Friday, March 25, 2011

The Lexicon of Geocaching

Whether you're a newbie or an old hand at geocaching, here's a nice resource to look up terms that may be unfamiliar. As I looked at the list, a few were new to me. For example, DPM --  really? Never heard of that. Also, the whole "ringbone" thing, that was news to me. It's fun and fascinating to read these entries and learn more about the game.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Questions and Answers about Geocaching

I receive a number of questions from geocachers asking about specifics of getting caches listed on Most of the time I can answer their questions right away. Sometimes I have to consult with my fellow reviewers and/or the lackeys at Groundspeak to be sure I'm giving the correct answer. I thought you might enjoy seeing a few of the recent questions I have received, followed by my responses. I changed the text slightly in some of these to protect the privacy of the email writers. 

Hey Ken!
We were wondering what exactly the rules would be if we had a cache that had a micro SD card in it so that cachers could simply insert it into their phone and save a video or  photo to log their find. I'd think that that would be perfectly fine, but would we also NEED to have a paper log? It would be no trouble to include one, it's just that we think it would be a little cooler/high tech if it was only the SD card. Geocaching is a high tech sport/hobby/obsession and with the huge increase in popularity of smart phones or phones with cameras, this would be a really cool cache.

My Answer:
Thanks for your inquiry. It's cool to hear that you're thinking up new ways to make geocaching fun. As you have guessed, yes, you would also need to include a paper (or similar substrate) logbook that geocachers can sign. Using the SD card would have to be clearly marked as optional. In the past, geocachers have hidden USB drives in caches in hopes that geocachers would need to plug them into their laptop computers to obtain final coordinates of a multicache or unlock a code to find a puzzle cache, but Groundspeak has not allowed those to be a required part of finding a cache because of the potential for someone to introduce malware to the storage device. That same reasoning would apply to an SD card. 

Hi Ken,
I was wondering if you could tell me the coords for the GCXXXX cache stage that is too close to the cache I placed today GCYYYY (40ft up a tree).

My Answer:
I'm not allowed to give you the coordinates of the second stage because you would need to find it on your own, but I can tell you that you would need to move your cache at least 290 ft east of where it is now to be at least 528 ft from stage 2 of GCXXXX. If you know the owner of GCXXXX, you may wish to ask him for the exact coordinates of his second stage. Thanks for working that out with him.


A geocacher could not find 3 of my caches and he took it upon himself to replace them. I take great  pride in maintaining my caches. They are almost all local and as soon as someone says it needs attention, I am right there to do it. If there are several dnf's listed in a log I go out to check on it. Just because he didn't find it, does that mean it isn't there? That decision belongs to the owner. I went out and replaced the containers he left with my own and my own logs. Only one of these caches had a dnf before Sunday and it was only 1 dnf. I replied to him about replacing the one cache and he mentioned in his reply to me that he had also replaced the two others. He did not log that in his log entries. I would never have known he did that unless he had told me in the email. I deleted all 3 of his logs. What do you think of this and is there any way you can mention to him that it is not acceptable to do this?

My Answer:
I sympathize with the frustration you feel about having your caches replaced by another geocacher. I had the same thing happen to me in the past. Sometimes it was done with my permission because a geocacher asked me ahead of time if it would be OK. Other times it was done without my knowledge or permission. In your case, if your caches were replaced without your permission, then no, that is not OK. In my opinion, based on what you have told me about the situation, it sounds like you did the right thing by writing to the geocacher and then deleting the logs that you felt were not legitimate. That's your responsibility as the cache owner. Regarding your question about whether I should mention anything to them, with your permission, I may post this email conversation in my blog so more people become aware of the issue. But in the long run, there will always be behaviors displayed in geocaching that you, I, or other geocachers disagree with. Neither you nor I can stop everyone from doing things they shouldn't do. But in the case of geocaching, we CAN control how much the things they do affect us -- our attitudes and our lives. What I'm saying is, you should go ahead and delete the logs and maintain your caches in the correct manner, like you are apparently doing now. But don't let the actions of a few spoil geocaching for you. 

Hello Ken,
I have a question regarding the new “chirp” accessory and the beacon attribute. First of all, I would like to know if the “chirp” is considered a “physical container”, and whether its placement falls under the 528ft saturation guideline. I would think not, since it would not be seen or handled by a geocacher.

My Answer:
Even though a Chirp is a physical waypoint, Groundspeak allows considerable "latitude" (if you'll pardon the pun) on the saturation guideline for the waypoint locations of the wireless beacons. The range of a Chirp is around 32 feet for an exposed chirp; inside objects, it's less than that, so that's why they allow them to be placed closer together than 528 ft and closer to existing geocaches and physical waypoints. So I'd say, yes you can place your Chirps closer than 528 ft, but you should probably place them at least 40 ft from each other. Does this answer your question?
 Their Response:
Yes, that answers my question. The stages I have in mind will be several hundred feet apart, so the 40ft suggestion you made is not an issue. But, it is possible the "virtual" waypoints of the hide I have in mind will be within a few hundred feet of other virtual and physical waypoints of nearby caches. I just wanted to verify if I had working room for my idea. I think you have verified that. I'd hate to set the whole thing up and have you deny it when I submitted, based on saturation rules. Thanks for your help and input. As always, you are a "wealth of information". 

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

For the poker players

This is not geocaching related, but I wanted to share news about our son's recent accomplishment on the World Poker Tour. Last fall Tom (also known as TitanTom32 in the online poker world) made it to the final table of the Legends of Poker tournament in L.A. The first half of the rebroadcast was televised this past Sunday. Part 2 will be on this coming Sunday, March 6 on the Fox Sports Network at 8 p.m. and again at midnight. In Part 1 they showed the elimination of the fifth and sixth place players, so in Part 2 he will be the first one eliminated because he finished in fourth place in that tournament.