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What3words


gcneuk
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Mystery caches based on the "What 3 Words" site are publishable, because the locations resolve to accurate coordinates.  There is a feature on the website that provides the coordinates.

 

I have probably published a dozen or so of these, and that's just in portions of two US States.

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1 hour ago, on4bam said:

If that's correct you've just disclosed your exact location. :rolleyes:

 

 

Nice! Oxford, I'm in need of a new water hose. Do you leave that shed unlocked? :ph34r:

 

Here are the words that get you to my unlocked shed: certainty.cavaliers.credentials

Sorry I don't have a water hose but there may be a sack of manure in there if anyone needs it. :P

 

p.s. There is no geocache hidden at this location.

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3 minutes ago, Mudfrog said:

 

Nice! Oxford, I'm in need of a new water hose. Do you leave that shed unlocked? :ph34r:

 

Here are the words that get you to my unlocked shed: certainty.cavaliers.credentials

Sorry I don't have a water hose but there may be a sack of manure in there if anyone needs it. :P

 

p.s. There is no geocache hidden at this location.

 

Interesting.  Of the thousands of words they use, "credentials" is in my house location as well.

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2 hours ago, on4bam said:

If that's correct you've just disclosed your exact location. :rolleyes:

 

Yes (I do know how it works...) - I'm naive enough to not be massively bothered. The most valuable thing in there would be a proper French boules / pétanque set. If you want to steal the bike I've not ridden for 10 years, you're welcome to it.

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15 hours ago, gcneuk said:

Has anyone come across this app. It's a great idea. I was wondering if there's anyone who uses it while geocaching or setting a new cache up. 

 You don't need  to download the app, there is a what3words.com website. The easiest way I've come across to code/encode w3w to/from co-ordinates is the excellent geocaching toolbox

 

Now this ( somewhat sarcastic take off of the w3w idea ) alternative is amusing , and I'd love to use it in a puzzle, but I don't think there is an easy way to get co-ordinates out of it to provide the required 'GPS use ' element ...what3emojis

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1 hour ago, on4bam said:

The geocaching toolbox is the way to go. I guess you can solve most mysteries using that site.

 

 

 

Are you really solving the puzzle if you just use an app/tool that spits out the answer?  Though, I guess  in the case of what3words that's pretty much now it's intended to be done.   

 

I've come across a geoart that used puzzle caches, and included a link to what3words and three words that would generate the coordinates.   It was a way to create puzzle caches that required a minimal effort to solve.  

 

 

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1 minute ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

Are you really solving the puzzle if you just use an app/tool that spits out the answer? 

 

Are you solving ROTx if you use a tool or if you count letters?

Are you solving math puzzles on paper or do you use a calculator?

When Morse is used in a puzzle I just "read" or "hear" it, I guess most will use a tool or a table to look things up. Didn't they solve it?

Do you decode EXIF by hand or use a tool?

.......

 

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1 minute ago, on4bam said:

 

Are you solving ROTx if you use a tool or if you count letters?

Are you solving math puzzles on paper or do you use a calculator?

When Morse is used in a puzzle I just "read" or "hear" it, I guess most will use a tool or a table to look things up. Didn't they solve it?

Do you decode EXIF by hand or use a tool?

.......

 

 

If someone just gives you the final coordinates to a puzzle cache, are you solving the puzzle? 

 

Some of those tools, don't require any understanding of the puzzle at all.   Just cut-in-paste some text into a form, and it'll spit out the answer.   To me, obtaining the answer doesn't mean that one has solved the puzzle.   One of those tools is a Sudoku solver.   It just requires entering numbers from a sudoku puzzle into a form and  *the tool* solves the sudoku.  That's not the same a solving a sudoku with pen and paper. 

 

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2 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

 

If someone just gives you the final coordinates to a puzzle cache, are you solving the puzzle? 

