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How accurate do you make the coordinates when you hide a cache?


bradtal
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Hello All-

 

I hid my first cache over the weekend (yea! icon_biggrin.gif) and already 4 people have found it.

 

One thing I noticed is that almost all of them said, "I got within 3 feet", or "Found it in 5 minutes".

 

I did spend a lot of time making sure my coordinates were correct (I walked to my hiding site from 10 different directions and took a waypoint, then averaged all 10 to get the final coordinate).

 

I guess my question is... Did I make it too accurate? Or too easy? Do you usually take the waypoint "near" the area and not "exactly" over the cache location?

 

I'm glad my first one was this easy, but in the future, I'd like to make it more of a challenging hunt for everyone.

 

What do you recommend here?

 

Brad

 

[This message was edited by bradtal on July 01, 2002 at 09:21 AM.]

 

[This message was edited by bradtal on July 02, 2002 at 08:36 AM.]

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It sounds like you did a good job. If you want to make a cache more difficult then just hide it better or make it in an area with difficult terrain or confusing roads into it.

 

I honestly hate it when I get to a cache after spending time searching and still can't find it. Sometimes you just don't get a good reading and that will add to the difficulity. Please continue to post good coordinates. There are other ways of making it tough.

 

Never Squat With Yer Spurs On

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Always take the readings as close to the cache as possible as accurately as possible. Just like you did. It sounds like you got good coordinates and the finders got lucky. Also, it is a 1/1. Five minutes is enough time to find an easy cache. IMHO, you should never post bad coordinates on purpose. If you want to make your cache harder to find, make it smaller or put it in a place with more potential hiding spots.

 

If I were you, I'd be happy that 4 people have found my cache already.

 

rdw

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My concern is that my coordinates won't be accurate enough with my little yellow eTrex, so I end up doing just what you did & average several waypoints that I have marked directly above (under, beside, etc) the cache.

 

I'd hate to have a cache hidden that nobody could find because I had been careless in my data collection. If they can't find it because it's difficult to get to, well, that's another thing entirely. icon_cool.gif

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When a player approaches your cache, their gps won't have the advantage of your 10 times averaging. They will have the reading of just one approach and won't expect to land on the cache. They expect to be within 30 or 40 feet and start their search for likely hiding places. Landing on it would be just luck. So I would guess that they are finding your cache hidden in a likely hiding place. The hardest caches I've come across yet (and I've not done too many) have been very close to where my gps says its supposed to be but they were in very tricky hiding places. A hiding place I didn't expect. But I do appreciate you effort in making it as accurate as possible. I have found some cache readings way off and had to send messages to the owner to recheck the location (which they did and then I landed within 20 feet of the cache).

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I really appreciate good coordinates. I have been to some caches where there was enough time spent collecting the data. If you want to make it tougher put it on a mountain, in a ravene or 4 miles back in the woods. But always give good coordinates. I also really appreciate a parking area location.

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Another thing that helps a cacher find a cache, besides good coordinates, is hiding it so the general public won't spot it but a cacher will. Like bark lined up all perfect or branches stacked up just so. Usually we will spot a cache in seconds if the cacher uses that.

 

My thought is you can make the route in as difficult as you like, but it's certainly nice to be able to find a cache without a real long search. That gets frustrating and can turn a great cache search into a lousy one.

 

The only caches I haven't enjoyed are the ones I couldn't find icon_frown.gif

 

Never Squat With Yer Spurs On

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quote:
Originally posted by Lazyboy & Mitey Mite:

My thought is you can make the route in as difficult as you like, but it's certainly nice to be able to find a cache without a real long search. That gets frustrating and can turn a great cache search into a lousy one.

 

The only caches I haven't enjoyed are the ones I couldn't find icon_frown.gif


 

Fine for a 1 or 2 star difficulty, but I've also been on some great hunts where I was stumped because the cache hider hid it so very cleverly so that not only could the general public not see it, but the average geocacher couldn't readily see it either. With that in mind, they've listed them as 3 or 4 star difficulty (not terrain).

 

Clayjar and I were talking about the difference between what he likes for caches and what I like. Extreme cases for making a point:

 

He'll hike over mountains, through the burning desert and wade a 3 foot deep swamp, but wants to have the cache in a day-glo 5 gallon drum with a neon sign saying "The Cache Is HERE!!!".

 

I like to hop out of the car and spend 2 hours trying to figure out just what the cache hider did to place this thing so well concealed.

