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Proposal, Notional Coordinates


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In the case of puzzle caches, the idea may be for the potential finder to determine the actual cache coordinates or location using a riddle or some manner of mental aerobics.


Would it be possible to enable notional coordinates, while in the background the website “sees” that cache as being at the actual coordinates? (True coordinates hidden from access)


For example, say I want to hide a cache near the Metroville Town Hall. I create a puzzle, that when solved, leads you to Metroville Town Hall. Once there you would pick up the rest of the clues to the eventual cache container. If I put any coordinates on the site, they will have to be either the Town Hall’s coordinates or coordinates sufficiently far enough away to avoid making the puzzle moot. Go too far away (like the north pole) and the local cachers will not see it as a new cache in their area. Too close and the puzzle may become meaningless.


Right now we use “fake” coordinates and state it as such on the page. Choosing a geographic spot for the “fake” coordinates can be problematic for a number of reasons.


With notional coordinates, the cache still shows up as being a new cache in town, but the coordinates displayed on the cache page obviously incorrect. All zeros or nines should work. Thus, if a cacher sees a new cache suddenly come up and it’s within 6 miles from his zip code or home coordinates, he clicks on the details and sees N 999° 999.999 W 999° 999.999, he knows there is a puzzle to solve to get the correct lat/long.


Yes, a clever person could simply draw a circle on a map 6 miles from his home coordinates and use the process of elimination to figure out where he’s supposed to go, but that in itself would be a fun and challenging alternative to whatever puzzle you may have dreamed up. One could also apply countermeasures to prevent it.


Any thoughts on this from readers?

Any thoughts on this from Seattle?

Edited by Criminal
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I hadn't heard the term, "notional" before, so I had to look it up. I like it! I also really like the idea, with a preference to zeroes over nines. It is just cleaner and far more obvious. CoyoteRed's point about proximity is valid but it must surely be an already existing problem.


If I have a mystery cache which will eventually lead you to the co-ordinates of "The Bell Tower", I must submit those coordinates in my cache submission, though they will not appear on the page. If you then place a cache under the fountain in front of "The Bell Tower", would it currently be rejected because of proximity? Wouldn't that give away any nearby mystery cache? Any approvers want to clarify the current procedure?


Anyway, I would much prefer to have the zeroes than the fakes, although it would mess up my sorting in GSAK.

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The GC server would have to be able to "see" the real coordinates. This would prevent the problem of another cache being placed too close. It would also benefit those who want their travel bug mileage to be accurate.


In the end, it would be far better for accuracy if this were to be implemented; it has to be better than the method we're using now.

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I do see a problem with thirth-party programs like GSAK, Cachemate, GPXSonar etc.

Most of these programs use the coordinates for filtering/sorting on distance, or even filtering on distance from an arc, poly etc. This functionality will not be supported for caches with notional coordinates, unless the real coordinates are in the GPX-files used by these programs, but that would open oppertunities for "hacking" these files to find the actual coordinates for the cache.


For me, I wouldn't like to lose that functionality, because I do most off my selecting a cache offline, sometime on the road without acces to GC.com.

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