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KonstantinMMRR

How Far Away Should a Simple Cache Be From The Posted Coordinates?

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I have been seeing some recently-placed, simple caches that are more than 30 feet from the posted coordinates. I believe this is done purposefully. Is this considered ethical? I always try to write my posted coordinates as close as possible to the actual cache.

 

Thank you for your help. 

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10 minutes ago, KonstantinMMRR said:

I have been seeing some recently-placed, simple caches that are more than 30 feet from the posted coordinates. I believe this is done purposefully. Is this considered ethical? I always try to write my posted coordinates as close as possible to the actual cache.

 

Thank you for your help. 

It depends on who you ask. A former reviewer in our area told me it was perfectly okay for the coordinates of a traditional to be 150 feet from the final location, called it an offset cache. We also have had local caches where the cache page states you'll find the cache within about a hundred ft of the coordinates so use your geo senses. 

If you ask me the coordinates need to accurately show where the final container is. According to the geocaching help center a traditional is supposed to be at the posted coordinates. 

In my opinion if the coordinates are 30 ft off they might need to be adjusted. But not just from the word of one player. That person may be the one that's wrong. 😁

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Traditional Caches must be at the posted coordinates, and the cache owner is expected to do their best to obtain accurate coordinates.  30 feet off is not unexpected, given the differences in satellite arrays between the day the CO hid the cache and the day another geocacher visited.

 

Occasionally a cache owner comes up with the (un-original) idea to intentionally "blur" the coordinates in order to make the cache "more challenging."  This is not contemplated by the Geocache Hiding Guidelines and a Community Volunteer Reviewer may take action if it can be proved that the inaccuracy is intentional.

 

An "offset" cache is properly listed as a Multi-Cache, not a Traditional Cache.

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48 minutes ago, KonstantinMMRR said:

I have been seeing some recently-placed, simple caches that are more than 30 feet from the posted coordinates. I believe this is done purposefully. Is this considered ethical?

By definition, a traditional cache is "a container at the given coordinates". The coordinates should be as accurate as possible.

 

Some cache owners use false coordinates to hide the fact that their cache is within 528ft/161m of another cache. Some cache owners use deliberately "soft" coordinates to make finding their cache more challenging. Both of these approaches are wrong. The coordinates should be as accurate as possible.

 

With that said, under ideal conditions, a consumer GPSr will be accurate to about 3m (10ft). That applies both to the seeker's device, and to the cache owner’s device. Therefore, the container may be found 5-6m (16-20ft) from ground zero under ideal conditions. Under less than ideal conditions, both GPSr readings can be much less accurate. I have found caches in areas with an EPE (Estimated Positional Error) of more than 100ft/30m. In such situations, the owners provided information in the descriptions/hints to help narrow down the search.

 

 

39 minutes ago, Max and 99 said:

A former reviewer in our area told me it was perfectly okay for the coordinates of a traditional to be 150 feet from the final location, called it an offset cache.

An offset cache is a type of multi-cache, not a type of traditional cache.

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Thank you for your responses. I understand the idea of an offset cache, and It seems fair to place a cache a short distance away from the coordinates, as long as the description indicates so. I don't think it is fair to place a standard cache with a difficulty rating of 1.5 between 30 and 40 feet from the coordinates.

 

The caches I am referring to obviously have the wrong coordinates. It is not just a matter of the GPS being off.  Without using a GPS, I can look at the satellite map and see where the coordinates are, and where the actual cache is, way off from each other.  One cache is even around the corner of a building from where the coordinates are.

 

Thank you for your help.

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3 hours ago, niraD said:

An offset cache is a type of multi-cache, not a type of traditional cache.

I lost that argument. 😬

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40 minutes ago, KonstantinMMRR said:

The caches I am referring to obviously have the wrong coordinates. It is not just a matter of the GPS being off.  Without using a GPS, I can look at the satellite map and see where the coordinates are, and where the actual cache is, way off from each other.  One cache is even around the corner of a building from where the coordinates are.

 

Beware that the satellite images aren't all that accurate in some places. Here's an example at the boundary of two tiles near one of my caches where the alignment error looks to be about six metres. Which one is right?

 

SIXMapsAlignmentError.jpg.8214e39612dc5e6445f8b94a5e3fdfa4.jpg

 

A lot of the time, bad coordinates are unintentional. I've noticed when using the official app on my Android phone that, if I stand reasonably still, the app stops taking position readings (presumably to save battery power) and I then have to walk a considerable distance, maybe ten, twenty or more metres, before it twigs to the fact that I've moved and starts updating again. There's a multi I did a few years back that showed the coordinates of two waypoints almost on top of each other when in fact they were some 30 metres apart. The CO corrected it as soon as I pointed it out but it looked like she was caught by the same trap of the phone not updating her position.

