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Tshio

What's Earthcache Real Purpose?

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Hello, I was wondering about earthcaches. 

First thing, I don't love earthcaches so much, because they make people stick their head in their phones to get the answers, instead of making them admire the GZ. IF people actually get to GZ, because many EC can be answered just from the couch, but let's go on...

I noticed that around my city (Rome, Italy) there are about 30 EC. While some of them actually spot geologically interesting places, the majority of them makes me confused. To make an example, there are five geocaches for five roman obelisk. And the obelisks are all made of the same stone. There is even an EC in the central station that is about the pebbles between the rails. What's this for?

I have an idea about that. If you think about it, it's really easy to place an Earthcache. No hiding spot to find, no manteinance to perform, no logbook to change. An EC can neither be muggled. I guess that many people would love to "place" an Earthcache in a very crowded and touristically relevant place (i. e. Rome's city center) to have a lot of Favorite Points get assigned to them, without any duty about mainteinance at all. Even if the place they chose is not a geological site. 

In conclusion, most (not all) of the Earthcaches look to me as easy FP, without cache mainteinance. Is it right?

Shouldn't Earthcache restriction be more strict to avoid this? What do you think about this whole thing?

Thanks for your answers.

Tshio

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I like EC's. Most of the time they are at interesting places and we use EC's (and virtuals) when planning holidays to see if there are places worth visiting that we overlooked. EC's and virtuals brought us to places we would not have gone otherwise.

As for tasks/answers, I prefer the ECs where answers can (or have to) be found at or near GZ, when answers have to be looked up on the internet I do that when we get back at our accommodation or at home. Depending on the questions there may be unexpected facts to be learned about the location.

I do agree that sometimes questions are not of interest too much (I don't care that a certain mineral was found 100 million or 120 million years ago). ;)

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2 hours ago, Tshio said:

An EC can neither be muggled.

I would say that it's less likely to be muggled, but it is possible for signs/plaques to be vandalized (and some ECs use information on signs/plaques). And in extreme cases, it is possible for vandals or natural disasters to destroy natural features.

 

2 hours ago, Tshio said:

In conclusion, most (not all) of the Earthcaches look to me as easy FP, without cache mainteinance. Is it right?

I wouldn't presume to say why most ECs were placed, but I didn't even think about FP when I placed mine, and none of the ones I've done have seemed like attempts to scrounge FP to me.

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Yes, EarthCaches can be stretched to the point that it's not always clear how they were justified. Some use the geology lesson as an excuse to plant a cache even though it's obvious there are other, perhaps more important reasons, for the CO wanting to put a cache there. I don't have a problem with that. EarthCaches are approved by geologists, so if they're satisfied with the EarthCache's geology, I'm satisfied, too.

 

Yes, some people won't enjoy an EarthCache but instead log them without taking any interest in what's at GZ. That's no reason to get in the way of the rest of us that do EarthCaches specifically because they invite us to look at the location in a deeper way.

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4 hours ago, Tshio said:

Shouldn't Earthcache restriction be more strict to avoid this? What do you think about this whole thing?

 

It seems to depend on the country. In Finland it is extremely difficult to publish a new EC. Many have tried but not succeeded at all.

 

I don't understand you point about favorite points. If the cache is as bad as you described, why would anyone award a favorite for a such cache?

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What a coincidence I am in Rome at the moment during my European trip and today we found 9 EC that I still have to log. I have the same opinion as the OP we got an overdose of Obelisk earthcache today... I don't plan to give them FP.

 

2 hours ago, arisoft said:

 

It seems to depend on the country. In Finland it is extremely difficult to publish a new EC. Many have tried but not succeeded at all.

In Nova Scotia, Canada it's seem not too difficult to publish EC because of the 189 EC available 30 of them got published in 2019.

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There seems to be huge variation around the world about how easy or difficult it is to get an EC published.  I'm going to tread lightly here as I have been punished in the past for commenting on what I considered very poor earthcaches, but regarding the Rome earthcaches - and I haven't looked at them - it sounds like some of those might have some merit and some less so.  I would agree that typically ECs in the middle of a city often are a bit of a stretch (like looking at fossils in limestone blocks that this building is made of) as opposed to ECs out in more natural environments.

