Forum: Questions And Answers About Geocaching
Topic: The future of geocaching?
started by: mikechim

Posted by mikechim on Nov. 29 2001,10:58 pm
Hey everyone FYI:
I was listening to NPR today and caught an interesting report about GPS.  Apparently business's and poeple in Europe became concerned after 9-11 that since GPS is a primarily US military based system it could be deactivated (I know they've already stated they won't).  Anyway Europe (according to the report) or the governments of many Europian countrieas along with many private businesses do not want to rely on GPS anymore and are going to be putting up there own system.  Termed "Galileo" it will be up and in operation by the year 2008. Granted that's a bit of time away yet.  Besides just wanting to inform people, I also thought that it raises the question of whether or not Galileo will be more accurate then GPS (it will be several years newer)? will the current GPS system me updated to compenstate? will there be seperate GPS / Galileo receivers? will one reciever pick up both systems of satellites? will the countries come together and make all the satellites work together happily? Will it be free? I could probably go one for ever  :)  Will Geocaching still even exist 6 years from now?  (I hope so  :thumbsup: ).  Which brings another point (Loooorrrd I was born a ramblin maaaannnn) what is the state of this sport going to be 6 years from now, will there be to many active caches? should old caches be archived so new ones can go out?  Should only quality caches be allowed (interesting hunt, terrain, etc), Hows is a concensus reached on this? OK now I'm just plain babbeling  
:wstupid:
Back to why I started just wanted to pass along that interesting bit of info on Galileo, I quit before I think of anything else to vomit onto this post    :looking:
Posted by Scout on Nov. 30 2001,8:06 am
Man, you raise a lot of issues...

Galileo: Countries don't want their national security dependent on a single foreign country. It's understandable.

The US system will continue to evolve and improve (e.g., WAAS).

GPS receiver makers will make receivers that work with either system. At first, you'll pay a premium.

Today, there are efforts to "recover" USGS benchmarks. Eventually, there'll emerge efforts to recover long-lost geocaches. Geocaching Web site search engines will support searches by date placed or date of last successful find log, so that hunters can filter out old and presumably extinct geocaches, either to ignore them or target them for recovery efforts. Other filters will also emerge to help cut through the clutter. For example, filters to allow one to list, say, only virtual caches, or only caches hidden by still active geocachers, or only caches rated highly in find logs (first, we need a rating system for this to happen, hint, hint), etc.
Posted by mikechim on Nov. 30 2001,8:44 pm
Quote from Scout, posted on Nov. 30 2001,10:06 am
Geocaching Web site search engines will support searches by date placed or date of last successful find log, so that hunters can filter out old and presumably extinct geocaches, either to ignore them or target them for recovery efforts. Other filters will also emerge to help cut through the clutter. For example, filters to allow one to list, say, only virtual caches, or only caches hidden by still active geocachers, or only caches rated highly in find logs (first, we need a rating system for this to happen, hint, hint), etc.


After my initial ramble I'll try to give this topic some focus.  
My primary concern with the expansion of geocaching in the future isn't necesarrily having to filter through pages of old and new ones or anything like that.  It's more of a concern with the actual physical landscape.  If there is caches all over the place geocaching may quit becoming a sport and become pollution (that may be to strong of a word but, hopefully you all understand my point).  Eventually aren't we going to get to a point when we say enough is enough.  This is especially true with regards to many of the caches out in the world today that are (IMHO) subpar.  Me and a budy just came back from caching in Ohio, out of the 5 caches we went after only 1 was really worth it.  By a cache being worth it I mean it has either (whorthwhile scenery, a challenging hike, a mental or intillectual challenge, etc).  To many caches are ok here's a point you park walk down a trail for 10 minutes and it's there.  If the sport continues to grow as it has they are going to be everywhere, what then?  As we were heading out to Ohio we were wisihing it was possible to do this for a living, on the way back (since most of them had been disapointing) we were joking about how subpar caches could be kept undercontrol.  If the future would the (I hate to even say this) but need to be removed to make room for more quality caches, of course that can't happen as one man's treasure is another's trash and all that, still though I think there is some agreement as to what sets caches apart.  I think a rating system would definately be great, maybe it would force cache placers to think about their locations, ideas, etc. more instead of just dropping boxes off all over the place.  Just my (somewhat more focused) two cents.
Posted by Scout on Dec. 01 2001,3:30 pm
Quote from mikechim, posted on Nov. 30 2001,4:44 pm


I doubt there'll be much agreement on how close or how far we are from the day when there are so many caches that they begin to "litter" the landscape. Further, I doubt there'll be agreement among cache owners about giving permission for others to round up others' caches because they are deemed to be old or low quality.

