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"Virtual" Adventure Lab


pipatah
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There is a new ALC in Munich "DEL Standorte in Bayern" (https://adventurelab.page.link/f7Ue) , whose five stations are venues of the German Ice Hockey League (DEL) in Bavaria. The stations are in Munich, Nuremberg, Augsburg, Straubing and Ingolstadt, i.e. many kilometers apart. Nevertheless, the time apparently calculated from the initial "findings" is given as "0-30 min". Apparently, all previous "finders" of the ALC have not visited the stations, but used GPS fake. Amazing that this is also expressed in the logs ("virtual trip" etc."). I always thought ALC should be designed to actually visit the stations. Is this OK or against the guidelines?

 

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16 minutes ago, pipatah said:

There is a new ALC in Munich "DEL Standorte in Bayern" (https://adventurelab.page.link/f7Ue) , whose five stations are venues of the German Ice Hockey League (DEL) in Bavaria. The stations are in Munich, Nuremberg, Augsburg, Straubing and Ingolstadt, i.e. many kilometers apart. Nevertheless, the time apparently calculated from the initial "findings" is given as "0-30 min". Apparently, all previous "finders" of the ALC have not visited the stations, but used GPS fake. Amazing that this is also expressed in the logs ("virtual trip" etc."). I always thought ALC should be designed to actually visit the stations. Is this OK or against the guidelines?

 

30 minutes is very fast for those distances! 😁

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On 10/8/2022 at 10:00 PM, pipatah said:

There is a new ALC in Munich "DEL Standorte in Bayern" (https://adventurelab.page.link/f7Ue) , whose five stations are venues of the German Ice Hockey League (DEL) in Bavaria. The stations are in Munich, Nuremberg, Augsburg, Straubing and Ingolstadt, i.e. many kilometers apart. Nevertheless, the time apparently calculated from the initial "findings" is given as "0-30 min". Apparently, all previous "finders" of the ALC have not visited the stations, but used GPS fake. Amazing that this is also expressed in the logs ("virtual trip" etc."). I always thought ALC should be designed to actually visit the stations. Is this OK or against the guidelines?

While the AL you mention is quite obviously designed to be logged without actually visiting the waypoints (using GPS spoofing instead), it's at least possible to go to the locations. Other than, e.g., one of the ALs at MUC airport, where the locations are all in the middle of runway 08R/26L.

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1 hour ago, pipatah said:

Anyone who completes the ALC "honestly" must feel a little bit fooled.

Like anyone doing a difficult multi or mystery, when reading logs from other cachers, who almost certainly got the final coordinates handed on a silver platter (and sometimes even openly brag about it)?

 

... cue choir of people chanting "But they are only cheating themselves!"

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Rules or not - what can be done will be done. It is the job of each ALC owner to ask his questions in such a way that the answer can only be determined on site and not within 30 seconds in the internet. Unfortunately, this is not the case with many ALCs - at least what I observe in Germany. So there is a huge risk that ALCs more and more degenerate to a worthless cache type for couch potatoes and GPS fakers.

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4 hours ago, Columbus. said:

It is the job of each ALC owner to ask his questions in such a way that the answer can only be determined on site and not within 30 seconds in the internet.

 

Yet the default question style now is multi-choice where you only have to make at most four guesses to get the smiley and move on to the next one.

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https://labs.geocaching.com/goto/ec68173a-95aa-4411-bafd-59078db8c7bb

 

From the description: "The zones are big so you can do them from many locations in Palm Beach County."

 

And indeed they are. The stages are "located" in the Florida Turnpike service plaza near West Palm Beach. Without any spoofing whatsoever on my Droid phone, I can complete all stages of the app from my apartment in Jupiter TWENTY MILES AWAY.

 

[Edited by moderator to remove potty language.  Don't use potty language.]

Edited by Keystone
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3 hours ago, me N u said:

No need to quit geocaching, just quit lab caching.

 

They are not separate things, no matter how much some people want to pretend.

 

I have done some really good and enjoyable Labs since they came out, even as I wish they counted for 1 point instead of 5.

 

Lab guidelines clearly state each stage/lab is supposed to be a physical location that gets visited. Airport Labs and play anywhere Labs are a flagrant violation of that guideline and are being created by people who know better, but don't care because they just want more numbers.

 

Groundspeak has previously been good about trying to maintain some integrity in this hobby. Prohibiting throwdowns, virtual logging of missing physical caches, etc. If they tolerate these Labs it would indicate they no longer care about integrity. It's bad enough to be a geocacher when many geocachers lack integrity, but it's intolerable if the people running things no longer have it either.

