examples for container and logbook has led to confusion in the past. We have included more specific guidance for logbooks and containers in the new guideline text. The container must hold the logbook. The logbook must be physical, replaceable, easy to sign, and enclosed within a container.

Don’t hide caches far from home

Vacation/holiday caches are usually not published because they are difficult to maintain. It’s best to place physical caches in your area so you can respond quickly to maintenance needs. In rare circumstances, a vacation cache with an acceptable maintenance plan might be published.

Communicate with your reviewer

We have added new tips on how to communicate with your reviewer. Prior to publication, cache hiders should always provide information about the geocache location, container, and how it is hidden.

No precedents

Although “no precedents” was part of the previous guidelines, the reviewers were unable to link to it. You can find the new link here.

No agendas

We have updated text to clarify that what we mean by agendas, including highlighting causes such as charitable ones.

No commercial content

We have added text to make it clear that Geocaching HQ may make exceptions to the commercial guidelines for GeoTours and trackable promotions.

Family friendly

We have added text to clarify that cache pages must be family friendly.

Cache owner responsibilities

If you are a cache owner and unsure about your responsibilities, head over to this new section that details maintenance expectations.

With more than 3 million geocaches worldwide, cache owners must be extra careful to keep their geocaches in good shape. This prevents “geo-litter” and keeps the game fun for all involved. If a cache owner shows that they can’t keep up with the maintenance of their existing caches, they might lose their hiding privileges.

In addition to keeping the cache page and cache container in good shape, cache owners are also responsible for keeping the cache page guideline compliant after publication.

Letterbox Hybrid Caches

Rules about the distance between the final coordinates and the posted coordinates are defined by the underlying cache type: Traditional, Mystery, or Multi-Cache. See Letterbox Hybrid.

Wherigo Caches

Wherigo posted coordinates must be the same as the “Start at” coordinates on Wherigo.com. Exceptions:

  • “Play anywhere” cartridges
  • “Reverse” cartridges
  • Cartridges that start at a later waypoint
  • Cartridges used for geo-art

For these exceptions, the posted coordinates must be within 2 miles of the final.

Event Caches

Events cannot be held in or near transportation centers, such as airports, cruise ship ports, and train stations.

CITO Event Caches

We have updated the text regarding CITO caches to clarify that we encourage partnering with other organizations and that a separate sign-up is all that is needed such events.

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