 

Some of those tools, don't require any understanding of the puzzle at all.   Just cut-in-paste some text into a form, and it'll spit out the answer.   To me, obtaining the answer doesn't mean that one has solved the puzzle.   One of those tools is a Sudoku solver.   It just requires entering numbers from a sudoku puzzle into a form and  *the tool* solves the sudoku.  That's not the same a solving a sudoku with pen and paper. 

 

You didn't answer the questions ^_^

Yes, I solve a sudoku by hand, Or better, I use GIMP so I can start over if something goes wrong instead of printing on "trees".

Solving means, recognizing what the puzzle is, and working out a solution with or without a "calculator". Getting final coordinates from someone is a totally different beast.

 

 

 

 

 

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33 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

 

If someone just gives you the final coordinates to a puzzle cache, are you solving the puzzle? 

 

Some of those tools, don't require any understanding of the puzzle at all.   Just cut-in-paste some text into a form, and it'll spit out the answer.   To me, obtaining the answer doesn't mean that one has solved the puzzle.   One of those tools is a Sudoku solver.   It just requires entering numbers from a sudoku puzzle into a form and  *the tool* solves the sudoku.  That's not the same a solving a sudoku with pen and paper. 

 

 

For myself, I tend to agree.

With one major exception.  I HATEHATEHATE tedium, so I tend to write programs to solve puzzles: 

  • If I have personally written the tool that makes the solution a simple operation, then I have solved it myself. 
  • If I use somebody else's tool, then I have not completely solved it myself. 

Seems straightforward, right?

 

But what about using other people's libraries in my program?  For example, I wrote my own Sudoku solver but I used a package called python-constraint to implement the constraint logic.   I frequently use numpy for numerics.  Do those count as not solving it myself?

 

It's a fuzzy thing that requires discernment.  For my caches, I completely don't care how other people solve them.  As long as they have fun, I am happy.

 

On topic:  I got myself a token for W3W and I wrote my own tool to encode/decode them.

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1 hour ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

Are you really solving the puzzle if you just use an app/tool that spits out the answer?

 

That's why I more greatly respect puzzles that have some element of uniqueness to them, a twist that can't be solved merely by dropping the puzzle into a solver. The nice thing about standard puzzles is you pretty much have the choice (if you have the knowledge) to solve it yourself or to 'skip ahead / save time' and use a solver. The latter obviously can be contentious and "cheating" to some, but that's the way it is today.  *cough* sudoku puzzles *cough* rot-13 *cough* cryptograms *cough* distance/bearing projection, even *cough*

 

Think outside the box in your puzzles, avoid giving people even the temptation to use a solver (or thwart that strategy)

 

W3W isn't a puzzle type. It's a conversion method. The only 'puzzle' is if you don't know what "3 words" can convert to. If you do, you must use a tool.  Now that W3W is known, good puzzles may themselves solve to 3 words as a coordinate encoding; that can open the door for some puzzle styles that might not be able to produce a numeric coordinate for instance. (Kind of like reverse wherigos with their three numbers - you can have fun doing the hot/cold thing, or use the 'tool' that just extracts the coordinates and "cheat")

But this is all moving into puzzle design and the spectrum of methods from converting to encoding and encrypting...

 

As fizzymagic said:

34 minutes ago, fizzymagic said:

It's a fuzzy thing that requires discernment.

 

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1 hour ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

 

Are you really solving the puzzle if you just use an app/tool that spits out the answer?  Though, I guess  in the case of what3words that's pretty much now it's intended to be done.   

 

 

yep, w3w is not really something you could 'solve' for yourself with paper and pencil ....

But then for me , anything which can be solved in seconds with an online tool isn't a really interesting puzzle unless , say, those  vital 3 words are somehow cleverly concealed in the text or something.

 

Curse my slow typing ! theBruce0 just said pretty much what I was going to say .

I'll add though, there is a sudden fashion round my area for those awful online jigsaws as cache puzzles, co-ords in the final message.

Doing them is pure relentless tedium , and I'd be eternally grateful to anyone who can devise an online solver !

