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Improvement proposal: digital logging of geocaches instead of on paper


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Improvement proposal: digital logging of geocaches instead of on paper

 

How it will work:

  • The GC owner chooses a code word and records it in his/her cache instead of a paper logbook.
  • The GC owner registers that codeword in the geocache database. Naturally, the code word is only visible to the GC owner.
  • If a GC searcher finds the cache, he/she must use the codeword to log the cache online.

 

Advantages:

  • No more need for paper logbooks (which are sometimes full, wet or too small).
  • Better control whether the cache has actually been found. After all, you need to know the code in the cache.
  • The system of digital logging can be introduced very gradually in addition to the old system of logging on paper

 

What is needed:

  • The geocache database must have an extra field per cache to store the code word,
  • The user interface must allow GC owners to add and maintain their own chosen codeword.
  • If the GC owner has entered a codeword for his/her cache, the user interface must force GC searchers to enter the correct codeword. If no code word has been entered in the database, the old system of paper logbooks applies.

 

This seems like a great extension of the geocaching experience and if others think so too, I hope it comes to fruition.

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1 hour ago, FDor said:

The GC owner registers that codeword in the geocache database. Naturally, the code word is only visible to the GC owner.

 

1 hour ago, FDor said:

If a GC searcher finds the cache, he/she must use the codeword to log the cache online.

 

Adventure Labs?

 

1 hour ago, FDor said:

After all, you need to know the code in the cache.

 

Or, have some Facebook group tell you the code and then just log it from your couch.

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1 hour ago, FDor said:

How it will work:

  • The GC owner chooses a code word and records it in his/her cache instead of a paper logbook.
  • The GC owner registers that codeword in the geocache database. Naturally, the code word is only visible to the GC owner.
  • If a GC searcher finds the cache, he/she must use the codeword to log the cache online.

Bad, bad bad. The code will be passed around and some people won't bother visiting the cache. Just log from their armchair. It is extremely easy to carry a pen and sign you name.

 

1 hour ago, FDor said:

Advantages:

  • No more need for paper logbooks (which are sometimes full, wet or too small).
  • Better control whether the cache has actually been found. After all, you need to know the code in the cache.
  • The system of digital logging can be introduced very gradually in addition to the old system of logging on paper

LESS control over whether the cache is really found. Code passed around and the cache logged without visiting it from home. Nothing for the CO to check, the claimant did bother to visit it and find the log.

 

The present very simple system works very well. Yours invites abuse and cheating.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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I came to this idea because I often came across scraps of crumpled paper or wet paper or full paper in caches.

 

But I understand your reactions. Of course, we don't want GC searchers to be able to log caches without having found them.

 

But can't they now do the same very easily without signing the logbook? Or is it part of the CO's job to regularly compare the logbook on the website with the logbook in his/her cache?

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30 minutes ago, FDor said:

I came to this idea because I often came across scraps of crumpled paper or wet paper or full paper in caches.

 

But I understand your reactions. Of course, we don't want GC searchers to be able to log caches without having found them.

 

But can't they now do the same very easily without signing the logbook? Or is it part of the CO's job to regularly compare the logbook on the website with the logbook in his/her cache?

Some COs check. Some do not. However, If I am suspicious that somebody didn't actually find a cache, I check it. I also check it any time I do maintenence. Another big factor is trust, and if I know a cacher who has 20000 finds and who I've known, I won't be suspcious compared to a cacher with 1 find logging a 5/5 or something.


Also, having to sign the physical log is part of what makes the game fun. If you are worried that a physical log would get wet or damaged, couldn't the code word get faded or damaged in another way? Also, I can definitely see some beginner cachers posting pics with it. Some caches have logbooks from so long ago, and I really enjoy reading messages that some people leave in their logs. 

 

Containers are also a problem. Geocaching containers currently always have to have a log. If we don't have that, people could hide all sorts of weird things as geocaches that wouldn't be enjoyable. It it a lot more enjoyable to search through a wall for a hidden camouflaged nano than it is to look through that wall will a magnifying glass looking for a code.