 

For my own caches, I always use my GPSr and always check the coordinates on at least two different days., and if they don't agree within a few metres I'll keep checking until I can get a good average or decide to add helper photos to the cache page if reception there is simply too poor.

Edited by barefootjeff
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6 hours ago, KonstantinMMRR said:

I have been seeing some recently-placed, simple caches that are more than 30 feet from the posted coordinates.

I believe this is done purposefully. Is this considered ethical? I always try to write my posted coordinates as close as possible to the actual cache.

 

Are people finding them ?    Why do you feel it's done on purpose ?   

Sometimes we find folks who don't understand the "accuracy" of civilian GPS.    :)

Up to 30' isn't that bad here, where iron ore makes you want to return a day or two later, JIC, to get accurate coordinates.

  - Some believe that because they have that brand-new gizmo, it has to be the most accurate ever created.   Some finders too.  :D

This isn't the first time someone claimed others caches are off.  One in our area would mention when caches were much less.  

But I sorta agree with Max and 99, if many aren't saying the same, maybe it isn't as off as you believe.

 

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16 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

 

Are people finding them ?    Why do you feel it's done on purpose ?   

Sometimes we find folks who don't understand the "accuracy" of civilian GPS.    :)

Up to 30' isn't that bad here, where iron ore makes you want to return a day or two later, JIC, to get accurate coordinates.

  - Some believe that because they have that brand-new gizmo, it has to be the most accurate ever created.   Some finders too.  :D

This isn't the first time someone claimed others caches are off.  One in our area would mention when caches were much less.  

But I sorta agree with Max and 99, if many aren't saying the same, maybe it isn't as off as you believe.

 

I have found out coordinates done on purpose, as the CO has said so in the description. I haven't found one like that for awhile though, and these days I might put a NM on it.

Most caches by experienced cachers I would expect to be within a few metres, and most are. Very rare to find one of those caches more than about 5 metres out. 30' (copy paste: 9.144 metres) is too far out, unless it's very difficult terrain.

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2 hours ago, KonstantinMMRR said:

I don't think it is fair to place a standard cache with a difficulty rating of 1.5 between 30 and 40 feet from the coordinates.

 

Usually, when caches are far from GZ, that's mentioned in the logs.  If I encounter one like that, I'll at least mention how far and in which direction the cache was from GZ "on my GPS".  Sometimes when I eventually find the cache, my GPS has settled out a little, and the reading is not so bad after all.  Some places are tough to get a good reading, and "satellite" maps can be misaligned in places.  If the CO is using the default Apple iOS phone compass App to get coordinates to hide caches, it's possible that all caches would be at least a little off -- the display in that App is not accurate enough for great Geocaching coords, although other GPS Apps are fine.

 

There's a slight learning curve to getting good cache coordinates.  Usually, cachers figure it out after hunting caches, so it's good if a prospective Cache Owner has found a bunch of caches, to understand how cache locations and coordinates work. 

 

The Official Geocaching App is not (yet) designed for placing caches.  But let people know that if they Start Navigation to any cache and then switch to the compass screen, they will see live coordinates on display.  Set the phone down or hold it still, and make a note of the coordinates, and you're golden.  But there are other Apps and techniques that refine it even more, and you could compare coords on a handheld GPS.  But even just in the Official App, save coords as a waypoint, and you can even do some tests on how close the App gets you to your new cache placement.

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2 minutes ago, kunarion said:

If the CO is using the default Apple iOS phone compass App to get coordinates to hide caches, it's possible that all caches would be at least a little off

I have found caches by some COs and almost every cache's coordinates are out by about the same amount.

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2 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

I have found out coordinates done on purpose, as the CO has said so in the description. I haven't found one like that for awhile though, and these days I might put a NM on it.

Most caches by experienced cachers I would expect to be within a few metres, and most are. Very rare to find one of those caches more than about 5 metres out. 30' (copy paste: 9.144 metres) is too far out, unless it's very difficult terrain.

 

Usually when I find a cache that's a little ways off, and when I then provide better coordinates, no changes to the cache page occur.  An NM might be good.  But coordinates being wrong seems to be one of the things that Cache Owners stubbornly refuse to address.  Usually it's new cachers, and the cache soon vanishes along with the CO.  

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18 minutes ago, kunarion said:

 

Usually when I find a cache that's a little ways off, and when I then provide better coordinates, no changes to the cache page occur.  An NM might be good.  But coordinates being wrong seems to be one of the things that Cache Owners stubbornly refuse to address.  Usually it's new cachers, and the cache soon vanishes along with the CO.  