 

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1 minute ago, hal-an-tow said:

there is a sudden fashion round my area for those awful online jigsaws as cache puzzles, co-ords in the final message.

Doing them is pure relentless tedium , and I'd be eternally grateful to anyone who can devise an online solver !

 

When they were first popular, they weren't very well programmed, and the final puzzle (usually with coordinates in the image somewhere) was loaded to the front-end. A savvy tech user to easily see the final image. In some cases other methods were used that could also be easily (ymmv) reverse engineered. Those puzzle sites are getting better at obfuscating or entirely removing the solutions on the front end though. So yay (ymmv) :P

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1 hour ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

If someone just gives you the final coordinates to a puzzle cache, are you solving the puzzle? 

 

Nowadays this seems to be a standard way to solve a puzzle.

 

If a player can enter coordinates to a geochecker and it accepts the answer, then they say that they have solved the puzzle, even though they got coordinates from a friend.

 

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To me, solving the puzzle is determining the method needed. I've seen a couple of puzzles based on the German Enigma machine. I don't need to understand the internals of the Enigma machine in order to use it, solving the puzzle is recognizing when it is the right tool for the job. 

 

So, where is '756e696f6e2e68616e672e64617368'? I don't know of any single tool that will get you the coordinates, but I know of a pair that will get you the answer with a couple of quick cuts & pastes.

 

If I ask, where is '--... ..... -.... . -.... ----. -.... ..-. -.... . ..--- . -.... ---.. -.... .---- -.... . -.... --... ..--- . -.... ....- -.... .---- --... ...-- -.... ---..', it now takes three tools, rather than two. (For on4bam and others that 'hear' morse code, one of those tools is their own mind.) 

 

In both examples, some of the steps could be done with pencil and paper or a web site, and one of the steps requires an online tool. To me, solving the puzzle is determining that the hexadecimal conversion is not to decimal, but instead to text.

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3 hours ago, on4bam said:

You didn't answer the questions ^_^

Yes, I solve a sudoku by hand, Or better, I use GIMP so I can start over if something goes wrong instead of printing on "trees".

Solving means, recognizing what the puzzle is, and working out a solution with or without a "calculator". Getting final coordinates from someone is a totally different beast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'd maintain that getting the final coordinates from someone isn't much different than using some of the tools available.  For example, there is one that will accept a string of text, then, if it can figure out what type of cipher is being used, will just output the result.  

 

In a geocaching puzzle group I've read I see lots of example where, after looking at the source code for the listing, and checking if any image have EXIF data, they've exhausted their puzzle solving skills and ask for "a hint".  Often the hint is "look in geocaching toolbox", or will describe what kind of cipher is being used.   Quite often, discovering where the puzzle is or what type of puzzle is being used is more than a hint.   If someone shows me a pigpen cipher and asks for a hint, answer that it's a pigpen cipher pretty much solves it for them, because all they need to do is search for pigpen cipher and there are dozens of sites which describe exactly how to decipher pigpen code.  

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OK, now you bring in asking hints... I was saying "recognizing what the puzzle is and hen using a tool to (help) solving is solving the puzzle". Which it is. Back to Morse then. Can you "read" or "hear" it without tools? If not, have you ever solved a Morse puzzle? I guess looking up each character in a list is not solving either?

 

 

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First time I solved w3w puzzle, there was three pictures or something else (don't remember now) that suggested three words. Frustrated, I googled "how the (explicit) I get coordinates from just three words?" or something like that and I got a link to their web page. I was pretty proud of myself for solving that because I had never heard of this.

On retrospect, I just used the best tool there is for solving.

 

Still, recognizing what the problem is (if it is cleverly hidden) to me equals solving. Doesn't matter if it comes instantly, but of course is more rewarding if it requires some analysis (text or numerical) of the "input" .

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15 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

Are you really solving the puzzle if you just use an app/tool that spits out the answer?  Though, I guess  in the case of what3words that's pretty much now it's intended to be done. 