 

I understand the idea, and similar ideas have been suggested before, but I think we're a lot better off staying the same.

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Cheating exists now, so instead of pointing out the negatives think about the positives. The game will evolve over time look at the popularity of AL

 

I think the idea of using geofencing on logging of urban caches would be fabulous, a mechanism to log offline needs to be worked out. Combine it with something like this idea to prove they found it might work. Think of it as two factor authentication, might reduce cheating.

 

Thanks for the thoughts @FDor love your enthusiasm for the game hope you are hopelessly addicted as a lot of us. There unfortunately are a lot of folks that don't wish to see any change or modernization.

 

Got to run checking for a cache or two to find today, taking my son who is at university out for lunch today  and since it is a medium drive and out of my normal caching area several opportunities for caches exist,. Only downside pouring down rain forecasted so no long walks.

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2 hours ago, The_Jumping_Pig said:

Also, having to sign the physical log is part of what makes the game fun. If you are worried that a physical log would get wet or damaged, couldn't the code word get faded or damaged in another way? Also, I can definitely see some beginner cachers posting pics with it. Some caches have logbooks from so long ago, and I really enjoy reading messages that some people leave in their logs. 

 

 

Nothing in this idea prevents logbooks. Though my experience is that once it is mush and there are a lot of them they get abandoned and thrown away.

 

For pictures, I bet GS could buy or develop a recognition program just like the google app has for translation I see advertisements on. They would know the word. If they detect the word or even part of it they could blur it out or reject the photo with a reason pop up.

 

To prevent the keyword from turning to mush, laminate it. but imagine that on a nano might not always work.

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Codeword caches were published back in the earliest days of geocaching; I found a few.  They were prohibited in a Guidelines update prior to when I became a Reviewer in May 2003.  (So yeah, the really earliest days of geocaching!)  The reasoning included some of the same points raised in this discussion, decades later.  I think the only thing that's changed since then is the greater preponderance of cheating, aided in large part by the social media channels now available to facilitate it.  In 2003 there were no Facebook groups for exchanging trackable codes and final locations of Mystery Caches, yet the concern was present even then.

 

A forum search on the term "codeword" will provide entertaining reading to geocaching history buffs.

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10 hours ago, FDor said:

I came to this idea because I often came across scraps of crumpled paper or wet paper or full paper in caches.

 

There are still some of us who put a fair bit of effort into our logbooks (yes books, not strips of paper), like this one by lee737 and his sons:

 

Container.jpg.5f80b9da521ad578b671e62b1b1eb3c8.jpg

 

Or this one of mine:

 

Logbook.jpg.e397b6a96e543a270a9ea312ae2fcfa7.jpg

 

Then there's the great satisfaction of making it to GZ, opening the container and finding an empty logbook to sign:

 

Log.jpg.f55eba21c2b9de8f68bbd3781d24c36b.jpg

 

Or, if you're not the first, looking back at the signatures before yours and what they've written. There's a whole different world of caching if you go beyond just urban micros, where ammo cans are the container of choice, the logbooks are big and thick and the caches don't need constant maintenance to keep them in good nick for decades or more.

 

With your suggestion, you wouldn't even need a container, just laminate the code word as MNTA suggested and stick it somewhere. Change the code word to a QR code and it becomes, well, much the same as some other game I guess.

 

7 hours ago, MNTA said:

The game will evolve over time look at the popularity of AL

 

Huh? The last new AL to appear around here was my Dangar Island one in October 2022. There was another in June 2022, one before that in January 2022 and just my 5 Lands Walk in 2021. ALs died here once the novelty wore off.

 

Edit to add: Logbooks aren't an anachronism, they're an integral part of the game, at least in this part of the world. Here's a logbook photo posted on my most recent physical hide:

 

553b4691-b05f-4eb6-987f-1be0f0b0229f.jpg

 

BTW, there's no phone coverage at or anywhere near that cache, so any sort of online digital logging (or an AL for that matter) would be problematic.

