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GaSnowLady

Mystery cache question

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We're pretty new at this but our club (unrelated to caching) thought about having a themed mystery cache. We would have the question mark over a building that begins the theme. The clue would direct you to a place less than a few miles away where there's a "landmark". Although it's not an official landmark, the clues would narrow down where this place is. Trust me, there isn't another landmark like this anywhere in the area. Then, once you find the landmark, you enter the name of the landmark into the checker to get the cache coordinates. Where the cache would be themed along with the whole thing. Is that allowed? Directing someone to a place w/o coordinates?

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I've done mysteries like that, older ones, I can't see why it would be a problem if the reviewer can see it is doable, and the final is within 2mi of the start. You could definitely make it a Letterbox Hybrid with directions rather than coords...

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GPS usage is required as an integral part of every cache hunt, BUT it is not required to be present at all stages.  The final cache coordinates, derived from the checker, are sufficient to satisfy the GPS usage/coordinates requirement.

 

The bigger issue is whether an out of town visitor would be able to figure out the clues that lead to the "landmark."  Pretend you are visiting from another country.  Can someone who's never been in your area figure out the name of the landmark, based on the clue?  If not, make a better clue.

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Just now, lee737 said:

You could definitely make it a Letterbox Hybrid with directions rather than coords...

The only thing that would make this design a Letterbox Hybrid is if a letterboxing stamp is added to the final cache container.  All letterbox hybrid caches require GPS usage at some stage of the hunt.

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I understand about out-of-towners but I think the majority would be local or family of locals. If I make it too obvious, then it would be too simple. I would state that this landmark would be exactly, "X" miles away so there's limited options as to direction. We'll play with it some more but thanks for the advice...

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56 minutes ago, GaSnowLady said:

I understand about out-of-towners but I think the majority would be local or family of locals

 

What makes you think that?   

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51 minutes ago, CachedIronSkillet said:
1 hour ago, GaSnowLady said:

I understand about out-of-towners but I think the majority would be local or family of locals

 

What makes you think that?

 

I wondered about that too.  There are some geocachers that even prefer finding geocaches out of town/state/country over finding them locally.  There are several regulars in these forums that have found caches in 25 or more different countries (and I know of one that has found them in over 70 countries). 

 

That said, note that Keystone said that if the cache would be difficult for someone without local knowledge to provide a better clue.  While you *can* create a cache which mostly would be found by locals, that would add a constraint that would reduce the number of people that will attempt it.  Mystery and Multi cache already get a few people that will systematically ignore them so making it so that someone visiting the area will just get frustrated after finding the first stages isn't going to get many favorite points.  

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Let me state it this way; the "landmark" is in front of a business. From where the question mark is, relates to the business the landmark is in front of. For example, let's say the question mark is on a harley motorcycle dealer and the clues would lead you to a place exactly 2.5 miles from that dealer to a retailer that specializes in high performance motorcycle jobs and the sign out front has a harley motorcycle on top. If you know it's motorcycle themed and you "googled" motorcycle themed retailers in the area, it's only going to bring up a couple and how many are going to be exactly 2.5 miles away?

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23 minutes ago, GaSnowLady said:

Let me state it this way; the "landmark" is in front of a business. From where the question mark is, relates to the business the landmark is in front of. For example, let's say the question mark is on a harley motorcycle dealer and the clues would lead you to a place exactly 2.5 miles from that dealer to a retailer that specializes in high performance motorcycle jobs and the sign out front has a harley motorcycle on top. If you know it's motorcycle themed and you "googled" motorcycle themed retailers in the area, it's only going to bring up a couple and how many are going to be exactly 2.5 miles away?

 

 Okay, but if the landmark is indeed in front of a business, you're going to have to be careful how the cache description is written up so that it doesn't create the perception that there is any commercial solicitation involved.  Just from this post, it sound like the cache is being placed to promote Harley.  I'm not saying that it's wrong to promote the Harley brand, but you can't list a geocache that promotes a brand or business.

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10 hours ago, GaSnowLady said:

Let me state it this way; the "landmark" is in front of a business. From where the question mark is, relates to the business the landmark is in front of. For example, let's say the question mark is on a harley motorcycle dealer and the clues would lead you to a place exactly 2.5 miles from that dealer to a retailer that specializes in high performance motorcycle jobs and the sign out front has a harley motorcycle on top. If you know it's motorcycle themed and you "googled" motorcycle themed retailers in the area, it's only going to bring up a couple and how many are going to be exactly 2.5 miles away?

 

Like NYPC described, it would take some careful crafting to make this cache work without violating the "commercial cache" parts of the guidelines. In the example described above, getting finders to search for nearby motorcycle retailers might be right on the line of whether it could be considered "commercial" or not.

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How could it be interpreted as commercial if one is a "fan" of the brand? I mean, I see movie themed caches, caches referring to freight railroads, visitor's centers, why not harley motorcycles, kawasaki jetskis or maybe boeing airplanes or airforce planes? What if I picked a movie that had harley motorcycles in it? Would that seem less commercial?

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Here's a cache that relied on an anomaly in Google Maps. That issue did not last long and the cache had to be archived. The key was that Google had placed a business in the wrong place. No mention of the business name in the cache description. And, a non-local would not have be able to determine it, it really required local knowledge.

 

Two points:

First, this cache illustrates how you might construct a cache description that relies on a business name, but does not mention a business name. 

