Saturday, April 29, 2006

Shining Happy People

If you haven't read the profile for the Texas approver, Prime Approver, it's worth checking out. I love his description of what it takes to be one of the shining happy geocachers. (And I quote from Prime Approver's profile and borrow the image he has posted):

Why are the people above shining and happy? Their cache was approved, because they read and followed the Cache Placement Guidelines before they placed their cache. Thus, they received the golden orb of approval happiness.

The people above would never place a cache that's closer then 1/10 of a mile to another cache. If they're placing a multi-cache, they would check that each stage also follows this rule. Everyone deserves a little space.

The shining happy people would never place a cache within 150 feet of a railroad track, because they know that area belongs to the railroad company, and they get grumpy if things are placed in their right-of-way.

The people above know that they would never receive the golden orb if they submitted a physical cache that didn't have a log book. Trying to submit a "code-word" cache is the path to darkness, and will not be allowed.

The shining happy people know that when they submit a multi-cache, or any cache where the actual location is not the one posted, they should submit a reviewer note informing the approver where the actual locations are, including all the stages of a multi-cache. That way, they know they're following the golden path to quick approval.

[And for Iowa geocaches, I'm asking that all multi waypoint coordinates be listed with the "add waypoints" feature, and not merely in a note to the reviewer.]

The shining happy people know that virtual caches are no longer being published on If you've found something really special, and can't make it part of a physical cache, see if there's a place for it over on

The shining happy people know that sometimes, bad things happen to good caches. But they also know that disabling a cache is meant to be a temporary measure. If you can't get your cache repaired in a timely manner, you should archive it, so that it will stop showing up in search lists. It's also not fair when your disabled cache prevents others from placing a cache in the same area. Remember, geocaching is about finding caches, and they can't be found if they're not there.

If a cache has been disabled for too long, and a reviewer archives it, the shining happy people know not to get upset about it. When your cache has been repaired, it can always be un-archived (as long as it still follows the current guidelines).

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Nice words

I received this email from a geocacher today. He gave me permission to post it here. Thanks, AB!

Hi Ken,

This is AB of AB-n-AP, and I just wanted to say your blog is very informative! I went back and read through all your posts since January, and learned a lot about the way you prefer new caches to be submitted and also how you go through the whole approving process. In addition to being informative, it's also very interesting to read your updates and the Q&A segments you have had. Thanks for giving geocachers a great place for valuable geocaching information.

All Beef

Monday, April 24, 2006

Volunteer geocoins

I'm enjoying reading about the travels of my IowaAdmin Geocoins that are traveling around the state. Most of the coins that are circulating have a goal to move from cache to cache in Iowa. A few of them have been allowed to travel outside the state. You can see a list of them here.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Additional waypoints -- please use this feature

Back on January 21st I posted some tips about how to use the additional waypoint feature at Now that this system has been around for several months, it seems to have most of the bugs worked out. I encourage each of you to use this feature when you submit new geocaches. It will be especially helpful for reviewers as we have more multicaches out there if everyone submits all their multicache waypoints using this feature. That way, I'll be able to see quickly if any of the multicache waypoints intrude on each other's 528 ft. rule for cache separation. From now on, if new caches are submitted without using the additional waypoint coordinates feature, I'm going to ask the owner to edit the cache page to include the additional waypoints for multicaches -- and for parking (for those who choose to include parking coordinates in their description). For those who want to go back to their existing cache pages and use this feature -- well, that would be great, too. If the cache is a simple traditional cache with no parking coordinates or no multiple waypoints, then, of course, you won't need to use the additional waypoints feature.

Monday, April 10, 2006

State parks managed by counties

This weekend there were two new caches submitted for review called A Grove View and A Large Dead One which are both located in Oak Grove State Park. I wrote to the cache owner and requested that permission be obtained from the Iowa DNR. However, the owner, campingfarmer, correctly pointed out that even though this is a state park, it is managed by the county. He also provided a link to other such parks. As the DNR states at this site: "These parks fall under any rules, fees and regulations established by the county. Please contact the county conservation board listed for more information about a specific park." My thanks to campingfarmer for pointing this out.

Monday, April 03, 2006

My GPS? That old thing?

In a comment to yesterday's post, welch asked: Which reminds me, what sort of gps unit do you use IowaAdmin?

Answer: I have a five-year-old Garmin eMap with 8 mb of memory (which I upgraded soon after I bought it to get that much memory). I know, I know, it's practically an antique, but it still does the job for me. I like the large screen and the low-power consumption so batteries last forever. I also like that I have a handlebar mount for my road bike so I can take off for miles without getting lost. Well, not too far lost anyway. I also have an external antenna for it that I can plug in when I'm in wooded areas searching for a cache. It draws a lot more battery power in that mode, but the external antenna sure is effective. My wife has a Garmin eTrex Legend and a Garmin Forerunner (wristband model) that I gave her which she uses for her daily 4:30 a.m. 3-mile runs.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Now, the answers...

Thanks for the questions posted here yesterday. Volunteer geocoins are on their way to welch and bluedeuce. Now, so as not to keep team gamsci in suspense any longer, here are the answers.

Welch asked: Do you ever try to encourage or discourage certain types of caches?

A: It is rare that I do. However I did just that a couple of days ago when a cache was submitted for a micro at the base of a lamp pole in a parking lot. Before I approved the cache, I posted a note to the owner that he might expect some negative feedback from fellow geocachers about this cache, since some geocachers really dislike these types of drive-up urban micros that don't take you to an interesting place. In general, if a cache meets all the guidelines, it will get approved, no matter the "lameness factor," which I don't feel is my place as a reviewer to judge. Of course, if not approving a cache is considered discouraging it, I will "discourage" caches that are no longer approvable, such as locationless, virtuals and web cam caches.

Bluedeuce asked: How do check the location of cache placements? Do you use the internet based mapquest or purchased mapping software?

A: I use MapQuest, Google maps, Topozone and Terraserver. In recent months I also started using Iowa Geographic Map Server, which is a very handy tool for certain caches. I have not been using purchased mapping software. What do you use?

And lastly, team gamsci asked: Will we get to see the answers on here to the questions?

A: Yes.

Thanks for the questions! Please don't wait for the bribe of a geocoin to ask yours.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Geocoins to give away

It's time to prime the pump again. I'll mail my IowaAdmin volunteer reviewer geocoins to each of the next two Iowa geocachers who post a comment on my blog. The comment needs to be a legitimate question about geocache reviewing in Iowa.