I have found the same problem. I regularly supply better coordinates, and even if several following finders have written they used and found the coordinates I (or someone else supplied)  were accurate, the coordinates are still not corrected.  I just put that down to the CO lacking confidence in themselves (people will think they are hopeless :rolleyes:), or they don't care. People who care and don't have an insecurity complex, take the advise and fix the coordinates.

Or they want the coordinates to be out.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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30 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

I have found caches by some COs and almost every cache's coordinates are out by about the same amount.

 

I did a quick test just now with my Apple iPhone 8s, iOS 14.0.1.  I compared the live "My Location" in The Official Geocaching App to the displayed GPS coordinates in the factory iOS "Compass" App.  The Apple Compass is showing Degrees, Minutes, Seconds, so that may actually work.  Previous versions didn't display "Seconds".

 

But there's another problem, so I need to work on this some more.  While the Apple Compass in my test was practically dead on, the Geocaching App showed my location as 100 feet off. 

 

The problem is that lately my Official Gecaching App wanders all over the place, as much as 150 feet.  It tends to settle down, but it's rarely useful.  I just wait til it's at 50 feet or less, then look for "the stump" or whatever the cache description says, and hope for the best.  If people are hiding caches AND have a similar hardware/software issue to me, AND they're using The Official App for coordinates, there's your problem.  I mainly use my handheld Garmin GPS, so App problems don't affect me while Geocaching (also, 3rd-party Geocaching Apps seem fine, so what do you make of that!).  But someday, I hope to get serious with reporting this bug.  I'm pretty sure a lot of people are having the same issue.  How they ever then FIND caches with such wacky readings, I can't say.  They must have that Geosense I've heard so much about.  :P

 

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8 minutes ago, kunarion said:

The Official App

I rarely use it; I have a GPS. I have found the app can at times give problems. Resent experiences; work really slow and not show all the information (perhaps a tower problem, but you are dependant on the tower), or say the cache was 70 metres away; while my GPS was saying it was 10 metres away. The GPS was correct. Even when I use the app and it's working, it's still clunky (for me) compared to the GPS.

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48 minutes ago, kunarion said:

 

Usually when I find a cache that's a little ways off, and when I then provide better coordinates, no changes to the cache page occur.  An NM might be good.  But coordinates being wrong seems to be one of the things that Cache Owners stubbornly refuse to address.  Usually it's new cachers, and the cache soon vanishes along with the CO.  

 

On one of my caches, the first two finders mentioned that their phones had them searching in the wrong rock feature which was maybe 5 or 6 metres away from where it actually was. I went back and checked, using both my 62S and Oregon 700 sitting on top of the rock directly above the cache and both were dancing around within a couple of metres of where I'd set the location. The next few finders said the coordinates were fine so maybe it was a phone thing or maybe it was pyschological as the rockface where the first two were looking has "cache" written all over it whereas the actual hiding place is a bit more discreet. The satellite imagery there doesn't help much either way:

 

Satellite.jpg.f14e902f7f71bc55eb6bbf525a166c32.jpg

 

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I have a proper GPS (Garmin Foretrex 301) but I have yet to use it as I've found that most of the time, the official app is "close enough" that when I get that vibration, I put the phone away and start looking.

 

In my limited experience, more often than not it's pretty accurate. The best I've had was looking for a cache in the bush, couldn't find it, wandered back and forth until the app settled and told me I was at GZ, less than 1m (3ft). I looked down and I was practically standing on the cache.

 

On the other hand, I spent more time than I care to admit fussing around with a prickly bush that I was just so sure was the right GZ due to the app and the previous logs, and when I gave up and was walking off typing the DNF, I almost walked into the cache about 40 odd foot from where the app had been saying GZ was. :laughing:

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@ barefootjack

In your example the cache is covered by trees. That can result in poor GPS reception, especially if the trees are still wet from rain. I had this problem with one of my caches and I used "bearing pics". That means I stood at the position of the cache and took pictures in all four directions. That gives the searcher an accuracy better than 2m. 

The cache is now archived, but if you want to have a look, it is Jacques (GC110NW)

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2 hours ago, yrcko said:

@ barefootjack

In your example the cache is covered by trees. That can result in poor GPS reception, especially if the trees are still wet from rain. I had this problem with one of my caches and I used "bearing pics". That means I stood at the position of the cache and took pictures in all four directions. That gives the searcher an accuracy better than 2m. 

The cache is now archived, but if you want to have a look, it is Jacques (GC110NW)

 

Many times, I've scrolled through previous Find logs for pictures with identifiable objects in the background.  This is sometimes enough to guide me to a container.