Maybe the best approach is to require cache owners to periodically "renew" their registration of their caches on the Web site. Caches not renewed could be considered abandoned. Abandoned caches could be moved to a separate section of the Web site. A new recreation could develop where geocachers hunt down abandoned caches and either remove the remains or adopt and restore them.
Posted by mikechim on Dec. 01 2001,4:40 pm
Quote from Scout, posted on Dec. 01 2001,5:30 pm
Maybe the best approach is to require cache owners to periodically "renew" their registration of their caches on the Web site. Caches not renewed could be considered abandoned. Abandoned caches could be moved to a separate section of the Web site. A new recreation could develop where geocachers hunt down abandoned caches and either remove the remains or adopt and restore them.


That's actually a pretty good idea.  I'll have to remember to bring it up in a couple years  :)
Posted by Quinn on Dec. 01 2001,4:42 pm
My logic is that Geocaching is some-what like Golf. when a courses set becomes so known that people get used to hitting way below par because they know where the hole is, the course will change the location of the hole on the green so that there is something different. To me this should be the way caching is set up. There are so many public lands and parks out there with tons of great area's within them. But many people won't hide another cache there because one is already present. So maybe after a certain time period goes by the original Cache can be found, updated and replenished, new log book added and then replaced with a new coordinate in a new location in the same land span. this would help prevent trail wear and also keep the game interesting to other members. But yes, it is tough to judge someone elses Cache and say that it should be removed. A set standard would be nice to use as a guideline but I do not see this happening anytime in the near future. When I place a Cache it is always a retired ammo can and I do my best to fill it with things that are not common in the Geocaching world. But a few times I checked on my caches I have noticed that some have been mistreated in the fact that some people would take more than they left or take something worth good money and leave a rubber ball in it's place. I would like to see my caches maintain a high quality or at least the quality they were in when I left them, but this is not an easy thing to do as many people bring the whole family (which I like) but they need to have some restraint when it comes to trading.
I think another good option would be to have a script added which when a person finds a cache they can mention it's condition, if this is found to be a degrading cache due to location or weather and age, then maybe a notify request could be sent to the cache owner just asking him/her if it could be checked in on and refurbished.
NOTE: I just took some very powerful pain pills so alot of what I just said I may not mean once they wear off!  :D
Posted by Guest on Dec. 02 2001,6:38 am
Quinn mentions a method which I had already pretty much planned from the beginning, that is moving a cache to a different location within the same park. This method has a double positive in that it keeps the game fresh, without adding another cache to the same area.  

For example, I have two caches within two different parks that both contain rather extensive trail systems. The one park has almost 40 miles of trails. Now while there will always be the occasional activity from a business traveler, or family on vacation, fact remains that after a certain period, the activity on a given cache will drop considerably. By watching the activity on my caches for this to happen, I can then retrieve, replenish, and replace my cache. By placing it in a totally different area of the park, even those who had been before can search again as it is now, for all intents and purposes, an entirely different cache.

Now with over 57 Million square miles of land on earth, I think it will be at least a couple more years before Geocaching gets so popular, that we would run out of sensible places to put a cache. Granted some of this land is developed but even if everyone who was interested in hiking, suddenly took up Geocaching, there would still be more than enough space to place them all. The issue to me is more "responsible caching" than it is a space issue. If you place a cache, it is your "resposibility" to check on it from time to time. Unfortunately, just as there are irresponsible hikers, we will have irresponsible cachers from time to time.

Quinn had mentioned a feature allowing "finders" to notify a cache owner of a cache that was in need of attention due to condition or placement. I think what we already have in place meets those needs. If you go on a cache hunt and the cache is near empty, the lid is missing, or the area showing wear, simply mention this in your log posting and use the email feature to notify the owner. The only "feature" we need is "responsible caching", from both the cache owners and the seekers. Something I think is pretty much there alreay.

 
Posted by barrington on Dec. 03 2001,10:02 pm
I agree with PC Medic, the sport (game, hobby, activity, or whatever it is) is working fine right now, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I've noticed that the more accessible caches tend to continue to get visited, while the ones in remote locations get an initial flurry of activity from the more enthusiastic cachers, then tend to go dormant.  Being more difficult to retrieve, these are the caches that would probably be more apt to be abandoned, but would also have the least environmental impact if they were.  

Maybe at some point we'll need "cache police" to collect caches that are felt to be abandoned or substandard, but in the meantime we would do well to remember that although people are invited to find and fiddle with the contents of caches, they still remain the property of the persons who placed them, and those persons are the only ones with the right (aside from property owners) to remove them.

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