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7 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

Lab guidelines clearly state each stage/lab is supposed to be a physical location that gets visited. Airport Labs and play anywhere Labs are a flagrant violation of that guideline and are being created by people who know better, but don't care because they just want more numbers.

This!

 

A somewhat related discussion, about "Lab Cache power trails", came up at a GC event today, and one cacher told that there are currently about 100(!) ALs (and counting...), 5 stages each, at the foot of the Atomium in Brussels. Obviously, there are not 500 questions about the Atomium, answerable only on site. Instead, all of the ALs seem to ask 5 questions about Belgium, each AL covering some general topic. So you are supposed to go to the Atomium (and we all know, that you can do that "virtually"), sit down, and do a "Belgium quiz" for the next few hours. This is IMHO utter nonsense, and has nothing to do with geocaching (or "adventures", by any definition of that word). It seems that Groundspeak is handing out AL credits way too generously, because otherwise it would be impossible to create this kind of AL power-trail/geo-art/spam-attack. Many owners don't even try any longer to make ALs as they were intended (or were they?): Lead people to interesting places, where placing a physical cache is hard or impossible.

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On 12/5/2022 at 9:32 AM, barefootjeff said:

 

Yes, I was thinking the same thing. I wonder what the intended use case for a 100km geofence is, other than for allowing this sort of armchair logging.

Norfolk Island has only one cell phone provider and no roaming ability.  Most accommodation providers provide wireless access.

 

The ALO on NI has a put a geofence bigger than the island so you can visit the locations, gather the information, return to your accommodation and answer the questions there,  using wireless rather than mobile data.

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On 12/4/2022 at 4:36 PM, baer2006 said:

about 100(!) ALs (and counting...)


Holy cow. That’s so many that Cachly hits the API rate-limit trying to load in all the stages — I do not think I’ve ever seen that error before. 
 

AA529E1A-A673-406F-A81D-5C1377659F16.thumb.png.9deec24dcd59b5cb854a551785242def.png

 

Once you wait for them all to load in, the stages appear to be “a little” spread out, but there are a couple hot spots. 
 

72D52288-F38B-4765-8CCF-DCD5D161428A.thumb.png.84913c1a453bcb215d1aa09edea7c438.png

 

As irked as I am… I have to admit, I am a little impressed by the effort. 

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9 hours ago, HHL said:

No. The 100 km fence is to unlock the   "Answer" button within the app. This has nothing to do with answering later. If a Lab has a 20 m fence and you've unlocked the answer by visiting the location within these 20 m then you are able to answer the question later, even  more than 100 kilometres away.

Yes, but remember that unlocking the answer requires having loaded the AL where you can and keeping it loaded until you get to the fence. The big fence allows the question to be unlocked wherever you are when you load the Adventure. Very frustrating to find myself in the fence, know what the question is and find the answer, yet not be able to unlock the question because the lab's not loaded. And loading the adventure later doesn't help because the question is only unlocked when you're in the fence with that adventure loaded and that stage open.

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On 12/3/2022 at 10:55 PM, JL_HSTRE said:

@Keystone how do we get Groundspeak to put a stop to these armchair Adventure Labs?

 

If Groundspeak doesn't act to prohibit this style of Lab then it will probably be the final straw that prompts me to quit geocaching.

 

I dislike Adventures for many reasons so my solution is:

  1. I don't find Adventures / Lab Caches
  2. I don't care about other cacher's find counts or stats

I love geocaching and am a Premium Member and have less than 30 finds for the year so far.  Once I start traveling more I'll find more geocaches, it's my "away from home" hobby.

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2 hours ago, Team Canary said:

I no longer look at others counts, they're irrelevant now.

 

This is essentially where I'm leaning now too. Especially in Ontario where there are countless geocachers with many 10's of thousands of 'finds' (oh I just call them smileys now too =P).  Partly due to ALs and partly due to mass group caching days. I'm starting to advocate for challenge caches that actually hard limit to physical geocache listings :) There have always been some like that, but now with the boost in smileys due to the AL onslaught, maybe such challenges will get people back into actually finding geocaches. :antenna:

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15 hours ago, Team Canary said:
22 hours ago, GeoElmo6000 said:

 

I dislike Adventures for many reasons so my solution is:

  1. I don't find Adventures / Lab Caches
  2. I don't care about other cacher's find counts or stats

 

Love this!!!