 

And the beauty is there are caches out there for both of us. Just please mark them correctly on the website as far as difficulty and terrain, so we know what we're getting into. icon_biggrin.gif

 

Markwell

Chicago Geocachers

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I think something some cache hiders (and seekers!) run into is not knowing the subtle differences between the "difficulty" rating and the "terrain" rating. And I may be wrong, too, but it seems to me that terrain would be an indicator of how tough it is to get to the coordinates and difficulty refers to the ease of finding the cache once you are at the coordinates specified. I think sometimes people get the two mixed up, or jumbled in their minds when they rate a cache, or go out to find a cache.

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quote:
Originally posted by Markwell:

[Clayjar will] hike over mountains, through the burning desert and wade a 3 foot deep swamp, but wants to have the cache in a day-glo 5 gallon drum with a neon sign saying "The Cache Is HERE!!!".


 

Amen brother, amen!

 

rdw

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Ideally, once over the cache the GPSR will read zero. In actual conditions the accuracy varies such that an overall error of perhaps 60 feet can be expected. That is all the more reason to take the time to create as accurate a coordinate as possible. This should not be a factor in difficulty of finding the cache however. For example, a local cache has been very difficult to find even though it is in the open. It is well camouflaged and even looking directly at it is easily missed. I like to use a camouflage netting over my caches to make them blend in more. I believe that coordinates should be accurate, the cache findable by a geocacher but not by a casual passer-by and a hint given to enable the hunter to find it if well hidden.

 

Steve Bukosky N9BGH

Waukesha Wisconsin

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I just did my first one July 10th and had a blast. It was called the Mt. Nebo Excursion (http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.asp?ID=22762) by Deep Creek, Maryland. It had seven stages and IMHO this was the best way to do it. I should have taken pictures.

 

One of the more important things done was description of the terrain. The woods apparently through the accuracy way way off 60ft+. The first one took 30 minutes to find. We looked under logs, under rocks, read all the graphiti etc. The first cache contained cards which gave the coordinates of the next location. In addition, a description of the surroundings was also given, “a lone tree in a meadow”, “ a stump near a stream”, ”in a pine forest”, etc.

 

Depending on the accuracy of the devices, you should always include some kind of description (I’m no Donald Trump). At one point we were close to a quarter mile away and the GPS said we were close.

 

I would ask those with godlike GPSs to please take mercy us poor folk.

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I use a Garmin eMap. Not real expensive but does have waypoint averaging. I've compared readings to a Garmin V and some high-end Magellan. That reinforced my observation that even though your unit shows a good accuracy, you must let the GPSR in the cache spot for at least a couple minutes to "settle down" Also, keep in mind that the less satellites your unit sees, the more effect your body shadow has on the accuracy. If you are trying to average readings and don't have a lot of satellites in view, take an average of coordinates while facing east, south, west and north. This should get all the satellites possible to been seen. Remember, the best accuracy is with a clear view from horizon to horizon. Your body blocks radio waves pretty well so get out of the way!

 

Steve Bukosky N9BGH

Waukesha Wisconsin

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I usually set the cache box itself on top of the cache spot.. or real close to the spot with a clear view... if you have it hidden well there might be a little issue with getting a signal through brush or trees.. Get it close.. and stationary.. and let it sit for a few minutes. On my Etrex the shown accuracy never really seems to get below 11 feet.. but no one has ever had a problem finding one of my caches with the coordinates. icon_razz.gif

 

PS since elevation doesnt matter.. you can take the reading anywhere ABOVE the cache itself. icon_biggrin.gif

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I am new to this and haven't gone out to find a cache yet. Therefore I really don't know what I am talking about regarding GPS accuracy and the relationship to finding caches. However, it is my understanding that the pinpoint accuracy should not be as critical as the discription of the location or the clues that are given.

 

I have a few caches in mind that I would like to plant when I get going with this and would appreciate any advice or correction to my understanding of this. The way I have looked at it with my concepts is that I would give a coordinate that is near by the cache but don't want a waypoint that is so specific that it locates the cache within a couple feet. I figured that even if the waypoint is 100yds away (an extreme estimate. My actual intention is much closer) it is fine if your clue can lead to a recognizable point where the searcher can locate the cache or their next clue. For example, there is a forest preserve area near me. There is usually an ice cream truck that parks near one of the bicycle trails. If I were to give a waypoint 100yrds off and give a clue that might cause somebody to think of snacks or ice cream they might then know to go to the area around the truck. Being there is a picnic table there they might find their next clue written on the table while they are eating their cone. I will point out that this is just ficticious. No such cache exists, that I know of. Actually I have thought of giving a waypoint for, say, a train station and a story about a nearby historical location. While standing on the station platform, reading the discription of the historical property, from the geocache clue page, they might be able to locate a specific spot where the location of the cache would be revealed. The contents being historical information about the site, log book etc. Instead of placing this material in the outdoors and in a, now dense wooded neighborhood and annoying residents, I thought of finding an indoor location of relevance near by where the finder would go to view the cache.