 

But at the end of the day if they have been published, then they are available to be found, but only if you want to find them.  Of course you are not forced to find them and it does always amaze me when I hear something like this:

26 minutes ago, Lynx Humble said:

I have the same opinion as the OP we got an overdose of Obelisk earthcache today... I don't plan to give them FP.

After not enjoying the first couple why did you keep doing them??? :ph34r:

 

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7 hours ago, arisoft said:

 

It seems to depend on the country. In Finland it is extremely difficult to publish a new EC. Many have tried but not succeeded at all.

 

I don't understand you point about favorite points. If the cache is as bad as you described, why would anyone award a favorite for a such cache?

Maybe for bringing them to a place, rather than the cache. I give points for being brought to a nice/beautiful/interesting place.

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9 hours ago, funkymunkyzone said:

After not enjoying the first couple why did you keep doing them??? :ph34r:

 

There was others cache around them and I don't like to skip geocache.

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39 minutes ago, Lynx Humble said:

There was others cache around them and I don't like to skip geocache.

 

Funny... :D

 

No matter where we go caching, we do the ones we like and leave whatever we don't like. While doing a multi we once took notes at a WP (info board) where a traditional was "hidden" under a stone at the base of the support pole. Didn't pick it up. Another time (also during a multi) we passed a traditional behind a traffic sign, saw the micro but didn't stop to log.

A few weeks ago we passed a cache at least twice a day at 200m from our hotel in Iceland, didn't stop. We did enjoy the 14 EC's out of 27 founds there though.

The longer we're doing this the less likely we are to pick up caches "because they are there" or for that "+1". That's probably why there are so many caches within 1 Km from home that we haven't done yet.

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7 hours ago, on4bam said:

The longer we're doing this the less likely we are to pick up caches "because they are there" or for that "+1". That's probably why there are so many caches within 1 Km from home that we haven't done yet.

Yep. This isn't Pokemon. You don't "Gotta Catch 'Em All".

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I very much like earthcaches, but just like any cache, their quality  depends on the people who set them, I've looked at a few logging tasks which were short on interest or rigour, and even some which were factually inaccurate.

 

Some earthcaches seem to have been set more as simple virtuals than to show you some geological feature, but those are mostly older earthcaches, and I believe that the rules about tasks required have been tightened up over recent years. Current EC logging task gudelines may be seen here. No-one setting a new EC could just ask, for example,  what colour is the stone, how wide and tall is it. The tasks now must help teach an earth science lesson which is specific to the location, something which makes me very happy as a geology nerd, but frustrates some people without a background in the subject who would like to set an earthcache themselves. I don't believe it is an easy path to a tourist friendly virtual any more.

 

I've not looked at the OP's  local ECs, but I'd be surprised if they were recently published.

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7 hours ago, on4bam said:

No matter where we go caching, we do the ones we like and leave whatever we don't like. While doing a multi we once took notes at a WP (info board) where a traditional was "hidden" under a stone at the base of the support pole. Didn't pick it up. Another time (also during a multi) we passed a traditional behind a traffic sign, saw the micro but didn't stop to log.

A few weeks ago we passed a cache at least twice a day at 200m from our hotel in Iceland, didn't stop. We did enjoy the 14 EC's out of 27 founds there though.

The longer we're doing this the less likely we are to pick up caches "because they are there" or for that "+1". That's probably why there are so many caches within 1 Km from home that we haven't done yet.

:laughing:

Yep.  Years ago we'd get hassled  (some serious, most not) by COs at events for passing caches on the way to another.

Now, many realize themselves that there's just some that have no reason to be there other than a "point", and don't bother too.    :)

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18 minutes ago, niraD said:

Yep. This isn't Pokemon. You don't "Gotta Catch 'Em All".

It's true you don't have to get them all, but I find that every cache has an inherent value, so I do often do them just because they're where I am. It's not because of +1 on line, it's just +1 in my happiness. I don't have to get them all, but I also don't need to ignore a little pleasure because others give me more pleasure.

