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Number of new hiders decreasing?


brendan714
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I decided to start a new topic on the number of hiders since the previous one I started only talked about caches.  Check out these numbers:

2007 - 55 / 124
2008 - 78 / 158
2009 - 109 / 201
2010 - 97 / 241
2011 - 114 / 236
2012 - 102 / 223
2013 - 80 / 196
2014 - 81 / 198
2015 - 94 / 222
2016 - 62 / 172
2017 - 45 / 130 (as of Nov 20, 2017)

These are the number of unique hiders in my hometown per year (Calgary, Alberta, Canada).  To the left of the slash is the number of cachers who placed 2 or more hides; to the right is the number of cachers who placed one or more.  For example, in 2017, 130 different geocachers placed a geocache, but only 45 geocachers placed two or more.

And similar stats for hiders in the mountains near my hometown (Division No. 15, Alberta):

2003 - 9 / 28
2004 - 8 / 37
2005 - 16 / 46
2006 - 16 / 50
2007 - 17 / 57
2008 - 16 / 43
2009 - 15 / 47
2010 - 22 / 59
2011 - 29 / 71
2012 - 29 / 68
2013 - 24 / 59
2014 - 22 / 47
2015 - 25 / 52
2016 - 20 / 47
2017 - 13 / 28 (as of Nov 20, 2017)

It's rather alarming to see a steady decrease in the number of different hiders in the last 3 years!  Both the city and the mountains show close to half the number of hiders in 2017 compared to 2015.  Do you see similar trends in your area?

If you'd like to check your area, CLICK HERE.  Change the relevant selection criteria.  The numbers are a bit tedious to comb through, as you have to keep clicking to the next page until no more cachers show up.

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1 hour ago, brendan714 said:

I decided to start a new topic on the number of hiders since the previous one I started only talked about caches.  Check out these numbers:

2007 - 55 / 124
2008 - 78 / 158
2009 - 109 / 201
2010 - 97 / 241
2011 - 114 / 236
2012 - 102 / 223
2013 - 80 / 196
2014 - 81 / 198
2015 - 94 / 222
2016 - 62 / 172
2017 - 45 / 130 (as of Nov 20, 2017)

These are the number of unique hiders in my hometown per year (Calgary, Alberta, Canada).  To the left of the slash is the number of cachers who placed 2 or more hides; to the right is the number of cachers who placed one or more.  For example, in 2017, 130 different geocachers placed a geocache, but only 45 geocachers placed two or more.

And similar stats for hiders in the mountains near my hometown (Division No. 15, Alberta):

2003 - 9 / 28
2004 - 8 / 37
2005 - 16 / 46
2006 - 16 / 50
2007 - 17 / 57
2008 - 16 / 43
2009 - 15 / 47
2010 - 22 / 59
2011 - 29 / 71
2012 - 29 / 68
2013 - 24 / 59
2014 - 22 / 47
2015 - 25 / 52
2016 - 20 / 47
2017 - 13 / 28 (as of Nov 20, 2017)

It's rather alarming to see a steady decrease in the number of different hiders in the last 3 years!  Both the city and the mountains show close to half the number of hiders in 2017 compared to 2015.  Do you see similar trends in your area?

If you'd like to check your area, CLICK HERE.  Change the relevant selection criteria.  The numbers are a bit tedious to comb through, as you have to keep clicking to the next page until no more cachers show up.

It was kind of surprising to see how many hiders only placed one cache compared to those that had placed 2 or more.  I'd be curious to see the trend of *all* hiders and  the average number of hides per year.   This is just a premise but a general high level overview suggests that the average number of hides per cache owner has gone up significantly since 2010 but I wonder if it has gone down over the past couple of years.    It's not just the massive power trails, but all the "cache series" that have been created with 20-100 or so hides.

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4 hours ago, brendan714 said:

It's rather alarming to see a steady decrease in the number of different hiders in the last 3 years!  Both the city and the mountains show close to half the number of hiders in 2017 compared to 2015.  Do you see similar trends in your area?

Not checked statistics but I have this feeling by now. I do not find this "alarming" but maybe worrying. May be there is good reasons like saturation and lack of good new places.

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8 hours ago, niraD said:

Why do you think it's "rather alarming"?

 

4 hours ago, arisoft said:

Not checked statistics but I have this feeling by now. I do not find this "alarming" but maybe worrying. May be there is good reasons like saturation and lack of good new places.

Fewer cache hiders = fewer geocachers invested in the game.  It also suggests that the number of new geocaches will plummet (this is already happening in my area).  I truly think that these numbers are alarming because what if this trend continues? It's not like it's a slow, steady decline; it's a plummet.  I've had the feeling that this was the case, but the numbers confirm it.

