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findertwo

GUIDELINES for widening the search area for caches beyond the POSTED COORDINATES

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My quest for help starts after my geocaching apparatus indicates only a few feet to the geocache.  I seem to be getting worse and more frustrated with each new cache I try to find.  I read the clues and what previous cachers have to say about their find like  'it was near the curb or by this or that sign near the second tree, etc'.  By rule of thumb, how far are you suppposed to search  beyond the zero point that the cache was listed at?

  When is enough distance enough?  Some geocachers have absolutely no problem in knowing how far to search, enabling them to rack up cache after cache in an afternoon.  I remain just looking to find the first cache of the day. 

 

HELP!!!

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3 minutes ago, findertwo said:

My quest for help starts after my geocaching apparatus indicates only a few feet to the geocache.  I seem to be getting worse and more frustrated with each new cache I try to find.  I read the clues and what previous cachers have to say about their find like  'it was near the curb or by this or that sign near the second tree, etc'.  By rule of thumb, how far are you suppposed to search  beyond the zero point that the cache was listed at?

  When is enough distance enough?  Some geocachers have absolutely no problem in knowing how far to search, enabling them to rack up cache after cache in an afternoon.  I remain just looking to find the first cache of the day. 

 

HELP!!!

For me, maybe 30 feet. Possibly more if the cache size is large. I don't see a coordinate issue often in my search though. 

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It all depends upon the cacher doing the hiding.  We've grown accustomed to knowing whose coordinates are good and who is likely to send us on a wild chase.  The latter folks, who seem to be creating coordinates with an out of date USGS map and a ruler, do cause us some grief.  As you get more experienced with the cachers in your local area, you'll know whose coordinates to trust and whose to suspect from the get-go. 

For some owners, it's a problem with the tool(s) they are using, and for others, it's a problem of using the correct technique with the tools they have.  Some newcomers still just place a cache and take a quick snapshot of the coordinates displayed on their device, which often leads to less than optimal results.  Some use old phones whose GPS fix really isn't all that accurate to begin with.  Some fat finger the entry on the cache page.  You just never know.

We have one local cacher who is either spot on or 50' or more off, and you never know what to expect.  We have another cacher that obviously uses good equipment and methods, and we'd be surprised if we weren't within 10 feet most of the time.

 

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54 minutes ago, findertwo said:

My quest for help starts after my geocaching apparatus indicates only a few feet to the geocache.  I seem to be getting worse and more frustrated with each new cache I try to find.  I read the clues and what previous cachers have to say about their find like  'it was near the curb or by this or that sign near the second tree, etc'. 

By rule of thumb, how far are you suppposed to search  beyond the zero point that the cache was listed at?

  When is enough distance enough?  Some geocachers have absolutely no problem in knowing how far to search, enabling them to rack up cache after cache in an afternoon.  I remain just looking to find the first cache of the day. 

 

You can look at your coordinates and go home, but most realize there's a number of factors affecting "accuracy".    :)

You're not a newb, so what are you doing, or using that's different than earlier ?

For one, civilian GPS is still only "accurate" to around 10 feet.  That's an around-average of 10 feet for you, and the CO.

GPS signal "accuracy" depends on a flat surface, and most terrain isn't, bouncing ever-so-slightly to a lot.

Like Max and 99, if we're in a river gorge, around a waterfall, or in a boulder field (a lotta them...) it could be up-to 40' or so.

We're finding new hiders using phones don't understand that just because they have a new "top o the line" model, they still should average coordinates.

 - Those same people will tell you in a Found It that you're 12 feet off, not realizing it may be the norm there.

 

The hide itself sometimes an issue too.   D/T incorrect, or had creep from others not placing it back in the same spot.

We use logs from others as a better clue than most hints we read.

 

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Posted (edited)

I look until its not fun any more. ;) I searched for a cache 30 minutes without success. Sat down on a fallen log to enter my DNF and bring up the next victim on my hit list. I placed my caching bag on the ground beside me and when I got up the cache was literally under my bag in plan sight. 

 

If I'm in the woods with no foot traffic nearby, I'll usually set a non durble marker at GZ to help keep my search centered. Think a stick poked into the ground or 2 stones piled atop one another.Turn tracklog on and set to update on a short time duration. After a reasonable amount of time I'll come back and re-verify that's still a good search center. Review the tracklog and see if there are any gaps in my search pattern. In a perfect world we would start at the posted coordintes and spiral out evenly. What we really do is jump from one possible spot to another, often ignoring a quadrant or even half of the search area,

 

Sometimes with experience a location will speak to you. Think like a hider. I want my cache findable for someone that knows its there, but not obvious to muggles that stumble through GZ. If its a small or micro, its almost always attached to some structure ( a tree, a rock etc) to keep small furry geocachers from dragging it off. If its a regular its probably under a pile of sticks or leaves or in the crotch of a tree. Somewhere that offers natural visual protection. Not all caches are at or below eye level. Look up. Look down. More than one cacher has placed a hide beneath a lamp post in a storm drain that is accessed 60 feet away.

Edited by ras_oscar
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Your searching abilities may be the issue if you're reading hints and what previous finders wrote, yet still not getting it.  

We put our GPSrs away when it gets around 20 to 30 feet and start looking, depending on terrain and possible search areas.

I grid areas if the container gets tough to find.  A high D hide, I've taken tree tape to mark areas.  Looks crazy, works.