 

Obviously I need to make some refinements to this concept. I am sure I will realize many improvements as I get more involved with GeoCaching.

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There's nothing wrong with providing a waypoint that is somewhat distant from the cache and then providing directions to the cache. When I was hiding this (http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.asp?ID=24402) cache, that was the only way to do it.

 

You'll find that if you don't make it absolutely clear that the coordinates aren't where the cache is hidden at, you will have a number of highly annoyed hunters. Before getting fixed on one way to hide a cache, go and find 10-20 of them. As you hunt and find, think how you would do this cache with your method.

 

Remember, hunter hunt because they like to find caches. Hiders hide because they want people to find their cache. It's no fun to spend the time, effort and money on a cache no one hunts or has bad things to say about.

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If you make a waypoint some distance to a cache (an offset cache is what this is called) it also makes it tougher for those who just download all the caches in the area and go hunt without reading the description pages.

 

We just had someone buzz through the Chicago area on a vacation and hunt caches. When they came up against multicaches or virtual caches, they were stumped. It wasn't until they came back to log them that they said, "Oh, I guess I should have read the pages."

 

So, if it's an offset cache, make sure you accurately describe it as an offset cache. But know that you'll still get some complaints once in a blue moon.

 

Markwell

Chicago Geocachers

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quote:
Originally posted by bradtal:

I'm glad my first one was this easy, but in the future, I'd like to make it more of a challenging hunt for everyone.


 

I would still make the coords as accurate as possible. After all, the seekers are still going to have some inaccuracies. To make a cache harder to find requires a little creativity on your part. You have to avoid the obvious hiding spots like URP's, large interesting trees, rock ledges, etc. You have to use The Force to fight The Force. The converse is also true. If you have a situation where it is difficult to get good readings but you still want to make the cache easy to find, just put it in the same place you would look in if you were hunting a cache. icon_wink.gif

 

... Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--

I took the one less traveled by, ...

 

unclerojelio

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To the best of my knowledge the GPSs are accurate to within 15-20 ft. For this reason I always try to get a reading directly on the cache.

Recently I hid one and my coordinates were off by about 30 ft. due to not waiting for my GPS (GPS315) to average out. I was criticized by the first visitor. The second could not find it. I also moved this cache 2 times because of vandalism. It is on the beach and now over a dune. This caused some confusion because searchers were working from the original notes.

 

Here in Corpus Christi we have a virtual cache that says you need a sundial to experience it. When I found the coordinates to be on the sea wall overlooking the bay I commented to the placer. He said to get a sundial -- the coordinates are N/A for this site. Who needs this sort of flimflam?

 

Bro_ray

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Brad, I think your question was a great one. Sometimes a person goes out, hides a cache, looks at his GPS and jots down the coordinates. They may not be correct. If a cache is hidden in the edge of trees, for example, he may not have enough satellites to get a good reading. It is surprising how many caches are hidden in trees! Even the next time the hider comes back, his GPS may give a different reading. Here is why:

 

You need at least 4 good satellite signals to get a triangulation reading. Three are used to pinpoint your position, and the 4th. satellite is used to synchronize their atomic clocks for accuracy. If only three satellites are displayed on your acquisition screen, then two of them will locate you and the other will still syncronize. Not very accurate! With only two satellites on your screen, forget it! It's anybody's guess where you are! icon_mad.gif

 

So hide your cache with a strong view of the sky, or use the offset cache hiding method. Find a good view, then steer the searcher to the cache site with something like "75 feet at a bearing of 247 degrees", and suggest they use a compass. The GPS compass screen is not as good for such detailed work.

 

Oh, and Brad, go hide some more. It sounds like you did a good job. icon_smile.gif

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That being said, I'd rather have poor cordinates in heavy tree cover and have it rated higher in difficutly than having good coordinates as an offset cache.

 

If you had people compliment you on your accuracy, that's fine, but it's mostly luck. It's rare that I've zeroed out directly on top of a cache.

 

At a Bay Area Geo Picnic, we played a zero spot game where a person picked a spot the day before, took the coordinates as best as he could, and then the next day about 30 of us marked flags where we thought the zero spot was.

 

One person was an inch away but most flags were spread out in about a 20-25 foot circle. There were no trees or hills to block signals. But we still had a good spread.

 

george

 

Remember: Half the people you meet are below average.

5867_200.gif

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I set my Sportrak on top of the cache and let auto-average feature get the coordinates to make them as accurate as possible. If you are concerned about your cache being found to easily then be sneakier when you hide it. The cachers in my neck of the woods (Idaho) seem to pride themselves in being sneaky, some I would go so far as to say they had warped minds. My brother-in-laws philosophy is to find a place that looks like the obvious place to hide the cache and then hide it really well about 10' feet away.

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