Edited by barefootjeff
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11 hours ago, FDor said:

I often came across scraps of crumpled paper or wet paper or full paper in caches

That's sad, but where I live, although I sometimes come upon that, the majority of caches aren't like that. I check my caches if a problem is reported, and even if no problem is reported, I will still regularly (time varies depending on the cache) check the cache and replace the log, etc as needed. I also check all the signatures and if some are missing contact the people with the missing signatures for more proof of find. This is what COs are meant to do, but unfortunately some don't fulfil their obligations.

As for soggy logs etc, I do an Owner Attention Requested log. Then wait a minimum of a month before making a Reviewer Attention Requested log. On less found caches this is likely after the next finder's log which reminds me of the problem (which might be months later, or even longer). On very old caches, such as published in 2000, or remote caches I probably would take another approach. Maybe just write this in my log, or make a note instead. I would try to fix one of those myself. If I can't, make a note and ask the next finder if they can repair the cache, which I find many will do on those sorts of caches. It all depends...also, some old caches have volunteers looking after it, and not being the absent CO, they can't make an owner maintenance log to cancel out the Owner Attention Requested. Hence why I give the information in my log, or a note for those.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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13 minutes ago, niraD said:

And of course, not everyone uses a smartphone when they're geocaching.

:laughing: Like me, or unless I get desperate. Yesterday I was struggling to get my GPS to settle (urban area), so finally in desperation got my phone out to give that a try. Neither would settle. Finally I spotted a possible hide (still quite a distance from the coordinates) and looked underneath and found the cache. I placed both on the ground to allow them to settle. Finally the GPS settled on 5m, but the phone never got below 10m. And I thought phones were better than GPSs in urban areas (CBD) with tall buildings. Not yesterday.

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8 hours ago, MNTA said:

Cheating exists now, so instead of pointing out the negatives think about the positives. The game will evolve over time look at the popularity of AL

 

I think the idea of using geofencing on logging of urban caches would be fabulous, a mechanism to log offline needs to be worked out. Combine it with something like this idea to prove they found it might work. Think of it as two factor authentication, might reduce cheating.

 

Thanks for the thoughts @FDor love your enthusiasm for the game hope you are hopelessly addicted as a lot of us. There unfortunately are a lot of folks that don't wish to see any change or modernization.

 

Got to run checking for a cache or two to find today, taking my son who is at university out for lunch today  and since it is a medium drive and out of my normal caching area several opportunities for caches exist,. Only downside pouring down rain forecasted so no long walks.

My GPS has always been more accurate, settles MUCH quicker, fits my hand size better, can fit in female sized jean pockets (I do try to get the bigger pockets, but even the biggest are much smaller than the pockets on male jeans), and doesn't with a slight movement of my finger black out, as do the phones I have used. I go for efficiency over the latest thing.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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On 1/28/2024 at 4:22 AM, MNTA said:

Though my experience is that once it is mush and there are a lot of them they get abandoned and thrown away.

Make a NM, and if that fails a NA. that's the problem, too many people might complain about this, but very few make those logs. VERY few!

 

A lot, really. I occasionally come upon a missing log, but it's extremely rare. I can't remember the last time. NM follows, and then NA if that is ignored. 

If you have lots of missing logs, it means that where you live most people are not making NM & NA logs. 

Edited by Goldenwattle
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21 minutes ago, TheLimeCat said:

We should put little cameras inside our caches that take a candid photo of the cacher when they open the containeramB1egv_460s.jpg.e20f4f0d31acd0f71a8859e4cecc7e88.jpg

LOL, I was thinking I would need a camera if logs were done away with and replaced with a code. If that happened I would probably instantly archive all my caches, except maybe one, which a camera set up on my house could watch. I don't own an AL for the similar problems they have.

I would also have less interest in finding caches then too, as why bother, being up against cheat.