 

I no longer look at others counts, they're irrelevant now.

I assume what you two mean is that you don't compare other cachers' find counts to yours. I never did that, anyway. What I have always done, and what still strikes me as valid even in the face of ALs, is use the stats to tell the relative experience of the cacher. Sure, now there's a possibility of a cacher having thousands of finds that are only adventure labs,  but I don't think the occasional inexperienced cacher that I mistakenly identify as highly experienced will be a big problem.

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On 12/14/2022 at 7:11 PM, HHL said:

No. The 100 km fence is to unlock the   "Answer" button within the app. This has nothing to do with answering later. If a Lab has a 20 m fence and you've unlocked the answer by visiting the location within these 20 m then you are able to answer the question later, even  more than 100 kilometres away.

You may be missing the point.

 

Unless you buy a SIM from the local provider you have no cell phone access.  The ALO on the island lets you navigate to the locations with a GPSr, gather the answer, then get to somewhere with wireless access to answer the questions in the app.  

 

Having a fence bigger than the island means the question is unlocked anywhere on the island.

Edited by Gill & Tony
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1 hour ago, Gill & Tony said:

Having a fence bigger than the island means the question is unlocked anywhere on the island.

But don't you still need to go to the coordinates to get the answer?  So how is a huge geofence an advantage over a 50 ft geofence on that island?

Regardless of the geofence distance, you can still log the location answers later. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Gill & Tony said:

You may be missing the point.

 

Unless you buy a SIM from the local provider you have no cell phone access.  The ALO on the island lets you navigate to the locations with a GPSr, gather the answer, then get to somewhere with wireless access to answer the questions in the app.  

 

Having a fence bigger than the island means the question is unlocked anywhere on the island.

I was told there was no date mobile there. (It is Norfolk Island I presume you mean.)

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4 hours ago, Max and 99 said:

So how is a huge geofence an advantage over a 50 ft geofence on that island?

 

What I hear people say (haven't tested it myself) is that for unloaded ALs, you can't get the location question where there is no signal, so some creators boost the proximity to a ridiculously vast size so the app has the best chance to both register the location and get the question.

Unnecessary if you load the ALs and location details into the cache while you have signal, if you just browse the map while traveling through, and have no signal, the app may see your location but it won't register your visit to the location until it's cached the AL contents. 

Something like that... 

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2 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

Unnecessary if you load the ALs and location details into the cache while you have signal, if you just browse the map while traveling through, and have no signal, the app may see your location but it won't register your visit to the location until it's cached the AL contents.

When I'm very careful about not using any other apps that might cause the AL app to forget what it's doing, and, of course, I only do that one AL, then sometimes I make it to the stages with the AL still active. As often as not, when I go look at the AL app, it goes to the intro screen and I'd have to, if I can, reload the AL from the network. The excessive fence allows me to unlock each stage as soon as I have the AL loaded, and, more importantly, see what questions I'll need to answer.

 

I suppose in a perfect world, I wouldn't be a big fan of large fences in general, but they make perfect technical sense for ALs in areas with poor data reception.

 

Of course, I'm talking about a real AL with physical locations where I have to go to each stage to answer the questions even when they've all been unlocked before I left home. The OP is talking about an AL that really appears to be virtual, with the intention being that you answer all the questions without leaving home. I don't mind owners making ALs like that if they want, but I also understand why some people think that going to the physical locations is a key part of ALs.

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I think the physical (location-specific) aspect of ALs was always the intended spirit of the side game. People discovered that with little to no rules, they could work around that and start making 'powertrail' virtual geoarts with maximally sized proximities that just let people go nuts with smileys not actually needing to visit a physical location. It's another playing out of what, in a sense, killed off Geocaching Challenges.  Not everywhere, but some are getting so watered down with stuff that really isn't about [traditional] geocaching, just virtual location [and even that, arguable] gaming. It seems to me like the bigger issue people in the geocaching community have is that it's tied into geocaching - not necessarily the AL part of the game in and of itself. Live and let live; but what are these inflated numbers going around the community that aren't geocaches?

 

So yeah I was just referring to the reasoning for using a fence >50ft in the context of an actual location-based AL; though the example cited was on a physical island, so a larger fence would just be covering more water :P the difference there would really only apply to people with boats.