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On 4/17/2019 at 6:39 AM, Tshio said:

I have an idea about that. If you think about it, it's really easy to place an Earthcache. No hiding spot to find, no manteinance to perform, no logbook to change. An EC can neither be muggled. I guess that many people would love to "place" an Earthcache in a very crowded and touristically relevant place (i. e. Rome's city center) to have a lot of Favorite Points get assigned to them, without any duty about mainteinance at all. Even if the place they chose is not a geological site. 

In conclusion, most (not all) of the Earthcaches look to me as easy FP, without cache mainteinance. Is it right?

 

I'm not the world's most avid Earthcache hider, but I do own over 20 of them with three more currently in the works, so I think that qualifies me to address this question. I will admit that the fact that an earthcache requires comparatively little maintenance, can't be muggled, and can be placed anywhere are a HUGE bonus to ownership. That being said I've never seen them as a higher draw of favorite points. In fact you'll find that a large segment of the caching community actively avoids them as "not worth the hassle," to which I'll respond: To Each Their Own.

 

I move around the country quite frequently, as such EarthCaches are one of the few cache types that I can reliably own. 

 

On 4/17/2019 at 6:39 AM, Tshio said:

Shouldn't Earthcache restriction be more strict to avoid this?


Earthcaches have gotten a lot stricter in recent years. In particular the policy regarding the "uniqueness" of the EC in a geographic area means that in the modern approval process, you wouldn't be able to see 8 ECs on obelisks unless each provided a different lesson. I would imagine (without studying Rome too closely) that a majority of caches you have issue with were published many years ago. 

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On 4/19/2019 at 10:04 PM, STNolan said:

Earthcaches have gotten a lot stricter in recent years. In particular the policy regarding the "uniqueness" of the EC in a geographic area means that in the modern approval process, you wouldn't be able to see 8 ECs on obelisks unless each provided a different lesson. I would imagine (without studying Rome too closely) that a majority of caches you have issue with were published many years ago. 

Earthcaches can be very difficult to hide nowadays. Whereas in the past that wasn't the case. In the US, we have tons of erratics, artesian wells and gauging stations. None of those would be allowed to be published today unless they can be proven to be uniquely geological. I find that a lot of those earthcaches were published because people wanted to hide an earthcache and it was easy to copy something someone else had done elsewhere.

 

Every earthcache that I have hidden, in my opinion, is unique (outside of one). They took quite a bit to create and several took a couple of tries to get published. In some ways, I'm glad that earthcaches are getting more challenging to hide because it keeps the junky ones out of the game. On the other hand, they can be such a challenge to hide that many people don't even bother. I hid one near Lake Michigan that had another possible earthcache essentially at the same location and I expected someone else to have published it by now - as far as I can tell, no one has tried.

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On ‎4‎/‎20‎/‎2019 at 3:04 PM, STNolan said:

Earthcaches have gotten a lot stricter in recent years.

I actually had one published recently that went through on its first go!  Blew me away - I'm not sure that's ever happened to me before.

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7 hours ago, sgerbs said:

On the other hand, they can be such a challenge to hide that many people don't even bother.

 

In my region (the New South Wales Central Coast, Australia) there was one new EarthCache published in March 2018, then the next most recent one is from 2015. Creating ECs is a dead art here.

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Posted (edited)

I'd have to go back and check the reviewer notes to be sure, but not to brag, many of our more recent earthcaches have been published first time go.  It helps to put the leg work in ahead of time, including either getting permission or providing compelling reasoning why site permission would not be required.  Some of these have been on features that would normally be limited categories, like building material or springs, but I knew they were limited categories going in and made sure I had something that lifted the feature in question above the common ruck.

 

In my role as a geoaware, nothing makes me happier than looking at an earthcache, seeing that I don't need to ask for a thing thanks to the CO's preparation, and clicking that publish button.

Edited by hzoi
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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, hzoi said:

In my role as a geoaware, nothing makes me happier...

You sound like an EC reviewer I'd prefer to have looking at my submissions, but I dare say that as a geoaware yourself you are far less likely to come across another geoaware who wants to have an argument for argument's sake. I've had a few of those. I have quite a list of truly comedic rejection responses I've received from other geoawares in the past that clearly showed they simply were not interested in publishing my earthcache at all...

Edited by funkymunkyzone

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