We've seen a lot of people do the drunken bee dance,  flittering here n there, missing entire areas in their scramble to find that container.

When I log a DNF and add that I "expanded to 40 feet", I want it to be true.

 

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1 hour ago, findertwo said:

By rule of thumb, how far are you suppposed to search  beyond the zero point that the cache was listed at?

Under ideal conditions, a consumer GPSr will be accurate to about 3m (10ft). That applies both to your device, and to the cache owner’s device, so you may find the container 5-6m (16-20ft) from ground zero under ideal conditions. Under less than ideal conditions, both GPSr readings can be much less accurate.

 

I'll expand my search radius to 30ft without batting an eye. (Of course, sometimes I then return to GZ and find my backpack sitting on top of the cache, but that's a different issue.)

 

And I've found caches hidden in locations where the Estimated Positional Error (EPE) reported by my device was more than 100ft, but the cache owners were aware of the poor GPS reception, and provided specific hints to help narrow down GZ.

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I had one cache that was in a relatively high muggle area where I was looking for about fifteen minutes or so (it only felt like two hours) and just as I was about to give up, I found it. 

4 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

...a lot of people do the drunken bee dance,  flittering here n there...

 

Uh … I've never done that. Nope. Not me... :D

 

4 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

...creep from others not placing it back in the same spot.

 

I can see that happening a lot. So far, out my huge total of … uh … nine finds, I've had one that could have wandered up to a hundred feet (capped pvc pipe in woods) and one that had to be put back in the exact spot it came from, otherwise it would fall out (it is in a crevice in a cement overhang). The rest could all suffer from a bit of creep, but none more than ten to twenty feet or so.

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7 minutes ago, Unit473L said:

I can see that happening a lot. So far, out my huge total of … uh … nine finds, I've had one that could have wandered up to a hundred feet (capped pvc pipe in woods) and one that had to be put back in the exact spot it came from, otherwise it would fall out (it is in a crevice in a cement overhang).

The rest could all suffer from a bit of creep, but none more than ten to twenty feet or so.

 

We see that a lot in group caching, the last person there wondering were it belongs while everyone else is already to another,  and those in nondescript roadside spots.  A bush is a bush kinda thing.    :)

It seems here, it's when someone's in a hurry or gabbing passing it to a friend, then in haste guesstimate where they originally found it.

 

But to be fair, we have seen newbs with no finds placing caches on one mark with their phone, with no averaging, or returning "to be sure".

The last is what made the other 2/3rds give up the hobby.  "Beta-testing" for newbs.  400 feet off, and she still found it.  

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Posted (edited)

I've been caching for almost 20 years now and it's always been 30 feet. I use my cellphone app and that gets me very close to the coordinates. It's weird; Garmin and Magellan always seem to vary but both will get you in the 30ft zone. I also have found that walking and from the cache and walking back in helps with GPSr's but the cellphone app is very accurate on my iPhone.

 

When looking for a cache, make sure you look at prior posts, type of container and the hints. Once you have found enough caches, you will start to get an idea of what to look for. Magnetic containers can be a pain or really small cache containers but if you approach a cache as if you were the one hiding it, you will be successful.

Edited by The_Brownies
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On 7/26/2020 at 5:24 PM, cerberus1 said:

But to be fair, we have seen newbs with no finds placing caches on one mark with their phone, with no averaging, or returning "to be sure".

The last is what made the other 2/3rds give up the hobby.  "Beta-testing" for newbs.  400 feet off, and she still found it.  

Just turned me off to the whole idea of FTF.  I make sure someone has found it before I even think about going out for a new cache. If the FTF mentioned bad coordinates I wait even longer. 

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When Max and I are geocaching together, whoever finds the cache often stays put while the other signs it. We do this to avoid being guilty of moving the cache even a little bit from where we found it. We try to be conscientious of this. When possible. 

 

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2 hours ago, NanCycle said:

Just turned me off to the whole idea of FTF.  I make sure someone has found it before I even think about going out for a new cache. If the FTF mentioned bad coordinates I wait even longer. 

 

There's an FTF up for grabs on a 1.5/2.5 traditional up north of here that was published on Sunday. The CO is very experienced so I'm sure the cache and coordinates will be excellent, but access is along many kilometres of dirt roads and the area had about 100mm of rain on Monday. For now I'm waiting to see if anyone else makes it to GZ and back without getting bogged before I attempt it.

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7 hours ago, Max and 99 said:

When Max and I are geocaching together, whoever finds the cache often stays put while the other signs it. We do this to avoid being guilty of moving the cache even a little bit from where we found it. We try to be conscientious of this. When possible. 

That's my rule whenever I'm geocaching in a group. Whoever retrieves the cache is the person who replaces it. (Often, this is the last person to find the cache, since we usually play "Huckle Buckle Beanstalk" style to give everyone the chance to spot the hide before it is given away.)

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13 hours ago, NanCycle said:

Just turned me off to the whole idea of FTF.  I make sure someone has found it before I even think about going out for a new cache. If the FTF mentioned bad coordinates I wait even longer. 

A recent cache to pop up in my notifications was found the next day--coordinates reported to be 40 ft off.  (Neither the hider nor the finder are anywhere near new.)

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Yes, but is the CO known, while not a newbie, for issues with coordinates?

 

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17 minutes ago, ecanderson said:

Yes, but is the CO known, while not a newbie, for issues with coordinates?

 

No, I was rather surprised to see the comment; I will wait to see what further finders have to say.

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