Sunday, January 28, 2007

Podcast geocaches

This morning I reviewed a newly submitted geocache that wasn't really a geocache. There was a downloadable wav file which users could listen to on their MP3 players to hear turn-by-turn directions to the final location of the cache container. However, Groundspeak has notified reviewers not to accept podcast geocaches.

Quoting from the guidelines: "GPS usage is an essential element of geocaching. Therefore, although it is possible to find a cache without a GPS, the option of using accurate GPS coordinates as an integral part of the cache hunt must be demonstrated for all physical cache submissions."

If you would still like to provide geocachers the option of using your home-made podcast for turn-by-turn directions to get to a cache, you must:

1. Provide the coordinates of the final location on the cache page, or in the case of a puzzle or multi, provide a method to obtain the final coordinates.


2. Provide a warning on the cache page that says "Downloading files from the internet is not always safe and you download the files at your own risk."


3. Provide an alternate way such as a printout of the podcast text that you can print from the web page and read along as you go.

I realize that these rules are not posted in the guidelines, but I have been assured they will be posted in the next iteration. Meanwhile, Groundspeak has suggested that we refer geocachers to this clause in the guidelines: "Groundspeak may change, suspend, or discontinue any portion of the Site, or any service offered on the Site, at any time, including but not limited to any feature, database, application, or content. Groundspeak may also impose limits on certain features offered on the Site with or without notice."

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A list of Iowa's land policies

I happened to run across the following posting that I sent to some time ago when they asked for a region-by-region response from each of their reviewers. I realize the IGO web site has a more detailed, and probably more up-to-date list by county, but here's a bunch of info on one page. If you see errors here, please let me know.


For all Iowa State Parks and other land administered by The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), permission from the local land manager is required. No permit system is in place (that I know of) so geocachers need to state in their submission that they have received permission.

The Nature Conservancy in Iowa protects over thirty parcels of land throughout the state. Many of these sites are also classified as preserves. Requests for placing caches may be directed to Mr. Neal Humke, Land Steward for The Nature Conservancy in Iowa, at PO Box 1411, Muscatine, IA 52761. Please provide a detailed description of the proposed cache location (what trail, distance from trailhead, distance from trail, etc.), a description of the proposed container, and the distance from any features that might be considered threatened were a cache placed too close by. This information is dated 11 January 2004.


The Indian Creek Nature Center wants geocaches okayed by the Land Steward, Jean Wiedenheft. Ms Weidenheft may be reached via the information on this page. The Center is concerned about "... keeping caches away from high erosion areas (steep hills, gullies), and ... wild flower patches...". This information is dated 11 January 2004.

The City of Cedar Rapids Parks Department wants geocaches okayed by the City Parks Director, Dave Kramer. Mr. Kramer may be reached at the City Parks Department office. This information is dated 11 January 2004.


At a meeting 23 February 2004, the Coralville Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously approved a motion to permit Geocaching within city parks with approved locations and guidelines generally following those of the Story County Conservation Board (see below). The minutes of the meeting incorporating the approval may be found at this link. The guidelines and permit application PDF file will be found on the Coralville website.


This Groundspeak forum posting dated 13 June 2004, advises that permission must be received from park management before hiding any caches in Jester Park.


The Johnson County Conservation Board has issued their Geocache Placement Permit application. This document is in MS Word format, undated.

We have received correspondence dated 11 September 2004 with the following information:
The Macbride Nature Center (located along the Coralville Reservoir near Lake Macbride State Park) is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers but is leased to, and managed by the University of Iowa Division of Recreational Services.
The University does not have an official, written policy regarding geocaching but asks that they be contacted prior to placing any caches. The nature center does have some sensitive areas to protect, and they say that their lease could be jepordized by unauthorized activities.
The contact is:
Wayne Fett
Assoc. Director, Outdoor Trip Programs
Macbride Nature Recreation Area Coord.
Ph. 319-335-9290
wayne-fett a t uiowa d o t edu


The Story County Conservation Board has issued Geocache Placement Site Guidelines and a Geocache Placement Permit application. Both documents are undated and in Microsoft Word format.


The City of Vinton Parks and Recreation Department wants a letter or telephone call requesting permission to place caches within Vinton parks. Requests may be sent to Duane Randall, Head of the Parks and Recreation Department, at 7014 East A Street, Vinton, IA 52349, or telephone (319) 472-4164. This information is dated 11 January 2004.


A geocacher submitted the following excerpt from a letter written to him by Steve Anderson, Director of the Washington County Conservation Board (WCCB) dated 11 July 2003. The excerpt follows:

The Board decided to allow geocaches in our properties provided that our director first approves the site, that they cannot be placed in environmentally sensitive areas, and that they are not allowed in Brinton Timber or Hayes Timber.

Geocachers applying for permission to place a cache on WCCB land may reach Mr. Anderson at the Conservation Education Center. Contact information for the Education Center may be found on the WCCB web page at the above link.


The Winnebago County Conservation Board has developed a set of Geocache Placement Site Guidelines and a Geocache Placement Permit application. Our understanding as of the date of submission (29 April 2004) is that no areas have yet been classified as "Category 1" (virtual caches only). The documents are in Microsoft Word format, undated.


The Worth County Conservation Board has developed a Geocache Registration Form that should be submitted after a cache is physically hidden, but BEFORE it is submitted to The form may be mailed to Worth County Conservation Board, 503 1st Avenue N, Northwood, Iowa 50459, but it appears the Board will also accept this information over the telephone at (641) 324-1524 (ask for Shane or Dan). Please read the cache placement guidelines on the registration form before placing your cache. Once approved by the Board, make certain your online cache description contains the required information described in the registration form as well. The form is in Microsoft Word format, undated.


The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge is off limits to geocaching, as per rules of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Boundaries can be viewed here.