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brendan714

Number of new caches decreasing?

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20 hours ago, noncentric said:

 

On 1/30/2018 at 2:32 AM, noncentric said:
On 1/28/2018 at 2:39 PM, fizzymagic said:

I am. Well, almost.  I am claiming that GS is focusing on acquiring new users to the detriment of retaining existing users. It has been true for some time, but is much more apparent now that Jeremy has left.

When did Jeremy 'leave'?  Jeremy moved from 'President' to Senior VP last year, with Bryan moving into the President role, but I hadn't heard that Jeremy had since "left" GS. In fact, Jeremy's announcement about the org change included him stating that his new role would allow him to "have some time (and resources) to work on smaller projects to help the core team improve the game".

 

 

If we're going to get picky about history. what I meant in my original statement was that Jeremy had "left" the position of president, where he set much of the direction of the company.  Since then, others have (as far as I can tell) a great deal more influence; in that respect, Jeremy "left."  In no way did I mean to imply he had left the company.

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Back to numbers. I note that as of this morning, 12 October 2018, the total number of caches in Florida is 41,927

That's a +1000 cache drop since the last time I posted to this thread, Jan 9 of this year ( 9 January 2018, the total number of caches in Florida is 42,954.)

 

In Florida, cache numbers are now on the decline after several years of being flat.  

Caches that require a walk or are not near urban populations once archived  are not replaced.  (With the occasional exception for a powertrail of hiking or paddling caches. Generally near an event. ) And hurricanes have not been good for Florida caching. 

 

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I just archived another of our caches after getting yet another GSAK-style group caching log that thanked us (#cacheowner) for our cache.

We're down to 3 active caches now. 

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I have a 50 mile radius newly published notification set up. I honestly couldn't remember the last time a notification came in so did a query just now to find out. The last cache published was on September 15,,, almost a month ago. At the same time, I also have the archival notification set. The last archival notification, because of lack of owner response, came in 4 days ago. Unfortunately, the archival notifications come in fairly routinely these days. ☹️

Edited by Mudfrog

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I haven't tracked long term, but my update today shows 12 new caches hidden within 25 miles since Monday, and 1 cache archived (plus two past events).

 

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1 hour ago, The Jester said:

I haven't tracked long term, but my update today shows 12 new caches hidden within 25 miles since Monday, and 1 cache archived (plus two past events).

 

I see 6 new caches since September 12th within *50* miles, zero within 25 miles.  If I limit it to 25 miles, and go back to August 12 (2 months) I get 9 new caches and only 2 since September 1st.   If I search for new caches since Monday I get 3 caches within 100 miles and none within 80 miles.  

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In my region (Central Coast, New South Wales, Australia), two new caches were published yesterday, the first since July. I have a new one in the wings which I'll likely submit in the coming week, so that'll be three for the back half of the year. I've almost forgotten what an FTF race was like.

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I'm looking at my area, giving it a 100 mile generous radius because I live in a pretty rural area, and there have been around 20, give or take, new caches placed each month over the summer. This 100 mile radius does capture Spokane and Coeur d'Alene for which there is a pretty active caching group. June saw the largest growth with 70 new caches because of the Spokane Trains and Railroads geotour challenge. There were 44 new caches in July as the local WSGA chapter replaced a popular power trail that fell into disrepair. 

I'm not sure about the rate of archival. I haven't kept track of total numbers, and I do update the archived caches in my database every now and then to sweep for caches that become unarchived that miss the pocket queries. So unfortunately I can't sort those by GPX date, and there's no easy way to sort by last log or date of archival log.

Recently, a local cacher who had been out of the game for a while came by and archived many of his hides - he had well over 100 in the Lewiston-Clarkston valley, but is no longer active in the area. And another prominent couple who had over 200 hides between them are going the full-time RV route and archived a bunch of their hides and adopted out the rest. So it feels like a reduction in caches, but there have been enough new ones to at least soften the blow.

I think I've posted before on this thread that the number of hides isn't the best metric for how well geocaching is doing in an area. Hides may be level because of saturation or declining because of over saturation of bad hides by people not well-invested in the game. I think we're at the point in the game where we'll retain users if those of us hiding caches focus on the quality of the hide rather than the quantity - make people's geocaching experience memorable.