But in the context of a "virtual" AL, a 50ft fence would be entirely subjective; that is, perhaps if the creator just wanted to give the user more of a challenge to claim it (50ft would be locationally tougher than 1000ft, eg)

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54 minutes ago, JL_HSTRE said:

These are all virtual and I could answer any of them from my living room couch 20 miles away.

3a61e5fd4e6b15db51376c5e55ec66b6.png

d1d04d170002c7ad86574386ef6a0e21.png

 

Quote
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This Adventure is part of the * FL* Geoart Adventures. While it appears near Florida’s Turnpike, there is no need to be there. The zones are big so you can do them from many locations in Palm Beach County. Each of these adventures will teach you something about Florida. We hope you learn something and have fun.

 

 

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I'm not supporting those ideas because I think they're pretty lame. But can those of you that have to deal with them go over the impact? I keep going around on it, and all I can think of is that you don't have any real ALs to do because they're all tied up in these. (At first I was thinking these would clog the AL app's making it hard to find decent ALs, but then I realized there couldn't be any other ALs in the area because they're all here, right?)

 

Do they get in the way any other way? Yeah, it seems a shame they're being wasted, but if the owner doesn't want to make an interesting AL, what difference does it make if he doesn't put an AL out at all or puts one like this out?

 

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20 minutes ago, dprovan said:

But can those of you that have to deal with them go over the impact?

One impact these had on me: I drove two hours for new ALs, with plans to find some other geocaches while there. I arrive, spend a lot of time walking around the area, trying to figure out where the source of the location answer was. Maybe the coords were just off? After finding nothing, talking to people in the area, and then the staff, I figured out these were virtual adventure labs. There's absolutely no reason for me to drive out there and nothing for me to see. Huge waste of time. It never occurred to me to check the geofencing, as I made the assumption there was something to see there that would give me the location answers, but I'm working on that. 

Edited by Max and 99
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4 minutes ago, Max and 99 said:

[...] I drove two hours for a new AL, with plans to find some other geocaches while there. I arrive, spend a lot of time walking around the area, trying to figure out where the source of the location answer was. Maybe the coords were just off? [...]

Just act like an experienced geocacher would do: READ the listing beforehand! B)

Edited by HHL
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55 minutes ago, dprovan said:

I'm not supporting those ideas because I think they're pretty lame. But can those of you that have to deal with them go over the impact? I keep going around on it, and all I can think of is that you don't have any real ALs to do because they're all tied up in these. (At first I was thinking these would clog the AL app's making it hard to find decent ALs, but then I realized there couldn't be any other ALs in the area because they're all here, right?)

 

Do they get in the way any other way? Yeah, it seems a shame they're being wasted, but if the owner doesn't want to make an interesting AL, what difference does it make if he doesn't put an AL out at all or puts one like this out?

 

 

I guess it depends on what you see the purpose of the game to be. If it's about scoring quick-fire points in a play-at-home phone game then fine, but if it's supposed to be about getting outdoors and visiting interesting places then perhaps not. Maybe it doesn't matter much to an individual but it does have a longer term impact on the community and their expectations. It's been recently suggested that my higher terrain bushland hides are killing off the game here and I should instead be putting out trails of quick and easy roadside micros because that's what today's players and the newcomers who've been drawn in through phone-based gaming want. Maybe that's true, and the distribution of find logs in this region suggests it is, but I think it's a sad shift in the spirit and intent of the game.

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47 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

It's been recently suggested that my higher terrain bushland hides are killing off the game here and I should instead be putting out trails of quick and easy roadside micros because that's what today's players and the newcomers who've been drawn in through phone-based gaming want. Maybe that's true, and the distribution of find logs in this region suggests it is, but I think it's a sad shift in the spirit and intent of the game.

 

That's not quite what I said or meant.

 

Experienced cachers love your quality hides and seek them out, they are often spoken about fondly at gathering I attend. No one talks about ALs as they are not real caches.

 

New cachers find there own style and types they chase, but simpler hides keep there interest as they explore the new hobby.

 

Variety is the key.

 

I commented that there is a lack of easier hides on the Central Coast of New South Wales.

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3 hours ago, dprovan said:

I'm not supporting those ideas because I think they're pretty lame. But can those of you that have to deal with them go over the impact?

 

They flagrantly violate the very first item listed under Adventure Lab Guidelines:

"Require players to physically visit Adventure Locations."

 

If the posted coordinates do no provide information related to the question being asked it is a that Lab/stage is in violation of that Guideline.

 

Edited by JL_HSTRE
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