 

Yeh, I don't see how you can resolve a what3words string into coordinates without using a tool.  And, changes they've made to the w3w website make finding the coordinates quite a challenge now.  The Geocaching Toolbox is certainly a better proposition.

 

14 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

If someone just gives you the final coordinates to a puzzle cache, are you solving the puzzle? 

 

Some of those tools, don't require any understanding of the puzzle at all.   Just cut-in-paste some text into a form, and it'll spit out the answer.   To me, obtaining the answer doesn't mean that one has solved the puzzle.   One of those tools is a Sudoku solver.   It just requires entering numbers from a sudoku puzzle into a form and  *the tool* solves the sudoku.  That's not the same a solving a sudoku with pen and paper. 

 

11 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

I'd maintain that getting the final coordinates from someone isn't much different than using some of the tools available.  For example, there is one that will accept a string of text, then, if it can figure out what type of cipher is being used, will just output the result.

 

I disagree here.  You may not have solved the sudoku but you have solved the (geocaching) puzzle.

 

I have a puzzle that uses a stereogram (aka a 'magic eye' picture).  A lot of people struggle to 'see' these hidden images, and use tools to deconstruct them.  That may not be the way that I intended, but they've still solved my puzzle.  And what about puzzles that rely on identifying pictures (people, places, etc.)?  Is reverse image searching allowed?  That just spits out a match ... if you're lucky!

 

I'd say, that a huge part of solving puzzles is knowing about and using the tools at your disposal.  Taking the final coordinates from someone else is not puzzle solving by any stretch of the imagination.

 

15 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

I've come across a geoart that used puzzle caches, and included a link to what3words and three words that would generate the coordinates.   It was a way to create puzzle caches that required a minimal effort to solve.

 

There are all sorts of ways to create uninspiring puzzles!  I have a w3w puzzle that I'd like to think is a little more inspirational. ;-)

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18 hours ago, hal-an-tow said:

 You don't need  to download the app, there is a what3words.com website. The easiest way I've come across to code/encode w3w to/from co-ordinates is the excellent geocaching toolbox

 

Now this ( somewhat sarcastic take off of the w3w idea ) alternative is amusing , and I'd love to use it in a puzzle, but I don't think there is an easy way to get co-ordinates out of it to provide the required 'GPS use ' element ...what3emojis

If you open the what3words location in Google Maps and share it. It gives you the GPS location.

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13 hours ago, on4bam said:

OK, now you bring in asking hints... I was saying "recognizing what the puzzle is and hen using a tool to (help) solving is solving the puzzle". Which it is. Back to Morse then. Can you "read" or "hear" it without tools? If not, have you ever solved a Morse puzzle? I guess looking up each character in a list is not solving either?

 

 

Perhaps there isn't a single definitive answer for when a tool is used to [help] solve a puzzle.  I was talking specifically about some of the tools in geocaching toolbox where most of the solving is done by the tool.

 

You realize that there may actually be different levels of "solving", right?  

 

I bring up hint, only in the context of the geocaching puzzle group, where "hints" are requested and the hint is basically, use this tool in he geocaching toolbox that will solve the puzzle.  

 

Since you seem to be stuck on Morse code puzzles,  Yes I have solved a puzzle cache based on Morse code and ended up looking up code in a table to derive the coordinates.  However, it wasn't as simple as reading the code off the cache page and translating to numbers.  If it were that simple, then I would say that recognizing the code as morse code, then looking it up in a table is solving the puzzle.  However, in the one I did,  one had to figure out how to convert the text on the cache page listing to morse code, and even that morse code was even involved.   That was the solving part.  The rest was just transcription.  

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3 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

Perhaps there isn't a single definitive answer for when a tool is used to [help] solve a puzzle.  I was talking specifically about some of the tools in geocaching toolbox where most of the solving is done by the tool.

 

You realize that there may actually be different levels of "solving", right?  