* I'll add an addendem that my estimates also don't include puzzle/mystery caches because I exclude those until I solve them. I also excluded events since these are temporary listings anyway. There are about 7300 caches (excluding events and mystery caches) in that 100 mile radius, and around 7900 in total, which is pretty good for a rural and sparsely populated area.

Edited by Mineral2

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15 minutes ago, Mineral2 said:

I think I've posted before on this thread that the number of hides isn't the best metric for how well geocaching is doing in an area. Hides may be level because of saturation or declining because of over saturation of bad hides by people not well-invested in the game. I think we're at the point in the game where we'll retain users if those of us hiding caches focus on the quality of the hide rather than the quantity - make people's geocaching experience memorable.

 

The cache density here is about one per square kilometre so it's nowhere near saturated. Most of the caches are also of good quality, with over half more than three years old and sixteen percent over ten years old, so they're made to last. It's just that there are so few active cachers living here now.

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1 minute ago, barefootjeff said:

 

The cache density here is about one per square kilometre so it's nowhere near saturated. Most of the caches are also of good quality, with over half more than three years old and sixteen percent over ten years old, so they're made to last. It's just that there are so few active cachers living here now.

Saturation isn't just about placing them the minimum distance apart, nor is quality about how long they last. In many places, there just aren't many meaningful spots to hide a geocache. Placing one on every guard rail or every lamp post doesn't bring people to unique and special places, nor does placing them every tenth of a mile along a road or hiking trail. When I think of quality locations, I think of unique attractions that I would want cachers and other people to discover and visit. That could be a historic site or a natural landmark or an interesting store, etc.

But if we do have to fill every parking lot with a cache, why place a film canister under a lamppost skirt? Or even a Lock n' Lock in a bush? I can understand wanting to throw out an ammo can under a log or rock pile if placing a cache on a mountain summit. But in town, unique and creative hides, both location and container/cammo will win people over more than just another trope that's been done to death. Sure, these hides might require extra effort to create. I think of all the gadget caches in Germany. I think if we are to focus on the numbers, we ought to be thinking about building caches for favorite points rather than find counts.

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1 minute ago, Mineral2 said:

Saturation isn't just about placing them the minimum distance apart, nor is quality about how long they last. In many places, there just aren't many meaningful spots to hide a geocache. Placing one on every guard rail or every lamp post doesn't bring people to unique and special places, nor does placing them every tenth of a mile along a road or hiking trail. When I think of quality locations, I think of unique attractions that I would want cachers and other people to discover and visit. That could be a historic site or a natural landmark or an interesting store, etc.

But if we do have to fill every parking lot with a cache, why place a film canister under a lamppost skirt? Or even a Lock n' Lock in a bush? I can understand wanting to throw out an ammo can under a log or rock pile if placing a cache on a mountain summit. But in town, unique and creative hides, both location and container/cammo will win people over more than just another trope that's been done to death. Sure, these hides might require extra effort to create. I think of all the gadget caches in Germany. I think if we are to focus on the numbers, we ought to be thinking about building caches for favorite points rather than find counts.

 

Two thirds of the caches here are T2 or higher, our lamp posts don't have skirts, parking lot caches are rare and there are no power trails in the region. It's an area with lots of bushland and rugged back-country, intermingled with pockets of low density suburbia. Those who have hidden caches in the past, and the few still hiding them, have tended to go for bushland hides, often in interesting and scenic spots. Yet caching activity is at an all time low, with very few newcomers sticking with it for more than a month or two. Most of the finds I'm getting on even my newest caches are from out-of-area visitors - one, a puzzle published in February, has only had two finders who both came up from Sydney to do it.

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I should have mentioned, my 25 miles cover Seattle and Tacoma, WA.  There are 4403 active caches that I haven't found in that area.  I've found 4214 in that area, of which 1683 are still active.  It's a pretty dense area for caches.  So a lot of urban area, but it also reaches into the foothills of the Cascade Mountains (some of which are between 2000-3000 feet high) so suburban and rural areas abound plus 'wilderness' areas too.

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Decided to do this in my area. This is a 55 km radius around my home coordinates which encompasses my entire state capitol region. I calculated the # hidden, and the number from that year which have since been archived. I have excluded event caches. 