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36 minutes ago, TheLimeCat said:

We should put little cameras inside our caches that take a candid photo of the cacher when they open the container

Is a candid photo good enough? Maybe finders should have to present valid photo ID to the camera. A passport should be good enough, or in the US, a valid REAL ID™.

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4 minutes ago, niraD said:

Is a candid photo good enough? Maybe finders should have to present valid photo ID to the camera. A passport should be good enough, or in the US, a valid REAL ID™.

If people had to supply a photograph, it would be quicker to sign a log. But then the armchair loggers that this would breed, could have themselves photographed in their armchairs.

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This "solution" has been proposed many times over the years, but it just won't work, for the reasons others have outlined. You are hardly the first. 

 

I will bring up a new consideration:  Automating the process kind of completely goes against everything geocaching is about.  We already have a big enough problem with cut-and-paste logs.  Geocaching is about the experience of going out, finding something in the real world and then writing about it.  It would surely be more efficient to automate the logging process, but why?

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51 minutes ago, Rag_De said:

 

Where does it say so?

 

More specifically, in the Help Centre under 7.4 Maintenance Expectations is this:

 

image.png.340ff8b09c76637a53257a346aa4a830.png

 

The "inappropriate logs" link lands here:

image.png.7967a4ad6616c9f11dc6944d55791021.png

 

The "cache type" link then goes to this:

image.png.3966f1fbc2a3cd9ae1f2d4659633cf95.png

 

So, in a bit of a roundabout fashion, it's the CO's responsibility to delete online logs if the logger hasn't visited the coordinates and signed the logbook.

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21 hours ago, MNTA said:

I think the idea of using geofencing on logging of urban caches would be fabulous, a mechanism to log offline needs to be worked out.

 

We don't need to encourage more field logs. If anything we need to encourage more quality logs, which are usually written back home at the end of the day.

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2 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

 

We don't need to encourage more field logs. If anything we need to encourage more quality logs, which are usually written back home at the end of the day.

True again nothing would prevent you from doing this. Just unlock the find and then edit in the comfort of you home.

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16 hours ago, niraD said:

Is a candid photo good enough? Maybe finders should have to present valid photo ID to the camera. A passport should be good enough, or in the US, a valid REAL ID™.

 

AAaah, Darin, the problem is that to be in compliance with privacy rules in effect in many regions, any I.D. you hold up would have to have any identifying information obscured.

Have you ever tried holding up your Driver License with one hand while trying to cover the name, address, DL #, gender, height, weight, blood type, donor status and photo with various fingers?

 

Damned hard.

 

You could say, "Just hold up the BACK!" and I would respond, "Now you're just being silly."

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First of all, I would like to repeat previous posts - this idea is not new. Jeremy wrote about this feature back in March 2002.

 

In fact, such an idea seems a little old-fashioned to me today. Yes, it's 2024 and the game could definitely use some innovation. However, I can imagine a truly modern, digital solution:
In the cache is a plastic cube with the game logo. I'm attaching my phone to it with the official app on.
- "*beep* - connection successful."
I stand up with my phone, the app has a logging interface ready.
- "Would you like to upload your log?"
- "Yes, please. Insert number of find, insert time, new line, found while walking with my son today, nice view, we exchanged toys. Thanks for the cache, end of log."
- "Log sent."  At this moment, I can see my log in the app, I can upload photos. The log is marked with a green pipe, which confirms that the log was uploaded from the cube, thus clearly confirming I found the geocache.

 

Is this the distant future? It's hard to say. As I found out a few years ago, digital logbooks can already be found in Germany. But so far these are only offline versions, and I don't think anyone is working in cooperation with HQ to develop it into the written above.

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19 hours ago, niraD said:

Is a candid photo good enough? Maybe finders should have to present valid photo ID to the camera. A passport should be good enough, or in the US, a valid REAL ID™.

Some geocachers don't like to show their face. Also, forcing people to have a passport or a real ID doesn't seem like a good idea. It would definitely restrict the people who could geocache, as many don't have access to those things.