 

I bring up hint, only in the context of the geocaching puzzle group, where "hints" are requested and the hint is basically, use this tool in he geocaching toolbox that will solve the puzzle.  

 

Since you seem to be stuck on Morse code puzzles,  Yes I have solved a puzzle cache based on Morse code and ended up looking up code in a table to derive the coordinates.  However, it wasn't as simple as reading the code off the cache page and translating to numbers.  If it were that simple, then I would say that recognizing the code as morse code, then looking it up in a table is solving the puzzle.  However, in the one I did,  one had to figure out how to convert the text on the cache page listing to morse code, and even that morse code was even involved.   That was the solving part.  The rest was just transcription.  

 

A very unnecessary off-topic rant. Why not just start your own thread.

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Just a warning to all...

 

A long while back, I was solving a ? cache that was based on W3W, and discovered that the official W3W site (what3words.com) produced a slightly different result as compared to another site (pretty sure it was geocachingtoolbox.com) that was used by the CO to resolve the same set of words into coordinates.  Needless to say, we didn't find the cache until we communicated and discovered that there was a discrepancy in how the two sites resolved that set of 3 words to coordinates.  Not sure how this happened, as one would have thought the geocachingtoolbox site would perhaps have been making some sort of calls to the what3words site, but either it isn't, or something got mangled in the 'translation'.

 

I may try to see if I can find the cache that caused the problem, and if it's been archived, I'll publish the GC code so that others can see where the comparison failed.

 

Sorry to those 3rd party sites trying to do the job, but to other potential COs: If you're planning to create a ? cache that employs this method, please, please, just stick with the official site.

 

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1 hour ago, ecanderson said:

... there was a discrepancy in how the two sites resolved that set of 3 words to coordinates.  Not sure how this happened, as one would have thought the geocachingtoolbox site would perhaps have been making some sort of calls to the what3words site

 

Actually, I have never been able to get the coordinates out from what3words.com. They just show the location on the map. which I used to click-convert to coordinates using another net site. Now of course Toolbox does the conversion back and forth and I would assume most COs would use that to set their cache coordinates.

As far as I understand, the word addresses are distributed randomly so there's no algorithm to calculate the coordinates from the words. But I may be wrong.

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4 hours ago, papu66 said:

Actually, I have never been able to get the coordinates out from what3words.com.


Top-right of the screen select Options (head and shoulders icon).  Under Share Settings you can choose what to share along with the w3w code, including the coordinates in various formats.

 

Then on the map, when you choose Share (the little network-like icon), you’ll see whatever you selected.

 

Took me a while to find this. ?

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6 hours ago, ecanderson said:

Just a warning to all...

 

A long while back, I was solving a ? cache that was based on W3W, and discovered that the official W3W site (what3words.com) produced a slightly different result as compared to another site (pretty sure it was geocachingtoolbox.com) that was used by the CO to resolve the same set of words into coordinates.  Needless to say, we didn't find the cache until we communicated and discovered that there was a discrepancy in how the two sites resolved that set of 3 words to coordinates.  Not sure how this happened, as one would have thought the geocachingtoolbox site would perhaps have been making some sort of calls to the what3words site, but either it isn't, or something got mangled in the 'translation'.

 

I may try to see if I can find the cache that caused the problem, and if it's been archived, I'll publish the GC code so that others can see where the comparison failed.

 

Sorry to those 3rd party sites trying to do the job, but to other potential COs: If you're planning to create a ? cache that employs this method, please, please, just stick with the official site.

 

Odd that there are different results produced.  But then different sites have different ways of calculating things.  Stats can vary between the "official" geocaching.com stats tab on my profile (which are, I believe, reliant on the work done by the folks behind mygeocachingprofile.com), the ones on project-gc.com, and the ones GSAK spits out when I run the FindStatGen macro.

 

As it pertains to what3words (he typed, neatly returning to the subject of the thread), perhaps this is a good illustration of why it's helpful for puzzle owners to add a checker of some sort to the cache page.

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