I would find it surprising that after 17 years of geocaching that saturation is suddenly an issue.  In my opinion, it's due a lack of new gameplay.  The game hasn't changed at all since I started geocaching about 5 years ago, and I think a lot of geocachers are finding the game stale.  The only way I avoid staleness is by combining geocaching with other hobbies (hiking, etc) and geocaching with friends.  If my only option was to geocache by myself in my city, I probably would have stopped caching altogether about 2 years ago.  

There really needs to be a new cache type, new gameplay, new incentive... something!

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2 hours ago, brendan714 said:

Fewer cache hiders = fewer geocachers invested in the game.  It also suggests that the number of new geocaches will plummet (this is already happening in my area).  I truly think that these numbers are alarming because what if this trend continues? It's not like it's a slow, steady decline; it's a plummet.  I've had the feeling that this was the case, but the numbers confirm it.

What about cache owners who continue to maintain caches that were placed in previous years? Are they no longer "geocachers invested in the game" just because they haven't hidden any new caches recently?

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I don't see why this is alarming or why it can't be explained by the dramatic rise in popularity we all saw when app-based caching really took off.

We are at a point now, in Canada and the US anyway, where the opportunity to attract new cachers through the app has been tapped. There was a surge, which included many people who didn't stick with the game.

Until there is a new innovation that somehow taps into a different group of potential new cachers, we aren't going to see a surge like that again.

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II think that's the way it goes when our hobby is managed by a for-profit company. Many customers want powertrails? Ok, let's allow them, even if a few oldtimers leave. Let's make an app so we can lure in smartphone users, even if they treat it like just another game they can play on their phones and quit after a short time, leaving a mess behind.

However, there have been many attempts to make an open source platform or to try to compete with Groundspeak (like Garmin did), and it never worked out. If you still enjoy this pasttime, you have to live with the changes and find your way.

I think it's a good thing that the numbers are declining. There is still plenty out there to find and only tumors grow endlessly.

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I can't speak for everyone; but as for myself - I've been in the game for only a few years with just over 200 finds. Both my dad and my brother have started geocaching; but have even less experience then I.

All three of us would love to become "hiders" as well as finders; but we understand it is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. We've found enough soggy, broken, and unmaintained caches to know what we don't want to do. We've seen enough boring pill bottles under lamp skirts to know we want something more exciting.

I once adopted a couple caches from someone who moved away, and maintained them successfully for over a year.

What's stopping us from hiding more is:

1) finding a good location that isn't already saturated with hides

2) figuring out who to contact for permission. When submitting a new cache for review, we cannot in good conscience check the little box that says "I have obtained permission" unless we have ACTUALLY talked to the right person - be that a land owner, manager, park ranger, city official, whatever. Finding the right person has been problematic so far. Nobody seems to know who is authorized to grant permission.

Basically, if we're going to be cache owners, we want to be good ones who follow the rules and create a fun experience for our finders.

Not sure if this is what has stopped other potential new hiders.

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1 hour ago, Rebore said:

However, there have been many attempts to make an open source platform or to try to compete with Groundspeak (like Garmin did), and it never worked out. If you still enjoy this pasttime, you have to live with the changes and find your way.

Garmin didn't create an open source platform.  While the name of the site included "Open" it was not based on open source software.  However, it was the same name (but with a different extension) of a geocaching site which *does* use open source software.  The "Open" site with the .com domain was shutdown several years ago but the sites with same name, but use a country based domain are still alive and active in some countries.

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28 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

Garmin didn't create an open source platform.  While the name of the site included "Open" it was not based on open source software.  However, it was the same name (but with a different extension) of a geocaching site which *does* use open source software.  The "Open" site with the .com domain was shutdown several years ago but the sites with same name, but use a country based domain are still alive and active in some countries.

Yes, I'm well aware of that, that's why my wording was "or to compete". Garmins choice for the domain name of their site was very poor and pissed of a lot of people in the open source community.

Edited by Rebore
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9 hours ago, niraD said:

What about cache owners who continue to maintain caches that were placed in previous years? Are they no longer "geocachers invested in the game" just because they haven't hidden any new caches recently?

Geocachers maintaining existing caches are already invested in the game.  I'm speaking mostly of newer players.  I don't know about the average player, but I didn't really gain a true appreciation of the work put in to maintain geocaches until I hid one myself.

If Groundspeak weren't a for-profit company I don't think there's any issue.  But since a reduction in players is directly correlated to a reduction in profits, it's bad news.  If these trends continue, there will come a day (probably not too long from now if 30% of players are lost per year) that the profits won't match the expenses.

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