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13 hours ago, KRON family said:

In fact, such an idea seems a little old-fashioned to me today. Yes, it's 2024 and the game could definitely use some innovation. However, I can imagine a truly modern, digital solution:
In the cache is a plastic cube with the game logo. I'm attaching my phone to it with the official app on.
- "*beep* - connection successful."
I stand up with my phone, the app has a logging interface ready.
- "Would you like to upload your log?"
- "Yes, please. Insert number of find, insert time, new line, found while walking with my son today, nice view, we exchanged toys. Thanks for the cache, end of log."
- "Log sent."  At this moment, I can see my log in the app, I can upload photos. The log is marked with a green pipe, which confirms that the log was uploaded from the cube, thus clearly confirming I found the geocache.

 

So here I am, balanced precariously up in this cave on the cache Monkey Magic I found last week:

 

Climbing.jpg.e3309f0c8d5c1ede02e7302ca5dc3e3f.jpg

 

Putting aside any malware concerns about connecting a device I found in a cache to my phone, I connect the little cube while managing not to drop either it or the phone off the edge or down a crevice. Assuming I manage, I open the app and get *beep* No Signal or *beep* Something went wrong. Now what?

 

Even if I do get a signal, what sort of log am I likely to compose? Maybe "FTF fun cache TFTC" or something similar. Certainly not this log that I wrote after returning home, going for a swim and sitting back in my armchair to compose my thoughts:

 

Log.jpg.a0aaf854056a19f109e3467278137c07.jpg

 

One of the great things about caching is that it doesn't rely on any one piece of technology, except perhaps GPS but even then there are a variety of navigation satellites to use these days (or even just maps, satellite images and a good old-fashioned compass). As long as I have a means of getting myself to GZ, can find the cache, open it and extract the log, all I need is something to write with, be it a pen, pencil or even a thumbnail dipped in tar. I don't need a phone, a specific app or anything like that, and what this allows is a great variety of caches that go way beyond what could be accommodated with any particular phone/app combination. The reason ALs have died here is because there's just too much sameness about them and the requirements/limitations of the app rule out so many interesting adventures.

Edited by barefootjeff
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3 hours ago, KRON family said:

First of all, I would like to repeat previous posts - this idea is not new. Jeremy wrote about this feature back in March 2002.

 

In fact, such an idea seems a little old-fashioned to me today. Yes, it's 2024 and the game could definitely use some innovation. However, I can imagine a truly modern, digital solution:
In the cache is a plastic cube with the game logo. I'm attaching my phone to it with the official app on.
- "*beep* - connection successful."
I stand up with my phone, the app has a logging interface ready.
- "Would you like to upload your log?"
- "Yes, please. Insert number of find, insert time, new line, found while walking with my son today, nice view, we exchanged toys. Thanks for the cache, end of log."
- "Log sent."  At this moment, I can see my log in the app, I can upload photos. The log is marked with a green pipe, which confirms that the log was uploaded from the cube, thus clearly confirming I found the geocache.

 

Two much work and no mobile coverage. A lot of places in Australia like that. Or someone is from another country and doesn't have local data. Even if there is mobile coverage, it's a nuisance to have to search and fish out the mobile phone from the bottom of a bag. And no, I don't usually use a phone to geocache, because it's not as user friendly as a small GPS which fits in my hand, doesn't keep blacking out when I move my finger a smidgin, is quicker to respond to find GZ and fits in the pocket of my female jeans. My phone won't fit. (And yes, I do try to get the biggest pockets that I can with female jeans. Still, nowhere as big as the pockets of male jeans.) A GPS is also more robust and less likely to smash when dropped on rocks as you are scrambling about. Battery lasts longer too on a GPS  and can have spare batteries when there is no power to charge the phone. Yes, I have camped where there is no power. Those places also are unlikely to have mobile coverage.