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10 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

On one of my caches, the first two finders mentioned that their phones had them searching in the wrong rock feature which was maybe 5 or 6 metres away from where it actually was. I went back and checked, using both my 62S and Oregon 700 sitting on top of the rock directly above the cache and both were dancing around within a couple of metres of where I'd set the location. The next few finders said the coordinates were fine so maybe it was a phone thing or maybe it was pyschological as the rockface where the first two were looking has "cache" written all over it whereas the actual hiding place is a bit more discreet. The satellite imagery there doesn't help much either way

 

If I arrive and immediately see the ideal hiding spot and the cache isn't there, I'm lost.  Tunnel vision.  I may need to work on that.  :cute:

 

There are a lot of caches where the description states they “couldn't get good coordinates” for the cache spot. I know of a few where the CO considers himself to be an arch-villain, and it's fine with him if the coords are incorrect for a Nano with millions of hiding places. I can tell in advance that there's no need to bother with that cache, but usually go check it out anyway to see what the deal is.

 

For a cache in the woods that in fact has decent coordinates, but where my GPS doesn't seem to settle out, I sometimes notice that the GPS identifies one particular tree many times. The distance and arrow wander and even point the opposite direction when I arrive at a previously identified spot. But after a while, one place tends to stand out. That's where I'll try a more serious hunt before giving up entirely.

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20 hours ago, KonstantinMMRR said:

I have been seeing some recently-placed, simple caches that are more than 30 feet from the posted coordinates. I believe this is done purposefully. Is this considered ethical? I always try to write my posted coordinates as close as possible to the actual cache.

 

Thank you for your help. 

 

 

Sometimes cachers do not place the cache containers back where they belong. Also some new to the game of geocaching, their coords can be off.  The more experienced cachers will update the correct coords. But, I know of one hide whose coords were purposely placed 50 ft from the location of the hide. Where it was placed would never have been approved by a reviewer. Directly in a pretty community garden in a park. Plants were being trampled on. A few of us complained to the reviewer so the owner disabled it. It is still disabled so they knew what they were doing. 

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7 hours ago, yrcko said:

That means I stood at the position of the cache and took pictures in all four directions. That gives the searcher an accuracy better than 2m. 

 

I haven't heard of that - can you elaborate please?

 

Edit: Oh wait, now I get it. Photos are for reference so other people can compare. I thought you were using the photos to get co-ordinates. It's early morning, I should go crawl back into bed...

Edited by Unit473L
I'm a numpty
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9 hours ago, yrcko said:

@ barefootjack

In your example the cache is covered by trees. That can result in poor GPS reception, especially if the trees are still wet from rain. I had this problem with one of my caches and I used "bearing pics". That means I stood at the position of the cache and took pictures in all four directions. That gives the searcher an accuracy better than 2m. 

The cache is now archived, but if you want to have a look, it is Jacques (GC110NW)

 

It might look like thick forest on the satellite image but on the ground it's not, it's a pretty open area with mostly eucalypts and banksias interspersed around sandstone shelves:

 

Forest.jpg.38bc6f823584c221f18793efbce527e0.jpg

 

The first two cachers were there in late summer during a drought so I doubt there would have been much water on the canopy. The cache is under a rocky outcrop on the edge of a drop-off with this view from GZ:

 

View.jpg.36b4d9dd401f66f06a75b6b9ef346351.jpg

 

Both my GPSrs were showing a full complement of satellites and an EPE of 3 metres so I don't think it's a reception issue at GZ.

 

Edited by barefootjeff
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4 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

It might look like thick forest on the satellite image but on the ground it's not, it's a pretty open area with mostly eucalypts and banksias interspersed around sandstone shelves:

 -snip - 

Both my GPSrs were showing a full complement of satellites and an EPE of 3 metres so I don't think it's a reception issue at GZ.

 

Agreed.   But "leaves" haven't been an issue for well-over fifteen years for us, and that's using long-discontinued GPSrs.  :)  

The other 2/3rds doesn't have  problems with "leaves" and her phone either, but will  often switch to a handheld as well when in boulder fields or river gorges. 

Some of the older folks still believe phones aren't equal, we just haven't seen that...

   

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17 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

 

Agreed.   But "leaves" haven't been an issue for well-over fifteen years for us, and that's using long-discontinued GPSrs.  :)  

The other 2/3rds doesn't have  problems with "leaves" and her phone either, but will  often switch to a handheld as well when in boulder fields or river gorges. 

Some of the older folks still believe phones aren't equal, we just haven't seen that...

   

 

I've had problems with GPS reception under a wet leaf canopy. On my first attempt at GC847NQ, which is in a pocket of what's probably subtropical rainforest, it was raining at the time I was searching and my Oregon 700 was all over the shop. When I went back a month later on a dry sunny day, it was much better behaved and I was able to quickly make the find.

 

20200709_121338_2.thumb.jpg.31262cee5d78ae68fa797c98bfa41bb2.jpg

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