 

Year - Total Hidden - % Archived 

 

2018 - 36 Hidden - 05% Archived

2017 - 50 Hidden - 14% Archived

2016 - 37 Hidden - 11% Archived

2015 - 43 Hidden - 09% Archived

2014 - 48 Hidden - 31% Archived 

2013 - 35 Hidden - 31% Archived 

2012 - 12 Hidden - 50% Archived

2011 - 22 Hidden - 32% Archived

2010 - 82 Hidden - 41% Archived

2009 - 19 Hidden - 21% Archived

2008 - 24 Hidden - 54% Archived

2007 - 18 Hidden - 50% Archived

2006 - 13 Hidden - 77% Archived

2005 - 08 Hidden - 63% Archived 

2004 - 12 Hidden - 67% Archived

2003 - 26 Hidden - 58% Archived

2002 - 03 Hidden - 33% Archived

2001 - 04 Hidden - 100% Archived

2000 - None hidden

 

There's some interesting data here to be sure. As expected the farther we go back in years the larger the percentage of caches hidden in that year are archived. Additionally there was an oddly high spike of new caches hidden in 2010; but this year the number is falling squarely in the middle of the average number of hides in the past few years.

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7 hours ago, STNolan said:

 Additionally there was an oddly high spike of new caches hidden in 2010

 

That was the year they dropped the power trail rule. A spike in cache hides resulted. 

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13 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

 

That was the year they dropped the power trail rule. A spike in cache hides resulted. 

Maybe some places, but not every area has power trails.  My 25 mile region doesn't.  There is one bike trail with a series of caches but they are all different and not all easy - besides they weren't placed 2010.

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22 hours ago, STNolan said:

Decided to do this in my area. This is a 55 km radius around my home coordinates which encompasses my entire state capitol region. I calculated the # hidden, and the number from that year which have since been archived. I have excluded event caches. 

 

Year - Total Hidden - % Archived 

 

Here's the numbers for my region, the New South Wales Central Coast, some 500 square kilometres of coast and hinterland on the northern side of the Hawkesbury River from Sydney.

 

2018    35*     6% archived

2017    61       3% archived

2016    78    26% archived

2015  160   42% archived

2014  171   54% archived

2013  124   61% archived

2012  230   80% archived

2011    59   71% archived

2010    53   72% archived

2009    21   67% archived

2008    51   73% archived

2007    55   69% archived

2006    61   48% archived

2005    50   78% archived

2004    11   55% archived

2003    17   59% archived

2002      9   67% archived

2001    12   67% archived

 

*The 2018 figure doesn't include 40 geoart caches published in February for the mega held at Morisset (just outside the Central Coast region) over Easter.

Between 2012 and 2015, the statistics were dominated by one cacher who hid a total of 235 caches before archiving them all in 2016 when she left the area.

There are currently 589 unarchived caches in this region.

Edited by barefootjeff
Exclude events and CITOs

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14 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

 

That was the year they dropped the power trail rule. A spike in cache hides resulted. 

We have one “powertrail” in our state Capitol. Its 15 caches long; so I don’t think thats it. 

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2 minutes ago, STNolan said:
14 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

That was the year they dropped the power trail rule. A spike in cache hides resulted. 

We have one “powertrail” in our state Capitol. Its 15 caches long; so I don’t think thats it. 

 

To the best of my knowledge, there've never been any power trails on the Central Coast. Even that prolific hider between 2012 and 2015 spread her caches far and wide, mostly in the hinterland, with many different hide styles and container types.

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There are a ton of small power trails near me. They get more prevalent in south-central washington and southern idaho. And of course Nevada has the (in)famous E.T. Trail. But we even had a power trail along the river that was accessible only by boat. It was unfortunately archived recently before I had a chance to try for it.

I'm not really a fan of power trails, but to canoe or kayak one is certainly different.

Edited by Mineral2

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On 10/14/2018 at 7:16 AM, STNolan said:

I calculated the # hidden, and the number from that year which have since been archived.

Out of curiosity: How do you (and Jeff) determine the number of hidden caches, especially those from the early years which were archived also rather early?

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7 minutes ago, Hynz said:

Out of curiosity: How do you (and Jeff) determine the number of hidden caches, especially those from the early years which were archived also rather early?

 

I used project-gc, switching between including and excluding archived caches from each year.

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