The only advantage I can see with this, is that each cache would need one of these cubes, so likely to see less power trails, as these cubes would need to be bought. An expense. Then needing to be replaced each time someone steals one. Less micro caches too. The game would become more expensive. Hence stealing of these cubes would become a thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I know one way how this could be arranged properly.

 

image.jpeg.99a2407130a963ad7d14bfb807d1e639.jpeg

 

Disconnected tokens. You put the token device in the cache and the finder must record the code to be able to log it on-line. Every player needs different code - so it is not possible to share this code at all. Tokens are sold by Groudspeak so they can get huge pile of money by selling them to lazy cache owners.

 

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8 hours ago, arisoft said:

Disconnected tokens.

As long as there is a log as well, as I'm sure pens are cheaper than the reader. However, you still need to have a pen to write down the number, so as to log when you get home. Some of us want to write good logs, and the phone doesn't lend itself to good logs. Besides, I don't want to waste time in the field logging. That's for the evening.

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2 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

As long as there is a log as well, as I'm sure pens are cheaper than the reader. However, you still need to have a pen to write down the number, so as to log when you get home. Some of us want to write good logs, and the phone doesn't lend itself to good logs. Besides, I don't want to waste time in the field logging. That's for the evening.

 

I think you should reconsider what you just wrote. There seems to be some misunderstanding about the technology and how to use it. For example, field logging has nothing to do with the token. Also,  a reader do not match how it works neither a phone. Good logs are the essential part of the technology. You record a find with a token by using a camera or a notepad with a pen.

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7 minutes ago, arisoft said:

You record a find with a token by using a camera or a notepad with a pen.

That's exactly how I thought I would have to record it, unless I wanted to log immediately. Having to write the number down, or get the camera out; I might as well just sign the log. Likely the camera in my case, as I can sometimes be a bit dyslexic. I would rather just sign a log.

However, I can see how it might stop cheats. They would actually have to find the cache to get the number. Not just arrive, not find the cache, but hey, they were there, so they log. I have deleted a number of those.

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On 1/28/2024 at 3:35 PM, KRON family said:

In the cache is a plastic cube with the game logo. I'm attaching my phone to it with the official app on.

 

How much will this cube cost? Will it fit in a Micro?

 

What if the cube goes missing or gets damaged?

 

Is the cube set to read only so it can't be hacked with malware? What about fake cubes created with malware, with a nefarious person removing the real cube and replacing it with the fake?

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Dear GeoCachers,

Thank you for all your responses to my proposal to optionally expand the logging of a successful find with an additional check of a code word that you can find in the cache.

Your comments were:

  1. Very soon a website will be created collecting these code words and then hundreds of accounts claiming to have found a million caches [peter-tvm]

  2. The code word is passed on among each other and people start logging caches from their armchair at home [Hügh, Goldenwattle]

  3. Drawing the physical log is a big part of the fun [The_Jumping_Pig]

  4. It's more fun to look for a container than a code word somewhere on a wall [The_Jumping_Pig]

  5. Looks like logging a travel bug [Wadcutter]

  6. This does not solve a problem and encourages abuse [MartyBartfast]

  7. The cache owner is expected to check the logs against the online logs [RuideAlmeira]

  8. Consider it a form of two factor authentication [MNTA]

  9. You can still use logs and to prevent photos of the codeword on the geocache website, the cache owner could blur the code (or remove it altogether) [MNTA]

  10. Nowadays with social media, the chance of cheating is much greater [Keystone]

  11. There are still many cache owners who pay close attention to their logs [barefootjeff]

  12. There is not always telephone/data coverage at the location of the cache [barefootjeff, Goldenwattle]

  13. Not everyone uses a smartphone while geocaching [niraD]

  14. We need small cameras in the cache [TheLimeCat]

  15. Goldenwattle checks its caches very precisely [Goldenwattle]

  16. You can also think of a spontaneous photo as proof [niraD]

  17. Automating logging goes against the idea of geocaching [fizzymagic]

  18. Proposal for a technologically advanced solution with a cube in the cache to which you have to connect your phone [KRON family]