 

Second, it also points out an issue with using online mapping services to help find caches, and this is, those services may be corrected, or the nature of the service changes. You mention exactly 2.5 miles away. Is that straight line distance, driving distance, walking distance or taking the bus distance? A number of online mapping services allow one to pick the method of transport when showing distance. And, will a variety of these kinds of services give you the same results? Last, your cache maintenance would need to include making sure that changes within those services haven't altered anything (like what happened to the cache above).

 

I'm not saying don't do it, just think through all of the particulars on this.

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1 hour ago, GaSnowLady said:

How could it be interpreted as commercial if one is a "fan" of the brand? I mean, I see movie themed caches, caches referring to freight railroads, visitor's centers, why not harley motorcycles, kawasaki jetskis or maybe boeing airplanes or airforce planes? What if I picked a movie that had harley motorcycles in it? Would that seem less commercial?

 

Help center article about commercial content states that pop culture references are usually okay. You can read more from here https://www.geocaching.com/help/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=22&pgid=475

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8 minutes ago, Wet Pancake Touring Club said:

Second, it also points out an issue with using online mapping services to help find caches, and this is, those services may be corrected, or the nature of the service changes. You mention exactly 2.5 miles away. Is that straight line distance, driving distance, walking distance or taking the bus distance? A number of online mapping services allow one to pick the method of transport when showing distance. And, will a variety of these kinds of services give you the same results? Last, your cache maintenance would need to include making sure that changes within those services haven't altered anything (like what happened to the cache above).

 

I've had much the same thing happen on one of my caches, GC5V6C6, which I called Reeves Street or Reeves Road? It originally came about when a friend told me to meet him at the end of Reeves Street but he was at the Somersby end which was then called Reeves Road in both Google maps and even on one of the physical street signs, whereas I was at the Narara end in what was shown and signposted as Reeves Street. A couple of years after the cache was published, Google updated their map to show both ends as Reeves Street and eventually the sign at the Somersby end was also changed to Reeves Street. I left the cache and the cache name as it was a fun story, and the caves at GZ are still a cache-worthy place, but added a footnote to the description about the changes to the street name.

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The other confusing thing was, I emailed the geocache HQ for clarification and basically was told to “try” my idea and it was up to the reviewer. Guess I will and see what happens...

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Nothing confusing about that.  A lot of this depends on the exact wording of your cache page.  Be sure not to mention any business name!

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17 hours ago, Keystone said:

Nothing confusing about that.  A lot of this depends on the exact wording of your cache page.  Be sure not to mention any business name!

 

I'm struggling with getting a cache published right now and am having an issue that is related to this.  The cache is a mystery that has finders visit some places in a town, these locations hosting some active over-a-century old systems.  The systems were only created by one company back then, and the photo of the sample item that the finders need to find have the name of the company on it.  The cache isn't meant to be an advertisement for this company, which (I recently found out) still exists as a subsidiary of another much larger company.  The cache is meant to highlight that this technology is still actively used even in the modern age in which the technology has been replaced by many generations of improvements.  I'm struggling with trying to make this a special cache with some history written in the description, and not turn it into a "go to these waypoints, find numbers, find the cache, and get a smiley" boring puzzle.  

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1 hour ago, GeoElmo6000 said:

The systems were only created by one company back then, and the photo of the sample item that the finders need to find have the name of the company on it.

 

Sometimes reviewers accepts this kind of references and sometimes not. If not, then they sometimes suggest what you can do to get accepted and sometimes not.

 

For example, a reviewer (not a local one) gave me a hint that you can promote business on your own profile page. In this case you could put the image on your profile page if it is not allowed on the cache page.

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4 hours ago, GeoElmo6000 said:

I'm struggling with getting a cache published right now and am having an issue that is related to this.  The cache is a mystery that has finders visit some places in a town, these locations hosting some active over-a-century old systems.  The systems were only created by one company back then, and the photo of the sample item that the finders need to find have the name of the company on it.  The cache isn't meant to be an advertisement for this company, which (I recently found out) still exists as a subsidiary of another much larger company.  The cache is meant to highlight that this technology is still actively used even in the modern age in which the technology has been replaced by many generations of improvements.  I'm struggling with trying to make this a special cache with some history written in the description, and not turn it into a "go to these waypoints, find numbers, find the cache, and get a smiley" boring puzzle.  

 

You might be able to approach this from a different angle. While the company that made the machines is still in business, the tech may have historical or cultural significance. For example, a Corliss Steam Engine. (While most operational units are in museums, there are a few that are still being used for their original purpose.) This particular steam engine was important because it made steam power more economical than water power. It was 30% more efficient than previous steam engines. This allowed industrial development away from streams or millponds. I believe that company names, brand names and/or trademarks can be used in cache description if there is a cultural or historical significance. Another example is where a company name becomes part of the language. Take Xerox for example, it got turned into a verb. I'm going to Xerox this page. The context of the usage of a company name might be important.

 

 

A second point is that you are illustrating the use of a product, not the company that made it. I know of several caches with 'Deere' in the title. In all cases I know of, the cache is located near or on a John Deere piece of equipment. The CO is not promoting the company, but giving the cacher a clue to where the cache is located.

 

I don't know if any of this would apply in your case. I hope you are successful in getting your cache developed and published.

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On 4/23/2019 at 12:09 PM, GaSnowLady said:

The other confusing thing was, I emailed the geocache HQ for clarification and basically was told to “try” my idea and it was up to the reviewer. Guess I will and see what happens...

Give it a go and see what they say.  You can always do the write up and not actually place the cache yet and get the reviewer to look at it (obviously clearly asking them to review it but not to actually publish it yet).  This is what we sometimes do to check if a hiding spot is viable.

 

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