  19. The great thing about geocaching is that you don't need anything except a GPS device and a pen to write with [barefootjeff]

  20. Put a token device in the cache (i.e. with varying codes) [arisoft]

My reaction is:

  1. I completely agree that the charm of geocaching lies in the simplicity of the game and the fun of searching and finding the cache. That's why I'm absolutely not advocating special apps on your phone or electronic things in the cache. All I want to find in the cache is a logbook and a (plasticized) codeword. @The_Jumping_pig: I don't mean that you have to read some code word on the spot from, for example, a wall or a street sign.

  2. My proposal means that in addition to signing the logbook as an additional check, you need a code word from the cache to also log the find online (immediately on the spot or afterwards at home) (of course only if the cache offers this).

  3. It would give me even more satisfaction if I could use that code word in my online logging to make it much more likely that I actually found the cache.

  4. I don't see the objection that you are encouraging false online logging in this way. You can now log as many finds as you want online from the comfort of your armchair without actually having found them.

  5. And the geocache owner can also occasionally change the code word of his cache (of course, both physically in the cache and in the online registration).

  6. Given the scraps of paper I often encounter, there is hardly any checking and correction done by the cache owner (at least in my area).

As a novice geocacher with no premium account in the Netherlands and now on holiday in Madeira, I am restricted to the simpler geocaches. It may be that my experience of very often messy scraps of paper in the caches mainly occurs in my region and mainly occurs in the simple caches.

Perhaps it is still worth considering this relatively simple extension of the proposal?

Happy geocaching!

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I'm always intrigued by the pushback to attempt to improve things by the old guard. The experience of new cachers in some areas is pretty bad. I think GS recognizes that and is trying on  many fronts to improve things. All of which gets at least a few complaints here. The list is long.

 

I have now moved three times in the past several years to new areas, I also enjoy vacations and long road trips. The experience I see in new areas is pretty bad. Mostly due to absent COs and moldy slimey messes. The experience when I find the cache in the first month or year is very different than ten years later or less. I commend the enthusiasm to try to improve things will they all work, no, that is not the point the current system has serious issues and  the game will change over time.

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On 1/27/2024 at 6:07 AM, peter-tvm said:

 Adventure Lab Caches, and those are logged by thousands by cachers that get the answers on-line.

I am sat over here naively thinking Adventure Lab Caches are mostly immune to cheating (at least couch logging) since they have geo fencing. I guess you could give someone your phone for them to take on a geo-trip. Or maybe have someone log into your account on their phone as they go through an area. Am I missing something, like do people somehow overcome the geofencing?!

I'll confess, on a Seattle road trip we pinged a lab cache stage as we drove past and it was multiple choice. We got it even though we didn't quite visit the spot as the CO intended. But I'm guessing peter-tvm is talking about logging it without leaving the couch and using answers online.

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42 minutes ago, MNTA said:

I'm always intrigued by the pushback to attempt to improve things by the old guard. The experience of new cachers in some areas is pretty bad. I think GS recognizes that and is trying on  many fronts to improve things. All of which gets at least a few complaints here. The list is long.

 

Maybe it's because many of the suggested "improvements" also have some pretty serious drawbacks. I like improvements that actually make things better, for example the new logging flow (apart from a few issues like not being able to edit reviewer notes on unsubmitted caches), but most of the suggestions I've seen for "fixing" the proliferation of poor quality caches would end up wiping out the really good quality ones instead.

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1 hour ago, barefootjeff said:

 

Maybe it's because many of the suggested "improvements" also have some pretty serious drawbacks. I like improvements that actually make things better, for example the new logging flow (apart from a few issues like not being able to edit reviewer notes on unsubmitted caches), but most of the suggestions I've seen for "fixing" the proliferation of poor quality caches would end up wiping out the really good quality ones instead.

I'm sorry that any major improvement is potentially going to have positive and negative implications to some folks. You need to look at it from the. bigger picture perspective and hopefully the overall improvement is positive going forward. Sorry that it might impact you personally, it is not done intentionally or with personal malice towards you. Blame the folks that did not have a sufficient plan for their caches. The days of community maintenance and caches living forever are gone, it just does not make for a long term viable solution.

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A big problem would be that if the codeword gets smudged or is unreadable that means the cache can no longer be logged by anyone, even if the container is in fantastic shape. Currently it's easy to add a replacement log or piece of paper with your caching name if the original is destroyed, it usually doesn't mean the cache is impossible to log. 

 

If you're doing a power trail this would be a nightmare. If I find 50+ caches and then log them at home later (as many do) I would need to note 50+ codewords and which caches they each belong too, would be such a hassle I wouldn't even want to do a big run like that ever again. 

 

Signing a physical log is such a core part of finding most cache types that I don't see this ever changing. 

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26 minutes ago, MNTA said:

The days of community maintenance and caches living forever are gone, it just does not make for a long term viable solution.

 

Actually I think a better solution would be to encourage caches that are designed to be long-lasting so they don't need constant maintenance either by the CO or, in their absence, the community. It's not rocket science, good quality containers and logbooks are readily available and, while they might cost a few more dollars more than a throw-away mint tin or pill bottle, they'll soon pay for themselves in reduced maintenance visits and better caching experiences. Perhaps there needs to be more emphasis on creating quality experiences rather than quantity.

 

Just last week a new cache was published locally, the first one (apart from mine) since last July. It's an Eclipse mint tin placed next to a large body of salt water. That's where the problem is, right there at the beginning of that cache's life cycle, and the way to fix it isn't to insist that all caches get frequent maintenance visits from their owners, get auto-archived after X years, have code numbers and geofencing instead of logbooks, or any of the other sledgehammer "solutions" that have been proposed. Start with a good fit-for-purpose container and log and most of the problems will disappear.

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11 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

Start with a good fit-for-purpose container and log and most of the problems will disappear.

 

Here's an example of what I mean. This cache, a small in a tree stump, was placed by lee737 nearly four years ago. It's rather out of the way for him, as it's only accessible by train, but it's not far from me and on the way to one of my own caches so I'm happy to poke my head in and take a look whenever I go past.

 

20230820_100005.jpg.8626c14bfa32b2c32a4d7e5575c17f3e.jpg

 

It's a sturdy container within a container and has had no maintenance since the day he placed it, yet everything is still in pristine condition. Much like my cache further along the trail, which I placed in 2017. It's a stainless steel cookpot with a waterproof stone-paper logbook hidden inside a small cave at the top of the ridge, and has also needed no maintenance in the time it's been there.

 

GC752YFSixYearsOn.jpg.6654f5ab5f3c254eff80c9ceb82f312a.jpg

 

As I said, this isn't rocket science, it's just good design and all about making a cache fit for purpose to start with.

Edited by barefootjeff
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2 hours ago, MNTA said:

The days of community maintenance and caches living forever are gone

It depends where the caches are. Here in Australia I have experienced local community maintenance for old caches. For one old cache I mentioned in a note (I will not do a NM for such an old cache) it needed a new cache, and a volunteer had a new cache there next day. For remote caches, where it might be hundreds of kms to the next and where it's very unlikely that it will ever be replaced, it's not uncommon for travelling geocachers to provide maintenance. If I go on such a trip I pack spare caches and logs to maintain any remote caches I find that need some assistance. If in a built up urban area I leave it to the CO; just do a NM. Unless I have an understanding with the CO. Year 2000 caches I have found tend to have volunteers to look after them if the CO is inactive. Some COs of 2000 caches are still active though. I found the CO of Europe's Oldest doing maintenance on it when I turned up at that one. Made finding it easy, as the CO was sitting there with the cache contents spread out on the ground for maintenance. I think I might have said something like, "Well this makes it easy to find" :D as I walked up to it.

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